Right time to get past my "bloggers block" and write another post....
Monday 1st July:
I decided to pay an evening visit to the patch today in the hope of hearing a Quail singing from one of the cereal fields. Its been 2 years since the last Quail at Shenstone so I was hoping that this year would see the return of this migrant gamebird. Alas, I didn't hear one at all but the evening was pleasant all the same.
Along Heath Lane Corn Buntings, Yellowhammers, Common Whitethroats, Linnets and Dunnocks were perched up singing in the evening sun. It made me realize just how special summer evenings can be on the patch.
Monday 8th July:
Today I decided to concentrate on the Stanklyn Lane area of the patch and check out the set-aside in the pylon field. I started off by walking across the gallops field, which much to my dismay the grass had been cut in the area where a number of pairs of Skylark nest...usually they do not do this here until late summer! I really hope none were still nesting. In fact the RSPB's guidance to farmers is to "leave the annual cut as late as possible, and not before August to prolong the nesting season"
Anyway, my mood began to improve on reaching the pylon field and seeing the set-aside in all its glory. The Greater Knapweed and Ox-eye Daisies looked particularly splendid. As you would expect the area was positively chuffing with bees, butterflies and moths but the undoubted highlight came in the form of a ♀ Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly, which is a new species for me on the patch.
Also present were good numbers of Meadow Brown & Ringlet butterflies and Six-spot Burnet moths. Both a single Small Skipper and single Small Tortoiseshell were also noted. Somewhat worryingly there wasn't any sign of Common Blue butterfly!
I then headed across to Butts Lane where the young Swallows had now fledged and 6 of them could be seen perching up on the telephone wires. It's always uplifting seeing successful breeding so I finished the visit a happier man.
Black-tailed Skimmer (♀)