This afternoon, myself, Tony (Chai Wallah) Smith and Jared (Bellamy) Tibbets went for a spot of butterflying in the Wyre Forest.
The first location we visited was the rides that surround the perimeter of the 'not so secret' rocket test facility near Button Oak. The weather conditions were ideal and many Adela Reaumurella long-horned moths swarming around the tree tops. These were not the only day flying moths we encountered with
a few Speckled Yellow and a single Mother Shipton seen on this leg of the walk.
It wasn't long before we encountered the star of the show (and the reason for visiting this area) - Grizzled Skipper. This tiny butterfly was a lifer for me and in total we saw 5 Grizzled Skipper on the walk...result. We also enccountered 7 of another of the forest's specialities - Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Other butterflies seen on this walk were Peacock, Speckled Wood, Green-veined White, Small White and Large White.
Also of interest was the Green Tiger Beetles that were zipping about on the sandy exposed patches on the rides. In terms of bird life we saw two Common Buzzards having a tussle and heard many Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Garden Warblers and Blackcaps.
We then drove to another part of the Forest to undertake a second walk. We walked the disused railway to Lodge Hill Farm then went through the Orchard and across the clearing to rejoin the line on the way back. During this circuit we recorded no less than 24 Pearl-boredered Fritillaries and 2 Dingy Skippers. One of which was showing quite well in usual moth like fashion in the orchard. We also added 4 Brimstones to the day's list.
In terms of birds the highlight was probably the drake Mandarin Duck that was perched on a log in the small pool just past the orchard. We also had cracking views a Wood Warbler along the line and a Raven flew over. In the clearing we flushed 4 Tree Pipits from that were feeding on the ground in the bracken covered areas. Another was singing and parachuting too and from one of the nearby tall trees.
The final highlight of the day was a Slow Worm that was on the embankment at the side of the railway line. If you look closely at the below photo you can see his head (about central as he is curved back on his self).
All in all it was an enjoyable day out. A big thanks goes out to Jared who shared some of his botanical knowledge with us. I think I can now identify Yellow Archangel and Milkwort and as for Spurge..well I dont think I will ever think of that word in the same light!
Grizzled Skipper - Wyre Forest, 27th April 2011:
Pearl-bordered Fritillary - Wyre Forest, 27th April 2011:
Peacock - Wyre Forest, 27th April 2011:
Green Tiger Beetles mating - Wyre Forest, 27th April 2011:
Slow Worm - Wyre Forest, 27th April 2011: