A first for the U K ? Oh I do hope so!

What a lovely day I have had today!

On Sunday a Western Purple Swamphen flew into Minsmere but having just got back from Scotland we didn’t really have the energy to go for it even though we probably should have. Yesterday Ian was golfing and I had a smashing day with Janice here but I was doing some planning around that bird! Hopefully it will be accepted as wild and it will then be a first for Britain so I certainly wanted it on my 2016 list! I thought we might go this morning and stay overnight but we decided not to so a day trip it was to be. I asked if any family wanted to join us and we were delighted to hear that both of our granddaughters, Alice and Matilda, said they wanted to come.IMG_7812 us 4

We collected the girls at 8am and we were off and on arrival at Minsmere our first stop was definitely going to be to find the star bird. We were in luck, although it wasn’t showing when we got there we didn’t have to wait long. He popped out from the reeds, never very far but we all saw it clearly and even managed a few pictues.

I do like a bird that I can be certain of once I have seen it and this one surely fits into that catergory! He is a big bird and his bright colour coupled with his even brighter bill, legs and huge feet, there is no mistaking it! Having watched him for a while we moved on and decided that the rest of our day we would just do what we fancied and the girls wated to head for the sea. There weren’t any other birds that we were after, in fact there weren’t a great many birds at all, although there was no shortage of egrets! So off we went for a walk.

We headed to the sea, where Alice was keen to touch the water.

It had turned into a bright, though breezy day but thankfully we found quite a few butterflies  near the beach. We were delighted to see a common blue and before long there were loads of them!

Next we found a new one for all of us, if we had seen it before we certainly hadn’t identified it! A Grayling, new for our list so we were very pleased. There was also a variety of grasshoppers that I hope we will be able to ID

Next stop was to be lunch so we headed off to the cafe, making some stops along the way. We added two new insects that we had never seen before, one rather nice the other I was less keen on!  First was the Pantaloon bee, a mining bee that carries loads of pollen on his hind legs, in flight it looks yellow! The second was the Bee-wolf which is actually a wasp and a cunning one at that! It burrows undergound to lay its eggs then drags honey bees into the tunnel and stores them there so when the eggs hatch they have the bees to feed on. Yeuk!IMG_7928 Bee-wolf

When we had nearly reached the cafe we saw a water vole, sadly no time for a photo but we were chuffed. The budlias were in full bloom and certainly attracting the butterlies, painted ladies, peacocks, red admirals and even the occasional large skipper!

IMG_8014 MatildaIn the afternoon Alice and Matilda followed a nature trail which took us to various places on the site and even led us to damsleflies and a super dragonfly too! It was really lovely having the girls with us, they made it a lovely day and of course that is helped by their behaviour, they are a treat to be out with!

 

Nature trail completted there were still a couple of things we wanted to find. When chatting to Ian (not our Ian but a friend that works at Minsmere) he told the girls about somethings that caught thier imaginations especially somewhere you could see what it is like to be in a Sand martin wall! We thought we were going to fail to find it but a the end of the afternoon we found it and I must say it was pretty cool.

Alice tried out being a bird on a nest but Matilda gave it a miss!IMG_7990 nest

Hopefully before too long the Swamphen will be accepted, well its going on my list tonight! So a new bird and a new butterfly and some extra insects too, all boosting the year list. The bird was great but having the gorgeous Alice and Matlida along really  made it a smashing day and I hope they come out with us again soon.

 

Farewell to a friend and to July!

I don’t know what stage of life you are at but I can remember passing through various times, when phone calls brought similar types of news from different friends. First they got engaged, then wedding dates were planed and carried through, later came the birth announcements (yes I am old enough that it usually happened that way around!) followed by further births and occasionally sad news of pregnancies that didn’t end happily. But now it is different,  for one things emails or text messages are now the norm, but the sad part is that the news is often far from happy.

One such occasion recently told us first of the illness of our friend Barbara who suffered with Motor neuron disease and just a few weeks ago news of her death. We have known Barbara for over thirty years and we watched her children grow along with out own. Barbara and her husband Bruce moved away from Hertfordshire shortly before we did, they moved to Scotland and we have been fortunate to visit them there. This is Barbara with Bruce and also with me at Grey mare’s tail during our visit in 2014.

So to Scotland again we headed and on Friday morning we decided to re visit the Grey mare’s tail, fortunately nothing had changed.  The river is still flowing, the falls are still falling and the birds are still flying!

We saw ravens flying high above the falls, wheatear and pied wagtails around the river. We enjoyed our walk but the time soon came to leave and head back to get ready for the service to celebrate her life.

We were pleased to have been there and apart from the service where we met with old friends and enjoyed our stay in Moffatt a lovely town, filled with individual shops and eating places, I don’t think I saw any chain stores at all which certainly adds to the character of the place. We stayed in a nice B & B opposite the bowling green with a somewhat better view than our room in Penrith!

Due to my back which was making sleeping and moving very painful we decided to head straight home on Saturday morning and to be honest I was pleased to get home. One bit of excitement on the journey was a brief glimpse of what I am 99% certain was a Bee-eater high on a wire as we drove along the A1M, sadly we couldn’t stop! Thank goodness we saw one earlier in the year or it would have been VERY frustrating indeed.

Back to mothing last night, first time for a while and we added a few for the year. Good to see two nut-tree tussock and a rather smart Lesser broad-banded yellow underwing.

So as well as saying farewell to a good friend we say farewell to July! It has been our quietest, least productive month but we have still had a good time! Birds have been very quiet and we have in fact only added one this month, Spoonbill. Moths and butterflies have been more obliging, thank goodness!

So here are the statistics:

Birds 237, Butterflies 21, Moths 181 macro 42 micro, Dragon/damselflies 12, other insects 22, mammals 20 (n0 change), retiles still to sort  out. So for now we have a total of 535

Here come the lists!

