30th June, Holly Blue in the garden, and later a gathering on Scarlet Tiger Moths. We stand and watch as a handful of these red and black winged beauties fly in and circle around until alighting in a group under some Ivy leafs. There are a couple of females and a handful of males, and as we leave them to it, more fly in. At dusk a constant clicking sound suggests we’ve got a fault with the outside light. I look a bit harder and there is a tiny but elongated beetle sitting on the grass below, flexing its body and producing a relatively loud ‘click’. No doubt this will be called a click Beetle, and there will be hundreds of species, and I’ll need a microscope to truly identify it.
28th June, a perfect Buff-tip Moth is amongst the Birch plantation at CEP. Other moths include Cinnabar and Yellow Shell. I hear a Greenfinch off Lime Avenue. Roe Deer with the sheep again at Grange Farm.
27th June, Grey Wagtail calls as it flies over Church Street, and a Greenfinch is reported from Rockhill. An odd raptor appears but is soon named as Red Kite. Its oddness is due to the partial moult of its tail and primary flight feathers. It is doing remarkably well considering over half of its flight-essential feathers are missing of not fully regrown.
26th June, Swifts and a second generation Holly Blue noted off Pytchley Drive. Several people report froglets swarming across Foxhill Road, and I get a handful of reports of sightings of Scarlet Tiger Moth. Comma, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood seen.
23rd June, my sons 21st birthday makes me consider my life so far. He wants the day off, fair enough. We have a special family breakfast, and are thankful. Common Darter is a mid-sized Dragonfly which in recent years has appeared increasingly earlier in the year and today a freshly emerged one sits on an Iris leaf awaiting life above water to start.
20th June, smashed bottles and dozens of cans and bottles litter the park. The longest day has not started well. I hear Nuthatch which helps and as the sun warms the herbage, a fresh Ringlet appears. Meadow Brown, Large and Small Skippers, and a couple of Marbled Whites grace the meadow.
15th June, at CEP a morning walk is rewarded by a good 100 Meadow Brown, Large and Small Skipper, 3 Marbled Whites and an unidentified Burnet Moth. On the water a Beautiful Demoiselle is chased by the Emperor. At Lunch, I show Daniel the Bee Orchids and a White-legged Damsel, we are then treated to the Red Arrows overhead. The Sedge Warbler still sings at David’s ponds.
14th June, a Hobby over Armley is sussing out the Martins. In my gardens there have been two pairs of Robin, four nests and they are on their third brood. After work a dog-walk to the paddocks off Berryfield/Stenhouse. After abuse by horses they have recovered well with a good selection of wild plants. We see Common Blue Butterfly and Cinnabar Moth. Last thing and Tom finds an Elephant Hawkmoth on my Tomato plants.
13th June, at CEP Meadow Browns are popping up from the grasses, as are Large Skipper. Cinnabar, Yellow Shell, and Common Carpet moths are also seen. Kirsty and her family show me a potted Smooth Newt. At EP on Lunch-break and I am greeted by a singing Sedge Warbler. Not seen one in the parish for ages. To add to the fun a Small Heath butterfly appears, plus Brimstone, Common Blue and Burnet Companion.
8th June, a walk to Hanglands NR and we find 12 Bee Orchids in flower, and a Grass Snake. We see 2 Speckled Wood, and there must be 60 Small Tortoiseshells on the Ox-eyes. In the Nettle bed, hundreds of spiky black Peacock caterpillars are spread as far as the eye can see. EP has a male Tufted Duck, and again a Yellow Wagtail is on a fence post on Foxhill Road.
7th June, Sue, Graham and Jane see Scarlet Tiger Moth, and Jennifer sees a Roe in with the sheep flock at Grange Farm. On fresh soil at Bakers Lane, Brian finds, One plant of Green nightshade (Solanum physalifolium) at SP62368 66909, Two plants of Green nightshade (Solanum physalifolium) at SP62370 66876, One plant of Night Flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora) at SP62366 66899, (The Night flowering catchfly is a Northamptonshire Rare Plant Register species and will be added to it). Cut leaved dead nettle (Lamium hybridum) at SP62374 66920, Henbit dead nettle (Lamium amplexicaule) at SP62374 66920, One plant of Sticky groundsel (Senecio viscosus) at SP62365 66890, One plant of Indian balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) at SP62382 66874.
6th June, Brian Laney is looking out for White-letter Hairstreak caterpillar damage to Elm leafs around the parish. This rare Butterfly has not been seen locally for a few years but there’s always hope, and Brian brings hope. He is a serious asset on many levels to the wildlife of the county and beyond. I dodge the showers and see Moorhen and Pied Wagtail at Lodge Farm Lake.
5th June, the drought has broken and rain tentatively returns. At Hanglands a chance bright spell bounces glaring white from the sea of Ox-eyes, and a sprinkling Yellow Rattle show their modest yellow flowers, amongst the waving stems. A distant song is not distant but just a sub-song, a practice for the real thing. A Reed Warbler, not in the Reeds but in my monster Bramble patch, is singing away in anticipation of perhaps moving to the Reed-beds at Foxhill Lake. The best is yet to come as we count 9 Bee Orchid plants in flower.
3rd June, at EP a Burnet Companion Moth, and a host of Dragons. Over the village a Family of 4 Raven soar together. Kestrel, both male and female reported from CEP.
1st June, I am dipping my bucket in the dam for the umpteenth time. We have a dozen saplings that are suffering from lack of rain. I see a movement and find Horse-hair Worm. Never seen them before a couple of weeks ago and then find another. Alan is seeing the Roe at the wharf again, grazing the lawns and swimming the cut. Sue sends a fab’ photo’ of Mother Shipton’s Moth, and Cath reports Little Owl and Reed Bunting from Floyers.