Monday 27 June 2022

The Sunshine (mostly) Continues

With the warm weather continuing we had a walk around Plymouth Hoe on Saturday 18th June and enjoyed a few alcoholic beverages at The Waterfront along the way. Despite the nice weather it wasn't too busy with people and I was pleased to note at least 3 Painted Lady along with 6-Spot Burnet flying around in the sunshine.

Monday 20th June was another sunny day but with a cooling breeze and occasional cloud which made for a very pleasant walk along the coast path at Wembury. Again it wasn't too busy and we enjoyed a pasty and coffee from the cafe for lunch before heading home for me to prepare for yet more night shifts.

I was pleased to see a Ringlet and two Painted Lady along the walk along with Common Blue, Red Admiral, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell. 

Painted Lady

Meadow Brown Lovin'

On the high tide there were around 20 1st summer Black-headed Gulls feeding in the gentle surf lapping against the beach and amongst them were a 1st summer and a 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull. Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat were still singing away and 12 Oystercatcher, a Little Egret and a pair of Mallard were roosting on the rocks. 

Mediterranean Gull - 1st Summer

A nice surprise on arriving home on Tuesday 21st June after my night shift was an Old Lady that David had found in the back yard, my first of the year and one of my favourite moths.

Old Lady

Thursday 23rd June was warm and sunny and with White-letter Hairstreak being reported at both Oreston and Central Park I decided to head out to Oreston for a look. On arriving I was pleased to see local butterflier Dave was present and we enjoyed good views of at least 3 individuals but they were flitty and flighty and never settled very close.

White-letter Hairstreak  - the best shot I could get

White-letter Hairstreak - Caterpillar damage on the Elm leaf?

A Peregrine was seen flying over along with a Swift while 2 Chiffchaffs were heard singing away but with the Hairstreak sightings drying up by 11am I walked over to nearby Billacombe Railway for a look, noting a Comma, a Painted Lady and Pyramidal Orchids along the way. Unfortunately there were no Bee Orchids present amongst the Pyramidal Orchids this year. 

Painted Lady

Pyramidal Orchid

There was no sign of any White-letter Hairstreaks at Billacombe either but I did find a nice Scarlet Tiger Moth along with a Marbled White and at least 4 Ringlets.

Scarlet Tiger Moth

The weather forecast for the night was for heavy showers and with one arriving at around 8pm I almost didn't put the moth box out in the back yard but after it had passed over I carried on as planned and hoped for the best. Bizarrely there was no rain at all overnight and I had a nice haul of dry moths the next morning including 3 Coronet, presumably different individuals than those caught last week, along with my first back yard Bordered Straw. 

Bordered Straw

Royal Mantle

Eudonia collage - delunella (1), mercurella (2 & 3) and lacustrata (4) (with thanks to @UKMOTHID on Twitter) 

Coleophora trifolii

Saturday 25th June was cool and breezy with sunny spells and showers but I headed over to Central Park anyway to look for the White-letter Hairstreaks. I wasn't very hopeful given the weather conditions and after an hour I was about to give up when I saw at least 3 of them buzzing over the top of an elm tree in aerial skirmishes. Unfortunately they stayed in the tree top and didn't descend to feed on the Cottoneaster flowers but I was pleased to see them albeit through my binoculars.

I had a quick look around Ford Park Cemetery on the walk home and got caught in a very heavy shower but after it had passed the butterflies appeared - Marbled White, Ringlet and Meadow Brown - and I also had a quick look around Drakes Reservoir too where around 5 Common Blue Damselflies and 3 Small Red-eyed Damselflies were flying around and resting on the lily pads.

Marbled White

Marbled White

Small Red-eyed Damselfly

It also appears that our Herring Gulls nesting on the chimney stack have failed at the egg stage this year. They were seen sitting on the nest but nothing happened and they are no longer present, the first time they have failed to hatch eggs. Also there are no Herring Gulls nesting on the chimney stack across the road from us this year and so I guess it will a lot quieter around here first thing in the mornings.!

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