More cheese Gromit?

We are having an unscheduelled few days away and we are not even chasing birds! The alarm went off at 5.30 am and we wasted no time in getting ready and on the road once again to Yorkshire. Our destination was, as the title may have given you a clue, Wensleydale in North Yorkshire and a place we have never visted before. We have joined Janice and Chris, staying in an appartment under the one they are in so I hope they arent too noisy!!!

Our early start paid off as we arrived in time for coffee. Before long we were all out for a drive getting dome super views of the area of Wensledale and it it beautiful. We were once again blessed with lovely weather and although it got rather chilly it really didn’t feel like November.

I didn’t see it at the time but I now notice a bird sitting on the wall on the bottom right picture, looks like a Robin to me!

We went to the Creamery for lunch and to taste a variety of local cheeses, mostly rather tastey! A nice piece of Wensleydale with Mango and ginger is now sitting in the fridge and if I wasn’t going out for a meal soon I could happily munch some!

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From what I read Wallace and Gromit have revitalised the Wensleydale cheese business, I must say it is hard to think of the cheese without thinking of Wallace!

More beautiful views and not many birds but plenty of sheep (this one a Swaledale) and rabbits!

We stopped at some gift/craft shops before arriving at Reeth were I spottted this shadow of an exceeding long legged person!!!

img_1411A walk around the village where they were getting ready for a bonfire in the village centre.

img_1426-reeth-bonfireI imagine this to be a typical Yorkshire village and it is certainly in a beutiful setting. The sparrow seemed to agree!

We saw several Red grouse as they flew accross the road and out of sight, excellent!

On the drive home  we saw the sun disappear behind the hills, changing the sky quite dramatically. I only wish I could have captured the colours better but hopefully you will get some idea from these.

I am not sure why but I couldn’t get anyone to pose under this signpost!

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Well we are off shortly for a meal in one of the three local pubs and I am really looking forward to the next couple of days. Not expecting much in the bird department but I am expecting to have fun!

 

Another month disappears!

Of course I knew it was a new month today because it is my lovely grandson’s birthday, happy birthday Daniel!   img_1380-daniel

 

So that can only mean that October has come to an end and it is time for a monthly review. It has been a mixed month with some manic times then more relaxed days, this past week being the more relaxed variety!

What October has been brilliant for was bird life ticks, I have had five and I am pretty chuffed with that. Add to that some cracking birds that I have seen for only the second time and I reckon October has been excellent.

First new bird was an Eastern-crowned warbler which we journeyed up to Bempton for, a place always worth a visit and thankfully we both saw this very active little bird. No picture of the bird but a few from the site!

I saw my first Dusky warbler at Cromer, followed by another a couple of weeks later at Titchwell!  We narrowly missed seeing two on one day as there had been one at Cley where we popped for lunch. Happily whilst there word came of a Barred warbler that was down Beach road in and out of a bush (along with many other little birds) so we were off.

It wasn’t long after our return from Yorkshire that we were headed back again! This time for a bird that was a first for mainland Britain, mind you it started a trend as several others have been since!!! We found a lovely place to stay and drove up so we would be there in Easington for first light and hopefully the bird, a Siberian accentor would have stayed overnight too! Happily it was in no rush to leave so we joined what I call the ‘queue for a view’ for a good though very brief sight before being moved along to allow others a view too. We returned later that day and what a difference a few hours had made!

This time we got to see it much better and get some fairly decent pictures too!   Not the most exotic looking bird perhaps but one I was delighted to see!

Rather pleased to see this Redstart too just along from the star bird, it showed off quite well so as not to go unoticed!

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Between our two visits to the accentor we went to Sammy’s point and it is so hard to explain quite how smashing it was. There were birds everywhere! Flying in from the sea, sitting in bushes, feeding in the mud or in the fields it was just ‘Magical’! I was chuffed to find some Ring ouzels and to get some shots which was not so easy earlier in the year.  We saw hundreds of Goldcrests  and probably hundreds of Robins too. There were Chiffchaffs, Wheatears, Reed buntings and to our delight we saw, for the first time, Woodcock in flight.

We couldn’t be so close to Spurn and not go there so off we went. This obliging Shorelark was another bird that we had seen early in the year but not been able to photograph.

Back to Sammy’s point for another lovely walk amongst the many birds we saw this flycatcher. First though was of course that it is a Pied flycatcher but there has been some discussion as it has some hints of a Collared flycatcher. I think the answer is we will never know, but it was a sweet bird whichever it is!!!

We stayed on an extra night and on the way home went to Donna Nook another place I had often heard of but never visited. Here I saw another bird that I had only seen once before, a few years previously and what a little beauty, a Red-flanked bluetail.

Jumping to later in the month now and Alice and Matilda joined us for a brilliant birding day beginning at Burnham Overy Dunes. Ian and I had been on the Sunday to see the Isabelline Wheatear and we returned the next day with the girls to try to see it again and also a Desert wheatear. On the Sunday we ploughed through the mud but were rewards with views of my very first Isabelline wheatear.

The following day, with the girls we took a different, less muddy and much more pleasant route to the dunes! The bird had moved so the walk was longer but not once did either of the girls complain, they were brilliant! A very brief flight view was all some of us got of that bird but thankfully we all saw the Desert wheatear, not for long but clearly.

On our way back along the dunes, we timed it perfectly, a Radde’s warbler had just been spotted, first sighting for a few hours! We joined the group and again all saw it, another life tick for me and the girls! Next stop Titchwell for lunch and if we had any energy left a stroll. This was where we saw our second Dusky warbler before walking down to the sea.

