Saturday, 20 July 2013

Summer Fell colours

This warm weather has been great for the moth traps and also the butterflies, especially as this is a quiet time for birds. The fell is looking very dry but there are some patches of colour.

Bell Heather

Lime Hawkmoth
The last couple of catches have have 60-70 odd species each including a sack of new ones for the year including  Lime Hawkmoth, (one of the specialities of the garden), my first ever, though well overdue Broom Moth and a micro moth Ptycholomoides aeriferanus which is rare in the county and another first for me. There have been a few migrant moths turning up in trap too with Silver Ys and Diamond-backed Moths both being caught in fair numbers over the last few weeks. The garden moth list has now hit 200 species this year.

The garden Wood Mouse have avoided me this year until last night when I caught a young hiding behind a box in the garden.

Six-spot Burnet

On the fell both Narrow-bordered five-spot and Six-spot Burnets are on the wing and I have been getting some great butterfly counts both in numbers and species on my little wanderings. 

Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Skipper, Common Blue, Small Heath all well into double figures with smaller numbers of the Whites, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood. Yesterday also produced my first of the new generation Wall butterflies. 

Small Skipper

It's a good year for Dragonflies too with Four-spotted Chaser, Azure and Large Red Damselfly, Common Darter and Common Hawker all being seen the last couple of days.

Azure Damselfly

Plant wise, a patch of Musk Mallow has appeared in a field adjacent to South Burn Wood which I have not seen before there and some searching found my Sand Spurrey on the Fell which I couldn't remember exactly where I had seen it before, though it was several years ago.

Sand Spurrey
Musk Mallow

AsI said its a quiet time for birds but Oystercatchers are continuing to fly over calling noisily and both Chiffchaff and Garden Warbler were singing which means both are probably on their second broods.

My tally for how many different species I can see in the fell 1km square of NZ2549 (1000for1ksq) has now reached 782 with a few bugs in containers in the fridge awaiting me having the time to try and identify them.


  1. Nice to see so many butterflies about especially after the last couple of years. Worryingly saw my first Small Tortoiseshell yesterday for some time. A species I saw regularly while out walking previous to a couple of years ago.

  2. John, Small Tortoiseshell were very scarce early on but more are appearing the last few days. Gateshead had it's first White-letter Hairstreak and Grayling for 2 years and now I have had the former here on the fell too, for the first time ever. Obviously the weather has helped but I think this year is a big improvement on the last few years, fingers crossed.