Pinch Punch dear reader as another month goes zooming by. In fact, waking up this morning to 8C and a return to the cool northerlies, I'm wondering whether that warm spell during the middle part of the month was the whole of the summer in a nutshell. The month ends on a mixture of torrential and sometimes prolonged downpours, plus the occasional rumble of thunder but there's still plenty of heat when we do get the odd sunny period.
|The delicate Common Emerald Damselfly
As ever during the summer months and in particular July, my attention turns to Odonata and Butterflies and those excellent couple of weeks mid-month were just what the doctor ordered. Lots of Dragonflies on the wing, finally recording my first Black Darters and Common Hawkers of the year, plus more sightings of the magnificent Golden-ringed Dragonfly. It's also great to see so many Common Emerald Damselflies when I'm out and about, although there's nothing common about this delicate and colourful species.
|Scotch Argus ~ A first for me!
My Butterfly highlights included my first encounter with the Scotch Argus. When Dazza and I came across a very recent emergence at Invercauld Estate, Cairngorms. A full report HERE
Also worthy of mention is the Dark-green Fritillary. No matter where I venture in Aberdeenshire there's always one of these large and powerful butterflies to be found!
|Record shot of a single Ruff in yet another downpour on Starnafin Pool, Strathbeg.
Just a few loose ends to tie-up for the journal to end the month. A visit to RSPB Loch of Strathbeg on the 27th and a couple of ventures along the Ythan River and Estuary during low tide on 29th/30th. Highlights at Strathbeg were single Common Sandpiper, Ruff and my first Green Sandpiper since relocating to Scotland. A lone Whooper Swan from the Dunbar Hide was likely one left behind, perhaps from injury during the migration back north in spring.
|Wood Sandpiper just below the parking area at Waulkmill Hide.
When heading over to the Ythan my first stop is normally Inch Point but with so many fishermen at present, it's proving to be a little overcrowded. Still, there's always lots to see here, not the very least lots of fluffy juvenile Eider Duck. Parking at the 'Snub' car park, which offers superb views along the Ythan and no fisherman there is literally 100's of Redshank at present with an almost equal measure of Curlew.
|Osprey over the Ythan ~ This one was taken on July 19th
Greenshank can be found here at any time of year (2 during my stop) and overhead wonderful to see two Osprey fishing, along with a couple of passing Whimbrel. A single Little Egret was noteworthy, so too, thirteen Canada Geese, easily my best count for this strangely not so common species to the area. From the Waulkmill Hide, a very smart-looking Wood Sandpiper has to be the highlight of my visits.