Golden plovers on the fresh marsh, Sanderlings on the shore plenty of other waders on the way. It really was a lovely day out, it couldn’t fail really, life ticks and grandchildren along to enjoy it!

Well we had a lazy week following that although November has thrown us an unexpected treat, hopefully there will be things to report next time I blog!

Still butterflies visiting the garden and a several Red admirals have been feeding on the dahlias this week  (note to self, plant some more of them!)  img_1334-red-admiral

I have decided to only print out the bird list this month as it has definitely been the main highlight of the month. I will give the number of the other things first:

Moths (macro and micro) … 310

Insects                                       …85

Dragon/damselflies              … 17

Butterflies                                …24

Mamals                                      …25

Reptile/amphibians                …5 (could do better!!!)

Birds                                           …253   (*26* Life ticks)

So far my total of winged and otherwise creatures for the year is 719 I have bypassed all but three of the guesses made before the year began, who will be closest? Could still be thelast one that I have passed or one I havent yet reached.

Bird List end October

  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. Cattle Egret
  53. Little Egret
  54. Great Egret
  55. Grey Heron
  56. White Stork
  57. Glossy Ibis
  58. Spoonbill
  59. Red Kite
  60. White-tailed Eagle
  61. Marsh Harrier
  62. Hen Harrier
  63. Pallid Harrier *
  64. Goshawk *
  65. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  66. Common Buzzard
  67. Rough-legged Buzzard
  68. Golden Eagle
  69. Osprey
  70. Kestrel
  71. Merlin
  72. Hobby
  73. Peregrine Falcon
  74. Water Rail
  75. Corn Crake
  76. Moorhen
  77. Western purple swamphen*
  78. Coot
  79. Common Crane
  80. Great bustard *
  81. Oystercatcher
  82. Black-winged Stilt
  83. Pied Avocet
  84. Stone-curlew
  85. Little ringed Plover
  86. Ringed Plover
  87. Dotterel
  88. European Golden Plover
  89. Grey Plover
  90. Lapwing
  91. Great Knot*
  92. Knot
  93. Sanderling
  94. Little Stint
  95. Temminck’s Stint
  96. Pectoral Sandpiper
  97. Curlew Sandpiper
  98. Purple Sandpiper
  99. Dunlin
  100. Broad-billed Sandpiper *
  101. Ruff
  102. Jack Snipe
  103. Common Snipe
  104. Long-billed Dowitcher *
  105. Woodcock
  106. Black-tailed Godwit
  107. Bar-tailed Godwit
  108. Whimbrel
  109. Curlew
  110. Spotted Redshank
  111. Common Redshank
  112. Common Greenshank
  113. Lesser Yellowlegs
  114. Green Sandpiper
  115. Wood Sandpiper
  116. Common Sandpiper
  117. Ruddy Turnstone
  118. Grey Phalarope
  119. Arctic Skua
  120. Mediterranean Gull
  121. Little Gull
  122. Black-headed Gull
  123. Common Gull
  124. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  125. Herring Gull
  126. Iceland Gull
  127. Glaucous Gull *
  128. Great Black-backed Gull
  129. Kittiwake
  130. Caspian Tern *
  131. Sandwich Tern
  132. Common Tern
  133. Arctic Tern
  134. Common Guillemot
  135. Razorbill
  136. Black Guillemot
  137. Puffin
  138. Rock Pigeon
  139. Stock Pigeon
  140. Wood Pigeon
  141. Collared Dove
  142. Turtle Dove
  143. Rose-ringed Parakeet *
  144. Cuckoo
  145. Barn Owl
  146. Tawny Owl
  147. Short-eared Owl
  148. Common Swift
  149. Common Kingfisher
  150. European Bee-eater *
  151. Hoopoe
  152. Wryneck
  153. Green Woodpecker
  154. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  155. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  156. Wood Lark
  157. Sky Lark
  158. Shorelark (horned lark)
  159. Sand Martin
  160. Swallow
  161. Red-rumped Swallow *
  162. House Martin
  163. Tree Pipit
  164. Meadow Pipit
  165. Rock Pipit
  166. Water Pipit
  167. Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
  168. Grey Wagtail
  169. Pied Wagtail
  170. Dipper
  171. Wren
  172. Dunnock
  173. Siberian Accentor*
  174. Robin
  175. Common Nightingale *
  176. Bluethroat*
  177. Red-flanked Bluetail
  178. Black Redstart
  179. Common Redstart
  180. Whinchat
  181. Stonechat
  182. Isabelline Wheatear*
  183. Desert Wheatear
  184. Wheatear
  185. Ring Ouzel
  186. Blackbird
  187. Fieldfare
  188. Song Thrush
  189. Redwing
  190. Mistle Thrush
  191. Cetti’s Warbler
  192. Grasshopper Warbler
  193. Sedge Warbler
  194. Eurasian Reed Warbler
  195. Great Reed Warbler*
  196. Dartford Warbler
  197. Barred Warbler
  198. Lesser Whitethroat
  199. Whitethroat
  200. Blackcap
  201. Yellow-browed Warbler
  202. Eastern Crowned Warbler *
  203. Radde’s Warbler*
  204. Dusky Warbler*
  205. Wood Warbler
  206. Common Chiffchaff
  207. Willow Warbler
  208. Goldcrest
  209. Firecrest
  210. Spotted Flycatcher
  211. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  212. Pied Flycatcher
  213. Bearded Tit
  214. Long-tailed Tit
  215. Marsh Tit
  216. Willow Tit
  217. Crested Tit *
  218. Coal Tit
  219. Blue Tit
  220. Great Tit
  221. Nuthatch
  222. Treecreeper
  223. Penduline tit *
  224. Red-backed Shrike
  225. Great Grey Shrike
  226. Jay
  227. Magpie
  228. Jackdaw
  229. Rook
  230. Crow
  231. Hooded Crow
  232. Common Raven
  233. Starling
  234. House Sparrow
  235. Tree Sparrow
  236. Chaffinch
  237. Brambling
  238. Serin *
  239. Greenfinch
  240. Goldfinch
  241. Siskin
  242. Linnet
  243. Twite
  244. Lesser Redpoll
  245. Mealy Redpoll
  246. Bullfinch
  247. Hawfinch
  248. Lapland Longspur
  249. Snow Bunting
  250. Yellowhammer
  251. Cirl Bunting
  252. Reed Bunting
  253. Corn Bunting

Only two months left of our big year and still no Little owl!!! We have had them in the garden in the past and they are always in our village but this year they are hiding from me!!!