Bird List to end of July     * denotes life tick

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Muscovy duck
  13. Mandarin Duck
  14. Eurasian Wigeon
  15. Gadwall
  16. Eurasian Teal
  17. Mallard
  18. Pintail
  19. Garganey
  20. Shoveler
  21. Red-crested Pochard
  22. Common Pochard
  23. Ferruginous Duck *
  24. Tufted duck
  25. Greater Scaup
  26. Common Eider
  27. Long-tailed Duck
  28. Common Scoter
  29. Velvet Scoter
  30. Goldeneye
  31. Smew
  32. Hooded merganser *
  33. Red-breasted Merganser
  34. Red Grouse
  35. Black Grouse
  36. Goosander
  37. Red-legged Partridge
  38. Grey Partridge
  39. Common Pheasant
  40. Golden Pheasant
  41. Little Grebe
  42. Great Crested Grebe
  43. Red-necked Grebe *
  44. Slavonian Grebe
  45. Black-necked Grebe
  46. Fulmar
  47. Manx Shearwater
  48. Gannet
  49. Cormorant
  50. Shag
  51. Bittern
  52. Little Egret
  53. Great Egret
  54. Grey Heron
  55. White Stork
  56. Glossy Ibis
  57. Spoonbill
  58. Red Kite
  59. White-tailed Eagle
  60. Marsh Harrier
  61. Hen Harrier
  62. Pallid Harrier *
  63. Goshawk *
  64. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  65. Common Buzzard
  66. Rough-legged Buzzard
  67. Golden Eagle
  68. Osprey
  69. Kestrel
  70. Merlin
  71. Hobby
  72. Peregrine Falcon
  73. Water Rail
  74. Corn Crake
  75. Moorhen
  76. Coot
  77. Common Crane
  78. Great bustard *
  79. Oystercatcher
  80. Black-winged Stilt
  81. Pied Avocet
  82. Stone-curlew
  83. Little ringed Plover
  84. Ringed Plover
  85. Dotterel
  86. European Golden Plover
  87. Grey Plover
  88. Lapwing
  89. Great Knot*
  90. Knot
  91. Sanderling
  92. Little Stint
  93. Temminck’s Stint
  94. Curlew Sandpiper
  95. Purple Sandpiper
  96. Dunlin
  97. Broad-billed Sandpiper *
  98. Ruff
  99. Jack Snipe
  100. Common Snipe
  101. Long-billed Dowitcher *
  102. Woodcock
  103. Black-tailed Godwit
  104. Bar-tailed Godwit
  105. Whimbrel
  106. Curlew
  107. Spotted Redshank
  108. Common Redshank
  109. Common Greenshank
  110. Lesser Yellowlegs
  111. Wood Sandpiper
  112. Common Sandpiper
  113. Ruddy Turnstone
  114. Grey Phalarope
  115. Mediterranean Gull
  116. Little Gull
  117. Black-headed Gull
  118. Common Gull
  119. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  120. Herring Gull
  121. Iceland Gull
  122. Glaucous Gull *
  123. Great Black-backed Gull
  124. Kittiwake
  125. Caspian Tern *
  126. Sandwich Tern
  127. Common Tern
  128. Arctic Tern
  129. Common Guillemot
  130. Razorbill
  131. Black Guillemot
  132. Puffin
  133. Rock Pigeon
  134. Stock Pigeon
  135. Wood Pigeon
  136. Collared Dove
  137. Turtle Dove
  138. Rose-ringed Parakeet *
  139. Cuckoo
  140. Barn Owl
  141. Tawny Owl
  142. Short-eared Owl
  143. Common Swift
  144. Common Kingfisher
  145. European Bee-eater *
  146. Hoopoe
  147. Green Woodpecker
  148. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  149. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  150. Wood Lark
  151. Sky Lark
  152. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  153. Sand Martin
  154. Swallow
  155. Red-rumped Swallow *
  156. House Martin
  157. Tree Pipit
  158. Meadow Pipit
  159. Rock Pipit
  160. Water Pipit
  161. Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
  162. Grey Wagtail
  163. Pied Wagtail
  164. Dipper
  165. Wren
  166. Dunnock
  167. Robin
  168. Common Nightingale *
  169. Bluethroat*
  170. Black Redstart
  171. Common Redstart
  172. Whinchat
  173. Stonechat
  174. Wheatear
  175. Ring Ouzel
  176. Blackbird
  177. Fieldfare
  178. Song Thrush
  179. Redwing
  180. Mistle Thrush
  181. Cetti’s Warbler
  182. Grasshopper Warbler
  183. Sedge Warbler
  184. Eurasian Reed Warbler
  185. Great Reed Warbler*
  186. Dartford Warbler
  187. Lesser Whitethroat
  188. Whitethroat
  189. Blackcap
  190. Wood Warbler
  191. Common Chiffchaff
  192. Willow Warbler
  193. Goldcrest
  194. Firecrest
  195. Spotted Flycatcher
  196. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  197. Pied Flycatcher
  198. Bearded Tit
  199. Long-tailed Tit
  200. Marsh Tit
  201. Willow Tit
  202. Crested Tit *
  203. Coal Tit
  204. Blue Tit
  205. Great Tit
  206. Nuthatch
  207. Treecreeper
  208. Penduline tit *
  209. Great Grey Shrike
  210. Jay
  211. Magpie
  212. Jackdaw
  213. Rook
  214. Crow
  215. Hooded Crow
  216. Common Raven
  217. Starling
  218. House Sparrow
  219. Tree Sparrow
  220. Chaffinch
  221. Brambling
  222. Serin *
  223. Greenfinch
  224. Goldfinch
  225. Siskin
  226. Linnet
  227. Twite
  228. Lesser Redpoll
  229. Mealy Redpoll
  230. Bullfinch
  231. Hawfinch
  232. Lapland Longspur
  233. Snow Bunting
  234. Yellowhammer
  235. Cirl Bunting
  236. Reed Bunting
  237. Corn Bunting

Butterflies to end of July

Red admiral

Brimstone

Peacock

Small tortoiseshell

Speckled wood

Green-vein white

Orange tip

Small white

Holly blue

Small copper

Small heath

Dark green fritillary

Common blue

Small pearl-bordered fritillary

Green hairstreak

Painted lady

Ringlet

Large skipper

Large white

Gatekeeper

Small skipper

 

 

Moths (macro) alphabetised

 

