Monday 14th April 2014 - Monkwood NR

As today was a beautiful sunny day  I decided to pay a visit to Monkwood NR.  The reserve is co-owned and managed by Butterfly Conservation and the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.  It is a fantastic woodland reserve that hosts an array of wonderful invertebrates.

I arrived just before mid-day and began my circuit around.  Butterfly numbers were impressive with the following recorded:  16 Brimstone (12♂, 4♀), 1 Comma, 2 Green-veined White, 20+ Orange Tip, 20+ Peacock and  6 Small Tortoiseshell.  One of the highlights on the butterfly front was seeing a pair of Brimstones doing there courtship flight along the one ride, flitting and spiralling around each other in close proximity like some sought of ritual dance...magical!

Brimstone - 14th April 2014

Green-veined White - 14th April 2014

Orange Tip (♂) - 14th April 2014

Also of note along the rides were good numbers of Large Bee Flies, included a few copulating pairs.

Large Bee Flies (Bombylius major) - 14th April 2014

In the area surrounding the ponds I observed 3 teneral Large Red Damselflies.  These were the first Odonata recorded in Worcestershire for 2014.

Large Red Damselfly - 14th April 2014

The days highlight though didn't come in the form of an invert but rather that of a bird.  Along the edge of one of the rides, reeling from deep within the scrubby vegetation was a Grasshopper Warbler.  The bird did 4 bursts of its grasshopper like reeling call from what sounded like a few feet away, then it went quite but for a rustling/scurrying sound in the undergrowth.  Do you think I could see the skulking little beggar?  Not a chance!

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