With the sun shining , I set off to do the butterfly transect at High Elms . Right from the very start , it was obvious that numbers were going to be low , but with a freshening wind and clouds being blown in as well , I wasn't expecting the almost drought that followed . I did however record the first Meadow Brown of the year on this transect , and managed to get a shot of the very dapper male . A very fresh couple of Large Skippers , both males and a very small Small Copper , waving about on the end of a grass seed head , together with a few Common Blues , saw me at the halfway mark wondering what I was doing there ? 3 Speckled Woods , 2 Green Hairstreaks , now starting to look very 'ungreen' having lost most of the green scales from their underwings , one very 'dingy' Dingy Skippers , and Common Blues finishing with a count of 35 , meant that over the two hours transect , 45 butterflies from 7 species , were all that were recorded . A few Orchids on the way around , kept some interest going , especially finding the first Bee Orchid of the year on Burnt Gorse . The Fly Orchids are starting to go over now that the Common Spotted are coming into flower , no sign of Greater Butterfly Orchid on the Orchid Bank this year , but with a total count of 47 Birds Nest Orchids on site , 3 more found today , and 57 White Helleborines in flower , with more to come , things look pretty good .
On the way home , I stopped off at the Farm Lake which was even more affected by the wind , keeping much of the Odonata sheltering in the surrounding trees . Of course there was always the exception to the rule , like this male Black Tailed Skimmer . A patch of purple amongst the vegetation caught my eye , and on checking it out , it turned out to be a Southern Marsh Orchid -Dactylorhiza incarnata , sub species pulchella . I have never found this species on site before , but as most of the ground that retains the lake was brought in , anything could appear . With lower water level in the lake and soft mud on the banks , I wasn't surprised to find Deer prints . The damp margins are also alive with frog/toadlets , in places the ground seemed to be moving en masse . Only other interest was A Grey Heron on the far bank when I arrived , looking very 'full' , and finding difficulty to lift off when I got too close , and a Yellowhammer in song for the whole of the visit .
Although it was a family affair yesterday , we did spend some time down by the River Nene just outside Peterborough , and consequently I did get a couple of shots . A very friendly Common Whitethroat , they seem to be everywhere this year , and a Common Turn that patrolled the bankside constantly while we were there .
And finally , whilst processing the shots from Ranscombe Farm on Saturday , I noticed that the Common Buzzard that was being mobbed by the Corvid , had a very full crop . I would have expected it to carry food in it's talons .
Dormouse/Reptile survey up on the Greensand Ridge tomorrow .
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