Angle shades

Barred straw

Barred yellow

Beautiful golden Y

Beautiful hook-tip

Blackneck

Blood-vein

Bordered beauty

Bordered pug

Bright-line brown-eye

Brimstone

Brindled beauty

Brindled pug

Brown rustic

Brown-line bright-eye

Buff arches                                  

Buff ermine

Buff tip

Burnished brass

Cabbage moth

Canary-shouldered thorn

Chinese character

Cinnabar

Clay

Clouded border

Clouded drab

Clouded silver

Clouded-bordered brindle

Common carpet

Common emerald

Common footman

Common pug

Common Quaker

Common rustic

Common swift

Common wave

Common wainscot

Coronet

Coxcomb prominent

Currant pug

Dark arches

Dark spinach

Dark/grey dagger

Dingy footman

Dot moth

Dotted chestnut

Double square spot

Double-striped pug

Drinker

Dun-bar

Dusky brocade

Dusky sallow

Early grey

Early moth

Early thorn

Early toothed-stripe

Elephant hawkmoth

Emperor moth

Engrailed

Eyed hawkmoth

Fan-foot

Flame shoulder

Four-dotted footman

Foxglove pug

Frosted green

Garden carpet

Garden tiger

Ghost moth

Great prominent

Green carpet

Green pug

Green silver-lines

Grey pine carpet

Heart and club

Heart and dart

Hebrew character

Herald

Hummingbird hawkmoth

Iron prominent

July highflyer

Large nutmeg

Large yellow underwing

Least black arches

Least carpet

Leopard moth

Lesser cream wave

Lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing

Lesser yellow underwing

Light arches

Light brocade

Light emerald

Lilac beauty

Lime hawkmoth

Lobster moth

Lychnis

Map-winged swift

Marbled brown

Marbled brown

Marbled minor

March moth

Mottled beauty

Mottled pug

Mottled rustic

Mottled umber

Mouse moth

Muslin

Nut-tree tussock

Oak beauty

Orange footman

Pale brindle beauty

Pale mottled willow

Pale prominent

Pale tussock

Pale-shouldered brocade

Peach blossom

Peppered moth

Pine hawkmoth

Plain golden Y

Poplar grey

Poplar hawkmoth

Powdered Quaker

Purple bar

Red twin-spot carpet

Riband wave

Rosy footman

Ruby tiger

Rustic shoulder-knot

Scalloped oak

Scarce footman

Scorched wing

Setaceous Hebrew character

Shears

Short-cloaked moth

Shoulder stripe

Shoulder-striped wainscot

Shuttle-shaped dart

Silver Y

Silver-ground carpet

Single-dotted wave

Slender brindle

Small angle shades

Small blood-vein

Small brindled beauty

Small dusty wave

Small fan-foot

Small fan-footed wave

Small Quaker

Small rivulet

Small square-spot

Small yellow wave

Smoky wainscot

Snout

Spectacle

Spinach

Spruce carpet

Straw dot

Streamer

Swallow prominent

Swallow-tailed moth

The flame

Treble bar

Treble lines

Triple-spotted pug

Uncertain

V moth

Vapourer

Varied coronet

Vine’s rustic

Waved umber

White ermine

White satin moth

White-point

Winter moth

Yellow shell

Yellow-tail

Micro moths to end of July 2016

 

  1. Barred marble (Celypha striana)
  2. Beautiful china-mark ( Nymphula nitdulata )
  3. Bee moth ( Aphomia sociella)
  4. Bird-cherry ermine ( Yponomeuta evonymella )
  5. Brown china-mark ( Elophila nymphaeata)
  6. Brown house moth   (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)
  7. Chequered grass veneer ( Catopria falsella )
  8. Common drill ( Dichrorampha petiverella )
  9. Common grey (Scoparia ambiguallis)
  10. Common marble ( Celypha lacunana )
  11. Common plume ( Emmelina monodactyla)
  12. Cyclamen tortrix ( Clepsis spectrana )
  13. Dawn flat-body (Semioscopis steinkellneriana)
  14. Diamond- back moth   (Plutella xylostella)
  15. Double striped tabby ( Hypsopygia glaucinalis )
  16. Elder pearl (Anania coronate)
  17. Fenland pearl (Anania perlucidalis)
  18. Garden grass-veneer   (Chrysoteuchia culmella)
  19. Garden pebble (Evergestis forficalis)
  20. Garden rose tortrix ( Acleris variegana )
  21. Gold triangle ( Hypsopygia costalis )
  22. Grass-veneer (Crambus pascuella)
  23. Large fruit-tree tortrix ( Archips podana)
  24. Large Ivy Tortrix   (Lozotaenia forsterana)
  25. Large tabby ( Aglossa pinguinalis)
  26. Little grey (Eudonia lacustrara)
  27. London dowd ( Blastobasis lacticolella)
  28. Many plumed moth (Aluctia hexadactyla)
  29. Marbled orchard tortrix (Hedya nubiferana)
  30. Mother of pearl ( Pleuroptya ruralis )
  31. Privet tortrix (Clepsis consimilana)
  32. Red-barred tortrix ( Ditula angustiorana )
  33. Rough-winged conch   (Phtheochroa rugosana)
  34. Rose tabby ( Endotricha flammealis )
  35. Small grey ( Eudonia mercurella )
  36. Small magpie (Anania hortulata)
  37. Sulphur Tubic ( Esperia sulphurella)
  38. Triple-blotched bell (Notocelia trimaculana)
  39. White shouldered house moth ( Endrosis sarcitrella)
  40. White-headed Ermel (Paraswammerdamia alibicapitella)
  41. Yellow-faced bell (Notocella cynosbatella)
  42. Yellow-spot tortrix (Pseudargyotoza conwagana) Dragon fliesGolden banded dragonfly

    Keeled skimmer

    Migrant hawker

    Black-winged skimmer

    Scarce chaser

    Common darter

    Broad-bodied chaser

     

    Damselflies

    Azure damselfly

    Large red damselfly

    Small red damselfly

    Blue-tailed damselfly

    Banded demoiselle

     

    Insects and other bits and bobs!

