Thursday, 27 July 2017

Mendip Hills - Butterflies & Views 25th July

We set out on the Mendips from Stockhill forest crossing to Priddy mineries early morning and to stunning blue skies. Butterflies were already active in the grasses with hundreds of Small Skippers taking flight as we walked past and a few Marbled Whites. For a few seconds a single Painted Lady landed and then was off over the hill. Great to see a Small Copper land on the clover plus a Scarlet Tiger Moth clinging to the grass.  
From Priddy we followed the Monarchs Way through the fields of grass, corn and wild flowers to reach Dursdon Drove. A Kestrel, Redstart and Raven were seen along the way as well as singing Skylarks. Dursdon Drove would take us to the Old Bristol Road from where we would take a path across more fields before reaching the mast on Pen Hill.
Again along the way were plenty of butterflies mainly Red Admirals, Peacock, Green veined Whites and Meadow Browns. Still lots of bramble flowers for insects plus the lovely purple Knapweed is starting to bloom. Superb views from the top of Pen Hill, anyone who has walked the Mendips will be familiar with the sight of the mast on Pen Hill. We have always wanted to stand on the hill, and yes it was well worth it, the views across Somerset are outstanding.
From Pen Hill we retraced our steps back to Dursdon Drove  to the top of Ebbor Gorge where again we had great views across the Somerset Levels, Wells and Glastonbury. 
A slow walk back through Priddy Mineries for butterflies and we saw an unusual sight of a Shield Bug perhaps feeding off a Ruby Tiger Moth and a Marbled White.
In summery a beautiful 8 mile Mendip trek with amazing views, flora and fauna. This walk we will definitely do again.

   Painted Lady


    Small Skipper



                  Small Skippers, the most numerous butterfly at Priddy this year

         Small Copper



  Just a couple of Small Coppers seen

                 Marbled White 

                Marbled skies! A rare summer blue sky

   Scarlet Tiger Moth 

                    Scarlet Tiger the other side

   Typical Mendip field and scrub. A juvenile Redstart was seen here

                    Meadow Brown

   Stunning views

                View from Pen Hill

   The Pen Hill mast

                                      Purple hue of a meadow grass

   Small Skippers


   Five spot Burnet Moth


    Predator!? We've never seen this before a Shield Bug of some type with a Tiger Moth


                 Even a Marbled White wasn't safe

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