Ticks for us all!

Before I tell you about our brilliant day today let me firstly tall you about Saturday morning. Oh, but before I tell you about Saturday I really must tell you something about my wish list before we began the year. There were very few birds I had pin-pointed that I really wanted to see but a special Wheatear was high on my wish list.

We had been invited to a family lunch on Saturday but a message rang out that an Isabelline wheatear was at Burnham Overy Dunes. We were confident that we could get there, see the bird and be at our lunch date for 12 o’clock. I had never been to the site before but we found out where to park and off we went. Now I like a walk but the path for the first half of our walk was, to say the least, muddy. This picture shows one of the better parts!  img_1125-burnham-overy-dunes-path

Still we eventually reached the place and were so pleased to, quite quickly, get a view of the bird, hooray!  We knew we were pushing our luck time wise so didn’t stay long.

We had messaged our apologies that we would be late and at the same time asked my sister if I could borrow a pair of trousers as I was to say the very least covered in mud! We were really chuffed to have seen the bird though, a life tick for us both, the lunch that followed was a lovely time too. This shows a few of the birder and some greylag geese that flew by on our walk back to the car.

Yesterday at the same site a Desert wheatear had been seen as well, shame we hadn’t seen that we thought. Now back to today more excitement! We arranged to take Alice and Matilda out birding and were all keen to return to Burnham Overy Dunes to try to hopefully see both of the rarer Wheatears. We parked in a different place so as to take a route which avoided mud! My goodness it was so much better, a lovely walk along the sea wall and hardly a spot of mud in sight!

Plenty of waders including Curlew and other birds to see along the way including this perched Kestral.

We realised that the Wheatear had moved on from where we had viewed it a couple of days ago. We saw the two Wheatear, Isabelline and Desert fly together to a grassy hill but didn’t see the Isabelline again! Thankfully the Desert wheatear sat up for a short while, time for us all to get a good look and take several out of focus pictures! Thankfully though one picture isn’t too bad, phew!  img_1162-desert-wheatear

Time for a bit of froliking in the dunes, Alice and Matilda certainly enjoyed themselves!

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As we walked back I kept my ears opened around any groups of birders to see if anything else was around. A Radde’s warbler had been seen but not for over an hour. Just as we were moving on it was seen again! We joined the group as they went in pursuit, up through the dunes and we saw it, first on a bush then off it flew. On went the group and again out it flew, several times we saw it but never was there time to even raise a camera. The Radde’s warbler was bird number 253 and my 26th life tick for the year!

We walked back to the car and decided to to to Titchwell for lunch and another walk if everyone felt up to it! We stopped off briefly to admire the windmill and take an opportunity of photos.

I must tell you how amazing the girls both were all day, by the time we finished we had walked about nine miles and they didn’t moan at all!

Well, lunch was eaten and we thought we would go for a short walk and try to see a Dusky warbler which had been reported on site. We were lucky and all saw it, it is so like a Chiffchaff but one difference was in behaviour, it flicks it’s tail up and down. img_1206-dusky-warblerWe decided to walk up to the sea and we arrived just as a Short eared owl had flown in off the sea! There were plenty of waders and my favourite was this group of Sanderlings dashing around the beach like clockwork toys!  img_1231-sanderling

This Black-headed gull was extreamly friendly, no stroll by the sea for him he hung around where the people were!

On our walk back we saw a variety of ducks and waders, this group of Golden plovers stood out. img_1218-golden-plovers

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A very large number of gulls flew over what was a now rather pretty sky, this is a small section of them. img_1270-gulls

On the journey home we were remembering the birds we had seen and Alice was making a list. Firstly the morning birds, then the afternoon birds and the third section was reserved for ‘special birds’! Now this list of course included the Whatears, Radde’s and Dusky warbler but as it was Alice’s list another bird was in this section and this is him…

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I don’t think Alice would mind how many life ticks she got if there was no Robin the birdwatch would have been a failure!!!

So thank you girls for a lovely day out and for being so good, it was of course a joy to have you with us.

Distant…elusive…mobile!

Distant, elusive and mobile are three words I dislike using about a bird but today I must! There had been a sudden fall of warblers in Norfolk (and elsewhere) recently and of course we were fortunate last week to get the Eastern crowned warbler (see previous blog entry) but it was time to go in search of more. Unfortunately I awoke on Monday with a thumping migraine and slept most of the day away topping it off with an early night! I really hoped Tuesday would be better and I was determined to go out birding the moment any reports came in. Unfortunately I didn’t feel a lot better than the previous day but out we went and the air did help (not a lot but a tad) and we were heading to Cromer. I should mention the weather seemed to be feeling similar to me as it rained most of the way! As we neared Cromer the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful morning.

A Dusky warbler had been there, by the golf club for a few days and it would be a life tick for me. We found our way to the golf club and although it is unlikely any of their members read this I hope they do. We met several players that morning and every one of them was delightful! Helpful with directions, interested in what we were after Etc so Cromer golf club got a big team point from me! We walked up to the lighthouse and what a beautiful setting it is.img_0671-cromer-lighthouse

We knew where the bird had been seen but saw a group of birders in a different place nearby so after a look in the original place we moved on. Indeed the birders had been watching the bird flitting in and out of the trees and we didn’t have to wait long. Here comes the blog title, not only was it distant, elusive and mobile but I was trying to focus through a banging headache and dancing lights, not ideal. I did see the bird and that is what counts, it was moving from tree to shrub and back again before being chased by a bully Chiffchaff! Not a chance of a picture which was a shame but under the circumstances I was happy to have seen the bird.

We decided to go for a walk at Cley and when we arrived there we were told a Dusky warbler had been seen on Arnold’s marsh, two in one morning that would be funny. We walked along the East bank but no sign and on talking to others it would seem someone had a brief view earlier and it wasn’t seen again, never mind the Cromer one was a life tick so no complaints from me.

There was no shortage of Greylag geese and also in the distance some white-fronted geese.

Also the now common Little egret, we definitely see more egrets than herons in recent times at least in Norfolk. Funny to think they used to be exotic!

We popped into the new hide on the East bank and a little bird flew through the hide nearly knocking my nose off, I have no idea what it was!!! Pipits were feeding on the still colourful marsh.img_0705-pipit

We decided to have a snack at the visitor’s centre and it was whilst there that we heard of a Barred warbler on the West bank! Soup downed and we were off feeling very optimistic as we could see a group up on the bank and the news was they were seeing it well, phew! We were there in a matter of moments and along with the group watching a shrub where it had been showing. It was a very busy bush, a Robin, female Blackcap and a Stonechat were among the other birds sharing the shrub with the warbler.

Out it popped, in, out and in again! At least we could see it well although again getting pictures wasn’t good. By this time my head had improved but sadly it was still not as I would have liked it to be. Time for a cuppa at my favourite tea shop in North Norfolk also known as Janice and Chris’, thank you once again!

As we drank our tea the pager kept beeping with news from Wells wood. An Olive-backed pipit, Radde’s warbler and then Aquatic warbler! Much as I really wanted to be back home it seemed daft not to go for them, before we set out the Aquatic warbler was corrected to an Arctic warbler!!! Off we went with only an hour or so of light left. We hunted around The Dell which was alive with birds including lots of crests and at least one Yellow-browed warbler but no sign of the ones we were after. It wasn’t long before the rain arrived and it came with a vengeance so we turned tail and headed back to the car and set off for home.

So we were lucky earlier with the Dusky and Barred warblers but not so lucky later on. The lack of photos of the day are testament to how I was feeling and the fact that I hadn’t even put them on the computer till today (two days later) tells you how I have been feeling but thankfully this morning I woke feeling a whole lot better so come on birds I’m ready for you!

A much needed lift!

This has been a mixed week due partly to some slight disturbance in domestic harmony…enough said I think!

On Monday we went to Holme-next-the-sea and I was so excited as we were after a bird I really want to get this year! Now when I tell you about the bird you may be surprised as it is not much to look at, it is a Richard’s pipit. I have never seen one and as I was born a Richards I thought it would be good to add it to my life list on this special year.

We parked at Thornham, when we could find a spot not under water, and walked along the sea wall to Holme. On the way we saw a few waders enjoying the mud including this grey plover and Curlew.

On we went still hoping to see the pipit we had gone for. It had been seen on the land behind this piece of water and I must admit my optimism was fading slightly as I couldn’t imagine seeing it well enough to ID.

We met several people looking but no one had seen it. One couple we met were down for a few days from Yorkshire, their local patch, they told us, was Bempton…keep that in mind for later!

We had a good walk at Holme but no sign of the desired Richard’s pipit, so back we went to Thornham. We saw a Chinese water deer which was new for the year so we were chuffed with that. It was a lovely day so we were pleased to be out and about in spite of dipping the bird. Here are a few of the other birds at Thornham, Little egret, Black headed gull and a Spotted Redshank.

We nipped into Titchwell on the way home far a stroll and a cuppa. So that was Monday and I must confess I was disappointed but of course…you can’t win them all.

Tuesday’s highlight was going to Daniel and Matilda’s harvest festival, I love that sort of thing I was happy to be there for Daniel’s first at school and Matilda’s last at that school.

Now on to today, Wednesday and again we were off chasing a bird! This time it was way up in Yorkshire, to be precise Bempton which is why I mentioned the couple at Holme, I bet they wish they were home now. The bird in question is an Eastern Crowned Warbler and there have only been three accepted records in Britain before.

Once we knew that it been seen this morning we were off and the journey seemed longer than usual but that is the effect of heading for a tick! We arrived and it was clear where we needed to head for the bird and it wasn’t long before we saw it. A lovely little bird that seems to have palled up with a couple of Yellow-browed warblers, some Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs. Sadly no photo opportunity as each appearance the bird was on the move, it would land on a branch but in no time flat it was off again. No complaints though it was a lovely bird and we saw it well.

Bempton is a lovely place and I enjoyed a good walk along the top of the cliffs, seeing a field vole on the way. There are still lots of Gannets there but the other birds that breed there are gone, hopefully to return next spring.

Still a couple of youngsters were lurking on the cliffs with the adults. It was our first visit there this year and I am glad the warbler tempted us there.