    1. Wasp
    2. Ladybird 7 spot
    3. Ladybird harlequin
    4. Lacewing green
    5. Lacewing brown
    6. Bloody nosed beetle
    7. Bumble bee
    8. Honey bee
    9. Snail
    10. Slug
    11. Wood ants
    12. Mining bees
    13. Froghopper
    14. Hawthorn shield bug
    15. two banded longhorn beetle
    16. Poplar leaf beetle
    17. Wolf spider
    18. Green dock beetle
    19. Green leafhopper
    20. Bee fly
    21. Green sawfly
    22. Dark bush-cricket

     

    Mammal list

    1. Rabbit.
    2. Stoat
    3. Hare
    4. Grey squirrel
    5. Common seal
    6. Roe deer
    7. Red deer
    8. Muntjak deer
    9. Sperm whale
    10. Grey seal
    11. Otter
    12. Weasel
    13. Bank vole
    14. Fallow deer
    15. Red squirrel
    16. Pine marten
    17. Beaver
    18. Daubenton’s bat
    19. Common pipistrelle
    20. Water vole

Tomorrow I hope to see a doctor and get some help with my back, if as I expect the answer is wait for it to get better at least I may get some pain relief. We really need to get on with things in August as July was a slack month, today an excellent bird has flown in to Minsmere, a Western Purple Swamphen! Now to be honest I have never heard of that let alone seen one!!! I hope it stays a while and we can add that, sounds cool I reckon! Wish me luck for August please and thank you for sticking with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still in pursuit!

We’re on the road again, heading up north on our way to Scotland to share in a service to say goodbye to Barbara, a good friend.

I had kept an eye on the weather forecast and thought it worth going to the Lake district for a few days so yesterday we set off. Stopping at Clumber Park NT for coffee on the way, not a bad green house they have there!

On we went after a rather slow coffee, bit more training needed for their staff I feel! Next stop was at Mainsgrill, a farm shop/café, that will be good for a quick lunch we thought…wrong! The queues were incredible, they clearly have a good reputation. We decided to buy something from their deli insteadand eat on the go, very tasty it was too.

After checking in at our hotel, Brantwood Hotel, we decided to go and explore our locality, just outside Penrith and on local advice we found a lovely walk.

We found a pub, The King’s Arms, just a couple of minutes stroll from our base and discovered a rather tasty five bean chilli, that was me sorted! In fact I noticed a veggie curry on the menu too so we may be back before we move on.

Today we went to the Rheged Centre knowing what we were going to do when there. We had been’ with family several years ago and all done pottery painting and I wanted to try to paint a plate to remind us of our year but bear in mind I am not blessed with artistic talent!!! We did have fun doing it and all things considered I am quite pleased with it. IMG_7456 plate

Now at the risk of this blog talking too much about food I must tell you that we had a delicious lunch there. The staff were brilliant, friendly, helpful and efficient and the food was gorgeous, puy lentil scotch egg with a lovely English salad. I am going to have a go at making them when I get home, mind you it might all end in tears! I do congratulate them and unlike our coffee stop on route they clearly have excellent training, well done Rheged centre.

The afternoon was spent at Acorn bank NT, where we enjoyed a lovely walk.

Although a lack of sun meant not as many butterflies as we had hoped for we did see a few and plenty of bees. This blackbird was totally undisturbed by our closeness.

We met a lovely Australian family there and spent some while chatting to them; we covered most topics and they added to a very nice day indeed!

So nothing new to add to our lists but we are still in pursuit…honestly!

Cley-next-the-sea

Cley-next-the-sea has been a special place for me since we first began visiting Norfolk and we spent two very happy holidays in Cley itself. We stayed in the house next to the old NWT  visitors’ centre and paid lots of visits to the bird reserve and the pebble beach. In those time there was a large bank between the car park and the beach, now the weather has changed it a lot. The bank has gone, it is now flat and this shelter used to be above ground, I remember our children going into it but I wouldn’t like them to try now!

Today we headed for Cley in the hope of seeing Spoonbills, we intended to make a quick stop in Swaffham then go straight over but no such luck, due to an incident which is now known, in my mind at least as fridgegate!!! At the weekend our fridge/freezer broke, typically the next few days were by far the hottest so far this year. After failing to find anyone to fix it we decided to just buy a new one, a simple one but as long as it worked I would be happy. Our local electrical store was very helpful and the next day of shiny new one arrived, a bargain as it was one the store bought as part of a buy out of another local shop. All looked good until I tried to fill it and discovered that the salad drawer and shelf were not compatible, with them both in place the door won’t shut! Stuart, the salesman couldn’t have been more helpful but after over an hour of phone calls we still have a fridgegate situation! Seems it may have to be returned and we may have to try again but there is still one more chance of a solution on Monday so watch this space!IMG_7174 fridge door

So later than we hoped for we arrived at Cley beach car park and walked along to the North scrape where Spoonbills had been reported earlier. As we approached the blind a man was walking away so of course we asked if they were still there. There followed a good news/ bad news situation as yes they were there but due to the lay of the land all he had seen was an occasion glimpse of the top of their heads! Not quite what we had hoped for but it would be better than nothing…just! Well my walking boots were dry and mud free so I decided to hop up onto the bench, they were distant but eminently viewable.

Better than just the tops of their heads for bird 238 I reckon! There was not a lot else to hold our interest but we had noticed butterflies on our way so we went in search of them. We thought at first there were lots of Meadow browns but later realised they were in fact Gatekeepers, another little beauty.

We also saw Small skippers, they were very flighty so I only managed a couple of shots.

We hope over the next few days to get out butterfly hunting again but for today we were going to see my sister and brother-in-law. On our way back to the car we saw some ‘contemporary art’ and to be honest I thought it was ok but was slightly underwhelmed! As I walked towards it I saw that it was meant to line up with the natural surroundings and then it looked quite different and I was rather taken with it so hats off to Brian Korteling!

Next stop Janice and Chris’ where a warm welcome awaited us along with coffee followed shortly by lunch and a lovely chatty couple of hours together. Thank you J & C.

We are heading back to Scotland soon and are going via the Lake district so hopefully there will be things to report before too long…Scotland here we come!IMG_7221 thistle

 

Half time analysis!

Time flies when you’re having fun, not an original remark I know but none the less true! I am half way through my ‘gap year’ and my goodness it is going very quickly. Although looking back, some of the birds I have seen, the places I have visited seem a long way back, funny old thing time don’t you think? If my calculations are correct I have spent nights in 21 different places in the past 6 months! But first a quick look back at June; we said goodbye to it yesterday until 2017 and for me it was fantastic, well if we leave politics out of it !!!

Definitely the highlight was our trip to  Mull, we had fantastic weather, even better company and new birds, butterflies and dragonflies too. (Please see blogs, “Mull here we come” through to “Mulling it over”)imageThanks to Roo for the photo above, timer set we were sat waiting for the click but she alone knew that we were ‘titled’ on the seat! As well as blogging I am making a scrapbook of our year and I try to do it monthly. So with that in mind I have been looking through June’s photos to pick the ones to feature when I came upon a butterfly I had written off as a tatty white one! Oh no it isn’t it is in fact a Green hairstreak, a first ever for us so it was worth looking through again!Green hairstreak (on Mull)

As well as the birds we saw on Mull, Golden and White-tailed eagles included, we were pleased with the new butterflies and dragonflies we saw there too, albeit frustratingly fleetingly sometimes.

