Wednesday, July 25, 2018

πŸ“– #45 ~ RSPB Otmoor and Aston Rowant

⛅️30C Wednesday 25th July 2018 ~ Spent the morning at RSPB Otmoor meeting up with Alan Boddington at our marina car park around 07:00hrs
The primary reason for the visit ~ Brown Hairstreak

Brown Hairstreak simply refused to budge!

On arrival, we made our way along to the Turtle Dove feeding area, in search of a year-tick for Alan. We'd only gone down the path halfway when a bird appeared on top of one of the telephone poles. Although we had reasonable views, enough for his year-tick, the bird was flushed by two birders ahead of us and not seen again, although we did hear it.

Turtle Dove from my visit in May 
Birding wasn't really the priority today but we did complete a walk up to the hide and beyond, with the heat building bird activity was minimal and most of the wet areas along this stretch were devoid of water. We naturally encountered many Red Kites and other raptors included Kestrel, Buzzard and Marsh Harrier. The only Wader was a Common Sandpiper, which in fact I only heard briefly across on 'Big Otmoor'.

Alan's image of the reluctant Brown Hairstreak
Searching the treeline we eventually found a couple of Brown Hairstreak high up in the “master ash” along the Roman Road but remarkably it had become overcast and despite our patience, they simply refused to move. Unlike the many Purple Hairstreak, which seemed to be everywhere today!

Aston Rowant Nature Reserve
After leaving Otmoor we drove the short distance across to Aston Rowant Nature Reserve. The reserve lies on the northwestern scarp of the Chiltern Hills and overlooks the vale of Oxford. It is characteristic of the Chilterns landscape and the majority is chalk grassland, which is full of colourful wildflowers, perfect for butterflies. The remainder of the site includes areas of mixed scrub such as bramble and hawthorn, areas of juniper and ancient beech woodland.
The primary reason for the visit ~ Silver-spotted Skipper Butterflies

Chalk-hill Blue ~ Many looking quite worn..
By the time we arrived on site the temperature had soared to 30C + and as we made our way along the escarpment it was simply sweltering. Many butterflies on the wing in the now humid and sunny conditions, most refusing to settle but it was certainly a sight to behold. Chalkhill Blue, many quite worn, along with lots of Common Blue, several Brown Argus and a single Small Copper. A full list at the end of the post.

Double figure Silver-spotted Skipper ~ Our target species
We connected with around 30+ Silver-spotted Skipper, notable against other Skipper species in my opinion by its moth-like flight. Thankfully several settled for photographs when the sun occasionally gave us respite behind a cloud or two. A bonus find was a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, which I had fun photographing, eventually coming up with the enclosed photos.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth
An excellent afternoon only blighted by the constant rumble of the M40 motorway traffic below and of course the stifling conditions, which are becoming unbearable, even for me πŸ˜…

More Images of the day

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

Silver-spotted Skipper

Chalkhill Blue

Brown Argus
Butterfly Day List...

Silver-Spotted Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Brown Argus, Holly Blue, Purple Hairstreak, Brown Hairstreak, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Hummingbird Hawk-moth (21 Butterflies)