Last weeks Butterfly Quest included a short diversion into Leighton Moss.
First stop was at the Eric Morcambe hide.
I had read about good numbers of Avocet being present but didn't expect the 70+ that I saw.
Not sure what the correct word is for an accumulation of Avocets but these few were having a real chinwag to each other.
The 70+ is about to become a lot more + with the new arrivals.
There were reports of a Spoonbill about which I was unable to see but three Egrets were welcome.
Over on the main reserve I had five sightings of Marsh Harrier
And a flock of Black-tailed Godwit were nice to watch
Then it was on to Whitbarrow to continue the search
Further tramping around to find a Small Copper. Morning visits to brownfield sites around Dunston brought no rewards except for good numbers of Dingy Skipper.
An afternoon stroll around Havannah was more productive with two Small Copper and one Brimstone.
There were high numbers of Wall Brown, Orange Tip, and Green-veined White.
A return visit to the Spetchells, Prudhoe was today's plan. Arrived around 9.30am and first a walk along the riverside where the wild flower display was amazing, with Green-veined Whites, Orange Tip, and Small Tortoiseshell darting about all over the place.
Then reached the first hill and up onto the top.
Again the wildflower show was worth the climb. Looking for little insects with flappy wings was the priority and in one of the clearings I spotted what I took to be a Skipper. Was not to sure which but I believe it to be Dingy Skipper. Another tick in the Quest box which I'll claim till someone informs. me otherwise.
Comment please if I'm mistaken. Saw at least half a dozen on the top. .
Also spotted Wall Brown and Speckled Wood.
The wildflowers were worth pausing for.
Then a visit to the pond just east of the last hill brought a welcome sighting of my first Four-spotted Chaser and Common Bluetail damselfly,
I decided on a Quest earlier in the year, to casually record just how many different butterflies I could spot this year, and forthcoming years if necessary.
As with all these things it develops into something else. Green Hairstreak at Rothbury was the first successful specific awayday, and news of Duke of Burgundy being seen at Whitbarrow NNR got me planning with research into location, timing, weather, travel etc.
Yesterday was selected as the "D of B" project day, and so I was on the South east slopes at 9am.
The research paid off, and within a few minutes there was The Duke, quite a tiny little thing, and a few more were to follow over the morning.
Duke of Burgundy
As well as Pearl-bordered Fritillary- not yet sure which one
As well as Whites, Peacock, Speckled Wood and refusing to rest Blues.
With it being quite a breezy day today, I went looking for a sheltered spot this afternoon, and decided upon Throckley Pond or locally known as the Reigh.
My first Large Red damselfly was a real pleasant surprise and a nice start.
and it was followed by a second a little later,
A pair of Bullfinch hung around for a while but the male was not up for a photo
The woodland scenes were a real delight
In places like this there is always somebody watching what you are up to
and on the return walk this Yellowhammer shone brightly
After watching for suitable weather, today was my second attempt to see Green Hairstreak on the hillside behind Rothbury.
Thought I'd stock up with provisions at the butchers, before climbing Blaeberry Hill, with steak pie, veggie samosa and duck and spring roll wrap, just in case it was long effort.
As you might expect, as soon as I got over the stile onto the hillside, there were three Green Hairstreak, right in front of me.
I gave the face of the hill a good thrashing, twice, and saw one more.
Later at the bottom of the hill I saw my first Large White of the year