Working our way back home was fun too although the atrocious change in weather as we returned to England and the man who caused the M1 to be shut for 28 hours was not so amusing!

We visited some more of the WWT sites and have been really impressed by them all. Mind you when we learnt they had opened another one in Somerset it was a bit of a blow to our resolve to visit all the mainland one, hey ho to Somerset we must go. I have been struck by the friendliness of the staff/volunteers we have met at the sites and my stranger of the month is one of these. Heather, a volunteer at Caerlaverock who was simply a charming lady and a real pleasure to chat to, as I admired the Lego!

This posing Swallow was a treat at Martin Mere another WWT site.

We bought ourselves a present whilst on Mull as a reminder of our time away, not a bird we saw there but on The Farne Islands.IMG_6459 crop

Our time away may have come to an end but not June, that still had plenty to offer including four life ticks! The Great reed warbler at Paxton Pits, Great Knot at Titchwell, Bluethroat at Lowestoft and Caspian tern at Breydon water and it is the Bluethroat that I pick as my bird of the month. IMG_6250

We still sometimes procrastinate when we hear of a new bird but on that occasion we got straight on to it and we were very pleased we did. She was a lovely little bird, showing pretty well but was gone by the next morning  so it was a good job we didn’t mess about.

Now to the half time analysis! I am loving it and am not sure how I will feel when the year is complete. No regrets other than I haven’t seen as much of my friends and sister as I would normally do and I apologise for that. I am definitely spending more time with Ian than I have for many a long year but I suspect his golf is suffering. He is in fact out playing golf now but I think it is only the second or third time all year! To be brutally honest I am slightly missing occasional time alone although I maybe next year I may regret saying that! Our garden has seen better times of that I am sure and as we can’t afford a gardener, we must take a bit of time to sort it out before it reverts totally to the wild.

But over this first six months we have seen:

235 Birds which included 20 life ticks

115 Moths plus 15 micros ( should be more micros but they are tricky!!!)

17 Butterflies

10 dragon/damselflies

20 Mammals

13 insects  (but plenty left if I can ID them!)

Reptiles and amphibians are sadly lacking so I will leave them for now and try to sort them out, I had better get out snake hunting I think!

So for now the total is 425

In case you don’t bother with the lists let me say thank you for sticking with me through the first half of the year, I hope you hang on for part two. Please leave comments on the blog is it really encouraging to read them.

If you want to read the lists you may need to refresh your coffee first but here goes:

Bird list to the end of June those in bold are new this month and those in red are life ticks

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Muscovy duck
  13. Mandarin Duck
  14. Eurasian Wigeon
  15. Gadwall
  16. Eurasian Teal
  17. Mallard
  18. Pintail
  19. Garganey
  20. Shoveler
  21. Red-crested Pochard
  22. Common Pochard
  23. Ferruginous Duck *
  24. Tufted duck
  25. Greater Scaup
  26. Common Eider
  27. Long-tailed Duck
  28. Common Scoter
  29. Velvet Scoter
  30. Goldeneye
  31. Smew
  32. Hooded merganser *
  33. Red-breasted Merganser
  34. Red Grouse
  35. Black Grouse
  36. Goosander
  37. Red-legged Partridge
  38. Grey Partridge
  39. Common Pheasant
  40. Golden Pheasant
  41. Little Grebe
  42. Great Crested Grebe
  43. Red-necked Grebe *
  44. Slavonian Grebe
  45. Black-necked Grebe
  46. Fulmar
  47. Manx Shearwater
  48. Gannet
  49. Cormorant
  50. Shag
  51. Bittern
  52. Little Egret
  53. Great Egret
  54. Grey Heron
  55. White Stork
  56. Glossy Ibis
  57. Red Kite
  58. White-tailed Eagle
  59. Marsh Harrier
  60. Hen Harrier
  61. Pallid Harrier *
  62. Goshawk *
  63. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  64. Common Buzzard
  65. Rough-legged Buzzard
  66. Golden Eagle
  67. Osprey
  68. Kestrel
  69. Merlin
  70. Hobby
  71. Peregrine Falcon
  72. Water Rail
  73. Corn Crake
  74. Moorhen
  75. Coot
  76. Common Crane
  77. Great bustard *
  78. Oystercatcher
  79. Black-winged Stilt
  80. Pied Avocet
  81. Stone-curlew
  82. Little ringed Plover
  83. Ringed Plover
  84. Dotterel
  85. European Golden Plover
  86. Grey Plover
  87. Lapwing
  88. Great Knot*
  89. Knot
  90. Sanderling
  91. Little Stint
  92. Temminck’s Stint
  93. Curlew Sandpiper
  94. Purple Sandpiper
  95. Dunlin
  96. Broad-billed Sandpiper *
  97. Ruff
  98. Jack Snipe
  99. Common Snipe
  100. Long-billed Dowitcher*
  101. Black-tailed Godwit
  102. Bar-tailed Godwit
  103. Whimbrel
  104. Curlew
  105. Spotted Redshank
  106. Common Redshank
  107. Common Greenshank
  108. Lesser Yellowlegs
  109. Wood Sandpiper
  110. Common Sandpiper
  111. Ruddy Turnstone
  112. Grey Phalarope
  113. Mediterranean Gull
  114. Little Gull
  115. Black-headed Gull
  116. Common Gull
  117. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  118. Herring Gull
  119. Iceland Gull
  120. Glaucous Gull *
  121. Great Black-backed Gull
  122. Kittiwake
  123. Caspian Tern *
  124. Sandwich Tern
  125. Common Tern
  126. Arctic Tern
  127. Common Guillemot
  128. Razorbill
  129. Black Guillemot
  130. Puffin
  131. Rock Pigeon
  132. Stock Pigeon
  133. Wood Pigeon
  134. Collared Dove
  135. Turtle Dove
  136. Rose-ringed Parakeet *
  137. Cuckoo
  138. Barn Owl
  139. Tawny Owl
  140. Short-eared Owl
  141. Common Swift
  142. Common Kingfisher
  143. European Bee-eater *
  144. Hoopoe
  145. Green Woodpecker
  146. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  147. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  148. Wood Lark
  149. Sky Lark
  150. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  151. Sand Martin
  152. Swallow
  153. Red-rumped Swallow *
  154. House Martin
  155. Tree Pipit
  156. Meadow Pipit
  157. Rock Pipit
  158. Water Pipit
  159. Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
  160. Grey Wagtail
  161. Pied Wagtail
  162. Dipper
  163. Wren
  164. Dunnock
  165. Robin
  166. Common Nightingale *
  167. Bluethroat*
  168. Black Redstart
  169. Common Redstart
  170. Whinchat
  171. Stonechat
  172. Wheatear
  173. Ring Ouzel
  174. Blackbird
  175. Fieldfare
  176. Song Thrush
  177. Redwing
  178. Mistle Thrush
  179. Cetti’s Warbler
  180. Grasshopper Warbler
  181. Sedge Warbler
  182. Eurasian Reed Warbler
  183. Great Reed Warbler*
  184. Dartford Warbler
  185. Lesser Whitethroat
  186. Whitethroat
  187. Blackcap
  188. Wood Warbler
  189. Common Chiffchaff
  190. Willow Warbler
  191. Goldcrest
  192. Firecrest
  193. Spotted Flycatcher
  194. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  195. Pied Flycatcher
  196. Bearded Tit
  197. Long-tailed Tit
  198. Marsh Tit
  199. Willow Tit
  200. Crested Tit *
  201. Coal Tit
  202. Blue Tit
  203. Great Tit
  204. Nuthatch
  205. Treecreeper
  206. Penduline tit *
  207. Great Grey Shrike
  208. Jay
  209. Magpie
  210. Jackdaw
  211. Rook
  212. Crow
  213. Hooded Crow
  214. Common Raven
  215. Starling
  216. House Sparrow
  217. Tree Sparrow
  218. Chaffinch
  219. Brambling
  220. Serin *
  221. Greenfinch
  222. Goldfinch
  223. Siskin
  224. Linnet
  225. Twite
  226. Lesser Redpoll
  227. Mealy Redpoll
  228. Bullfinch
  229. Hawfinch
  230. Lapland Longspur
  231. Snow Bunting
  232. Yellowhammer
  233. Cirl Bunting
  234. Reed Bunting
  235. Corn Bunting

