August is almost at an end and amazingly I haven't seen a dragonfly for 3 weeks (since we visited Cragside), which sums the school hols up nicely.
The only chance I've had for nature-watching in that time was a trip to Alnmouth last week, where I caught up with a few seabirds I haven't seen in a while, at least until the dogs chased them off and then the incoming tide ensured they couldn't return.
|Plenty of Terns but at this distance my ID skills not good enough to fathom if there were any other species|
bar sandwich and Common, 4 species of gull, oyks and cormorants made up the rest.
|On the sea this Guillemot was the only bird in photo range, but a raft of maybe a dozen Goosanders,|
Cormorants, fishing terns and further out Gannets and Common Scoter kept me entertained while
the kids played.
|Plenty of Oyks about, with noisy flyovers totalling around 60 birds.|
Otherwise it's been garden-watching only. The Buddleas took a while to bloom but eventually attracted quite a few species of butterfly, though not in any great number. And now the blooms are all but gone it's noticeable the butterflies are all but gone now too. I tried to get a photo of every species which came to the garden but failed with fly through Ringlet and Common Blue back in July, here are those I did manage to snap :
|Red Admirals were most regular and most numerous, though peaking at only 3 shows how|
low in numbers butterflies were in general.
|Small Torts maxed out at 2 though pretty regular|
|This rather faded Meadow Brown was a regular visitor for a couple of weeks|
|Comma, my favourite butterfly and this my favourite photo from the garden this year|
|Poor photo of a Small White but the only one I could get of this flighty visitor|
|Large White was a bit more obliging, only visited on a couple of occasions|
|Another Comma, love the jigsaw puzzle shapes of the outer wings|
|Comma from the topside, contrasting orange and black, lovely colouring|
|Speckled Wood, another favourite, this one had extremely grey underparts|
|Not sure if this was the same Speck Wood, taken same day but at different time|
|Peacocks took their time to find the Buddleas, but once they did were pretty regular.|
Can't believe this is the best shot I got.
|Small Copper seen on a couple of occasions, another little beaut.|
|Green-veined White was the last species to visit just last week|
|Here it is showing the green veins|
Though the birds are the most easy to attract and observe in the garden, I always like to see vertebrates other than the feathered kind, it always seems a bit more special, and the weekend turned up trumps with a grey squirrel running along the back fence to check out the feeders, though they are presently empty and fewer in number thanks to a pack of 'hooligan' squirrels earlier in the summer (more on that another time.)
Later that evening as I put a bathroom spider out the front door, a Woodmouse ran down the front steps, stopped and stared at me for a few seconds. then dashed into a hole in the dry stone wall. Pleased with that, my first mouse sighting, though MBH had seen one out the back a couple of times.
On Sunday my lawn-mowing disturbed a Common Frog from its hiding place among the border plants, which hung around long enough for me to show the kids and get a few snaps.
|Common Frog, could obviously read|
|I pointed at the sign and it said "Reddit!"|
|Hopefully sticks around in the damp undergrowth, must dig meself a pond.|
Pleased with that one too, another garden first. The 2 or 3 Pipistrelles we watch at dusk flitting around the garden as part of their larger circuit including the sycamores over the road made it a 4 vertebrate weekend, they never land obviously but come low enough and close enough to the windows to count them as a garden tick in my book :-/
Just as well the garden keeps me entertained, 'cos if that was the summer . . . . . What the Heck?