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Showing posts from June, 2018

Away from home- Salcey Forest and Oundle

I've had the date in the diary for a while, and after the abject failure of Skipper hunting during the May half term week I was keen to make amends and do some more exploring in the Midlands. This time, the targets were Black Hairstreak and Wood White, before meeting up with friend Allan and an Oundle pub crawl. 
Upon arrival at the Horse trail (see below; confirmation I was in the right place thanks to the scribbled b.h. and star that could be a Butterfly on the sign?) I had walked a matter of metres before I was stopped in my tracks by a Purple Emperor that landed on the track and briefly fed on salts, sun-bathed and finally disappeared high into the canopy. An incredible encounter, and I did not once think to grab the camera of course. Onwards, and White Admirals were flighty but numerous. The Damselfy below is I believe a female Beautiful Demoiselle, a nice bonus if so as this is a species I had not counted on seeing, and indeed have not seen at all in the UK. I scanned the t…

Well, I talked that up!

Finally, Marsh Warbler week delivered on the patch. A message from Tim alerted me to the presence of a local bird so I headed down that evening (first time out of the house for a few days due to virus!) and in breezy but bright conditions I watched a male singing amongst a scrubby reedbed. I made a few notes of birds imitated: Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Common Tern, Swift, Wren, Oystercatcher, Reed Bunting, Swallow, Icterine Warbler (?) and Zitting Cisticola (?). The bird was seen well enough to observe the rump and pale fringes to tertial feathers. Also around were 2 Cuckoo.  I wonder as to the bird's origins. The species imitated are all resident in Northern France, Belgium and the low countries. I could not make out any Mediterranean species amongst its repertoire. Further birds have been recorded at a few locations on the Suffolk coast, and one at Strumpshaw Fen this Spring. I would tentatively suggest this bird has overshot its usual breeding patch by only a short dist…