Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Papillon de Jour et la grande Vulcan


The weather forecast was indifferent as to whether or not we would get any sunshine but it prophesized no rain (probably) and good temperatures into the low twenties so I reckoned our chances of a good butterfly session at Fermyn Woods in Northants was promising. 


In way of a change we all parked at the main car park and spent a superb five hours ambling along the Orange Trail (taking in the bridal path Emperor alley) and clocked up an impressive 23 species.


Small Skipper
Comma
Essex Skipper
Silver Washed Fritillary
Large Skipper
Speckled Wood
Brimstone
Marbled White
Large White
Ringlet
Small White
Gatekeeper
Green-veined White
Meadow Brown
White Admiral
Purple Hairstreak
Purple Emperor
White-letter Hairstreak
Painted Lady
Common Blue
Peacock
Holly Blue
Small Tortoiseshell



White Admiral
 
Painted Lady

Painted Lady
Gatekeeper
Small Tortoiseshell - Nick Smith
Large White - Nick Smith
Meadow Brown



The Silver Washed Frits were stunning and we even saw a pale silvery valezina female as they came down to nectar with an immaculate White Letter Hairstreak while countless Ringlets and gliding White Admirals danced in the glades.  The Purple Emperors were a bit tricky and only a handful of us saw one from several powerglides through the Oak canopy.

A Hummingbird Hawk Moth tore up the path like a kid on a scooter and Six Spot Burnets and Silver-Y moths were seen in the grassland along with Dark Bush Crickets and a solitary Pyramidal Orchid.

Silver Washed Frit - Mark vale


White Admiral

White Admiral



Small Skipper


Large Skipper
 
Comma

I have never seen so many hoverflies nectaring on Thistle (Creeping, Marsh & Spear), Teasel, Ragwort, Meadowsweet and Knapweed. Episyrphus balteatus and Syrphus sp numbered in the 1000's and I am happy that there were many banded Epistrophes ... and some Eupeodes corollae but I cannot be more certain. 

Episyrphus balteatus
Eristalis arbustorum
 
Scaeva pyrastri


Also seen were Eristalis pertinax, Eristalis nemorum, Eristalis tenax, Eristalis arbustorum, Volucella pelucens, Platycheirus sp, Helphilus pendulus, Scaeva pyrastri, Cheilosia illustrata, Spaerophoria scripta and a superb Sericomyia silentis


Hoverfly Bar
 
Syprhus sp but not sure....  not ribisii as black hind femur... I think


Dragons and Damsels did not want to be left out and Emperors, Brown and Southern Hawkers were terrorising the glades and rides and many species of butterfly has missing chunks from their wings. Azure, Blue Tail and Common Blue Damsels were picking off smaller prey and buoyant Banded Demoiselles did likewise but in a more graceful manner! Predatory Notch Horned Clegs (Haematopota pluvialis) were laying in wait on the wider rides and rose lazily as we walked along.  A few found accessible bits of flesh but although I did lose some blood, I think that my sun tan spray was putting them off!

Banded Demoiselle - Nick Smith


Banded Demoiselle

Four Spot Chaser


Female Emperor egg laying

Notch Horned Clegs (Haematopota pluvialis)
 
Misumena vitae

Bird wise the woods were quiet other than an occasional roving tit flock complete with Long-tails, sneezing Marshes, Treecreepers and Nuthatches while overhead a solitary Crossbill ‘gypped’ and the now expected and expectant Red Kites peered down on us from tree top height in the hope that we would either drop something edible or collapse from Clegg related blood loss.
 
Lunch time company
We actually spent lunch with these majestic bird wheeling over the picnic tables but it would appear that pastrami is not to their liking...

On to the Manton Bay end of Rutland Water for some end of day Osprey action and we were not to be disappointed with a single and three together in the distance as we walked down and the three chicks and both their parents around the nest from the hides.  Superb views were had and the male even flew off and came back with a large trout which he deposited for his three scaly youngsters to disassemble.  The views from the hide are actually very good and the family is not too far away and the screen in the hide is actually a fine accompaniment as you can then watch what happens after the fish is dropped.  One of the bolder kids was even doing practice dives and she has only been flying three days.  There were plenty of Coots and Mute Swans as well as Gadwall, Mallard and Tufted Duck broods and a snaky necked Great White Egret stalked among several Little Egrets. Hobby and Buzzard added to the raptor list.


Cracking Osprey shot by Mark Vale

    and yes I know I took a picture of the screen but I could see all four in the scope and it was just great to see Osprey family life close up
Inside the hide there were many green eyed Twin Lobed Deer Flies that needed rescuing and I would rather handle them and let them out then have them in there with me!  The same could be said of the rather splendid Bright Horse Fly (Hybomitra distinguenda) that seemed grateful for my assistance and then posed for my camera and even had a little wash.  A new species to me with an orangey abdomen and bright green eyes with red stripes.

Bright Horse Fly (Hybomitra distinguenda)
video


However the best was still to come as we were just following one of the Ospreys who was up having a hover quite close to us when, with a huge roar, the Vulcan Bomber passed over low and slow heading north! Incredible! Mark vale somehow managed a shot of both ‘species’ on the same view... undoubtedly a first...

Simply amazing....  well done to Mark and cheers for letting me use it

Oncoming trouble... oh and there are five Ospreys in this view too!

With rain clouds building to the west we headed back along the humid shore and just made it to the cars as the heavens opened in a refreshing deluge. With that it was time to head for home onto a bizarrely empty road network that saw me drop the lads off at Lakeside just over an hour and a half later after a most satisfactory day out in the sticks.


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