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!
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!
Time for a bit of froliking in the dunes, Alice and Matilda certainly enjoyed themselves!
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. We 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!
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.
A very large number of gulls flew over what was a now rather pretty sky, this is a small section of them.
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…
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.
After the excitement of our Yorkshire/Lincolnshire trip it was time to calm down!
Monday was due to be bright and sunny and there had been a few things reported up on the coast over the weekend that we still need. So with the washing done over night there was just time to hang it out quickly before we were heading for Cley. A Cattle egret had been reported first thing and although there were some in Norfolk early in the year we didn’t connect with any of them. Sadly there was no word or sight of it at Cley although it had been seen briefly just along the coast.
Nothing very exciting to see there but at least the cows have moved on!
We had looked in Wells wood last week for an Olive-backed pipit (OBP) and warblers but no luck. The OBP was still being reported so we spent the morning looking but again no luck! There were plenty of people there searching but only one person saw it whilst we were there. See it doesn’t always go our way but it is still fun! The woods are just behind the beach so I had to take a quick peek!
There was plenty of fungi but very little bird life there at all, we did see several Goldcrests though.
Time to make the decision of where to go to eat our late lunch which we had brought with us. We had a few ideas but decided to go to Blakeney as that was one of the places that the Cattle egret had been spotted earlier. So a quick lunch then out for a walk not expecting a great deal but it was a beautiful day so for sure the walk would be enjoyable.
As I walked along the sea wall I was checking out all the egrets that I could see, no luck all Little ones. But then what were the chaps ahead of me studying in a field? As I approached and asked, hooray, it was the Cattle egret.
Here comes the blog title; the two fellas that were there asked if I would like to see through one of their scopes. Well of course I would but I was too short to reach ! No hesitation, they adjusted the height and I was very soon looking at the Cattle egret. Within moments it took to flight and was away, who knows how far it went? Not me! In conversation I learnt that the gentlemen came from East Dereham and if anyone knows them, please pass on my thanks!
No photo of the bird I’m afraid but this is where it was, living up to it’s name, in with the cows. Time to return home but very pleased to have got a year tick especially as it brings our bird tally to 250! I am, too say the least happy with that and don’t forget, the years hasn’t ended yet!
At a time when the birds are picking up again the moths are slowing down, in fact the other night we got none at all, that doesn’t happen often!
Here are a couple of recent sightings though. A November moth made a slightly early appearance, and this Juniper carpet was a new one to us!
Yellow line quakers seem to come in two varieties, one with spots and one without!
The bug is a Dock bug, it was a tad camera shy, every time I tried to take a head on shot it turned tale and scarpered!
Today has been mostly wet so I have been busy sorting some pictures, what tomorrow will bring I know not, but when I do you can be assured I will be telling you!
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.
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.
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!
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!!!
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!
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.
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.
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’!!!
I mentioned a flower we saw growing and had wondered what it was.
Thanks 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.
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
Ferruginous Duck *
Hooded merganser *
Great Crested Grebe
Red-necked Grebe *
Pallid Harrier *
Western purple swamphen*
Great bustard *
Little ringed Plover
European Golden Plover
Broad-billed Sandpiper *
Long-billed Dowitcher *
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull *
Great Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern *
Rose-ringed Parakeet *
European Bee-eater *
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Shore Lark (horned lark)
Red-rumped Swallow *
Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
Common Nightingale *
Eurasian Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler*
Crested Tit *
Penduline tit *
Great Grey Shrike
Dragon and damselflies 17
Golden banded dragonfly
Common blue damselfly
Large red damselfly
Small red damselfly
Insects and other bits and bobs! 84
Ladybird 7 spot
Bloody nosed beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa)
Red tailed Bumble bee
White tailed Bumble bee
Scottish wood ants
Two banded longhorn beetle
Poplar leaf beetle
Green dock beetle
Ophion obscratus (wasp)
Red spider mite
Helophilus pendulus (Sun (hover) fly)
Dasysyrphus albostriatus (hover fly)
Sphaerophoria scripta ( long hoverfly)
Eupeodes luniger (hoverfly)
Common field grasshopper
Harvestman (Dicranopalpus ramopus)
Common sexton beetle (Nicrophorus vespilloides)
Black sexton beetle (Nicrophorus humator)
Common green shieldbug
Buff tailed bumble bee
Southern oak bush cricket
Bradycellus verbasci (moth trap invader!)
Common green grasshopper
Sitona Lepidus (small beetle)
Nowickia ferox (fly)
Tachina grossa (bee-face fly!)
Sargus flavipes-( Yellow-legged Centurion)
Common Carder Bumblebee
Red-legged shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes)
Black Kneed Capsid (Blepharidopterus)
Nigma walckenaeri (little green spider!)
