Sunday, 9 July 2017

Sunday July 9

A largely sunny morning with a very light westerly breeze after another week lacking precipitation.

I was joined by Dave who quickly swung into action by spotting an owl in a sallow on the far side of the pool at Clowes Wood Farm. It was difficult to see well, but we eventually established that it was a Tawny Owl.

Spot the Tawny
As with last week butterflies abounded, with rather more Gatekeepers but fewer Ringlets and Meadow Browns. All three Skippers were seen, along with several Marbled Whites. However, we managed to find a butterfly which is probably fairly common here, but is rarely seen. This is because its preferred habitat is the top of oak trees. Dave picked out the first one, but it disappeared before he could be sure. We then went to the other side of the hedge, to get the sun behind us, kicking up an adult and two juvenile Pheasants in the process. After about thirty minutes of brief views we were finally treated to excellent views as one of the butterflies flew down to eye level and landed on a bramble leaf. I refer to the Purple Hairstreak.

Purple Hairstreak
We headed for the pool to see how much water was left in it. The answer was not a lot. Unusually the pool was playing host to 59 Lapwings, as well as the first Green Sandpiper of the autumn and a Little Egret.

The Lapwings
Green Sandpiper
Little Egret
We moved on to the Flashes and found that the furthest one was full of water, but obscured by long grass, while the near one was almost bone dry.

I suggested we move back to the main pool to see if we could find any Small Red-eyed Damselflies. In the event we did find one red-eye sp, but it refused to land. More obliging was a female Emperor which was egg-laying.

Other dragonflies on view included a Black-tailed Skimmer, a Ruddy Darter, and earlier a Brown Hawker. None of these was at all willing to pose for a photograph.

We were running short of time, so I suggested we head back via the dragonfly pools. A family of Kestrels has clearly fledged as we counted five individuals on wires in the ridge field. The dragonfly pools revealed the next surprise as it was full of mating Small Red-eyed Damselflies. I had never seen one on these pools before.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly
Also showing well were an adult Ruddy Darter, an immature male Common Darter, and a few Black-tailed Skimmers.

Ruddy Darter
Common Darter
Black-tailed Skimmer
Another enjoyable visit comes to an end.

One thing I should have pointed out is that the Little Egret is clearly a juvenile. Events at nearby Arrow Valley Lake have been very exciting, with at least one Little Egret incubating with an uncertain outcome, but possibly a second pair tucked away out of sight. Could this bird be proof that the second pair was successful?

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