Earlier in the morning an albatross had been spotted but we weren’t there for that! I think one life tick in a day is acceptable though. As I was walking back along the cliff path a warbler flew in off the sea into the scrub, of course I lost sight of it so I will never know wha tit was. The annoying thing is that soon after we left on our homeward journey a Greenish warbler was found, I wonder if that is what ‘my’ bird was!

So it has been a mixed week so far, I wonder what else it holds. Actually I know what tomorrow morning holds for me, a flu jab!!!

 

Autumn approaches

So another month has been and indeed gone! I have always had a fondness for October so maybe it will bring good things, who knows I may even be lucky enough to see the very rare Little owl! How I have managed to go nine months without seeing one is a mystery, but I have. Other years I have seen them regularly in our village, we even saw one in a tree in our garden once but not this year.

September has been a good month but nothing major to report on the sightings front. One event that I can’t let go unmentioned is that our grandson, Daniel, began school and what a good time he is having!

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We have only added two birds, Pectoral sandpiper and yellow-browed warbler but we have still enjoyed the hunt!

An early event in the month was my first sighting of a frog (I know, where have I been up to now?) closely followed by a toad, literally on our doorstep!

Insects have risen the most this month, largely because there hasn’t been much else to catch my eye! I have had a favourite though, this beautiful beetle. img_9552-rainbow-leaf-beetle

I had it miss-identified originally but it turns out to actually be a Rosemary-leaf beetle and is a bit of a thug, I’m glad I resisted the temptation to bring it home with me!!!

I have also learnt this month that a hoverfly isn’t simply a hoverfly there are very many different ones, here are a few I have seen in recent weeks.

We had a lovely visit with Alan and Judy and the weather was just about perfect, if anything it was a tad too hot! They arrived on an evening that had seen rain all day and left the day before the rain returned, but for there stay…not a drop.

Due to my back (I have moaned enough about that previously) my daily tally of steps on my Fitbit had sadly fallen, Alan and Judy’s visit got those steps up again. img_9513-us-at-castle-acre-priory

We also snuck a last minute visit in with Janice and Chris, an overnight stop with them at the very end of the month. That was mainly to check up on Chris as it had been his turn to miss-behave in the health department! We had a good time with them and were pleased to find Chris looking, though rather weary, not too far off his usual self.  Another reminder of our mortality but also another huge blessing that it had not been worse and we are all still here in more or less sound body and minds (I did say more or less!).

We spent several days in Bedfordshire on pet sitting duties which was very enjoyable. Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the bunnies but here is the rest of the gang.

We got out and about with several walks at RSPB The Lodge and also Danish Camp. We added Pygmy shrew to our mamal list which was a bonus and certainly saw plenty of sign that autumn is heading our way.

Ruth and Stu’s time away had gone well, it was centred around running a half-marthon in Euro Disney! I must be honest here, I feel we got the best end of the deal staying in their home looking after ‘their family’!!! roo

I mentioned a flower we saw growing and had wondered what it was.

img_0470-flowerThanks to both James and Christine for letting me know it is Himalayan Balsam which inspite of being an attractive plant is a pest! It spreads like wild fire mainly due to the fact that the seed heads explode and travel great distances.

We have continued to regularly see lots of dragonflies and a smaller number of damslelies too. I  think the one that pleased me most this month was the one that landed on Alan’s hat! We had seen lots of male banded demoisels but as far as I know this was the first female. I am sure I must have seen them but they are not so conspicuous as thier partners so I guess they simple eluded me.

img_9415-banded-demoiselle-fem

New moths have continued to appear but not in the numbers that we had last year which has been rather disappointing. I think it has been generally quieter year for them and not due to anything we have done differently. We have picked up some more micro moths this month and I suspect that is pretty much it for the year for them. I will pop a few pictures of some of the micros we have had this year, (not necessarily this month) mostly from our trap but some Peter has shared from his garden.

So another month gone and time to look at lists (or ignore them ) and see how the numbers have slowly grown. Most people that predicted my final tally have been knocked out as it now stands at 698 but there is still a fight on!

Bird List    244

  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. Western purple swamphen*
  77. Coot
  78. Common Crane
  79. Great bustard *
  80. Oystercatcher
  81. Black-winged Stilt
  82. Pied Avocet
  83. Stone-curlew
  84. Little ringed Plover
  85. Ringed Plover
  86. Dotterel
  87. European Golden Plover
  88. Grey Plover
  89. Lapwing
  90. Great Knot*
  91. Knot
  92. Sanderling
  93. Little Stint
  94. Temminck’s Stint
  95. Pectoral Sandpiper
  96. Curlew Sandpiper
  97. Purple Sandpiper
  98. Dunlin
  99. Broad-billed Sandpiper *
  100. Ruff
  101. Jack Snipe
  102. Common Snipe
  103. Long-billed Dowitcher *
  104. Woodcock
  105. Black-tailed Godwit
  106. Bar-tailed Godwit
  107. Whimbrel
  108. Curlew
  109. Spotted Redshank
  110. Common Redshank
  111. Common Greenshank
  112. Lesser Yellowlegs
  113. Green Sandpiper
  114. Wood Sandpiper
  115. Common Sandpiper
  116. Ruddy Turnstone
  117. Grey Phalarope
  118. Arctic Skua
  119. Mediterranean Gull
  120. Little Gull
  121. Black-headed Gull
  122. Common Gull
  123. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  124. Herring Gull
  125. Iceland Gull
  126. Glaucous Gull *
  127. Great Black-backed Gull
  128. Kittiwake
  129. Caspian Tern *
  130. Sandwich Tern
  131. Common Tern
  132. Arctic Tern
  133. Common Guillemot
  134. Razorbill
  135. Black Guillemot
  136. Puffin
  137. Rock Pigeon
  138. Stock Pigeon
  139. Wood Pigeon
  140. Collared Dove
  141. Turtle Dove
  142. Rose-ringed Parakeet *
  143. Cuckoo
  144. Barn Owl
  145. Tawny Owl
  146. Short-eared Owl
  147. Common Swift
  148. Common Kingfisher
  149. European Bee-eater *
  150. Hoopoe
  151. Wryneck
  152. Green Woodpecker
  153. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  154. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  155. Wood Lark
  156. Sky Lark
  157. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  158. Sand Martin
  159. Swallow
  160. Red-rumped Swallow *
  161. House Martin
  162. Tree Pipit
  163. Meadow Pipit
  164. Rock Pipit
  165. Water Pipit
  166. Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
  167. Grey Wagtail
  168. Pied Wagtail
  169. Dipper
  170. Wren
  171. Dunnock
  172. Robin
  173. Common Nightingale *
  174. Bluethroat*
  175. Black Redstart
  176. Common Redstart
  177. Whinchat
  178. Stonechat
  179. Wheatear
  180. Ring Ouzel
  181. Blackbird
  182. Fieldfare
  183. Song Thrush
  184. Redwing
  185. Mistle Thrush
  186. Cetti’s Warbler
  187. Grasshopper Warbler
  188. Sedge Warbler
  189. Eurasian Reed Warbler
  190. Great Reed Warbler*
  191. Dartford Warbler
  192. Lesser Whitethroat
  193. Whitethroat
  194. Blackcap
  195. Yellow-browed Warbler
  196. Wood Warbler
  197. Common Chiffchaff
  198. Willow Warbler
  199. Goldcrest
  200. Firecrest
  201. Spotted Flycatcher
  202. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  203. Pied Flycatcher
  204. Bearded Tit
  205. Long-tailed Tit
  206. Marsh Tit
  207. Willow Tit
  208. Crested Tit *
  209. Coal Tit
  210. Blue Tit
  211. Great Tit
  212. Nuthatch
  213. Treecreeper
  214. Penduline tit *
  215. Red-backed Shrike
  216. Great Grey Shrike
  217. Jay
  218. Magpie
  219. Jackdaw
  220. Rook
  221. Crow
  222. Hooded Crow
  223. Common Raven
  224. Starling
  225. House Sparrow
  226. Tree Sparrow
  227. Chaffinch
  228. Brambling
  229. Serin *
  230. Greenfinch
  231. Goldfinch
  232. Siskin
  233. Linnet
  234. Twite
  235. Lesser Redpoll
  236. Mealy Redpoll
  237. Bullfinch
  238. Hawfinch
  239. Lapland Longspur
  240. Snow Bunting
  241. Yellowhammer
  242. Cirl Bunting
  243. Reed Bunting
  244. Corn Bunting

Dragon and damselflies  17

Dragon flies

Golden banded dragonfly

Keeled skimmer

Migrant hawker

Black-winged skimmer

Scarce chaser

Common darter

Broad-bodied chaser

Southern hawker

Brown hawker

Ruddy darter

 

Damselflies

Azure damselfly

Common blue damselfly

Large red damselfly

Small red damselfly

Blue-tailed damselfly

Banded demoiselle

Beautiful demoiselle

Insects and other bits and bobs! 84

  1. Common Wasp
  2. Ladybird 7 spot
  3. Ladybird harlequin
  4. Lacewing green
  5. Lacewing brown
  6. Bloody nosed beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa)
  7. Red tailed Bumble bee
  8. White tailed Bumble bee
  9. Honey bee
  10. Hornet
  11. Garden snail
  12. Slug
  13. Wood ants
  14. Scottish wood ants
  15. Mining bees
  16. Froghopper
  17. Hawthorn shieldbug
  18. Two banded longhorn beetle
  19. Poplar leaf beetle
  20. Woodlouse
  21. Earwig
  22. Earth worm
  23. Wolf spider
  24. Green dock beetle
  25. Green leafhopper
  26. Bee fly
  27. Green sawfly
  28. Dark bush-cricket
  29. Pantallon bee
  30. Bee-wolf
  31. Daddy-long-legs spider
  32. Ophion obscratus (wasp)
  33. Cock chaffer
  34. House spider
  35. Money spider
  36. Zebra spider
  37. Green fly
  38. Black fly
  39. Red spider mite
  40. Red ant
  41. Helophilus pendulus (Sun (hover) fly)
  42. Dasysyrphus albostriatus (hover fly)
  43. Sphaerophoria scripta ( long hoverfly)
  44. Eupeodes luniger (hoverfly)
  45. Common field grasshopper
  46. Meadow grasshopper
  47. Mottled grasshopper
  48. Centipede
  49. Millipede
  50. Harvestman (Dicranopalpus ramopus)
  51. Common sexton beetle (Nicrophorus vespilloides)
  52. Black sexton beetle (Nicrophorus humator)
  53. Common green shieldbug
  54. Buff tailed bumble bee
  55. Southern oak bush cricket
  56. Pond skaters
  57. Water boatmen
  58. Caddisfly
  59. Bradycellus verbasci (moth trap invader!)
  60. Common green grasshopper
  61. Sitona Lepidus (small beetle)
  62. Nowickia ferox (fly)
  63. Tachina grossa (bee-face fly!)
  64. Sargus flavipes-( Yellow-legged Centurion)
  65. Common Carder Bumblebee
  66. Garden spider
  67. Red-legged shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes)
  68. Black Kneed Capsid (Blepharidopterus)
  69. Nigma walckenaeri (little green spider!)
  70. Ladybird 2 spot
  71. Birch shield bug
  72. Eupterx urticae (tiny nettle bug)
  73. Speckled bush-cricket
  74. Chrysolina cerealis ( Rainbow leaf beetle )
  75. Crane fly
  76. Box shield bug
  77. Grove snail
  78. Small black ant (Lasius niger)
  79. Large black ant (Formica fusca)
  80. Nemorilla floralis   (black and white fly)
  81. Devil’s coachhorse (Ocypus olens)
  82. Nursery spider (Pisaura mirabilis)
  83. Scorpian fly (Panorpa communis)
  84. Long-winged Conehead

Butterflies 24

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

Large heath

Small pearl-bordered fritillary

Green hairstreak

Painted lady

Ringlet

Large skipper

Large white

Gatekeeper

Small skipper

Comma

Grayling

Mammal list   23

  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. Common shrew
  21. Water vole
  22. Hedgehog
  23. Pygmy shrew

Reptiles & Amphibians 5 (not a lot but better than last month!)

  1. Grass snake
  2. Smooth newt
  3. Common frog
  4. Common toad
  5. Slow worm

Moths alphabetised  231

 

Angle shades

Barred sallow

Barred straw

Barred yellow

Beaded chestnut

Beautiful golden Y

Beautiful hook-tip

Black arches

Black rustic

Blackneck

Blair’s shoulder-knot

Blood-vein

Bordered beauty

Bordered pug

Broad-bordered yellow underwing

Bright-line brown-eye

Brimstone

Brindled beauty

Brindled pug

Brown rustic

Brown-line bright-eye

Brown-spot pinion

Brown-tail

Buff arches

Buff ermine

Buff tip

Burnished brass

Cabbage moth

Canary-shouldered thorn

Centre-barred sallow

Chestnut

Chinese character

Cinnabar

Clay

Clouded border

Clouded drab

Clouded silver

Clouded-bordered brindle

Coast dart

Common carpet

Common emerald

Common footman

Common marbled carpet

Common pug

Common Quaker

Common rustic

Common swift

Common wave

Common wainscot

Copper underwing

Coronet

Coxcomb prominent

Currant pug

Cypress pug

Dark arches

Dark-barred twin-spot carpet

Dark Spectacle

Dark spinach

Dark/grey dagger

Dewick’s plusia

Dingy footman

Dot moth

Dotted chestnut

Double square spot

Double-striped pug

Drinker

Dun-bar

Dusky brocade

Dusky sallow

Dusky thorn

Dwarf cream wave

Ear moth

Early grey

Early moth

Early thorn

Early toothed-stripe

Elephant hawkmoth

Emperor moth

Engrailed

Eyed hawkmoth

Fan-foot

Feathered gothic

Flame shoulder

Flounced rustic

Four-dotted footman

Foxglove pug

Frosted green

Frosted orange

Garden carpet

Garden tiger

Ghost moth

Great prominent

Green-brindled crescent

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

Knot-grass

Latticed heath

Large emerald

Large nutmeg

Large wainscot

Large yellow underwing

Least black arches

Least carpet

Least yellow underwing

Leopard moth

Lesser cream wave

Lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing

Lesser swallow prominent

Lesser yellow underwing

Light arches

Light brocade

Light emerald

Lilac beauty

Lime hawkmoth

Lime speck pug

Lobster moth

Lunar underwing

Lychnis

Maiden’s blush

Mallow

Map-winged swift

Marbled beauty

Marbled brown

Marbled minor

March moth

Marbled white spot

Miller (caterpillar)

