Wednesday, June 06, 2018

πŸ“– #36 ~ Wyre Forest

☀️ 23C Wednesday 6th June 2018 ~ A day out in the Wyre Forest (Dowles Brook) meeting up with John Osbourne, Bill Gill and Alan Boddington at 07:30 ~ Completing an anti-clockwise circular walk west from the car park along Dowles Brook, returning along the disused railway line. The weather today was glorious with clear blue skies and sunshine throughout, perfect conditions for butterflies. The primary reason for the visit ~ This is a good time of year to see both Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which is now at its limit and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which are just emerging.

Circular route from Dry Mills Lane
I was first to arrive at the car park and while enjoying a coffee sat watching a pair of Nuthatch gathering food a Spotted Flycatcher appeared high in an adjacent tree, a year-tick! After meeting up with the others the first part of the walk was quite chilly under the high tree canopy and it was no surprise that the birding, to begin with, was quite slow. Chiffchaff, Coal Tit and Blackcap singing but no sign of any Dippers along the brook, a Grey Wagtail the best here. A Muntjac Deer appeared on the path and shortly after passing Knowles Mill a Marsh Tit was seen feeding young.

A very pristine looking ~ Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary & 'Early' Bumblebee
The canopy now begins to open up and while checking for Dippers along the brook next to a bridge and small meadow, a ♀Goosander suddenly flushed from underneath the bridge, taking us completely by surprise! On the meadow the first butterflies had begun to appear. In fact, it was the exact species we were here to see, newly emerged and pristine looking Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

One of a number of Wood Warblers, mostly under the canopy gathering food.
Before we turned to head back along the disused railway line we stopped in various other locations. At one point while enjoying a coffee a ♂Common Redstart appeared briefly with a bill full of food, in fact, most birds observed today were busy gathering food, a good sign of how well things are going. This also included at least five Wood Warblers, with a couple more singing, possibly looking to produce a second brood?

Spotted Flycatcher ~ One of three for me today..
Two more Spotted Flycatchers, once again high in the canopy and probably late arrivals were also noted along the route before we found a small area of meadow with some wet areas to explore.

Heath Spotted Orchid
Beautiful Demoiselle
Remarkably, one small body of water in particular, no more than a large storm puddle, held Tadpoles and Smooth Newts, while another larger pool had two Four-spotted Chasers ovipositing. While here I'm certain a Cockchafer Beetle was flying high above the trees and the meadow below held Common and Heath Spotted Orchids. A couple of Beautiful Demoiselle was also noted, along with Brimstone and Speckled Wood butterfly.

This Pearl-bordered Fritillary looking rather tatty now.
The walk back to the car park along the disused railway track held a few more rather worn Pearl-bordered Fritillary, plus more Wood Warblers and a second ♂Common Redstart, the latter singing high atop one of the conifers, sadly though, no sign of any Tree Pipits!

White-barred Clearwing
At one stage along the track, we met up with Dave Cox, Denis Woodward and Paul Cashmore who were good enough to let us see White-barred Clearwing moths which they were studying. While here a newly fledged group of Pied Flycatchers also entertained.