Friday, 23 July 2021

East wind brings in the butterflies

A light east breeze in the morning freshened during the afternoon.

South shore
Ocean Edge foreshore and saltmarsh (MD)
Wheatear 1 female/immature on foreshore
The gull roost on the mud out from the saltmarsh was much smaller today. They don't seem to like it when  the mud's wet. Whether that is because they "know" it's wet because the previous tide covered it, and they will have to quickly move on again, or perhaps they just prefer it dry so they can sit on the mud. Either way only c50 gulls were there today and all were stood.
Mediterranean gull 2 adult one with the roosting flock one flew over towards Potts Corner.
Whimbrel 1 calling from saltmarsh 

It was obvious that there had already been an influx of butterflies, the saltmash was awash with:
Small White 20+
Large White 1
Meadow Brown 3
Gatekeeper 2
Peacock 1

Red Nab to Lighthouse (Janet)
Rock Pipits 3 on Red Nab one near the lighthouse 
Lighthouse Rock Pipit. The ringed male has not been seen for a couple of weeks.
One of the Red Nab Rock Pipits

A selection of gulls taking advantage of the freshwater culvert.

Looks like this young Herring Gull has already had its bath.
Not done anything to improve its looks, but I suppose the same
can be said  for all of us as we cope with the heat.

Oystercatcher and Redshank on Red Nab

One of the many Small White seen everywhere this morning

Wooden jetty area in afternoon when tide was out (MD)
At 14:30 there was an average 5 butterflies a minute coming in off the sea. The ratio was 4 Small White plus another, mainly Small Tortoiseshell but occasionally Red Admiral, Peacock and Comma.
A walk along the strip of scrub between the waterfall and lighthouse there were 
Small White 27
Small Tortoiseshell 6
Red Admiral 2
Peacock 2
Gatekeeper 2
Meadow Brown 3
I did this stretch several times all with similar number albeit different insects.
On the scrub at the very end of Power Station there were
Common Blue 20+
Gatekeeper 2
Meadow Brown 5
These three species were probably mainly resident while the others were definitely passing through.
This very pale Comma didn't even make it up the sloping wall without stopping for a rest.
Comma butterfly resting on sloping sea wall after flying in off the sea.

This Red Admiral was in an even worse state, not only were the ends of its wings worn away, but it must have had a drink of nectar and it couldn't re-coil its proboscis.

At least this Peacock looked fine with the light shining through its eyes.
Peacock butterfly 

Disappointingly, there were no dragonflies seen. Then at 15:00 a large one flew straight past me. A blue "saddle" looked promising, and I managed a few shots as it disappeared,
This is the blue saddle that caught my eye

But other shots revealed the plain green thorax of an Emperor. Although, on one
level disappointing, I was pleased that my pictures were good enough to identify
something that otherwise would have remained a "don't know".
No further dragon flies were seen

By 15:30 there were no butterflies coming in off, I had expected them to continue for longer, and perhaps they resumed later, but I left then. There is another, perhaps better, chance tomorrow.

Mediterranean gulls 4 adult on the beach next to the wooden jetty

But the beach was full of feeding gulls, mainly Black-Headed, they seem to have given up with the sand mason worms for now, and are taking advantage of the soft wet mud to "paddle a puddle" and pick off any small invertebrates they disturb