Mottled beauty

Mottled pug

Mottled rustic

Mottled umber

Mouse moth

Muslin

Nutmeg

Nut-tree tussock

Oak beauty

Orange footman

Orange sallow

Orange Swift

Pale brindle beauty

Pale eggar

Pale mottled willow

Pale prominent

Pale tussock

Pale-shouldered brocade

Peach blossom

Pebble hook-tip

Peppered moth

Pine hawkmoth

Pink-barred sallow

Plain golden Y

Poplar grey

Poplar hawkmoth

Powdered Quaker

Purple bar

Red-line Quaker

Red twin-spot carpet

Riband wave

Rosy footman

Rosy rustic

Royal mantle

Ruby tiger

Rustic

Rustic shoulder-knot

Sallow

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

Six-striped rustic

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

Square-spot rustic

Straw dot

Straw underwing

Streamer

Swallow prominent

Swallow-tailed moth

Tawny speckled pug

The flame

Treble bar

Treble lines

Triple-spotted pug

Turnip moth

Uncertain

V moth

V Pug

Vapourer

Varied coronet

Vestal

Vine’s rustic

Waved umber

Webb’s wainscot

White ermine

White satin moth

White-point

Willow beauty

Winter moth

Yellow-barred brindle

Yellow shell

Yellow-tail

Micro moths 70

  1. Apple leaf miner (Lyonetia clerkella)
  2. Ash-bark Knot-horn (Euzophera pinguis)
  3. Barred marble (Celypha striana)
  4. Beautiful china-mark ( Nymphula nitdulata )
  5. Bee moth ( Aphomia sociella)
  6. Bird-cherry ermine ( Yponomeuta evonymella )
  7. Bordered carl (Coptotriche marginea)
  8. Brown china-mark ( Elophila nymphaeata)
  9. Brown house moth   (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)
  10. Chequered grass veneer ( Catopria falsella )
  11. Codling moth (Cydia pomonella)
  12. Common drill ( Dichrorampha petiverella )
  13. Common grey (Scoparia ambiguallis)
  14. Common marble ( Celypha lacunana )
  15. Common nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana)
  16. Common plume ( Emmelina monodactyla)
  17. Cyclamen tortrix ( Clepsis spectrana )
  18. Dawn flat-body (Semioscopis steinkellneriana)
  19. Diamond- back moth   (Plutella xylostella)
  20. Dingy dowd (Blastobasis adustella)
  21. Dotted oak knot-horn ( Phycita roborella)
  22. Double striped tabby ( Hypsopygia glaucinalis )
  23. Elbow stripe grass-veneer (Agriphila geniculea)
  24. Elder pearl (Anania coronate)
  25. Fenland pearl (Anania perlucidalis)
  26. Florida pink scavenger (Anatrachyntis badia)
  27. Garden grass-veneer   (Chrysoteuchia culmella)
  28. Garden pebble (Evergestis forficalis)
  29. Garden rose tortrix ( Acleris variegana )
  30. Golden argent (Argyresthia goedartella)
  31. Gold triangle ( Hypsopygia costalis )
  32. Grass-veneer (Crambus pascuella)
  33. Horsechestnut leaf miner (Cameraria ohridella)
  34. Large fruit-tree tortrix ( Archips podana)
  35. Large Ivy Tortrix   (Lozotaenia forsterana)
  36. Large tabby ( Aglossa pinguinalis)
  37. Light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana)
  38. Little grey (Eudonia lacustrara)
  39. London dowd ( Blastobasis lacticolella)
  40. Long-horned flat-body ( Carcina quercana )
  41. Many plumed moth (Aluctia hexadactyla)
  42. Maple slender (Caloptilia semifascia)
  43. Marbled orchard tortrix (Hedya nubiferana)
  44. March tubic (Diurnea fagella)
  45. Marbled piercer (Cydia splendana)
  46. Marsh dwarf (lachista alpinella)
  47. Meal moth (Pyralis farinalis)
  48. Mother of pearl ( Pleuroptya ruralis )
  49. Narrow winged grey ( Eudonia angustea)
  50. New oak slender ( Caloptilia robustella )
  51. Obscure agg. ( Oegoconia agg. )
  52. Ox-tongue conch ( Cochylis molliculana )
  53. Pale straw pearl ( Udea lutealis )
  54. Privet tortrix (Clepsis consimilana)
  55. Red-barred tortrix ( Ditula angustiorana )
  56. Ringed china-mark ( Parapoynx stratiotata )
  57. Rough-winged conch   (Phtheochroa rugosana)
  58. Rose tabby ( Endotricha flammealis )
  59. Rusty dot pearl (Udea ferugalis)
  60. Small grey ( Eudonia mercurella )
  61. Small magpie (Anania hortulata)
  62. Spindle ermine (Yponomeuta cagnaglla)
  63. Sulphur Tubic ( Esperia sulphurella)
  64. Triple-blotched bell (Notocelia trimaculana)
  65. White-bodied conch (Cochylis hypridella)
  66. White-faced tortix (Pandemis cinnamomeana)
  67. White-shouldered house moth ( Endrosis sarcitrella)
  68. White-headed Ermel (Paraswammerdamia alibicapitella)
  69. Yellow-faced bell (Notocella cynosbatella)
  70. Yellow-spot tortrix (Pseudargyotoza conwagana)

Why some of these lists insist of double spacing I really don’t know, it is most aggravating as it take up even more space than needed. I have tried retyping and all sorts but it makes no difference, sorry!

See you in October 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where pigeons, horses and angels trod

Another lovely day but again not a lot to report when it come to additions to our years list. We were pleased to get a call to say that Ruth and Stu had both completed their half marathon and were back at their hotel getting freshened up ready for a day at Disney, well done both of you!

We decided to go to Danish Camp for lunch and a good walk with Sprocket. We went late morning and first had a walk by the river, remembering the last time we had walked there. In March this path under the bridge had been flooded but not today on we went. A single swan and a small flock of geese were about the only birds we saw.

Dragonflies were dashing around but not many settled  although I did spot a couple taking the sun on a wooden railing.

The river was looking lovely but it was time to head for the café at Danish camp for a lovely light lunch then off for our second walk.

You may wonder why I have entitled this blog the way I have, well our afternoon walk may hold the answer!

When we were here earlier in the year we came upon a couple of old building that were owned by the National Trust but (not surprisingly) were closed so we could only see the outside. I had investigated and knew that today they would be open, in fact for the last time this season so we were lucky.

The first one we visited was The Dovecote, it is exactly what the name suggest but not the typical size, it is huge! It had been home to over 1,500 birds at any one time but now thankfully devoid of pigeons; we went in for a peep.

Next time you are feeling disenchanted with your job spare a thought for the people involved with the Dovecote. They collected the vast amount of bird droppings (that must have smelt so bad!) and it was used to make saltpetre which in turn was used in the making of gunpowder.

Next we visited the Stables which were just across the road, also far grander than the average! It seems both building were built, in the 16th century, to impress, of course they were functional but they were deliberately elaborate to show the wealth of the owner, Sir John Gostwick. His flag points rather nicely to his interests doesn’t it?

So we had walked where pigeons and horses had now that just leaves angels!

Next door to the stables is the village church and we had heard rumour that tea and cake was on offer as well as a short organ recital. Sounded a good place to take a rest half way through our walk.

Phone turned to silent I just hoped Sprocket wouldn’t decided to sing along to the music! He was, of course as quiet as a mouse although they were such nice people I suspect if he had joined in they would have been amused and not annoyed. The Music was very mixed and I am sure one piece was the theme tune of  Monty Python!

Time for our return walk and more signs of approaching autumn. This fungus was tiny and very pretty, as were the Rosehips and the Hawthorn all along the path was heavy with ripe berries. All food for wildlife I am certain.

Home we went ready for another lazy evening!