Having partially recovered from the previous few day's shenanigans down the smoke I decided to hit the patch just before mid-day.
I started my visit at Stanklyn Lane where there was no sign of the previous day's female Redstart. A Raven was showing well and kronking away as he flew over the paddocks towards the gallops field. The only other bird of note at the paddocks was an adult Green Woodpecker. No sign of any juveniles there yet but hopefully soon.
After a short while I was joined by sometime patch interloper Mark P for a natter. He decided to join me in a walk to check out the butterflies on that side of the patch. There was no sign as yet of the Purple Hairstreaks at the beet field and rather surprisingly the damn at Captains Pool was devoid of butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies...not a great start! Although along the path from Captains we did flush 2 Yellow Shell moths.
Next stop was the Stanklyn Lane set-aside which was far more productive. Here, in this Knapweed rich area we recorded 1 Essex Skipper (the first patch record for 2012), 6 Small Skippers, 5 Ringlets and 20+ Meadow Browns. Also present were a handful of newly emerged Six-spot Burnett moths and 3 rather worn Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnetts, two of which were copulating. A single Silver Y moth was also noted.
The gallops field produced another half a dozen Meadow Browns and a charm of 19 Goldfinches that were feeding on the seed heads. Two Linnets were also present with the Goldfinch flock. A young juvenile Blackbird was present at the entrance to this field
After the walk Mark and I then parted company and I headed over to Butts Lane to undertake another butterfly walk. Here there were a different selection of species with 1 Comma, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Large White and a Small White noted. 12 Ringlets, 1 Meadow Brown and 2 Small Skippers were also observed.
Also of interested along Butts Lane were a family party of 6 Mistle Thrushes feeding on the recently scuffled ground. A family party of Common Whitethroats (2 adult and 2 juv) were also showing well on the adjacent hedgerow. 9 Skylarks and 4 Linnets were also noted in the Butts Lane area.
Along Barrs Lane there were good numbers of Marmalade Hoverflies present. A Chiffchaff and a Yellowhammer could be heard singing.
All in all an enjoyable return to the patch and the rain stayed off the whole time I was there...amazing!!!
Six-spot Burnett Moth
Six-spot Burnett Moth - larval case
Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus)