May (So Far)

Sunday 26th May 2013
Grizzled Skipper, Breakheart Quarry, 19th May
My first post of the month! Yet looking back in my notebook, despite the mixed weather, it actually hasn't been too bad. In the first week I caught up with some forest birds, including summer migrants, adding Redstart, Garden Warbler, Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Firecrest and Willow Tit to my year list. Another highlight earlier in the month was a dark-phase Arctic Skua on the evening high tide at Hock Ditch on 10th; apart from that and a distant Red-breasted Merganser the next morning, the May tides have been somewhat disappointing, at least at the weekends. I was pleased that Nightingales have returned to my local patch, and also a Garden Warbler, in a small wood near my BBS square, and two male Cuckoos are also frequently heard.
Arctic Skua, Hock Ditch, 10th May
I recently spent a delightful couple of nights in Rye, East Sussex, with Linda, and during the stay visited Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. This is a real gem and will definitely be going back to spend more time in the ternery hides. A good list of birds in an hour or so included Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Common Tern, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, and Dunlin. At Scotney Castle there was an impressive show of Green-winged Orchids, another highlight of the trip.
Mediterranean Gull, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, 16th May
One of the hides at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Green-winged Orchids, Scotney Castle, Kent, 17th May
While away a female RED-NECKED PHALAROPE turned up at Coombe Hill Meadows, and thankfully stayed for me to get there to see it on 18th (it looks like it is still there). On Friday 24th I also caught up with a WOOD SANDPIPER found by Martin at Frampton north of Splatt Bridge, and Saturday 25th the Turtle Dove at Ruardean Hill.
Red-necked Phalarop, Coombe Hill Meadows, 18th May
Some Butterflies have been very late, with no sign of Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Cirencester Woods on 19th (but one seen by Mark recently), but Duke of Burgundy finally at Rudge Hill  on Saturday. I saw five, plus eight Dingy Skippers, a Small Heath, two Speckled Wood and a Large White. I've also seen Grizzled Skipper at Breakheart Quarry (19th) and Cotswold Water Park (20th), the latter site visit also notable by a huge emergence of Large Red Damselfly, two of which species I saw in the garden this evening. Holly Blues have been visiting the garden regularly, always a nice butterfly to see.
Duke of Burgundy, Rudge Hill, 25th May
Dingy Skipper, Rudge Hill, 25th May
Large Red Damselfly, garden, 26th May
Holly Blue, garden, 2nd May
Finally, a photo of one of a pair of entertaining Grey Wagtails at Brockhampton Estate, Herefordshire on 26th May


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