3rd June. I speak of the rather worn Orange Tip Butterfly that I eventually managed to photograph today and not of myself, as I am far from past it and hoping to see many a good day in the future. The Orange Tip was one of many butterfly species seen on the walk from St Marys Island to Holywell. They had no doubt been encouraged onto the wing by the first sniff of warmth that we have had for sometime. I checked the calendar the other day just to make sure that I hadn’t dreamt it was June! Anyway, the image of the Orange Tip was the best one I could muster as all other butterflies were extremely flighty. I took my chance in the dene on the side of the burn and managed not to fall in to the sparsely running waters. Other butterfly species seen today were Small White, Large White, Green Veined White, Peacock, Red Admiral and Wall Brown.
It was a relaxing day, but a quite a long haul in the increasing temperatures. My initial view that it had been a quiet day was more than slightly altered when I began to list the day’s sightings, sixty-nine bird species in all.
The sea watching didn’t deliver anything that would make anyone overly jealous, but it was nice to have sightings of all three of the commoner auks, large numbers of Gannets, Fulmar, a single Little Gull, Sandwich and Arctic Terns and of course the customary Eider Ducks. There seemed to be quite a movement of Knot and other waders seen were Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Sanderling, and Turnstone.
Warblers seen and head on the walk were Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. It was the Willow Warblers that gave us one of our best sightings of the day as an adult bird was watched feeding a group of six chicks not long fledged as they grouped closely together on the branches by the burn. This sighting was narrowly beaten to top sighting of the day by a Spotted Flycatcher as it fed in the trees down The Avenue. Quite a rare sighting in this area of Holywell, and well spotted by Sam. I’ve now seen quite a number of this very under rated species this year. When looked at closely Sam and I agree it is a stunning little bird.
The level of bird song has decreased considerably, almost without notice. Even more noticeable is the decline of the spring flora in the dene as one season makes way for another. Insect life wasn’t quite up to the standards of what was shown at Minsmere on Spring Watch, but there were gatherings of significant numbers in the sunlit areas above the burn. I could almost feel myself being bitten, but I came away unscathed. A Dipper was seen very briefly.
Sand Martins, Swallows and House Martins had begun our day and towards the end we watched Swifts. Holywell Pond was fairly quiet, but we enjoyed the couple of hours we spent there anyway. A Stock Dove came down for refreshment in front of the members hide, A Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared flying over the pond on two or three occasions and we relaxed with in the peace and quiet as we watched the usual waterfowl on the pond. I didn’t even let the halfwit elderly gent who allowed his dog to chase the geese and run across the fields where the Lapwings nest affect my relaxation. Not a day to get wound up by such ignorance, but I can’t help think that a lead would be useful, and not necessarily on the dog in this case! I did note that there is a message in the hide to suggest calling the police if anyone is found on the reserve allowing their dogs to run loose. The halfwit wasn’t actually on the reserve by the way. Only wish I had confidence that our constabulary would have either the time or the inclination to respond to such calls. I just can’t imagine that such calls would be given high/any priority.