On Thursday we met for the second and final time at Brockadale. We had only just squeezed through the gate and someone spotted an ichneumon fly on an umbellifer. There had been a great change since the previous week. There was more Greater Knapweed in flower and the Clustered Bellflowers had come out a treat. Some of the Orchids were now past their best, but the Pyramidal Orchids were better than last week. It was a sunny day but with a very strong wind. Despite the conditions there were many more butterflies out with plenty of Marbled Whites and even several Dark Green Fritillaries. However, both of these spectacular species were outnumbered by both Meadow Browns and Ringlets. There were fewer Banded Demoiselles around the little bridge with no females seen at all. At the other side of the bridge we turned left this time, and this turned out to be a good move, as we saw more birds and more plants of interest.
Dark Green Fritillary - taken in 2010
Ichnuemon Fly Ophion luteus
Marbled White on Scabious (c) 2013 Richard Whateley
Yellowhammer (c) 2013 Richard Whateley
Meadow Brown (c) 2013 Richard Whateley
Ringlet (c) 2013 Richard Whateley
Brimstone (c) 2013 Richard Whateley
We came into the open and found ourselves in a open grassy area. There were more Meadow Browns here, and even a male Banded Demoiselle. The someone who will remain nameless reported sighting an owl. On investigation this proved to be a Kestrel peering from the entrance hole of some tiny caverns. It moved forward a little and then gave us all a fly past, when its grey tail showed it was a male. We retraced our steps and saw much of the same species as we had earlier, but this time Swifts were scything the wildflower meadow. Everyone was most impressed with the reserve, and were keen to give it a return visit some time.
Banded Demoiselle (c) 2013 Richard Whateley
Kestrel (c) 2013 Richard Whateley
Claire's White Bryony
Immature Dunnock (c) 2013 Richard Whateley