Sunday 30 September 2018

Butterflies and bugs

Normally in July and early August, even the most avid birdwatchers sometimes turn to butterflies, dragonflies, bugs and even flowers to keep themselves occupied at the end of summer while they wait for autumn migration to start, this is especially evident on the local Whatsapp grape vine with reports of all sorts of things outnumbering posts about birds. I am no different, I spent my spare time in the summer trying out the macro lens on any insect I could find.

But as soon as the first waders arrive back from the arctic and whinchats are back on the coast, they re-focus their attentions back to birds...usually.

Today was the last day of September and autumn migration should be in full swing, the bushes should be alive with chiffchaffs, goldcrests and maybe, something more exciting. This morning I had two hours to spare on the patch and found myself not grilling the bushes for warblers but photographing butterflies and dragonflies - it was like July!

A run of wall-to-wall westerlies has resulted in very few birds arriving on our shores. There has been the odd report - a wryneck on the Farnes, hoopoe on Holy Island and a black restart or two. At Druridge,  a wren was a highlight after seeing none since the beast from the east and a single chiff was 'wheeting; from the bushes. Things aren't going to improve, with continued westerlies forecast for the next two weeks at least.

The only noteworthy migrants were more barnacle geese flying over.

Barnacle geese headed north
It was amazing to seeing dozens of speckled wood butterflies, I could see over twenty from one spot this morning. A lot of the butterflies are looking a bit worn now but there was a nice fresh small copper today, which I failed to photograph.

Male migrant hawker

Two speckled wood butterflies on rosehips

Speckled wood

Red admiral on ragwort

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