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!!
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
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
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
(Pardon the Scottish Accent)
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