Monday, 7 May 2012

A visit to see the Duke

Monday 7th may 2012 Cold start (4C), becoming mild late morning (14C). Overcast becoming quite bright. My day started at 4am in TR16Y, listening for Nightingales, of which there were none to be heard. It was a very calm morning so they would be easily heard if they were singing. I chose Bank Holiday morning to do this tetrad because there would be much less traffic noise. Only a small area of the tetrad is suitable habitat, so by 5am I was on my way to TR16M, which held good numbers of singing birds on the first visit. It didn't take long until I could hear Nightingales, and I made my way along the hedgerows mapping the presence of birds singing. There were plenty of warblers singing as well, and at around 6am I came across a Little Owl sitting in a tree in the middle of a field. Better was to come, and at 6.30am I heard the distinctive singing of a Golden Oriole, not far into some woods. I listened for several minutes, while trying carefully to pick out the bird somewhere near the top of the trees, but I was unable to locate it, and eventually it went quiet. I finished the survey just after 8 o'clock, with 15 singing Nightingales, and headed home for breakfast. By now the sun was breaking through, and after a tidy up and some food and drink, I had to choose between searching Reculver for dragonflies, or heading over to Denge Wood for butterflies. As i'm back to work tomorrow, and the weather didn't look great for the week ahead, I decided to try for butterflies, or one in particular. The Duke of Burgundy should be on the wing by now, and has a limited flight period, which I didn't want to miss. The air was full of the songs of Blackcaps and Garden Warblers as I made my way to the favoured spot for these handsome little butterflies. On route I heard a Nightingale sing briefly, and 5 Crossbills flew over. I wasn't the only person out looking today, and I had a nice chat with a couple of lads also on the search. It wasn't long before we found 3 Duke of Burgundy butterflies, and I spent a little while taking a few pictures. Unfortunately I only had my long lens with me, so no close ups today, but a couple of record shots below:
Other butterflies seen were Large White, Peacock and Orange-tip. After some lunch I took a trip to Shuart, where a stroll up to the beach produced 1 Cetti's, 1 Cuckoo and the usual warblers, a female Marsh Harrier and a Hairy Dragonfly, my first of the year and made my day complete. The wind was really picking up just before I left, and a bit of drizzle seemed to push Swallows through, I had about 75 fly west in half an hour.

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