I did not get to post last night so here are two days in one. Yesterday I was only out for a short while as I had several bits of office work to do, although the office is not necessarily a poor place for encountering wildlife. It was hot again and my quick visit to Farlington to check the cattle resulted in my seeing a few black-tailed godwit and hearing bearded tit calling near the Building and seeing some very hot looking cattle. On leaving I noticed that the everlasting pea by the entrance gate was looking particularly good.
Back at the office I had a meeting to discuss artwork for Farlington, as it was so hot we held the meeting in the shade of a tree in the garden, near the pond. Just before we started a scarlet tiger moth flew into the long vegetation by the pond, a bit worn but always good to see even if the scarlet hind wings were hidden when it was perched.
The moth was not the last thing of interest though, a red kite flew overhead, always a good sight.
Today was another very hot day and we decided to cancel the work party as it was just too hot to do the planned task. WE decided to go out on site though to have a look at work done, plan things for the future and check the cattle. I had set up a moth trap at Swanwick yesterday and we checked through that first, there were a few interesting species including a lunar-spotted pinion. They were all very lively and getting pictures was difficult but I did manage a few including grey arches,
and one of a number of clouded brindle.
We then set off for a walk around the site hoping to see some butterflies, soon after we set off we saw white admiral, always good to see, but not quite the purple emperor that I was really hoping for. Then up to the north-east meadow to check the cattle, as we approached Rob spotted a butterfly landing on an oak trunk, and there it was a purple emperor, we walked towards it and found it was feeding from a sap-run and quite approachable, even allowing a picture.
This was just about the best view I have ever had of one and it is always great to see wildlife doing something interesting.
On something of a high after this encounter we set off for Farlington, where things were again quite and all the cattle seemed well. We checked out one of the populations of annual beard-grass and found it to be doing well, this is a species of coastal grazed marshes that, oddly is common around the old silt ponds at Blashford Lakes, where it was presumably accidentally introduced.
On our way back to the office we called in at Hookheath Meadow and completed our “big butterfly trio” with lots of silver-washed fritillary and more white admiral. It was almost too hot for lots of insects and many were hiding in the shade including a fine hoverfly with a golden-haired tip to the abdomen, Xylota sylvarum.