Saturday, 20 July 2013

From Surrey to Surrey Water

I've had a pretty packed day today. Pretty much being a bird only man, just dabbling a bit with other aspects of natural history, James L and Graeme S were my nature guides for the day. We'd initially planned to head up to Northants to join the masses at Fermyn Woods where Purple Emperors are enjoying a record year, but a look at the weather forecast revealed overcast conditions. So, with the same target in mind, we diverted to sunny Surrey and a nice little place near Chiddingfold called Botany Bay. James L was armed with shrimp paste and rotten bananas, though these weren't required, as on arrival a nice male Purple Emperor was feasting on the horse dung!

Purple Emperor, Botany Bay 20th July 2013
In total we saw four of these massive butterflies, as well as perhaps ten or so Silver-washed Fritillaries and half a dozen White Admirals. All very nice indeed, so with time ticking on, I was escorted to nearby Thursley where my expert guides talked me through the Odonata there. Namely Downy Emerald, Keeled Skimmer, Four-spotted Chaser, Small Red, Large Red and Emerald Damselfies. Thanks guys.
Silver-washed Fritillary, Botany Bay 20th July 2013
Though with not a gull or whiff of sewage in sight, I was gagging to get Crossness and do what I know best. On arrival I was pleasantly surprised to find a Whimbrel on the foreshore by the golf centre - first of the year here for me as spring passage was so lame. Five Yellow-legged Gulls included my first juvenile of the year, and a couple of ringed Herring Gulls were from the NTGG and Suffolk, while a Jersey Tiger moth was on bushes in the sewage works.
Jersey Tiger, Crossness 20th July 2013
Back in Rotherhithe, an adult Yellow-legged Gull was new in on the mud off the Hilton Hotel before some twat with a dog flushed it, along with my first juvenile Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Then a check of Surrey Water late evening allowed me an encounter with a long lost friend...
Long-tailed Duck, Rotherhithe 20th July 2013
All in all, a thoroughly pleasant day out.

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