At last, a brief, but much welcomed break in the weather. Today was lovely and clear, hot, sunny with a light W3.
Highlights at Boulmer this weekend, apart from the Pyramidal Orchid below, ( click on any image for a better, larger version )were 302 Curlew, 190 Golden Plover, 3 Knot in summer plumage, 2 Bar tailed Godwit in summer plumage and the usual Yellow Wagtail in the wheat field is now accompanied by at least one juvenile. Nice to see them breeding here again when they are in such decline.
As is usual at this time of year, I tend to concentrate on the plants and insects while out birding. On Saturday a short visit to Little Mill pools had Tufted Duck with 7 ducklings, 15+ Swifts, Blue tailed and Common Blue Damselflies, Common Blue and Meadow Brown Butterflies and Great Spearwort and Celery-leaved Crowfoot in flower.
Today, met ADMc and had a wander over to Kimmer Lough, west of Alnwick. Butterflies were obvious with 6+ Large Skippers, 4 Small Heath, 12+ Ringlet and 2 Meadow Browns, 2 Snipe 'tick-tocked' over their territories and a young Roe Deer in very russet summer coat was drinking from the lough. the large beds of Yellow Water Lily looked very scenic here in the dark peaty pool.
On the way back we checked Alnwick Castle Pastures for banded demoiselle without luck, but we did have a Kingfisher flash downstream, whistling loudly. Two broods of Tufted Duck were on the river where Marsh Woundwort was in flower.
In the afternoon, Jane and Bunty came with me to a more reliable site for the Banded Demoiselles, Bellasis Bridge near Blagdon. Here we saw three males flying bat-like over the flooded stream, but only the two females posed for photos.
After a stop at the Blagdon Farm Centre we called at Druridge Bay Country Park and East Chevington Dunes to look for Orchids. At the country park there was a good display of wildflowers in the meadows with swathes of Common Spotted Orchid, Birds foot Trefoil, Wild Carrot and various Vetches but only a single Bee Orchid.These flowers had the associated insects, 8+ Large Skippers,2 Common Blues and 4+ Meadow Browns, a few Cinnabar and Burnet Moths and loads of Common Blue Damselflies. Over in the Chevington Dunes, a few Fragrant Orchids were near some Marsh Helleborines and Common Twayblade. Every summer I wish I knew more about the plants as I learn new each summer but forget the previous one!
The walk back along the beach had a large feeding flock of over a hundred Terns of 3+ species just offshore.