Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sand Bay & Crook Peak - Butterflies, wild flowers and a Cuckoo

A beautiful sunny day and a chance to catch up with some butterflies at Sand Point near Weston Super Mare. A short climb to the top of the peninsula then off onto the butterfly paths around the cliff edge. As we approached the first grassy area it was alive with Common Blues and Brown Argus - wow!  So many wild flowers covering the area as well from the yellow Trefoil and Rock Roses to the beautiful 'moon' daisies and Valerian etc - paradise! 
Whitethroats were busy singing from many areas and all of a sudden a Cuckoo started calling and we had a great view of it. Such a surprise to see a Cuckoo here when we are so use to seeing one on the Somerset Levels. The Whitethroats were clearly not happy with the Cuckoo and it was great to observe the Whitethroats chase and mob the Cuckoo out to sea only to return to a different area. The Whitethroats looked tiny against the Cuckoo! Sand Point is a stunning little area well worth a visit for flora, fauna and scenery. We shall return in a couple of weeks in search of Orchids.
From Sand Bay we journeyed inland only about 10 miles to the lower slopes of Crook Peak. It was really hot here in butterfly alley and the butterflies did not disappoint! Fantastic views of Grizzled and Dingy Skippers as well as Brown Argus and Common Blues.
From both sites we saw a total of 13 species of butterfly today - I just hope that the weather can now settle down and be in the butterflies favour!

'Moon' daisies - a great host for insects and looking splendid at Sand Point

                   Sea Campion and hosts - great muscles on these beetles!

   Faded Common Blue - not surprising with the horrendous May weather we have had

                   Thrift - a typical coastal plant

   Common Blue - female

                   Common Blue - male

   Small Copper

                   View to the Point and onto Flat Holm

    Wall - typical pose on stone 

                    Brown Argus 

   Cuckoo - our closest view of one yet but just out of reach of a decent shot

                   Cuckoo calling from the Hawthorn 

    Grizzled Skipper - good numbers at Crook Peak

                   Brown Argus pair

   Dingy Skipper typical pose

                   Dingy Skipper - a different view

   Dingy Skipper

                   Grizzled Skipper- great underwing colours and markings

   Smalll Heath - a typical pose usually in the grass!

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