Saturday, 8 September 2012

North Cave Wetlands (2)

More sightings from North Cave Wetlands, nice to see this Common Blue butterfly as I've seen so few this year.
Although Brown Argus are present at North Cave, I think this is a female Common Blue, with the tip missing from its right forewing. I'd be delighted to hear otherwise though!
This Red Admiral landed on top of the camera and sat for ten seconds or so.
Lots of male Common Darter dragonfly
and a few Brown Hawker, this one perched on nearby vegetation.

Monday, 20 August 2012

North Cave Wetlands

During the weekend we headed east to North Cave Wetlands, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve, where we counted 40+ Peacock along with a couple of Red Admiral nectaring on newly flowering Teasels.

A closer underwing view of the Red Admiral, showing the strong  contrast between the brightly marked forewing and the camouflaged hindwing. Usually it takes a little burst of flash to do justice to the colouring but strong sunshine helped illuminate the wing detail.

All were lovely fresh looking butterflies, with as many as 5 Peacocks per plant.

We saw the majority of Peacocks in this sheltered sunny ditch full of Teasels & Ragwort, bordered by hawthorn hedge,

and this, my first Painted Lady of the year amongst the Teasel.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Kirkstall Abbey sightings

During a rare moment this weekend when I wasn't glued to the TV, we wandered down to Kirkstall Abbey. There were Small Tortoiseshell butterflies  (8+) in the herb garden opposite Kirkstall Abbey. 3 Brown Hawkers zipped around the garden, and we found one Banded Demoiselle on waterside vegetation by the River Aire. Earlier in the week we walked around Kirkstall Abbey Park at dusk to test a bat detector and found 6 Pipistrelles by the river, very exciting.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Ilkley Moor

On the edges of Ilkley Moor I found my first Small Heath of the year, the diminuitive butterfly featured on the Friends of Ilkley Moor banner graphic .

There was an abundance of Ringlets (30+) amongst the grasses and heather, this one perched obligingly to show off the white wing margin to best effect. And another nectaring on thistle, easily the most popular butterfly on the lower slopes of the moors.

Here's the view from the foot of Ilkley Moor near Wells Road, looking up towards White Wells.

The second most popular butterfly of the day, Small Skippers nectaring on thistles

Monday, 30 July 2012

Letchmire Pastures butterflies

On a breezy walk around Letchmire Pastures, near Allerton Bywater we found lots of basking Gatekeeper in sheltered spots, this one (above) is a female indicated by the absence of the dark branding of the upper forewing, a defining characteristic of the male (below) which is included for comparison.

A male Meadow Brown basking open winged.

This male Gatekeeper on Ragwort has a deformed hindwing, but seemed to get around OK. The single black dot underneath the double eyespot indicates the male. 

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Brockadale further sightings

To add to the Marbled White sightings at Brockadale Nature Reserve we found our first Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) of the year (15), this one a male, indicated by the dark patches on the upperside of the forewing, scent producing scales called androconia.

Also Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) (8) similar to the Gatekeeper but  lacking the double eyespot.

A female Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) on red clover, the lack of a chequered pattern on the upperwing differentiates it from the similar Large Skipper.

We watched a couple of Dark Green Fritillary on the wing, dart restlessly over the grassland. Yellowhammers in the hawthorn treetops provided the soundtrack to our visit.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Brockadale Nature Reserve Marbled White sightings

What better way to get back to blogging than with a trip to Brockadale Nature Reserve for some satisfying views of Marbled Whites.

Sharing a thistle with a 6 Spot Burnet (?) 

and another...

An upperwing view of a Marbled White nectaring on red clover.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Cley Marshes, Norfolk

On our way from Hickling to Holt we stopped at Cookies Crab Shop in Salthouse for a crab sarny, then onto the Cley cafe for a cup of coffee and a delicious brownie. At Cley Marshes, we saw Marsh Harrier, Avocets, Green Sandpiper, Bearded Reedling (nowhere near as obliging as those at Hickling Broad), and the reeds were full of nesting Warbler and Reed Bunting.

We only had the briefest of visits as we were on our way to check in with the lovely Viv at Willow House B&B in Holt, which we can highly recommend.

Here are a few more pics taken on our wander round the boardwalk.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Hickling Broad additional sightings

I must post the additional sightings found during our wander around Hickling Broad Nature Reserve, including these two female and juvenile Bearded Reedling (well done Andrea for spotting these, I'd wandered off to look for the Swallowtail butterflies at this point and missed them completely). We've only ever seen them once before at Blacktoft Sands RSPB and then only momentarily at a distance.


These male and female Black Tailed Skimmer dragonflies darted around the boardwalk and perched oblingingly on the deck in front of us.

Three Azure Damselflies perched on a reed.

A male Large Red Damselfly, identifying features, black legs, black pterostigma, the lower yellow antehumeral stripes just visible.

I'm pretty certain that this is a female Red-eyed Damselfly, eyes brownish red, short antehumeral stripes, "all black abdomen (except for narrow blue rings between the rear segments) seperates females of this species from other damselflies"
Brooks, Steve and Richard Lewington.  Field Guide to the Dragonlfies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland, BWP, 2004

Always nice to see a Marsh Harrier, one of four spotted over the reserve.

A view of Hickling Broad Nature Reserve overlooking the reed beds.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Swallowtail at Hickling Broad

We've just returned from a weekend in Norfolk, where we visited Hickling Broad, a wonderful reserve run by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, and one of the few places to see Swallowtail butterflies.

Our first sighting was the briefest of encounters when one zipped across the path in front of me, and we assumed that was probably as good as it would get until we reached a warm sheltered boardwalk bordered with tall reeds and grasses and occasional patches of Yellow Flag Iris. Here we watched half a dozen swoop across the reed beds, disappearing for minutes before taking to the air again and virtually impossible to photograph. A passing warden recommended that we keep our eyes focussed on the Yellow Flag Iris a favourite nectar source of the butterfly and a potential resting spot.

And eventually, after a considerable number of obscured shots, I managed to get one reasonably clear view, phew!

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