I spent about 1 1/2 hours scanning and listening along Witch Lane when suddenly I picked up a fem/imm. Marsh Harrier flying South over the large cereal field opposite. How do I know it was a Marsh Harrier you may ask...well the the lovely creamy/buff coloured head was a bit of a give away. The bird also had an all dark chocolate brown coloured body and fairly long tail. I couldn't determine whether this bird was a female or immature as, at this distance it was difficult to discern if the leading edge of the birds wings were noticeably lighter. I was absolutely chuffed with this sighting as it is a patch lifer for me!
This is the 3rd Marsh Harrier recorded on the patch with a male being seen on 11th October 2010 over Stanklyn Lane (TMH & AW) and a fem/imm. on 27th April 2011 (MS). It is possible that this bird is a failed breeder or may even be summering somewhere in North Worcestershire as Marsh Harriers are now increasingly moving into arable areas and nesting in Maize and Rape fields. Who knows but I'm glad I was there at that time to pick it up.
Also along Witch Lane were large numbers of Swifts (c.80) and on the nettles along the lane there had been a mass hatching of Peacock butterfly larvae (there were literally hundereds of them). Ive taken a short video showing them on just one nettle and there were about 6 more nettles here that were like this. Also seen in this area was a Small Tortoiseshell and a Small White.
On the way back I stopped of at Heath Lane paddock where along the verge there was an Orange Tip larvae and good numbers of 2-spot, 7-spot and (unfortunately) Harlequin Ladybirds.
Orange Tip larvae: