This morning I was all geared up to attend a course run by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust on grasshopper and cricket id when a bit of bad luck occurred. I got in my car, started the engine and was about to put it into 1st gear when the gear stick detached from the gearbox...great :-(
I then managed to contact Harry Green who was running the course to let him know of my woes and contacted the garage to get it booked in (Tuesday am). This wasn't the best start Ive had to a weekend!
I knew that fellow birder/wildlife blogger Mark P would be going out and about this morning so I phoned him up and cheekily asked if I could tag along. He kindly said yes...which helped my sanity, at least I would get some fresh air and wildlife after all.
We headed over to Monkwood NR for a walk, with Purple Hairstreak being MP's main target and photographing ♂ Ruddy Darter mine. We were not successful with the former on this visit but it was a good day all the same.
It was a pleasant walk and we soon started notching up the butterfly species with 1 (brief) Silver-washed Fritillary, 9 White Admirals, 1 Essex Skipper, 2 Commas and a single Peacock. Gatekeekepers, Meadow Browns and Ringlet were numerous. Large White and Large Skipper were seen in smaller numbers. A single Silver Y moth was also observed.
Odonata were seen in good numbers too with 3 Brown Hawkers and 2 Southern Hawkers observed along the rides. Many Common Darters were also encountered.
At the ponds we noted a ♂ Emperor Dragonfly, another Brown Hawker, a ♀ Broad-bodied Chaser and a handful of Ruddy Darters (including 3♂). As with other recent visits good numbers of Emerald Damselflies were on the middle pond and at least 2 pairs were seen copulating.
Also of great interest by the ponds were 3 Brown China-mark moths that were disturbed from the vegetation. Although not an uncommon species, these moths are unusual in that their larvae are entirely aquatic, feeding on water plants.
The days highlight though came in the form of an avian encounter. Whilst walking along I picked up the calls of a Marsh Tit and informed MP. We stopped as the calls got closer and we picked up 2 Marsh Tits, with the really great news being that one was a juvenile. A welcome sight indeed as these are declining in the county!
All in all it was a very enjoyable walk and I would like to thank Mark again for helping me out on what would have been a very crap day indeed!
Southern Hawker (♀)
Ruddy Darter (♂)
Brown China-mark (Elophila nymphaeata)