Ladybird 2 spot
Birch shield bug
Eupterx urticae (tiny nettle bug)
Chrysolina cerealis ( Rainbow leaf beetle )
Box shield bug
Small black ant (Lasius niger)
Large black ant (Formica fusca)
Nemorilla floralis (black and white fly)
Devil’s coachhorse (Ocypus olens)
Nursery spider (Pisaura mirabilis)
Scorpian fly (Panorpa communis)
Dark green fritillary
Small pearl-bordered fritillary
Mammal list 23
Reptiles & Amphibians 5 (not a lot but better than last month!)
Moths alphabetised 231
Beautiful golden Y
Broad-bordered yellow underwing
Common marbled carpet
Dark-barred twin-spot carpet
Double square spot
Dwarf cream wave
Grey pine carpet
Heart and club
Heart and dart
Large yellow underwing
Least black arches
Least yellow underwing
Lesser cream wave
Lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing
Lesser swallow prominent
Lesser yellow underwing
Lime speck pug
Marbled white spot
Pale brindle beauty
Pale mottled willow
Plain golden Y
Red twin-spot carpet
Setaceous Hebrew character
Small angle shades
Small brindled beauty
Small dusty wave
Small fan-footed wave
Small yellow wave
Tawny speckled pug
White satin moth
Micro moths 70
Apple leaf miner (Lyonetia clerkella)
Ash-bark Knot-horn (Euzophera pinguis)
Barred marble (Celypha striana)
Beautiful china-mark ( Nymphula nitdulata )
Bee moth ( Aphomia sociella)
Bird-cherry ermine ( Yponomeuta evonymella )
Bordered carl (Coptotriche marginea)
Brown china-mark ( Elophila nymphaeata)
Brown house moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)
Chequered grass veneer ( Catopria falsella )
Codling moth (Cydia pomonella)
Common drill ( Dichrorampha petiverella )
Common grey (Scoparia ambiguallis)
Common marble ( Celypha lacunana )
Common nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana)
Common plume ( Emmelina monodactyla)
Cyclamen tortrix ( Clepsis spectrana )
Dawn flat-body (Semioscopis steinkellneriana)
Diamond- back moth (Plutella xylostella)
Dingy dowd (Blastobasis adustella)
Dotted oak knot-horn ( Phycita roborella)
Double striped tabby ( Hypsopygia glaucinalis )
Elbow stripe grass-veneer (Agriphila geniculea)
Elder pearl (Anania coronate)
Fenland pearl (Anania perlucidalis)
Florida pink scavenger (Anatrachyntis badia)
Garden grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella)
Garden pebble (Evergestis forficalis)
Garden rose tortrix ( Acleris variegana )
Golden argent (Argyresthia goedartella)
Gold triangle ( Hypsopygia costalis )
Grass-veneer (Crambus pascuella)
Horsechestnut leaf miner (Cameraria ohridella)
Large fruit-tree tortrix ( Archips podana)
Large Ivy Tortrix (Lozotaenia forsterana)
Large tabby ( Aglossa pinguinalis)
Light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana)
Little grey (Eudonia lacustrara)
London dowd ( Blastobasis lacticolella)
Long-horned flat-body ( Carcina quercana )
Many plumed moth (Aluctia hexadactyla)
Maple slender (Caloptilia semifascia)
Marbled orchard tortrix (Hedya nubiferana)
March tubic (Diurnea fagella)
Marbled piercer (Cydia splendana)
Marsh dwarf (lachista alpinella)
Meal moth (Pyralis farinalis)
Mother of pearl ( Pleuroptya ruralis )
Narrow winged grey ( Eudonia angustea)
New oak slender ( Caloptilia robustella )
Obscure agg. ( Oegoconia agg. )
Ox-tongue conch ( Cochylis molliculana )
Pale straw pearl ( Udea lutealis )
Privet tortrix (Clepsis consimilana)
Red-barred tortrix ( Ditula angustiorana )
Ringed china-mark ( Parapoynx stratiotata )
Rough-winged conch (Phtheochroa rugosana)
Rose tabby ( Endotricha flammealis )
Rusty dot pearl (Udea ferugalis)
Small grey ( Eudonia mercurella )
Small magpie (Anania hortulata)
Spindle ermine (Yponomeuta cagnaglla)
Sulphur Tubic ( Esperia sulphurella)
Triple-blotched bell (Notocelia trimaculana)
White-bodied conch (Cochylis hypridella)
White-faced tortix (Pandemis cinnamomeana)
White-shouldered house moth ( Endrosis sarcitrella)
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!
I am sitting enjoying some late summer sunshine and what gorgeous days we have been enjoying. Before I tell you about some visitors that came to stay I would love tell you about last Thursday when Peter and family came to tea. I opened the door and was greeted by Alice and Matilda standing close to each other with cheery smiles upon their faces. As they separated I saw why, there was little Daniel in his school uniform, it was his first week in reception class.
All was going well, he was enjoying school and I am certain school will have been enjoying him…long may it last!
I skip now quickly past Friday, (most of which was spent power hosing the garden patio and stones) past Saturday (rain, rain and more rain) too much later Saturday evening when our visitors arrived. My brother and sister-in-law, Alan and Judy. Only time really for some quick catching up before we were all turning in for the night ready for what promised to be sunny Sunday.
The weather forecast did not lie, it was a beautiful day, hot and sunny all day. We had decided to go up to Cley-next-the-sea and we parked in the main car park.We walked to the East bank and right along it ending up at the sea. There was no shortage of butterflies, mostly white and Tortoiseshells, also pleanty of hoverflies.
The colours along the way were just beautiful and although there were not a great many birds what we saw we appreciated.
Back to the visitors centre where we stopped for lunch out on the raised patio still enjoying the beautiful September weather. We decided to head to Blakeney next where we walked along the sea wall, a beautiful Wheatear dropped by.
Not sure what this little building was or is but it certainly is in a smashing location.
By now the heat was telling us it was time to head off, not for home but to Janice and Chris’ for a very welcome BBQ, all in all an excellent day!
Monday morning and we were having a visit from the tree surgeons, as promised they arrived at 8 am and got straight on with the job. A couple of hours later and trees were down or lopped, logs where cut and they were off leaving us with the rest of the day free. Moths and the hot tub called so we were all getting on with what ever we chose. This Speckled bush-cricket was found not in but near to the moth trap.
After an early lunch we headed straight out to Lynford water and the arboretum. We saw butterflies. including this small copper butterfly, dragon and damselflies
and I was particularly pleased with this one that landed on Alan’s hat!
A female demoisel, we have seen lots of the males this year but this was the first female we have been aware of. The real treat of the day was seeing a slow-worm, it was anything butslow as it slithered off the path just in front of us but no chance of a picture.
This morning we set off for Castle acre priory, the first time Alan and Judy had been there and it is fair to say they were impressed. It really is an excellent place, (looked after by English Heritage), there are still plenty of remains to explore.
Also lovely grounds which provide shelter for all sorts of wildlife, including this tortoishell butterfly almost hidden in the dry leaves and this Buzzard out in the open for all to see!
Having just recently started a very small herb garden I love to see the very established one at the priory.
Whilst looking around it we found several interesting little creatures! These included several garden spiders, a Silver Y moth and a Speckled wood butterfly.
But I made my best find whilst looking at the Silver Y, deeper down in the lavender plant I found this little beauty!
It is a Chrysolina Americana or a Rosemary leaf beetle which may be a little easy to pronounce and remember! It is about the size of a Ladybird and really is a stunner although I read that it is a pest!
Time to leave the priory and head home for lunch before saying goodbye to Judy. Other comitments mean she must head home but Alan is staying on for another couple of days to see how many more moths we can find him, he has had over 20 new ones so far since he arrived! If we are really fortunate we might even find some birds.
When the heat of the day has passed we may head out for a stroll locally and see what is lurking in the churchyard, but for now it is time to realx with a refreshing drink!
Before I tell about my trip to Bedfordshire I must tell you about a fabulous visitor that came right into our garden. Ian spotted it first, high in the trees a small warbler, could it be what we were both sure it was, a Yellow-browed warbler? I grabbed my binoculars (I wish I had reached for the camera instead) to take a closer look before it flew from sight never to be seen again. We checked in Collins and yes we were convinced it was indeed a Yellow-browed warbler. There have been lots up on the coast but it was a real surprise to have one come to visit us!
The next few days were spent watching men work!
They had almost finished when we left yesterday so hopefully by now it is all done then we just need the scaffolding to go.
We were off to spend a few days at Roo and Stu’s and the visit began with a lovely meal out at a new Italian that had opened near to them. Yummy it was and we didn’t even have to do the washing up, thank you R & S. The reason for this visit is to take care of their pets whilst they go to Euro Disney to run a half marathon, I think we got the best side of the deal!
Off they went early this morning and after feeding the pets and walking Sprocket it was time to venture out. We had a lovely walk at The Lodge, the head-quarters of the R S P B. It is a lovely place and we had a really good time although birds were in short supply. We did watch a pair of Nuthatches as they flew in to the feeders.
An opportunist squirrel was enjoying the feeding area too!
We walked around parts of The Lodge we had never seen before and may well return another day. We are now well into the ninth month and we still haven’t seen a Little owl, we did see a Large owl today, do you think we could count that instead? He is sculpted from one very large piece of wood by Patrick Brown.
We visited the formal gardens and large pool in it and did see some dragonflies but no new ones. We also saw some rather large fish that kept coming p to the surface and even popping their heads out! I rather liked he topiary Avocet.
On our walk we spotted a few insects, although not as many as I expected on a beautifully sunny day. This really vibrant Long-winged Conehead (I had thought it was a grasshopper but thank you James for the ID ) and a Scorpion fly were a couple that allowed me to photograph them.
We didn’t see a lot of butterflies but there were quite a few Small coppers and this Small white.
We certainly enjoyed our walk but the time had come to return to Sprocket for a late lunch!