Moths to end of June

Winter moth

Pale brindle beauty

Mottled umber

Early moth

Common Quaker

Early grey

Hebrew character

Small brindled beauty

March moth

Small Quaker

Clouded drab

Shoulder stripe

Double-striped pug

Oak beauty

Brindled pug

Early thorn

Early toothed-stripe

Emperor moth

Brindled beauty

Dotted chestnut

Powdered Quaker

Streamer

Frosted green

Shuttle-shaped dart

Muslin

Waved umber

Nut-tree tussock

Poplar hawkmoth

White ermine

Least black arches

Swallow prominent

Treble lines

Shears

Pale tussock

Pale prominent

Coxcomb prominent

Spectacle

Grey pine carpet

Eyed hawkmoth

Brimstone

Flame shoulder

Common swift

Heart and dart

Common footman

Buff ermine

Scorched wing

Cinnabar

Large yellow underwing

Double square spot

Treble bar

Common wainscot

Uncertain

Lobster moth

Foxglove pug

Mottled pug

Currant pug

Marbled brown

Ruby tiger

Brown-line bright-eye

Setaceous Hebrew character

Blood-vein

Purple bar

Bright-line brown-eye

Brown rustic

Angle shades

Clouded-bordered brindle

Garden carpet

Common carpet

Green carpet

Common pug

Pale-shouldered brocade

Mouse moth

Silver-ground carpet

Marbled minor

Small square-spot

Pale mottled willow

Vine’s rustic

Cabbage moth

Mottled rustic

Lychnis

Spruce carpet

Rustic shoulder-knot

Garden tiger

Orange footman

Great prominent

Lime hawkmoth

Peach blossom

Map-winged swift

Elephant hawkmoth

Beautiful golden Y

Straw dot

Snout

Ghost moth

Drinker

Smoky wainscot

Buff tip

Clouded border

Silver Y

Beautiful hook-tip

Dark arches

Riband wave

Large nutmeg

Clouded silver

The flame

Light emerald

Pine hawkmoth

Dark/grey dagger

Yellow shell

Small dusty wave

Four-dotted footman

Heart and club

Common rustic

Swallow-tailed moth

Micro moths  to end June 2016

  1. Common plume Emmelina monodactyla
  2. Semioscopis steinkellneriana…
  3. Sulphur Tubic Esperia sulphurella…
  4. White shouldered house moth Endrosis sarcitrella
  5. Many plumed moth Aluctia hexadactyla
  6. Garden pebble Evergestis forficalis
  7. Yellow-faced bell Notocella cynosbatella
  8. Large fruit-tree tortrix Archips podana
  9. Rough-winged conch   Phtheochroa rugosana
  10. Brown house moth   Hofmannophila pseudospretella
  11. Triple-blotched bell
  12. Small magpie
  13. Common grey
  14. London dowd Blastobasis lacticolella
  15. Diamond back moth

 

 

Butterflies to the end of June   (I don’t know why this is spaced like this but I can’t change it sorry!)

Red admiral

Brimstone

Peacock

Small tortoiseshell

Speckled wood

Green-vein white

Orange tip

Small white

Holly blue

Small copper

Small heath

Dark green fritillary

Common blue

Small pearl-bordered fritillary

Green hairstreak

Painted lady

Ringlet

 

Dragon flies

Golden banded dragonfly

Keeled skimmer

Migrant hawker

Black-winged skimmer

Scarce chaser

 

Damselflies

Azure damselfly

Large red damselfly

Small red damselfly

Blue-tailed damselfly

Banded demoiselle

 

 

Mammal list to end of June

  1. Rabbit.
  2. Stoat
  3. Hare
  4. Grey squirrel
  5. Common seal
  6. Roe deer
  7. Red deer
  8. Muntjak deer
  9. Sperm whale
  10. Grey seal
  11. Otter
  12. Weasel
  13. Bank vole
  14. Fallow deer
  15. Red squirrel
  16. Pine marten
  17. Beaver
  18. Daubenton’s bat
  19. Common pipistrelle
  20. Water vole

 

What lies ahead for July and beyond? Plenty I am sure especially if the summer kicks in soon!

