Sunday, 28 June 2015

Northern Brown Argus and Crossbills on the Wing

A Northern Brown Argus feeding on Common Rock Rose (I took this photo in June 2014) Click over to enlarge

Saturday 27th June 2015 - Hutton Roof from Whin Yeats side and over past Kelker and the Rakes and up along Bracken Bed, Hybrid Hill and directly back to Whin Yeats side. 0930hrs to 1130hrs.  (Intentions check out inscription, and progress of Dark Red Helliborines on Hybrid Hill.

Just after setting off I was startled, because not far from me was what I first imagined to be a Sparrowhawk in a medium sized hawthorn bush being mobbed by three Meadow Pipits, with lots of agitation going on, and then I saw the large full size bird for a second time crossing over to another hawthorn at the height of about 6ft and realised it was a full size Cuckoo I was seeing and not a hawk! I had thought I had seen the last Hutton Roof Cuckoo leave around mid June.  Then it came to mind that maybe it was a young bird being fed by three separate pipits!  I only got quick glimpses on each occasion and it was very difficult to get any clear picture, before it was off and away with the Pipits in close pursuit.  Although the large bird was a overhall grey like you would expect from a Cuckoo, there was also a element of brown on the bird.  I gave thought to the arrival dates of the Cuckoo from the beginning of May and wondered if this was perhaps a this years young Cuckoo, although for me it would have been fully grown!

Checked out a 6 metre patch of Beech Fern on the Kelker side and soon came upon two Common Spotted orchids at the side of the path.  They were still in their "pyramid spike" state of early growth.  It never ceases to amaze me the variation patterns on the flowers.

A new Tree Pipit was recorded quite close to where I was stood and got some fabulous views of its aerial demonstrations.  at 1000hrs a party of 6 Crossbill crossed high and headed onward to the North. That ties in with other parts of the Country who are also recording the movements of Crossbills.

Small Heath Butterflies and lots of Speckled Wood Butterflies in the glades, but the cream had to come with two separate sightings of the rare Northern Brown Argus.  One of the butterflies was at a regular "Common Rock Rose" old established site whilst the other was in a completely new territory and this one was feeding on Birdsfoot Trefoil, a Hawkweed and also feeding on a large "sedge" (see photo below).

Also today I did manage to find the large limestone boulder over the Rakes side which also has a inscription (not the Braithewaite Blacksmith inscription but another which was not just has clear, though the text was done with much skill and read as follows: "JOHN LAMB - LIVERPOOL and also but difficult to read and below was MA LAMB (see photo below)

The Helliborines and the rare Hypericums are at least 10 days to two weeks behind usual.  Expect ordinary Dark Reds in about ten days time.

I had forgot my camera, so here we are from the mobile - it shows the NBA feeding on a sedge? Click over to enlarge
Very difficult to read here but the inscription does say JOHN LAMB - LIVERPOOL and MA LAMB Click over to enlarge