Yesterday was a nice day, but despite the temptation of the Bridled Tern on the Farnes, Colin and I headed south.
We first visited Noar Hill, arriving fairly early, but even then the heat was building. As on the last visit, we parked at the west end, walked up the narrow track and into the quarry. Not long after leaving the car, a Fritillary flew past-I assumed Dark Green, but we never found it again. As expected, the entire site was carpeted in Pyramidal, Common Spotted and Common Fragrant orchids, though many of the latter were going over. We headed up to the top where we had seen Musk orchids before but they proved elusive and it was a long hard search before the first were found. The Frogs were even harder and someone else had to point out the first one for us. We reckon on seeing around 15 Musk and 10 Frog spikes in total. Other distractions included some impressive Knapweed Broorape spikes, single Green Hairstreak and Dingy Skippers, a few Large Skippers, Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths and more fritillaries. One of the latter settled while we were talking to another visitor and it became clear that my assumption of Dark Green was correct.
We then went to Thursley Common, arriving late morning. Luckily it was still pretty quiet around the moat and we were able to search for dragonflies in peace. Hoards of Common Blues Red Eyes and Azures around the sunny spots, some Four Spotted Chasers and several Emerald Dragonflies. Three or four proved to be Downy, but one was Brilliant-my first since I saw one with Sarah and Ed in Scotland.
The walk south along the boardwalk produced many more dragonflies-Keeled Skimmers, more Four Spotted, one Emperor, and hoards of Blue, Large red and Small Red Damselflies.
Lots of Lizards sunning themselves as well.
The woods at the base of the hill held a few birds-a singing Cuckoo being mobbed by a Pipit, several Tree Pipits, Spotted Flycatchers and a nice male Redstart.
Having pretty much seen all that we had expected, we had a nice drive east to Ashdown Forest. The Short Toed Eagle had been pretty reliable here at Gills Lap for the last week, and there have been some amazing images of it hunting snakes posted on line. Unfortunately we got to the car park and discovered it was showing a bit further south so we headed off and joined a rather large crowd. It was sitting on top of a small tree some distance away, though with the somewhat cooler conditions the views were rather better than what I had at Morden Bog earlier this month. Apart from moving it's head occasionally it did not do much. Colin did at least get some good images. I had hoped that there might be other birds worth searching for, but a chat with a local birder was not helpful so we headed home.