A Bit Of This, A Bit Of That, And A Lot Of The Other!

After being disappointed with my Hod Hill escapade last week, I decided on Fontmell Down for a chalkland butterfly extravaganza on my day off. The weather was set pretty fair (sunny intervals all morning) and so off I tootled.

Hopefully for the next few weeks at least, my 1st pictures out of the house will be before I get in the car.... the Martins

And lo, so it came to pass, that I couldn't....pass that is....the roadworks.... hmmm... Martin Down then, similar but a bit further on.... part of Cranborne Chase AONB.

Walking down the first bit of track from the car park.... a shiny green fly... playing pat-a-cake

Next up, the first of many butterflies... the most numerous of which was Small Heath

A pair of birds caught my eye, as they barely seemed to settle before shooting off again, alternating between three perches.... I was at a bit of a loss as to what this one was

And then looked at the picture of the other one...

Mr and Mrs Linnet!

I meandered on, to the accompaniment of a Skylark chorus

When I'm on the hunt for butterflies, I always get surprised by the other critters I spot... a Plague Doctor Fly?

Not sure on this bird, it was a long way away and I didn't notice any song... to the naked eye it was just a ball on the top of a stick lol

Then, when the sun decided it's shining interval was over for a minute or two.... my 2nd ever Cuckoo....

I heard it 3 or 4 times as I wandered, but only saw it this once, and it was rapidly followed by a first for the year...Painted Lady

Then, another years first.... Grizzled Skipper

Yet another year's first.... but without seeing the underside I'm not 100% sure, so Common Blue (whichever blue it is, it's still a years first lol)

Oh, my... a proper first.... Dingy Skipper

Phew.... that's enough firsts..... Yellowhammer

Peering into the grasses with your big lens isn't good for you.... Soldier Beetle.....

It makes you contort at odd angles to get a shot without that blade of grass in it!!

More Dingy-ness

Now.... Help needed here, Wendy or Cin!!.... Moth time.... awkward beggar, so I couldn't get a decent shot of it

Something crow like came in at pace and landed in front of Maggie, causing it to take off in a rush

Distant again, but this time ...Whitethroat? (There were certainly some about because I heard their scratchy songs)

Not sure on the caterpillar nest (Wendy.....Cin?? )

Lovely Mrs Stonechat was only too pleased to pose for her portrait

And she soon convinced Mr Stonechat to do likewise

When I posted from here last year, I remember one of the Tony's saying about Corn Bunting..... ?

Potentially another Whitethroat....being as it has a white throat!! (but I never trust those pesky birds to be what they pretend to be)

A bit more Yellowhammer action, making pretty

W W W Wait for it....Chiffchaff

After Red Legged at the weekend, Grey now!

Mr Stonechat got carried away with the posing job

Not to be outdone....

I resisted posting the million Skylark pictures I took.....until now!!

Oi Beaky....stop looking over there and concentrate

There were a group of 5 or 6 Hares messing about in the middle distance, almost always hidden in the long grass..... almost always!

Showing off the white outer tail feathers

Another blue year first....Small muttermumblebleedingrassmuttermumble

Startlingly bright, a Dandelion was playing host to something green and shiny

And two steps further on, so was a buttercup....I guess the beetles like bright yellow...

Way up high, and practically straight into the sun...a Red Kite

Much closer to earth, Brimstones were being abundant! In fact, they probably rivalled the Small Heaths for the number I saw

A big (but small) black beetle was climbing over a tussock

And then another first ever for me... Green Hairstreak

As there were so many, and I've seen so few (until now!!)... more Brimstone!

A kestrel flew by behind me, and took up station about half a mile up

Another Skylark... mainly just because I can 

A striking looking Flesh Fly

Somehow I'd managed to come back into the car park along a different footpath to the one I left it... and sitting proudly atop a tree....More Linnet action

And a pair of Goldfinch swooped in... I lost one, but the other sat for a moment

And not sure on this bather... female or juvenile Linnet maybe, as it was in the tree next to the previous male

Thanks for wading through another waffley meander of my morning out.

Any corrections or confirmations of ID's as always gratefully received

Stay Safe All

  • Amazing variety there PB and brilliant sightings along with all those wonderful butterflies - a great day out, well done and thanks for this lovely thread and photos.

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Great collection. Particularly love the photos of butterflies.
  • Good change of plan. So pleased you got your Hairstreak - smart looking flutter
    Moth - I am going for Common Heath - male - they are quite a variable moth
    Cat.... I think and fingers crossed its a bundle of Small Eggar - dependant on instar they have different forms and can often be found at different stages together - they create a huge web bundle - might be worth letting recorder know - I'm sure they probably do as it's surveyed so often but it never harms. I should have a photo somewhere of a bundle my daughter found in Hawthorn in Shropshire
    Cracking cracking selection - you could go Emperor hunting in July.

    Cin J

  • Firstly I must apologise, it turns out I saw both grizzled and dingy skippers up Hod Hill a couple of years ago.

    Secondly, thanks for the comments and IDs. Mrs PB spotted a Small Eggar bundle at Radipole last year, but the cats then were hairier if I remember rightly. Probably not knowing my memory at the minute!!
  • I agree with whitethroats. Bird on a stick I would guess at stonechat, with the overused proviso of me using a small screen.
  • This is the 'nest'. If you enlarge it you can spot several different instar - some are hairier than others - as they mature they get hairier 

    Cin J

  • Thanks Robbo.
    Cin, that nest looks much much bigger than the one I saw., but zooming in the cats look similar, ta
  • An amazing selection and variety of. birds & beasties PB. The range of butterflies is amazing, a lovely meander with great results. Whats even more amazing is your stamina in posting so many great pictures, thanks for sharing.


    Tony

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/wherryman/

  • It's so nice to have 30 mins of peace and quiet to catch up. Glad I never missed this one PB..well done on th Cuckoo oh and them flutterbyes are just stunning...who need a Saturday morning paper when I have your post to peruse.

    Thanks for sharing...must get back to my window cleaning now :-(

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • Another brilliant selection PB some very nice beetle shots in there such as the Soldier Beetle. There is a survey going on at the moment locally of the Bloody Nosed Beetle which I find interesting, We saw them putting tiny markers on them the other day not s job for anyone with shakey hands.
    Is the "ball on the end of a stick" accepted as a new species in your ares ? I'm we have them in our area too.

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can