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!
Where to go for a walk on Monday, that was the question. We thought about returning to the Lodge but we wanted to take Sprocket and we were rather restricted there. So I suggested we returned to Danish Camp and do one of the other walks from there, off we went. Just as we were approaching Ian remembered they were shut on Mondays…oops! Oh well plan B. We parked at The Dovecote which was just as convienient for the walk we had in mind.
Off we set along our chosen path when the rain began, not heavy but the sky looked threatening. So we turned back and with the rain stopping walked another pathway but keeping us near to the car should the skies open again.
We were heading back to the car when we stopped to look at a map of the site. I hadn’t realised there were ponds there and Ian said had we kept going along our first path we would have seen them. We could have walked between two lakes and then along by the river which leads to Danish Camp (no lunch there today!) so in a mad moment I suggested we did that walk anyway.
Off we trekked and what a lovely time we three had, the rain kindly staying away. The lakes had been the appeal but in fact you hardly see them! It is obviously a place favoured by fishermen as at any gap in the shrubbery you could see umbrellas with fishing poles sticking out from them, it seemed safe to assume that fishermen were there too! We were amused by this blind that had been put presumably to help people look through at birds on the lake but sadly it was a tad overgrown!
We saw, in the distance some Barnacle geese, when we were here earlier in the year there were loads on the then flooded fields. As we neared the water we saw geese in flight, not Barnacles but Greylags. When we could see through to the lake the geese had altered again, by then they were Canada Geese. Very changeable geese they have in Bedfordshire!!!
We saw quite a lot of these flowers on our walk and I had thought they were wild orchids. I have tried to look them up but my knowledge of wild flowers is less than that of insect so you will see I am hopeless! I couldn’t find them and the more I looked the more the leaves looked wrong for orchids, do you have any idea what they are?
The plant is Himalayan Balsam (Thank you James and for fungus Ids)
At least I had no problem hitting my Fitbit step target! We arrived back at the car and it is definitely a walk I would enjoy doing again, I must remember next time we visit Roo and Stu.
Later that evening the wanders returned having sucessfully completed the inaugaral half marathon, in character dress, at Euro Disney and had plenty of fun there too. Feeling very proud of the pair of them, they have come al long way this past two or three years. I think it is fair to say that pets and owners were all happy to be reunited although they did okay with the subs for a few days!
Tuesday morning and it was time for us to leave. Before coming away I had contacted Rosie, the person I was told moth trapped at The Lodge. My email had recieved the reply that she was out of the office till Monday so we thought that was the end of it. She did however reply on Monday saying they were trapping that night so we arranged to meet over there first thing.
It is a lovely setting although we did learn that the building has floodlights on it all night which migh have been part of the cause of hardly any moths being present, nothing new for us.
We headed off to walk one of the routes we had not yet done this visit, but first poopped into the hide where this woodpecker made a very brief appearance.
As we headed off we could hear the sound of chainsaws so assumed there was logging going on. We had a lovely walk and the weather brightened up as we went along.
When we were nearly back to the main path and therefore our car, a notice said we couldn’t go that way and to ‘find another path’. Now if you know the site well that may be easy but we didn’t! We could have turned round and retraced our steps but that would have involved a much longer walk than planned includeing trudging up a somewhat steep hill! Instead we decided to follow a sign to The Old heath and hope that led us back. It was a lovely walk and did lead us back but not back to the car! Instead we found oursleves at the end of the briddle path we had been on with Sprocket the other day, hey ho on we trekked.
Sharp eyed Ian ( good to have a nickname don’t you think?) spotted something move and thankfully directed my gaze to the right place. It was a Pygmy shrew, now you will just have to take my word for it, it is under this log!
I stood, camera pointed, hoping it would come out again. It did but of course not in the same place, it must have gone through a tunnel as it appeared again some way back from the log.
The only other time I remember seeing one was in our living room! One of our pesky cats had caught it, brought it in and it had escaped. It gave us the run around for a while but it was eventually caught and relaeased, apparently unharmed to run free again.
So although the detour added quite a bit to our walk we did get a tick for the year and a lovely sighting it was.
I am always drawn to taking pictures of fungi and I suppose I really should try to ID it one day but with one the RSPB have done it for me! The other one intrigued me as it looked like it had exploded from within this fallen Silver birch ( now identified as Birch polypore )
TIme for a quick coffee back at the shop/reception and a chance to suggest that when they close paths they might put a notice to that effect at the start of the trail!
A thankfully uneventful journey home and time to see how our garden fungus is doing. Coming on nicely don’t you think? I promised the girls I would leave it for them to see how big it might grow.
All well at the house, the workmen have completted their task and left although as yet the scafolders haven’t returned to clear away. More leaves have fallen in our absence and strangly no one has mysteriously been round and weeded or cleared the garden, oh well a girl can dream can’t she?
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.
This morning we had hoped to be busy sorting moths from the trap but in fact we only had three Lunar underwings and one Garden carpet plus two micros both light brown Apple moths. So needless to say that didn’t exactly fill our morning!
I took a stroll into town to see what I could find, not a lot but then I didn’t need anything really!
This afternoon was a much better affair as we decided to take Sprocket for a walk at The Lodge. Yesterday we had been there pursuing birds and bugs but today we had to stick to the road through and the bridle path as clearly marked.
There is a definite hint of Autumn and a carpet of leaves added to a very pleasant walk. We only met a few people, some cyclist, some runners and one family walking their two miniature schnauzers! Both sweet dogs, one only four and a half months old, but neither a patch on Sprocket.
Time for a quick game of ‘who’s the King of the castle’!
If we had walked with our eyes closed we would hardly have seen less birds or insects! One moth flew by but quickly out of sight apart from that we did see a small tit flock high in some trees.
It was whilst looking for birds that one of us went barking mad! Was it Sprocket? No I must confess I am the guilty one! My barking was quieter than if it had been Sprocket, I was just so taken with the variety that trees have to offer.
Down the bridle path we went through gates and over a rather old bridge when we found ourselves in a lovely open field, free from animals and other people and away from the reserve so Sprocket could have a free run.
He was so good, returning each time he was called and never straying too far. Time to go back on his lead before starting our homeward journey.
This squirrel made an appearance when we were nearly back to the car. Sprocket didn’t take all that much notice until it ran off and then his interest was really sparked!
I couldn’t be sure what the squirrel had in his mouth but it may have been one of the many acorns growing near by.
When we got home it was time to start thinking about food, we made our choice from the hearty supply that had been left in the fridge and freezer! Whilst ours was cooking tea for bunnies, cats and dog was prepared and we are now all settled down for a lazy evening.
I am looking forward to hearing how the run goes tomorrow and to seeing photos!
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!
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.
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!
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!
In 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!
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.