I spent the first two hours of my visit this morning checking out the Greenhouse Grounds and walking a circuit of the sheep pasture and paddocks at Migrant Alley, where I also had a 40 minute sky watch from my seat there.
The three KESTREL youngsters were all together, perched on one of the out buildings at the Greenhouse Grounds, where singles of WHITETHROAT and BLACKCAP sang, apart from that it was all very still and quiet, the peace only occasionally being broken by the sound of a WREN or BLACKBIRD.
The hope of an early Wheatear, or maybe a more exciting passage migrant was not realised as I scanned the fence lines and paddocks of Migrant Alley, I wonder if anything will drop in here now that the place has been partly trashed by the College building the football pitch :-( There were plenty of ROOKS and JACKDAWS though, and a pair of HERRING GULLS sat on the bare earth that will be the football pitch. At least 2 dozen SWALLOWS were up feeding over the sheep pasture, and STARLING numbers increased as the morning progressed, with at least 60 birds flocking up.
My sky watch didn't produce many species, but as well as a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, GREY HERON and a couple of SWIFTS, it also produced the first sighting of a PEREGRINE (63) this month, which flew south across the area.
I was over at the Scrubby Woods by 09:00hrs, getting there early in the hope of finding a Purple Hairstreak Butterfly low enough to photograph, but before sitting and waiting for that to happen I had a quick scan of the lakes, which paid off today as I saw a COMMON TERN (64) fishing on the main lake - a real scarce bird to find here and although this is the 3rd record of one this year, they are by no means an annual occurrence on my patch, the months list moves on again! The Common Tern takes it to 64 species now, a tally achieved in the Julys of both 2006 and 2010, and puts this July in joint 5th place out of 12 :-)
I stood in the shade of an Oak whilst waiting for any sign of a Purple hairstreak, and before long I spotted a butterfly float down onto the vegetation, but it wasn't my quarry, it was in fact my first Gatekeeper of the year - very nice :-)
|Gatekeeper Butterfly - first of the year|
|Purple Hairstreak, I'll get a decent photo of one at some point this summer :-)|
|White-legged Damselfly, the males are ''blueing'' up nicely now|
|Not totally sure of this one, I reckon its an immature female Blue Tailed Damselfly.|
|Immature female Blue Tailed Damselfly ?|