Sunday, 14 May 2017

Haldon Forest 11th May - Pearls, Crossbills & Yellowhammers etc

A trip over the border to Devon and a mission to find the Pearl Bordered Fritillary a lifer for us.  The day started a little cloudy but it wasn't too long before the sun came out for our walk. 
A friend suggested a place to park and a path to take which would lead to the area that the Pearls had been seen in, a cleared area near some pylons.  It wasn't long until we spotted the first one, then another and then several more as the sun started to heat up.  Brilliant to see them land on both bluebells and bugle.
Over the moon is an understatement of the joy we had in seeing this beautiful little rare butterfly and so many of them as well. The Forestry Commision and Butterfly Conservation have done some excellent conservation work here creating spaces for butterflies.  We also saw Small Copper, G V White, Peacock and Red Admirals.
We continued our walk by following the butterfly trek around the forest. This led us back to the main info centre and carpark where we had our packed lunch at a picnic table by the bird feeding station. Great views of Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Siskin and a Yellowhammer on the feeders and ground.
After lunch we continued our trek through the forest for a second visit to the Pearl Bordered Fritillaries. On our way through the pines in the carpark we noticed falling cones, looked up and had some brilliant views of Crossbills, Wow! Further on through the forest we heard and saw a Wood Warbler as well as Blackcaps, Chiffchaff, Ravens and Buzzard.
The butterfly trek is a superb walk with stunning views along the way. Haldon Forest its walks and trails really surprised us, a beautiful area to walk in a beautiful environment. We paid a visit during the week when it was relatively quiet. I bet it is manic at weekends! 

   Our first ever Pearl Bordered Fritillary 


   Beautiful underwing markings 


   Great pose on a bluebell




                  Small Copper

                   Small Copper on Euphorbia

   Pearl Bordered on Bugle its food plant


    Egg laying

                   Three's a crowd!

    Pairing up - looking good for the future




   Siskin near the forestry info centre


  Yellowhammer joins the Siskin


                   Crossbill, our best views ever

                   Cracking Bill! 


   A glimpse of the lovely red male



                   Still can't believe we saw Crossbills!

  Looking for 'Pearls' 

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