Suffolk tick, Norfolk tick…result!

After some very quiet days things suddenly picked up! We were planning on a lazy Sunday afternoon but a beep from RBA (rare bird alert) announced that a Blue throat had been seen in Lowestoft. We were planning to spend a couple of days in Norwich later this week but that was easily brought forward. So a case quickly packed, binoculars and cameras loaded into the car and we were off.

Once we found the place, just yards from Ness Point,Lowestoft, England’s most easterly point, we heard that the Bluethroat had been showing well but was now missing! Thankfully within the following half an hour she re-appeared, a life tick for us both!IMG_6249

Being a female she lacks the stunning colouring of her male counterpart but she was still a lovely little bird. We stood watching her with our backs to the sea and I assume she had just flown in. Chatting to a local birder there it would seem they have had several cracking birds there!

She was just a bit too far to get decent photos but none the less I was pleased to be able to get the ones I did manage.

We were certainly pleased we had decided to give up a lazy afternoon for this bird and we knew we had a shot at another lifer too. So we decided to go back into Norfolk, to Breydon Water to try for a Caspian tern that has been there for a little while, but we had no luck. It had been showing well until about ten minutes before we arrived when it had flown off! We decided to try again in the morning and we had more luck then. We walked as far as we could to get as close as we could to the bird but it was still a very distant view. Sorry about the photos, they are record shots nothing more than that.

At least it is an unmistakable bird, by far the largest tern and it has a heavy weight bill on it! I think if it was Caspian terns that ‘attacked’ people on the Farne Islands there would be far fewer visitors!!!

Next stop Stumpshaw fen where we hoped to see a Swallowtail butterfly but I can tell you now we failed at that. We did however have a lovely walk and saw some interesting things and a couple of smashing dragonflies. First a few of the bits and bobs, some I can name, others I can’t, not yet at least.

This little one was on a path and we think it is a baby bank vole.

A selection of the bugs we saw and also some Peacock caterpillars. The orange and black one is a Froghopper and the green one is a thick-legged flower beetle (thanks Alan).

I am hoping someone might be able to help me to identify this dragonfly nymph, the bird I do know was a Sedge warbler.

The weather had been disappointing but then out came the sun and with it some rather nice invertebrates. I haven’t seen a Ringlet butterfly for some while so was very pleased to see this one.

This year is the first time we have bothered to ty to identify dragonflies so as far as I know it i sthe first time we have seen these two. The first one is a black-tailed skimmer, it kept dashing by us and we thought we wouldnt get a proper look at it but thankfully later one landed, briefly, nearby.

This second one and in my opinion a far nicer one, is a scarce chaser. We saw a few of these in one small area which we happened upon just as the sun was out shining again.

On our walk we had a nice female pheasant with a couple of youngsters, she seemed unperturbed by our presence.

All in all an excellent couple of days, we were particularly pleased we went for the Bluethroat promptly as it hasn’t been reported again since. That brings us to 235 birds including 20 life ticks!

 

Meeting the king!

We have had a lovely weekend with Mim and Terry some old friends visiting, catching up and of course putting the world right!

Summer has now arrived but it would seem that the weather doesn’t realise it yet so we are having to take advantage of any breaks in the wet. This morning we thought we would stay local and see if I could get a few photos. I was pleased we did as I have got my first pictures this year of the king, no not Elvis but a Kingfisher!IMG_3164

What a beautiful bird he is, flying by flashing his stunning colours. I am pleased to get the pictures that I did but am aware that a better photographer would have got the action shots that I failed to get! Never mind it gives me a reason to return and try for better!

Considering how brightly he is coloured it is amazing how he can hide, in a tree or flying past, one minute I could see him and the next he was lost.

He would perch then suddenly swoop into the water and find a meal, possibly for young ones as we didn’t see him eat anything himself. He seems to be a good dad as it was only the male that we saw fishing. Maybe they follow the old traditional roles, him the provider out getting the meals and her at home looking after the babies!

The water was alive with small blue damselflies, at first glance they looked like gnats but on closer inspection it became clear. At least hundreds were over the water, constantly on the move. There were also a few of my favourites, banded demoiselles and we saw a couple as we walked later. I have only recently discovered them and I have really fallen for them big time!

We didn’t see anything else very exciting  but here are a few that we did see, a cinnabar moth, a speckled wood butterfly, busy bees, a seven spot ladybird, a Mistle thrush and of course some poppies. That wasnt  acomplaint as any day that provides Kingfishers is a special day for me.

After a rather late lunch I thought I would go and do some jobs in our garden. I should tell you that fourteen years ago it was a patch of earth but it has developed rather nicely over the years until…we took a year out and now it is beginning to resemble a jungle! When we got home from Scotland I was pootling about in the garden, dead heading roses etc when I thought I would see if the budleia was in flower yet, shock horror I couldnt even see the plant! Well I can now report the plant is found and free to breathe and hopefully flower again attracting the butterflies…I hope!

I have noticed though that when I work in the garden something strange happens to time, it slows down. I could swear I worked for about three hours but when I came back in only one hour had passed 😉 oh well at least I got a few bits done.

 

Great knot

Our plan was to have a couple of ‘at home’ days getting ready for some visitors who are arriving tomorrow but then plans are made to be broken or so I hear!

News soon spread that Titchwell was the home, albeit temporarily to a mega rarity, Great knot only the fifth for the country and only the second for Norfolk. So this morning off we went feeling hopeful and I saw Titchwell as I have never seen it before.  It was very busy but at the same time looked empty!!! No queue for coffee (even we passed by) we walked down the path to the sea no one was birding along the way as usual but when we reached the beach we saw where everyone was.IMG_6101 notice

All telescopes and binoculars were pointing in the same direction, seaward. It took a while for the bird to be relocated but at last there he was but of course so very distant nearly on the shoreline. It was a life tick for us both and bird number 233 for the year. No possibility of a picture of any kind but if it hangs around we will try again. This is a few of the watchers, the line went on for some while, they were only outnumbered by the razor clam shells behind them!

