On a visit largely to do the weekly butterfly transect now that the weather has settled down a bit, the first Chalkhill Blue of the season was rather overshadowed by 2 Honey-buzzards that flew NE, with five or six presumably local Buzzards seeing them off. A Sand Martin and 3 Swifts were also seen heading inland.
161 Swifts flew SW along the cliffs as the residue of yesterday’s rain cleared away and a juvenile Cuckoo was lumbering about in the valley. Pretty scarce here these days.
A string of 43 Common Scoter flew upchannel past the bay in rain and murk, but apart from the usual suspects that was more or less it.
The gales of the last few days had retreated and the morning was calm and increasingly sunny and warm. A Reed Warbler on the farm ticked the ‘start of autumn’ box quite nicely, but butterflies stole the show, with Large Whites in abundance, the first Gatekeepers of the season and, best of all, this Large Tortoiseshell, photographed by Colin on Lighthouse Down.
An hour staring out to sea in a near-gale force SW wind was testing in visibility that was no better than moderate. Apart from a second summer Med. Gull the only real bright spot was a Harbour Porpoise mooching about close inshore.
Bright with a brisk W/SW breeze there was a bit of midsummer shuffling about, including a Great Spotted Woodpecker that flew SW along the cliffs and a trickle of 18 Swifts. A fox family was nice to see and, believe it or not, a Green-veined White on the farm was the first of the year.
The SW wind was a tad exuberant but not enough to make the weekly transect unwalkable, but numbers were rather disappointing, the total of 79 butterflies leaving 2020 behind last year at the same point in the season. Most (28) were Marbled Whites, augmented by a significant increase in Small Whites (23), with everything else in only moderate numbers, though they did include the first of the summer generation of Common Blues.
It remains changeable and with showers running along the Channel on a SW breeze it seemed vaguely sensible to do a seawatch. For early July it was actually quite enjoyable, even if almost everything was of local interest. 5 auks were the highlight, including one Razorbill close in, 2 adult Med. Gulls and 21 Gannets flew by, a Little Egret was in the bay and singles of Common Tern and Dunlin added a bit of variety.