31st July, I am always being teased by a Holly Blue dancing about the dark Holly hedge in my garden. It puts on enough of a performance to entice me get the camera and go out for a shot. The trouble is it’s never there when I get out there. I stand like an idiot for several valuable minutes during lunch break. I go in and it reappears, I run straight out, gone. The little B… I am distracted by the House Martins, they say ‘look out – trouble is here’ and there is a Hobby, a Martin killer, looking for trouble.
30th July, my Birthday morning is spent at work, but as a treat, we walk the canal to Whilton for lunch. The water, trees and hedges cool the air, the shade and light a pleasant distraction, and a Red Kite is drifting in and out of view.
29th July, (yes! The wet stuff arrives. First since late May). A run of Hedgehog records on social media, makes me wonder how many individuals there are in the village? Lots of reports of the stripy, black and yellow caterpillars of the Cinnabar Moth.
28th July, is that a cloud? Swifts come down from the heavens to plough the roof-tops. The House Sparrows are on their third brood in my Ivy, and the young get louder every day. Terry sees Holly Blue and Comma, and says there seem to be more Butterflies at the moment. The Meadow has been mowed and baled, and we stack in the evening sun. The Orchard at the park has been similarly mowed and the team are out with rakes.
27th July, A weed is a plant designated as ‘the enemy’ by the ministries that try and control farming. There is an incredibly long list of native plants that come under this banner, because they spoil the perfection of crop growing, and the thus the efficiency of farming. Many millions of gallons of chemicals are used each year to keep these plants at bay, but I have noticed that during this current drought that it is these very ‘weeds’ that are keeping the insects going. Thistles, Nettles, Ragwort, Willow-herb, and Bramble are the plants dealing with the heat and flowering. Ideal for Butterflies etc, and Brown Argus, the first for several years, and Common Blue are seen.
25th July, Some flowering plants are doing well, My Lavender is going mad and covered in Bees and Butterflies. Holly Blue is about the garden anyway but Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper, and Gatekeeper are coming in from the parched fields.
24th July, I am entertaining my sisters children and stand up to see a black and grey butterfly overhead, I suddenly see a flash of purple and realize it a Purple Hairstreak. It lands on the water weed and has a drink. I left my camera in the truck to protect it from the kids. Tom sees a shiny metallic green Beetle and a mating pair of Southern Hawker.
21st July, the heat kills the grass, and some of our saplings at CEP are turning brown. I am watering daily, but know I will lose some. Holly Blue and Scarlet Tiger reported.
20th July, Terry Laney sees a Clouded Yellow Butterfly. These are migrants and start life around the Mediterranean basin. There is the merest sprinkle of rain.
6th July, The young of many Birds species are suffering. The ground is too hard for their food to appear as many invertebrates are unable to hatch, and worms are also similarly trapped. I have had several reports of dead Moles which may be linked to this.
5th July, Billy photographs a Water Boatman. The heat seems to suit the Dragonflies as Emperor, Brown and Southern Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, Ruddy Darter, and Azure and Emerald Damselflies all on the wing at Cotton End Park. The Butterflies seem equally active with Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large and Small Skippers, Large, Small, and Green-veined Whites, Speckled Wood, and Small Tortoiseshell. I am walking down Tebbitts Close and am passed by a Banded Demoiselle. Lesser Stag Beetle Reported.
4th July, the heatwave continues, a Gatekeeper, first of the season, is feeding on the last of the Bramble flowers in fields behind Lime Avenue. A large, pea-green Dragonfly reported from a garden on Ashmore suggests Southern Hawker.