Monday 16 August 2010

A Couple of Lifers and a Lot of Birds

On Sunday morning Bun and I popped down to South Devon for a couple of lifers, not birds unfortunately but lifers never the less, the first being another rare and fascinating plant. I'm sure Bun wasn't that keen but I kinda seduced him with the promise of a nice butterfly tick too! ;-) We saw the plant easily (it was showing well). What was it? Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) a rare plant of the mint family. I'll quote from John Fisher's book, A Colour Guide To Rare Wild Flowers because I couldn't have put it better myself.
"Once you have seen this mint, you will never again allow yourself to be put off by near imitations of it by other commoner species- particularly Corn Mint, which has non of Pennyroyal's pungent sovereign remedy smell"
Pennyroyal the smell of which is indeed pungent, 
it reminded me of Victory V lozenges. 
Whereas Corn Mint apparently smells of over ripe Gorgonzola.

The butterfly we were hoping to see was Brown Hairstreak, I'd seem one before at the same site last year but it would have been a lifer for Bun, yes, 'would have been' rather gives it away doesn't it? We dipped, well sort of, we did see what was almost definitley one in flight on several occasions but lost sight of it before it landed every time! Very annoying. There's still plenty of time to see another though as they are on the wing well into September. We did both get a butterfly tick in the end though in the form of a lovely Purple Hairstreak which 'showed well' on a leaf, swaying in the wind, about 20ft up an ash tree for ages. It was too distant for a decent photo so here's a crap one.
Why did I bother?
Staying on the butterfly theme for a while longer, here's a couple of nice Holly Blue shots I got up on Haven Cliff earlier in the week.
There have been plenty of birds about on patch for the last couple of days to keep us all occupied, with a nice selection of waders on Black Hole Marsh and migrants starting to show up on Beer Head and Axe Cliff. I haven't been able to get out as much as I'd have liked due to my poorly Guinea Pig, to which I have to administer two different types of eye drops at four hourly intervals. The eye got a lot worse at one stage and the vet was worried it may burst!! It's calmed down a little bit now, but may take weeks to heal. Anyway I digress. Back to the birds. I've been down to Black Hole Marsh a few times to see the Little Stints that arrived on Sunday and just to take some photos of some of the very accommodating waders, ( while I still can, once the 'shiny new' ( strangely sited) hide's built we will have no access at all to the water's edge).

Who needs a hide?
Little Stint and Dunlin (Sunday evening)
Both Little Stints, adult and juvenile ( this afternoon)
Juvenile Little Stint (this afternoon)
Adult Little Stint (this evening)

Also from this evening:

This morning I was missing all the action on Beer Head ( Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Tree Pipits, Garden Warblers etc..) because I was at the vet with the Guinea Pig, however I was able to get up there at around 10ish and was pleased to see that three lovely, Pied Flycatchers had lingered there. I really like Pied Flycatchers, they're just so ... horribly girly of me I know ....cute! I sat down by a hedgerow and waited for my opportunity to get a snap or two. They came really close a few times,  too close to digiscope them! I'd have been alright with the point and shoot but didn't have it. Here's a few I didgiscoped when they moved far enough away!! 
See! Cute!

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