My first day of holiday, so a long walk planned with plenty of time to stop and watch the world go by with a picnic and bottle of beer. I set off along the Ridge path to Bush Wood. En route recorded usual birds and butterflies. Huge numbers of meadow browns along with many small and large whites and a few commas and small skippers. Also, a first record of Essex skipper and little blue. The former near Bush Wood whilst the latter was discovered in long grass on the golf course. 3 common buzzards circled overhead, mewing and offering reasonable photo opportunities, as did the numerous meadow browns. A large party (17+) of long tailed tits made their way along the hedgerow as I stopped to snap the butterflies. At Bush Wood a session skirting around the periphery gave up great views of ruddy darter dragonfly. Two photos here, one showing the "wheel" position adopted whilst mating whilst the other depicts a male resting. I carried on to the River and over the golf course and into Caley Wood. Not much on offer here apart from numerous butterflies and the opportunity to collect several golf balls from the adjacent rape field, which was being combined. Swallows, swifts and kestrels were all observed over the golf course and a great spotted woodpecker flew overhead into Caley Wood. A green woodpecker (juvenile) was recorded on the 6th tee. Several chiffchaffs were heard and seen but in general warbler numbers were low, with a brief sight of a common whitethroat. Yellowhammers still sang from many treetops and hedgerows. In all 21 species of bird and 9 species of butterfly. The last being a small tortoiseshell that gave great photo opportunities on the footpath down to the River Ash from the G.C.
Photos here show the overhead common buzzard, along with three pictures of the Essex skipper. Compare with the previous post showing the small skipper, where the orange tips of the antennae are apparent. Also, a small white feeding on rose bay willow herb and 2 photographs showing the different markings found on the meadow brown butterfly. A new plant was photographed along the River Ash by the footbridge behind Lordship Farm. This was Indian Balsam (impatiens glandulifera). This is a common plant of riversides, introduced from the Himalaya; it grows to 7 foot tall, as the local examples were.