Monday, 29 July 2013

Brean Down - High Summer

We spent an amazing morning on Brean Down - all grasses looking very brown now a combination of the heat wave and life cycle giving the down land an extreme dried out look.  Plenty of harebells, ragwort and brambles around all looking very colourful in their 'straw' background..
Saw a group of warblers in a hawthorn plus ravens and a striking stonechat.  Despite us getting caught and soaked in a thunderstorm when the sun did shine we saw a total of 14 species of butterfly the highlight for us being the Chalk Hill Blue.  It is the first time we have seen this butterfly and wow! What a stunner.

View from Brean Down across to Weston Super Mare
Small Skipper

Six Spot Burnet Moth - hundreds on Brean


Stormy Skies

Chalk Hill Blue

Chalk Hill Blue


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wild Ireland

We spent a wonderful hot and sunny week in South East Ireland.  So much of the countryside so unspoilt and full of wild flowers, insects, birds etc.  The rivers Nore and Barrow are stunning to walk along and full of life for those who stop to look.  Plenty of Hooded Crows, swallows, swifts, grey wagtails and dippers etc.  Dragonflies, Demoiselles everywhere along river and stream as well as a great variety of wildflowers which played host to meadow browns, ringlets,tortoiseshells and fritillaries.  Not a great variety of flora and fauna seen this time but what hit us most was the scale of the unspoilt countryside out there to explore ....... another time! 

Hooded Crow

Young Dipper

River Nore

Hooded Crow


Male and female Banded Demoiselle

Spotted Orchid

Musk Mallow

Banded Demoiselle

Mountain River

Cotton Grass

Wild meadow

Ruddy Darter

Wild River Barrow

Young Swallow
Swallow at sunset

Monday, 8 July 2013

Bats and Snakes

Started out at Greylake at 08:30 on a sunny Sunday morning.  Saw at least 4 grass snakes and heard a couple more slither off.  Very good numbers of small tortoiseshell butterflies here also great views of a marsh harrier.  Onwards then to Ham Wall.  Still no sighting of the little bittern but so many other wild things to see and observe.  Found a group of bats below a bat box some flying in the daylight.  Also pleased to see 2 common terns as well as a great view of a bittern.  On the Shapwick side the David Walker path to Decoy hide is an amazing wild walk - plants, flowers, butterflies and woodland.
Female Reed Bunting
Green Veined White
Grass Snake
Common Terns
David Walker Path
5 spot Burnet Moth

Butterfly Heaven

Wonderful 9 mile walk across the Sunny Mendips on Saturday brought out 10 species of butterflies for us the highlight being a Dark Green Fritillary.  Great to see so many butterflies in abundance. The wild flower meadows and grasses are still looking amazing and the heather is starting to come out on Blackdown.  Plenty of wild strawberries and still a few orchids to be seen.

Mendip Meadows
Dark Green Fritillary

Large Skipper
Common Spotted Orchid

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Grass Snakes at Greylake

I am not a great fan of snakes and my heart still beats that bit faster when on the look out for them, but once found I really admire these lovely creatures for their colours and markings.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Southern Marsh Orchid

Wandering through one of the wetland meadows we came across a good few of these stunning orchids.  Have been searching for these for ages!