Monday, 18 May 2015

Bedwyn Brail, Bentley Wood and Bonaparte's Gull - 12th May

Today I had the pleasure of spending a day surveying Bedwyn Brail in Wiltshire close to Shalbourne  this is largely a private site and I was there plotting the distribution of Bluebell and selected Ancient Woodland Vascular Plants (AWVP) within the woodland to inform the location of on-going conservation woodland management. It was a beautiful spring like day and the Bluebell were vibrant, a classic English spring-time scene spread over the floor of this fantastic broad-leaved woodland dotted here with the white dusting of Greater Stitchwort and there with the lemon-tones of Yellow Archangel. Insects were out in full force with many hoverflies including Eristalis pertinax and Eristalis tenax and species I come across less frequerntly such as Xylota signs and Criorina berberina. Butterflies included vibrant Brimstone, Large White and one of my favourite species which seems to be on the wing for a far to brief period in April and May, the Orange-tip with its vibrant orange wing-tips and intricately dappled green underside to the hindwing.

Bluebell - Bedwyn Brail

Greater Stitchwort - Bedwyn Brail

Oiceoptoma thoracicum - Bedwyn Brail

Woundwort Shieldbug - Bedwyn Brail

Xylota segnis - Bedwyn Brail

Criorina berberina - Bedwyn Brail

Bugle - Bedwyn Brail

Red-headed Cardinal - Bedwyn Brail

Orang-tip - Male at Bedwyn Brail

Having finished my survey I decided to head for the nearby Bentley Woods where Pearl-bordered Fritillary had been on the wing for a couple of weeks and within a few minutes I had found my first and in the, by now, mainly cloudy conditions they were readily approachable and during the course of my relatively brief stop I recorded approximately 11 individuals. Other species recorded included three Brimstone, a freshly emerged Fox Moth, Red-headed Cardinal (my second species of Cardinal beetle today), Common Lizard as well as Cuckoo and Tree Pipit.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary - Bentley Woods

Pearl-bordered Fritillary - Bentley Woods

Fox Moth (Female) - Bentley Woods

Green Tiger-beetle - Bentley Woods

I had to be home to take over the care of Tobias by 18:30 but I calculated that there was just enough time to sneak a quick twitch for the Bonaparte’s Gull that has been frequenting Riverside park and Chessel Bay Local Nature Reserve (LNR) I first went to Riverside Park where there was little to be seen but for a few Herring, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull so I decided to head for Chessel Bay where the Bonaparte’s has been regularly seen feeding on the foreshore in the afternoons. After a brief scan there was nothing to be seen but I continued scanning around and eventually saw a gull lurking on the shore-line, a brief and distant view and I was pretty much convinced that this was the Bonaparte’s. I spent the rest of the late afternoon trying to get some half decent photos in pretty harsh low angle light before heading home.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (1st Summer) - Riverside Park, Southampton

Bonaparte's Gull (1st Summer) - Chessel Bay, Southampton

Bonaparte's Gull (1st Summer) - Chessel Bay, Southampton

Bonaparte's Gull (1st Summer) - Chessel Bay, Southampton