Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Part 2 Bentley Wood on Hampshire - Wiltshire Border

Part 2 continued from previous blog.

Our next walk took us to the Hampshire/Wiltshire border at Bentley Wood famous as a site for Purple Emperor Butterfly it is also good for birds though our visit here was a general wildlife walk.  The morning didn't promise good weather and we had heavy downpour on our way and as we gathered in the car park there wasn't to much optimism, but I said a little humidity would be good for the butterflies.  It didn't take long to pick up Brimstone both male and females, then I found the first Pearl-bordered Fritillary of what turned out to be many, they seemed to have done pretty well here this year.
Pearl-bordered Fritillary - Bentley Wood © Nick Hull
Also common here is Speckled Yellow a species of day flying moth which larva feeds on Wood Sage.  Another day flying moth which you can find here is the Argent & Sable which is a scarce and local species in the south more common on Scottish moors. The larva spins the leaf of Bog Myrtle of Birch to form a cocoon and we found a number on these on the birch tree around the clearing and later I found a single flying adult which landed long enough to get a couple of shots of.
Argent & Sable- larva spun leaf cocoon and adult moth © Nick Hull
We also came across a couple of other day flying moths one Pyrausta aurata a micro moth sometimes called Mint Moth the other was a Cinnabar Moth whose yellow and black caterpillars are found on ragwort plants. I also saw a single Burnet Companion but it disappeared into the grass before others managed to see it..
Pyrausta aurata ©Jackie Hull and Cinnabar Moth © Martin Wood
These are a few more species seen on our morning walk ranging from Oil Beetles, Broad-bodied Chaser and other butterfly species like Green-veined White, Grizzled Skipper and Speckled Wood.
female Oil Beetle © Nick Hull - Broad-bodied Chaser and Speckled Wood © Martin Wood
Grizzled Skipper upper side © Martin Wood - Underside © Nick Hull
We also came across a small stack of rotted wood where we found a number of Common Lizard soaking in the sun and warmth.
Common Lizard © Nick Hull
Bird highlights recorded were both Garden Warbler and Blackcap, Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Kestrel, Buzzard and a male Goshawk as well as the more commoner species.

We ended our day visiting the RSPB Winterborne Downs reserve at Newton Tony in Wiltshire where we were looking for downland species and successfully seeing Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Whitethroat, Lapwing, Linnets, we also had an immature Red Kite drift over us showing signs of moult in its inner primaries.  Our target species had been seen by others but for us was keeping well out of sight.  It's good job that Jackie and I had a backup site not too far away and we headed off there.  Fortunately it took me just a minute or two scoping across the arable field to find one at the edge of the grass-line and the cultivated ground not just one but two an adult and a chick Stone Curlew.  Martin then picked up the other adult just a little way to the right and we were able to get good scope views of these amazing looking birds.  A little while later Ann and Tim managed to find another pair in the adjacent field and a Red Kite flew over us a perfect end to an excellent day.
Stone Curlew ©free internet photo
Thanks to all that came along for making it such a good and varied day.

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