Monthly Archives: August 2015

Green Veined White

Green Veined White Butterfly

This Green Veined White was resting in the front garden late last Sunday afternoon. I reckon the poor thing had just about had enough of the crazy weather – I think I would be pretty fed up too if were a butterfly lately.

The Green Veined White is the most northerly of the whites but you can’t always tell them apart when they are in flight. When resting it’s another matter as you can see the beautiful markings on their under-wings.

Green Veined White Butterfly

Green Veined White Butterfly

Green Veined White Butterfly

Patch Fantastic

Holywell Pond

Holywell has been superb over the last couple of months. It seems just when you think you know a place, it reveals something new, exciting and unexpected, which is certainly the way it has been this summer.

Over the past couple of months I have been lucky enough to see a number of new species I have not seen in the area before, the highlight of which has to be two otters which were carousing on the pond one evening in July. These were a first for me and though they were a way out on the water, were a magical sight nonetheless.

Also in July I added Little Owl to my patch list. I am not sure whether these are regular birds at Holywell – the area looks good for them but I have never seen them before. More recently the scrape in front of the public hide has seen some interesting passage wading birds, with Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Ruff and Green Sandpiper. Last week there was also a pair of Kingfisher here in the early morning, as well as a Water Rail feeding close to the reeds.

One of the best things I have ever seen at Holywell was a Swallow nest inside the public hide quite late on this summer. In the space of a few short weeks the adult birds hatched and fledged a pair of young, which up until last week were still roosting in the hide. The morning I was there the birds were fidgeting and stretching behind me before flying right past my ears and out of the hide. You can’t get much closer to nature than that!

After last Saturday evening’s thunderstorm and heavy rain I went up to Holywell to see how the wildlife had fared. It was a beautiful day and despite the awful weather of the night before, it didn’t seem to have taken its toll. There were clouds of Lapwing in the air over the fields and above the pond, as well on the scrape below – in all I would say there were well over three hundred birds with a good number of Starling mixed in too.

The scrape also held a good selection of waders, as well as plentiful ducks and geese, which together with the Lapwing lifted in spectacular style when a Buzzard flew over. In the willows and hedgerows round the pond there were quite a few young birds in evidence with family parties of Wren and Chiffchaff interacting with each other.

It was also good to see the local Wall Brown butterflies had not suffered too much from the weather either. Holywell seems to be a good spot for them and numbers seem to be much the same as last year which is encouraging.

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Wren

Wall Brown Butterfly

Small Heath

Small Heath butterfly

Small Heath Butterfly

Small Heath butterfly

I have managed to see and photograph quite a few Small Heath butterflies this year, all at Havannah nature reserve, which is, as I have already said, an awesome place for butterflies. The Small Heaths have got very prettily patterned under-wings, perhaps a bit like the Meadow Brown but more subtle. It’s just as well they have as they never settle with their wings open.

On the day I saw these it was quite cool and overcast with a bit of a breeze. The butterfly in the middle photograph was roosting happily on a grass stem. With its forewing tucked in and its slightly fluffy appearance it could easily be mistaken for a moth I think.

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

The weather has been a bit changeable in the north of England this summer, so getting out and about to look for butterflies hasn’t always been easy. Back at the end of July this Small Tortoiseshell was nectaring on some Creeping Thistles I have let grow in the garden, so I didn’t have to go far to get a few photographs. What a stunner!

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

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Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Painted Lady

Painted Lady Butterfly

There have been quite a few more Painted Lady butterflies around this year – there was even talk that 2015 could be a bumper year for them, the first since 2009. Regardless of how many there are, I think Painted Ladies are amazing. The butterflies that make it this far north are likely to be the fifth or sixth generation of individuals that began their journey in North Africa or the southern Mediterranean back in spring! Wow!

Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly