Another (different) Chalk Downland

Fontmell Down, close to Shaftesbury (but closer to Compton Abbas airfield... with it's incessant noise of small aircraft droning about....bad planning on my part!!) is another haven for blue butterflies..."The reserve is a patchwork of grassland and scrub, which is home to 35 species of butterflies, together with rare species of bird, mammal, moth, moss and lichen!" (quote from Woodland Trust website)

I was greeted a short way from the car park by a warbler of some sort, singing nicely, and when it flew of, there was a definite flash of bright yellow

Also, still barely 30 yards down the track, 3 Red Kites used the steady, constant breeze to just hang in the air, before a tilt of a wing or tale feather moved them along

A furious buzz of insect wings alerted me to a pair of Chasers, one of which landed in a bush just visible....It's nowhere near a source of water so I was surprised to see them (and they were the only two I saw)

The bank alongside the track was a mass of pink and yellow flowers, and the buzz of busy insects, and splashes of blue skipping along flower to flower

One of the busier one...

And the first of the blues.. Female Common

And a male

Male Adonis (well when I looked at the pics yesterday it was an Adonis, now this morning, it's probably a Common!)

A Small Blue, which at first I thought was a moth because it seemed so much smaller than the ones I saw last week!

And a raggedy Dingy Skipper

Another one that was an Adonis when I looked at the pics yesterday

I think this is a Small Skipper, but it could be not... it was certainly being awkward enough to get a photo of to be a small skipper, if I remember rightly from last year!

Next two of what look like Burnett Moths... but not how I remember them... the spots are less distinct

My first photo opportunity this year of a Speckled Wood

There were a number of Small heath's flitting about, but being typically a pain by landing behind blades of grass etc

A distant corvid with a bib!

On the scrubby trees a pair of Yellowhammers were singing, and playing chase

You can just see the 2nd one behind the 1st

Then one flew, in a big loop over the valley and back, to another scrubby brambly bit of vegetation about 10 yards to the left of where he started

A Skylark was in a recently cut meadow

But didn't like that spot, so moved along the field a bit

It was lucky he had his crash helmet on!

As I came back to the car park, a solitary Red Kite was still using the wind, and was joined by a Kestrel a little way away

And on the drive home, I popped into a shop to get some salad, and on a crash barrier... Red Admiral

Considering how close to where I live Fontmell Down is, it's taken me a long time to get there! I did end up managing to get a bit "off the beaten track" because I climbed a style, and followed an animal worn track, which then sort of peetered out, so I think I'll definitely return, but on a much sunnier day, and will stick more to the main path and not be tempted by the path less trod!

As ever, any ID corrections gratefully received, and thanks for reading :o)

Stay Safe All