Arriving about half eight I knew it would be a little while before the weather improved so I focused on getting to know the site and had a good stomp around the rides and footpaths. A cuckoo was calling, quite a rare sound in Banburyshire these days (and though technically Bucknell is just outside Banburyshire, I don't think they are faring much better in neighbouring areas). A Roe Deer buck then walked into view, quite close, but not too nervous. Further on, I added Spotted Flycatcher and Green Woodpecker to my bird list, but no butterflies thus far. The path got muddier but passed alongside a block of scrub-stage woodland and full of warblers - Garden Warbler Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. Then I spotted a butterfly. Of course it had to be a Wood White. Perched very still in the grass beside the path.
Later in the afternoon, I made a short trip into Warwickshire to visit the Fenny Compton Tunnels nature reserve, a recent collaboration between Butterfly Conservation and the Canal and River Trust.
guided walk there next Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the back garden, less than a week after fledging four chicks from their nest, our pair of blackbirds are starting their third nesting of the year, having already raised two broods. The female who only yesterday was busy feeding the chicks all day was now preoccupied building a new nest in the same patch of ivy-covered wall.
|One of the brood of four (three surviving as of today), needing to find its own food.|
Last weekend, thanks to some very helpful guidance from John Friendship-Taylor, I was able to connect with my first Duke of Burgundy Fritillaries (at Rodborough Common) and my first English Marsh Fritillaries (at Stawberry Bank).
|Duke of Burgundy Fritillary|
|Marsh Fritillaries mating|
|Small Blue, Rodborough Common|