Tuesday 29th July 2014

   A return to Lower Woods, Glos. to see if the Violet Helleborine flowers had opened. Luckil;y they had, and made it all worthwhile....very nice they are too. Actually i photographed both plants that i found last visit, and the flowers were open on both.

Violet Helleborine
Violet Helleborine

Violet Helleborine
Violet Helleborine

Violet Helleborine

    While there, i gave the variant monotropoides Broad-leaved Helleborine another look. The flowers were also completely out, and some of the leaves were looked dead...

Broad-leaved Helleborine (var. monotropoides)
Broad-leaved Helleborine (var. monotropoides)

Sunday 27th July 2014

    This day have been calling for a few days, i had been holding out...a summer plumaged Pacific Golden Plover at Middleton lakes RSPB, in the Midlands (Staffordshire actually). Not seen PGP in UK, so why i held out i have no idea. I have seen them in Sri Lanka & New Zealand, so far away from the UK. Had seen a few shots, and hoped i could get close enough for some decent shots too.

   The mile or so walk, in the sun and heat, wasn't as bad as i expected. Sadly, the bird was distant on a strip of land between 2 pools. While waiting there was little to photograph, except a few Black-tailed Skimmers.

Black-tailed Skimmer (Female)
   Oh yeah and a Lapwing.....................


   I spent probably 4/5 hours waiting around that area, and it did me no good at all. The bird stayed on the same strip, and walked about 15 yards one, or the other. It did actually fly once, but again only about 15 yards.

   Just to show i did try to get some shots, here is my best effort.................

Pacific Golden Plover

Saturday 26th July 2014

   Right then, Alners Gorse again, lets see if i can nail these pesky White-letter Hairstreaks....getting a bit late, but theres always hope! After a few bits & bobs, including Purple Hairstreak....i bumped into 2 friends, they told me there was a Brown Hairstreak, showing well further along the track. OK lets do that instead. T
Brown Hairstreak

   Well that paid off quite nicely, with presumably a male, as it was not too brightly coloured. A male Brimstone showed well too, and we had a fly through Clouded Yellow, which was nice.


  As i got back to where we had started looking, i noticed a orange looking butterfly on top of a bramble. A closer look revealed another Brown Hairstreak. As i pointed out to some other people, it flew down to photographable height, and one chap must have got some really nice shots. Trying not to disturb it, i just had to stand back and wait......but it then flew around the bush, so i walked around to where i thought it was. It was there....i took one shot, and then wanted to change my angle, but it was having none of it, and flew off, bugger!!!! But, what a beauty....

Brown Hairstreak
    Sadly, no White-letter Hairstreaks to photograph. Oh well, what to do now?

    Lulworth Skippers, Portland, good idea!!!

    I popped into the Obs, to see if anyone had seen any, and where was best place at the moment? I was told that the usual place was still best, by the Pulpit Inn...but was also told by someone in the Obs, they had been over there and not seen any, but had some in the Quarry field. Oh well thats 2 places to try at least. Pulpit first though.....

   I parked the car and walked back towards the pub, and along the ridge. I found a very tatty Small Skipper, which had me going for a while. Then one flew along the ridge, but they are so quick and small, it soon disappeared. Didn't take too long though, and i found some more...and they showed well in the end!

Lulworth Skipper (Female)
Lulworth Skipper (Pair)

Lulworth Skipper (Male)

   Not really a pretty butterfly, as you can see, but a very localised one, so always nice to see, and photograph.

Wednesday 23rd July 2014

    After telling a friend about the rare Broad-leaved Helleborine, he asked if i could show him it, so we met after i finished work, and went to see if the flowers were out or not. They were, and here are some pix to prove it......
Broad-leaved Helleborine (var. monotropoides)
Broad-leaved Helleborine (var. monotropoides)

Violet Helleborine
   After that success, we looked for another new Orchid, for both of us, Violet Helleborine. I had been told where a few plants were, and then got told of some more by another friend. So, thought we would try the second friends sites first. Glad we did, as it didn't take too long to find one plant, sadly it only had the one flower open, and it was the very bottom one........just means i need another trip. After that we found another plant, but this was totally in the shade, and so had no flowers open at all, but we did find a few more 'ordinary' Broad-leaved Helleborines, and some which look like variant purpurea types too.

