Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Brimstone etc.

Since my last post things have gone a little bit quiet here at the home obs. The weather has been mixed with odd lovely fine spells mixed with some strong near gales and rain, with an overall colder feel that it should be. Saying that, we can easily get days where the temperature doesn't pass 6 degrees at the beginning of June in Northumberland, its all dependant on the wind direction and as usual for this time and spring in general, its from the northern half. Hopefully the forecast for next week is correct and the mercury is moving in the right direction.

We should have been going on our annual trip to Suffolk on Saturday, but this year plans have been changed for us and we will be spending the week at home. At least its time off so lets hope for some reasonable weather.

Last Tuesday, ( speaking of which did you hear Packham on Springwatch say 'See You Next Tuesday'  as the show ended on Friday? I nearly dropped my drink laughing! I wont explain it on here but it is a childish type of foul mouthed acronym that I did not expect from the BEEB :))

...Last Tuesday I was pleased to hear the jovial 'chipping' of Crossbills as I walked down our lane in the morning as 6 flew over south. My first on patch this year. June is a good time for them as they are in post breeding dispersal mode by then having finished nesting several weeks ago. A couple of days later another 17 flew south, but none since.

I was fired up to do some twitching last week too, not of the avian kind though and only a few hundred metres from home into our Village Wood.

Our new neighbour, naturalist and great sound man Geoff Sample came to tell me he and his partner, Jane, had seen a Brimstone butterfly up the wood at Rye Hill. For those of you living south of the Tees, you may be scratching your head, but Brimstone is an extremely rare species here, so much that I have lived my life in Northumberland and have looked at butterflies since I was in single figures and have never seen one. This is because the food plant, Alder Buckthorn doesn't grow here, but odd ones are reported in some years. For the next couple of days I visited the spot a couple of times each day without luck, then after four days, I had an independent message from bird ringer Phil Hanmer to tell me he had seen a Brimstone across the main Howick Hall car park. This is only 200mtrs from the original sighting so may have been the same insect. Next day I waited till things had warmed up a bit at lunchtime and wandered along to both spots and the area between with Peggy. Despite combing the whole place there was no sign of the butterfly. I did find some ornamental Round leaved Buckthorn that may be a food plant, but that's all and since then the trail has gone cold. Now that this butterfly is on my radar I will be staying vigilant.

Other than that bit of excitement the Barn Owls have been showing occasionally and on a short seawatch on Sunday, 28 Manx Shearwaters, 36 Puffins and 5 Arctic Terns were the highlight amongst hundreds, maybe thousands of the other auks, gannets, kittiwakes and fulmars..

A Brimstone butterfly from Norfolk....


Michael Drage said...

Susie White reported one from Allendale in her Guardian piece yesterday.
Does 2 count as an influx to the NE?

Gibster said...

Brimstone? Is that the one with a horn on it's forehead or the one with a fishtail instead of legs? Pure myth, I don't believe they exist at all. Next you'll be telling me Small White is a real thing and there's more than one species of Blue... ;)

Ipin said...

You have to explain the 'See You Next Tuesday' now...

Stewart said...

Hi Michael, yes Susie tweeted it to me when she had it. I suppose two or three a year is average.
Hi Seth, aye being on Skye means you wont get a lot of the southern species, but you done have some nice northern things to keep you occupied...I didnt know small white was rare there?
Iain - Well...it is an acronym - C.U.Next.Tuesday the way he said it, me and Jane burst out laughing! .