Thursday 15th May 2014 - Hartland Moor NNR

Today, Bev and Nat went off to do 'their own thing' so I had the day to go solo and do plenty of mooching about on the heaths.  I hadn't been ambling for long when I saw a number of Small Purple-barred Moths on the wing.  This small day-flying moth of acid heathland was, although not uncommon, a lifer for me.  I then went to look around the area where I had seen the Sand Lizard earlier in the week but it was to no avail.  That said I did see a couple of Common Lizards which are always nice to see.

Small-purple Barred (Phytometra viridaria)

In the afternoon I decided to drive around to the other side of Hartland Moor to see what I could find.  On the way there I parked up and had a walk around the small heath near Scotland Farm. Here I had a Small Blue butterfly feeding on the flowers on a stretch of scrubby lawn.  Things were pretty quiet here otherwise, although I did get up close and personal views of a Wood Mouse when I lifted an inspection tin.

Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)

The walk around Hartland Moor was interesting and a I saw at least 6 ♂ Emperor Moths patrolling the heath.  In fact I was following one Emperor in my binoculars when all of a sudden a ♂ Stonechat flew up off a Gorse bush and took it in mid-air.  There is nothing quite like seeing nature in action!

The walk was quite interesting as the footpath I was on joined onto a disused railway line and on the said line the National Trust had created an unusual and rather cool looking hide out of a small railway carriage. 

On returning towards where I had parked I picked up on a pair of Dartford Warblers showing really well near where there were a group of  people sat on the lawn having a picnic and at least 3 other cars were parked.  Ironically I hadn't had a sniff of one on my walk across the heath and moor and yet here were a pair in people central...unbelievable!

Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata)

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