Broad-leaved Helleborine

Broad-leaved Helleborine (var. purpurea)

Silver-washed Fritillary

   After the Orchids, we went to find some Butterflies. Mainly trying to find the valesina form of Silver-washed Fritillary. This form is a all dark form of the female, it never happens in the male of the species. I saw my first one at Bentley Wood, Wiltshire, and can remember thinking "What the hell is that?" We saw plenty of Silver-washed Fritillaries, and a couple of White Admirals, and then suddenly a dark Fritillary flew passed, and it was a valerian, now just to see where it lands, and get some photos if possible! 

Silver-washed Fritillary

Silver-washed Fritillary (form. valesina)

   After a few photos of the 'normal' types, i finally got some pix of the valesina form, very nice it was too.....

Silver-washed Fritillary (form. valesina)

Silver-washed Fritillary ('normal' & form. valesina
   I also managed one with a 'normal' type one as well.....which was nice!

   Cracking trip as it turned out then!!!

Sunday 20th July 2014

   A much brighter day today, so i decided to go to Decoy Heath, in Berkshire, to look for Brilliant Emerald, which i was told had been seen well there in the week.

   Sadly for me i didn't even see one!!!!

Common Blue Damselfly
Common Emerald
   I did manage some Dragonfly & Damselfly photos though.

Brown Hawker


   Even found and photographed some Orchids too.....Broad-leaved Helleborine, including some of the variant purpurea..

Broad-leaved Helleborine
Broad-leaved Helleborine

Broad-leaved Helleborine ( var. purpurea)
Broad-leaved Helleborine ( var. purpurea)

Saturday 19th July 2014

   A trip to Chew, saw me get just a few photos, between the showers....glad we were in the hide!

Reed Warbler
Reed Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Wednesday 16th July 2014

  Another trip to Lower Woods today after work.

Siver-washed Fritillary (Male)
  Silver-washed Fritillary and Small Skipper, best i could manage on camera today, plus a Six-spot Burnet moth.

Small Skipper (Female)

Six-spot Burnet

 Just before i got back to the car, i noticed a strange flower under the trees, it stood out a mile, as it was almost pure white in the gloom.

   I got a couple of photos, just so i could ID it later, it looked like an Orchid, but i wasn't sure!
As i got to the car, the warden was there and we started talking. I mention the flower, and he told me it was a Broad-leaved Helleborine, but this was of the very rare variant monotropoides.

Broad-leaved Helleborine (var. monotropoides)
   Wow, my first Broad-leaved Helleborine, and its of a very rare variant, what are the chances of that?? Didn't really have time to go back and get more shots, so this one will do for now. The flowers were not fully out anyway, maybe a return next week???

   Watch this space (well Blog)...........

Sunday 13th July 2014

    A trip to the Somerset Levels began at Westhay Moor.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly
   Not a lot of birds again sadly, so again its Insects i concentrated on. I found a couple of Small Red-eyed Damselflies, which is always nice to find....had a few other Damselflies there too.

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Female- form Rufescens)

Red-tipped Clearwing

 Then.....what is that i thought. Blimey... its a Clearwing Moth!!! But, which one? I got a photo, awful i know, but enough to ID it, sadly didn't managed to improve on this one...But as its only the second Clearwing i have seen was quite happy....Its a Red-tipped Clearwing, as you can see from the photo, that was a description as well as its name..........

Southern Hawker
   Decided to have a quick wander at Shapwick Heath, see what we can find there. NO Birds again, not to talk about anyway. I found a nice female Southern Hawker just off the path.

Southern Hawker

    Also had this Green-veined White here too.

Green-veined White

Friday 11th July 2014

   Vic Savery told me he had found some Essex Skippers at a local site, near Severn Beach, so i thought i would give it a look tonight after work. Amazingly about 8 out of 10 Skipper i saw were Essex, was not expecting that i must admit......

   This butterfly species has spread massively over the last few years, and by the look of this lot, its doing really well locally too...It is told from the very similar Small Skipper, by the very black tips to the antennae, sees the top righthand photo, these have the very tip an orange/brown colour in Small Skipper.

Essex Skipper (Female)
Essex Skipper (Male)

Essex Skipper (Male)

Essex Skipper (Male)