Today I decided to pay a visit to the near(ish) Shropshire high point of Titterstone Clee Hill in the hope of picking up a passage migrant or two.
On arrival at the summit car park I walked to the right, past the long narrow pool, towards the old quarried area. On arriving at the entrance to the old quarry I picked up on an orange/brown butterfly that landed on the track next to the small acidic pool. On looking at it in my binoculars I was over-joyed to see that it was a Wall butterfly. The first I have seen locally for many years. Unfortunately it flew before I could get of any photos but I was happy to have seen it all the same
The Wall was once widespread across much of the country and wasn't uncommon in the Midlands. But, from the mid 80's and during the 90's, the Wall had a major collapse of it's inland colonies with the Midlands particularly badly hit. The only time I had seen Wall in recent years was along coastal footpaths whilst on holidays.
The Wall has survived in the Midlands in a few isolated colonies with the nearest being at the quarried areas along Wenlock Edge in Shropshire. To my knowledge it has completely gone from Worcestershire (although I am happy to be corrected if that wasn't the case)
Wall - (photo from my archive)
Birdwise the summit was reasonably productive with 6 Wheatear, 3 Stonechat (1♂, 1♀ & 1 juv), 7 Kestrels, 2 Buzzards and 4 Ravens recorded.
Common Hawker dragonflies were present on the summit pools and good numbers of Golden Waxcap fungi were present within the old quarried area.
Golden Waxcap (Hygrocybe chlorophana)
From the summit I drove down to Catherton Common on the lower slopes of Clee where I saw not one but two adult Whinchats perched up on one of the gorse bushes. Also of note at the common was a juvenile Stonechat being fed by it's mother, 4 Kestrels, a Common Buzzard and small numbers of Meadow Pipits.
All in all it was an enjoyable away day from my local patch and one that I think I will repeat over coming weeks through the autumn migration period.