Monday, 29 May 2017

Another Bank Holiday

Havent written anything here since the beginning of the month, largely because I haven't done much with a wildlife focus.
A couple of weekends ago, Colin and I decided to have a butterfly day out, heading down to Hampshire (Noar Hill, Bentley Wood etc) to try and catch up with a few early flying species. The weather forecast was a bit uncertain, but we expected to have reasonable conditions. Got down to Noar Hill around 9.30 to find it cool and rather windy. The Early Purple orchids looked ok, though some were past it, and a few Twayblades were emerging, the Common Spotted buds weer still to emerge. Thinking that the very dry winter may have had some impact. We didn't see any other species, but didn't go to the White Helleborine spot. Butterflies consisted of one species-a single Dingy Skipper roosting on a post, nothing else in nearly an hour, and the guy I met who had been here even longer hadn't seen anything else.
We gave up and I used my RHS membership to get into the Wisley Gardens where we spent the rest of the day photographing the plants.
Some time after this I had started to get vision affecting migraine spells which aggravated my endocrine problems so I didn't get round to doing much at all. Getting through a day at work was hard enough, and the best I could manage was twenty minutes or so pottering in the garden. Missed some good birds at Amwell and Rye Meads during this period.

This brings me up to this Bank Holiday weekend, which started as usual for me on the Thursday and a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. I managed to get the earlier train and arrived ten minutes before the gates opened. The queue starched back onto the road, and thanks to the atrocity at Manchester earlier in the week, the security had been really stepped up.
Had a great time as usual despite the somewhat lower number of big show gardens, but the heat was really sapping. Even at 830, having looked at the artisan gardens in the shaded side I was cooking and it remained that way all day. Just imagine the humidity in the huge marquee...
I took over 360 photos over the course of the day, eventually a selection will appear on Flickr.
For now, the highlight for me and many others.

I spent Friday recuperating and working in the garden. Noticed a couple of Damselflies in and around the pond-at least one Large Red and a female Azure. The reworking of the pond last autumn is starting to pay dividends.
Saturday I took Mum over to Sarah and Ed's. Unfortunately I didn't check my emails before I left so the first thing they mentioned when we arrived was the Turtle Dove in the garden. This was at 6.30, and flew off never to be seen again, though naturally I spent a great deal of time staked out by the window in hope. They have a pair of visiting Bullfinches too. Also two Painted Ladies put in an appearance while I was in the garden, along with Brimstone, Holly Blue, Small and Green Veined White and a Red Admiral. Puts my singles of Holly Blue and Red Admiral over the previous week in the shade.

Today (Monday) I spent a few hours at Amwell. after some heavy rain overnight it was rather muggy, but we hardly saw the sun which was rather disappointing as I and one or two others had gone down specifically for the dragonflies. Blue Damsels were well represented, with large numbers of Blue Tails, Red Eyed, and some Azure and Common Blues. Had a couple of Banded Demoiselles, but the only larger species were three Hairy Dragonflies.
Only three butterflies in total-singles of Speckled Wood Red Admiral and Common Blue. Very little to say about the birds, its that time of year with breeding in full swing and everything is starting to get a bit quiet.
The orchids looked nice.

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