When we got home a note through the door saying there were flowers in the summer house, what a lovely surprise. A gift from Roo and Stu, thank you both. How lovely, they will brighten the house up when we have visitors tomorrow!IMG_6103 flowers crop

The rest of the day has been spent doing a few chores (fewer than I should have done!) and visiting a friend Francesca who like all my friends and some family I have somewhat neglected this year…sorry!

I thought I would take the opportunity to catch up a bit on the moth situation, this year so far we have seen 96 different species. There is no reason for the photos I have chosen it is just to give you an insight into the moth world! The top set of picture show Ruby tiger and Lychnis , next pair are White ermine and Willow beauty and finally Lobster moth and Eyed hawkmoth.

Remember these are but six of the 95 we have had, the variety is amazing and be warned I will feature more another time!

So another good day and seeing Great knot brings my life ticks to 18 which I am very happy with.

 

Home again.

Three and a half weeks after leaving for our northern adventure we are home and I must say I am really looking forward to sleeping in our own bed!

I have had  a fantastic time and apart from our homeward journey it has all gone so smoothly. We left Southport hoping to go birding on our way homeward but the weather was so awful and there was negative news of the bird we had thought we would go for so we decided to press on. Unfortunately what I assume to be a troubled man decided to climb a gantry over the M1 causing it to be closed for 28 hours and us to be held in awful traffic in torrential rain! We decided to spend the night part way home and maybe try for a tick in the morning.

Morning came and the weather, whilst not brilliant, was looking hopeful. So we, also feeling hopeful, decided to go to Paxton Pits and try to see a Great reed warbler. What a lovely site it is, one I am certain we will return to and best of all we got sight of the bird, a life tick for us both! No picture of the bird I’m afraid but a couple of views from the site.

We saw a pair of Great crested grebes, many, many tufted ducks and other birds one might expect there. Common terns were nesting on a secure platform, it intrigues me that bird know where they are safe!

We also saw some lovely damselflies and dragonflies too, all in all a good detour! I thought this might have been the Beautiful demoiselle but now I am sure it is a Banded demoiselle but despite the name it is still a beauty!  When seen in flight they look like butterflies, I think because of the dark wings.IMG_6012 banded demoiselle

Now pardon the intrusion but mating damsel/dragonflies are fascinating! First a pair of ‘blue’ damsels, not 100% sure which type these are yet so I will correct this when I find out.IMG_6046 damselflies mating

Next a pair of Migrant Hawker dragonflies, there were none in sight until the sun peeped out then they all came out ‘to play’.IMG_6053 Migrant hawker pair

We were just about to leave Paxton when Ian spotted a Painted Lady. I have to tell you about something I saw today that was a definite first for me, mining bees! They are tiny bees that live on a hill and bore hole. As soon as one landed it was gone like a flash down in one of the pre drilled tunnels. They were certainly different and I intend to see them again.

So our visit brought us up to bird number 232.

On the way home we needed to pop to the shops for milk etc, imagine my surprise when our granddaughter, Alice,  was suddenly just outside the car! She was just about to meet up with her dad, but waht a lovely surprise a real treat. Then as we were going into the shop we bumped into a good friend, Trevor, we were really back on home territory

I suspect the next couple of days might be spent catching up with a few chores but then we will be out again to see what Norfolk has been up to while we were away!

 

England here we come

Farewell to Ardwhin Cottage, Lochdon, Mull and of course to Ruth, Stu and Sprocket! Few final shots of a hooded crow before we return down south to our jet black version.IMG_5792 Ardwhin an all

Not far to Craignure to wait for the ferry, it fascinated me watching it come in and open up ready for the cars to unload and fresh ones board.

Just a few scenes from our trip across to Oban, not so sunny for the return journey but dry and warm enough. We saw a group of Guillemot on the water and later the odd black one. We said our goodbyes as we got back into the cars ready to go our different ways; we have loved sharing this past week with family.

We began the journey down to visit some dear friends in Moffatt, a last minute arrangement. It is safe to say the weather had changed! Gone was the beautiful sunshine to be replaced with grey skies with intermittent very heavy downpours!

We were delighted to be able to have a chance to meet, albeit briefly, with our friends who we hadn’t seen for about two years. The older I get the more I value friendship. Whatever life may throw it is good to find the people unchanged even though outward circumstances may have changed dramatically.

So off on the last short leg of the day’s journey to Dumfries. We were checked into a nice little hotel, Rivendell, with a very nice room and an exceedingly comfortable four poster bed! I slept better last night than I have for some time. We found a nice little Italian place around the corner to go and get a very welcome meal.IMG_5795 Rivendell

Up and out this morning in search of Caerlaverock WWT the sixth of their sites we have visited this year (another tomorrow). The weather looked decidedly iffy but we were fortunate and it stayed dry. We knew they would be emptying moth traps today and were keen to see if they had any new owns for us. They were a friendly group and made us feel included. We saw several that were new for the year and a few that are new altogether.

The peach-blossom moth was one I have been waiting to see so was very pleased when they came out of the trap. Also this Map-winged swift, I hadn’t even heard of that one! The next new one was, I think, a ghost moth and the last one pictured here wasn’t new but only the second garden tiger we have seen and we are still waiting to see one at home!

 

When mothing was finished we walked all around the site visiting firstly the Sir Peter Scott hide, not quite as posh as the one at Welney but not too shabby! I also include several views from around the site; can you see what they have in common?

 

A lack of birds! Oh well yet again right place, wrong time but it was still good to see the place and who know we may return one day. I did see this poor little Jackdaw chick, out of its nest a tad early. The parents were around but not paying it too much attention, hopefully they will do their duty and take care of it.

I was rather taken with these Longhorn cattle but I can tell you I wouldn’t be walking through any field they were lose in!

. Apart from moths we also saw a few damselflies and thankfully someone was alongside to tell me what they were! Firstly Azure Damselfly the male and female in one shot! Then the Blue-tailed damselfly male and the female too. A painted lady butterfly flew past as we were watching the damselflies.

I must say all the people working there were delightful, especially Heather on the shop/reception desk. What a lovely chat I had with her while Ian grabbed a short nap in the car. This rather emperor dragonfly made from Lego caught my eye as we were chatting and I have a feeling a few members of my family might have rather liked it!

After our visit to Caerlaverock we headed for Southport where we are staying for two nights. Hotel looks good, although it lacks the charm of last night’s one! After checking in we decided to go for a walk and see a bit of what Southport has to offer but I think I will leave that for tomorrow’s blog when we have seen a bit more.