Sunday 28 May 2023
Near perfect conditions on my local patch around the woodland burial ground and adjacent Gooseman's Field yielded very little in the way of butterflies: holly blue, speckled wood, large and small white and male and female orange tip. With temperatures up to 24C and very light wind I was expecting to fine small heath and large skipper, both of which have normally emerged by this date. Birds were much more plentiful with 26 species, the most notable beingmsong thrush, mistle thrush carrying food for chicks, chiffchaff, whitethroat, green woodpecker and sparrowhawk. Gooseman's Field is beginning to look very summery with grasses growing up, large areas of birdsfoot trefoil glowing gold and plenty of yellow rattle.
Thursday 25 May 2023
Having looked back through my archive I noted that I had already seen white helleborine in the cemetery by this time so I set out to check. I went the long way round taking in the churchyard as part of my survey and then out onto the fields returning by the cemetery. Although sunny and 16C there was still that nagging NE wind. I saw one holly blue in the churchyard and one unidentifiable white sp in the distance at the back of the cemetery but other than that no butterflies. The weather forecast is good for Saturday, with temperatures up to 20C, so I plan to visit the cemetery and Gooseman's then, hoping for small heath and large skipper butterflies. I was very pleased, however, to find the white helleborines out in the cemetery. I counted 18 but I am sure that I will have missed some and that there will be more to come.
Wednesday 24 May 2023
Most of the group had already arrived as I drew into the car park at the Rimac entrance to Saltfleetby/Theddlethorpe NNR, one of my favourite places to visit. The walk was organised by Natural England who manage the reserve and led by Lincs Butterfly Conservation committee members, Dave Wright and Toby Ludlow. Dave and Toby are both incredibly skilled at butterfly ID and knowledgeably about their ecology. Twenty of us made our way south from the car park, taking in the easy access trail and then following the path through the dunes to the MOD track which we followed to the edge of the salt marsh. We returned to the car park by following the path along the dune/msalt marsh edge. We were very fortunate with the weather. It was sunny and warm despite the constant nagging NE wind which we have had for days now. We saw the following butterflies: brown argus, small heath, green hairstreak, small copper, peacock, wall, common blue, small white and orange tip. Day flying moths included: burnett companion, silver Y, grass rivulet, lattice heath, mother shipton, cinnabar and yellow belle. We were fortunate to see a few dragonflies and damselflies: female broad-bodied chaser, four-spotted chaser, hairy dragonfly, azure damselfly and large red damselfly. Notable birds we saw were skylark, swallow, swift, woodpigeon, crow, reed bunting, marsh harrier, mallard, gadwall, tufted duck, grey lag, grasshopper warbler (reeling from the top of a sea buckthorn - amazing!), chiffchaff, chaffinch, cuckoo, pheasant, avocet, little egret and buzzard. As well as southern marsh orchids I was delighted to find early marsh orchids.
An absolutely excellent day.
Monday 22 May 2023
Finally the sun put in an appearance at 2.00 pm so I gathered my kit and set out. It was International Biodiversity Day and I was keen to walk around the local patch to see what I could find. It was three weeks since my last visit and I was hoping for more butterflies. It is only a short walk around to the cemetery and within minutes of walking through the gates all sounds of traffic from the busy Scartho Road vanished to be replaced by bird song. Nippeding through the gap in the fence and clambering over the fallen tree I entered a new world, one of bright sun. I was amazed to see the wet meadow ablaze with buttercups. Along the sheltered edge between meadow and cemetery, butterfles were active: speckled wood, orange-tips, large and small white and holly blue. Although not settling long enough for photography they were a delight to see. I continued around the outside of the cemetery and woodland burial ground finding more butterflies as I went. Crossing the 'plank bridge' over Gooseman's Drain, I was soon walking up the edge of Gooseman's Field. Once out in the open I began to notice the cold, blustery, northerly wind. Immediately the incidence of butterflies decreased. I was expecting to find large skipper and small heath but either they haven't emerged yet or it was too cold and windy for them. It was satisfying to hear skylark and whitethroat out on the field, though. Having completed the usual route around the field I returned across the centre and was pleased to find plenty of birdsfoot trefoil coming into flower. Squeezing back through a second gap in the fence I popped back into the woodland burial ground back into a world of birdsong; chiffchaff and blackcap being the most notable. Wandering down the grassy ride around the burial ground, I disturbed a roe deer which stood and sussed me out before wandering into the wood. Continuing, I found more holly blues and orange-tips, but again they weren't perching. In fact the only butterflies I managed to photograph were two speckled woods and one of these was so worn that it barely had any wings left. Rounding the corner from the wood into the burial ground meadow I surprised another couple of roe deer, this time a buck with a doe. Again they stood and checked me out before moving off further into the meadow. I did manage some distant photos ( a macro lens is not the best for this) and through binoculars could see that they looked patchy where they were shedding their thick winter coat to leave the richer russet of their summer one. Leaving the cemetery I noticed an unfamiliar plant and on checking it out forund it to be rose garlic, although why this should have been planted on a grave I can't imagine.