Saturday 28th May 2016.
This morning kicked off again with a check of the moth box – at 5.20am! I thought, if I get up early, then there was a fighting chance in beating the Spadgers on seeing any moths outside the box. Wrong! I couldn’t find one on the neighbouring walls but what was in the box, was a nice surprise.
Heart & Dart.
My first Diamond-backed Moth and L-album Wainscot of the year were present among the 22 moths present of 13 species present. At least the numbers are starting to increase. A Vine’s Rustic popped out beneath the box when I moved the table it was resting on, in the afternoon, which was my second of the year.
Hornet emerging from the grass on Old Winchester Hill.
One of the cracking views from the Hill.
I decided to walk Scruff over Old Winchester Hill this morning and after grabbing a bite to eat, we arrived at the car park around 8.30am. Though overcast, it was bright and very mild. Though there was a breeze at times, it was warm enough for wearing just a t-shirt. The Hill was very busy today what with Dog-walkers, Ramblers, Cyclists, Runners and even Paragliders! One group of guys were even looking to fly a Drone, which I believe, along with Kite flying, is strictly forbidden here. When I bumped into Dave (the regular chap here who monitors the area), he told me me that he would be having strong words with them. Very brave for a man who stands about 5ft tall! Best of luck mate.
A singing male Yellowhammer on the Hill.
A beautiful Common Blue butterfly on Crosswort.
There were a few Small Heath butterflies around.
Now, at this time of year, there is so much to look at; whether it be birds, flowers, insects or simply taking in the amazing views, so I was simply in my element. It took me a couple of hours to sift through my photos so I shall put the best ones on this entry to my blog.
I could sit here all day and just watch.
Willow Warbler with his back to us.
Cocksfoot Moth on a White Campion Flower head.
Birds are always on the top of my agenda and the Hill didn’t disappoint. The highlight was a pair of Hawfinches flying over the entrance to the Fort area; a species that I rarely see away from the New Forest and I was quite taken aback with these. Both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were in good voice along the main footpath as was several Black caps, which were all seen well. Yellowhammers looked amazing in the sunshine, canary yellow males singing their hearts out on an exposed bush. High overhead, a large flock of Crows contained at least 6 Ravens among them! I was hoping for a Red Kite or two but not even a Common Buzzard was seen over the Hill; though I did see one on the drive up here. The only raptor actually seen was a male Kestrel with a Slow Worm in its talons. I watched it land and start feeding on the bird, when I discovered that inches from the bird were two Red-legged Partridges!
Silver-ground Carpet moth.
Another male Yellowhammer by the Fort.
The male Kestrel tucking into his Slow-worm.
Always lovely to hear the Skylarks singing over the fields, it was also nice to see a Common Whitethroat near the Fort and a Lesser Whitethroat singing down in the southern slope in the distance. Sheep were calling down in the fields and youngsters were still feeding from their mothers close to the Fort. A Coal Tit was seen near the reserve entrance, flying over the main footpath and, occasionally, the odd Linnet and Greenfinch would pass overhead. A Mediterranean Gull flew north high over the countryside, looking kind of out of place among all the green?
The male Kestrel again and can you see the two Red-legged Partridges in this photo?
Mother Shipton moth.
Butterflies, I have to say, were far and few between but I did find a few to look at. Brimstone, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Small Heath, Large White and a single Green-veined White were found, but it was the moths that got me very intrigued. Mother Shipton, Silver-ground Carpet, Green Carpet and a superb Galium Carpet were found on my walk round and even a Cocksfoot Moth was unexpectedly found sat on a White Campion flower!
Galium Carpet moth.
Green-veined White butterfly.
Other insects found included a Hornet, which was low down in the grass near the main entrance. I watched it climb the grass stems until it flew off with a low hum! A Grasshopper nymph I found whilst talking to Dave, was probably a Roesels’ Bush Cricket. There were also many flowers in bloom which were mostly White and Red Campion, Crosswort, Cowslips and Wild Forget-me-nots. Thankfully, I have Geoff Farwell to fall back on with regards to the plants I cannot recognise; so I shall update this entry later on soon. A thoroughly enjoyable walk this morning and will be back here next month, especially as Dave had some Glow-worms here recently, for I have not seen any for a quite a while now.