Out on the levels again this morning with a cycle round the patch in glorious weather. Perhaps because of the improved conditions a few fledglings were seen, in what has generally been a poor breeding year to date, including the Swallows pictured above which were part of a family of four, as was the Mute Swan cygnet pictured right at Rickney. Despite a post on the SOS website to the contrary, there are still Yellow Wagtails visible from the public rights of way across Down and Horse-eye levels, and the two pairs were still on their territories this morning (27th). Also this morning other residents on show included a pair of Hobby hawking dragons over Down, 2 pairs of Bullfinch in the lanes, singing Lesser Whitethroat at Chilley farm and White Dyke, Buzzard over Downash, and Redshank on Down Level.
Odonata were very much in evidence this morning with my first Black-tailed Skimmer (fem pictured above) and Brown Hawker for the year on Down Level. Small Tortoiseshell and Meadow Brown butterflies had also emerged with 30 and 28 respectively along White Dyke along with singles of Small heath and Painted Lady. Elsewhere my first Marbled White and Dark Green Fritillary for the year were seen at Birling Gap on the 26th.
Heart and Club (16th), Clay Triple-lines , Common Footman, Cypress Carpet , Figure of Eighty, Privet Hawkmoth, Toadflax Brocade, & Uncertain (18th), Buff Ermine, Common Swift, & Peppered Moth (unusually a dark variant) (22nd), Lime Hawkmoth (24th), Common Marbled Carpet, Small Elephant Hawkmoth, & Treble Brown-spot (25th)
Micros' have also picked up with new species for the year as follow:
Crambus pascuella (16th), Agriphila straminella, Eudonea angustea, & Eudonea delunella (18th), Cydia pomonella (Codling moth), &Eudonia mercurella (24th).
Other bits and pieces of note include Flowering Rush in bloom on Down (27th), Badger at Arlington on the evening of the 24th, and during a nocturnal foray on the levels the same night a Reed Warbler still belting its song out on Horse-eye at midnight.
Finally those who know me well are aware that I am partial to a drop of refreshment every so often with hedgerow brews very high on my likes list. Mrs Leveller has kindly obliged with her first batch of Elderflower champagne for the year this weekend which is currently slipping down nicely. Cheers!