Links | Contact Us | Accessibility | About Us   

Summer 2015

(Click on the images for a larger picture)

Ringlet Butterfly

Despite the cold but dry spring here in Lincolnshire I was initially encouraged by the numbers of butterflies. Brimstones and Peacocks were especially abundant in April and rarer species such as Grizzled Skippers emerged, albeit briefly. However as spring gave way to summer temperatures remained low and although it remained very dry sunshine was a rare commodity. The brief "heatwave" in early July encouraged some butterflies to emerge but numbers, if not variety were disappointing.


I did manage to do a butterfly count on my BBS (Breeding Bird Survey) transect on one of the warmer sunny days when I recorded nine species , thee less than the same time last year. Ringlet butterflies were the most abundant followed by the Meadow Brown. Gatekeepers were just emerging so were few in numbers, but I expect to obtain a higher count on my next visit. Weather permitting!

White Admiral

Silver Washed Fritillary

A long weekend in Norfolk in mid-July was relatively warm and sunny and produced some more exciting species; White Admiral's on Buddleia growing at Weybourne Station on the North Norfolk Railway was one of the highlights and Silver Washed Fritillary and Grayling in Holt County Park on the same day were the other highlights.

Lunar Hornet Moth

I regret having never given moths enough attention, but some of the species in evidence in daylight hours have caught my eye lately. Day flying Six Spot Burnet Moths and the ragwort dependant Cinnabar Moth are both more beautiful than many butterflies and have graced many of my summer rambles. More unusual is the Lunar Hornet Moth which when I found a specimen at rest in Norfolk fooled me. Like its potential predators at first glance I thought that I was looking at a hornet.

Six Spot Burnet




Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Another irresistible moth is the Hummingbird Hawkmoth two of which were visiting lavender plants in Norfolk at the Bed and Breakfast that we stayed in at Edgefield near Holt. Their long proboscis sinks deep in to the flowers in search of nectar whilst they hover with wings beating at incredible speeds just like the tropical birds that they are named after. Close by another day flying migrant moth the Silver Y also appeared.

For birds the summer months are all about nesting and raising families. Due to the cool, cloudy weather the consensus is that most birds are having a poor breeding season. Happily my garden is proving to be the exception with good numbers of fledglings feasting on the food we supply and enjoying the habitats that we have created for them. House sparrows, Chaffinches, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Robins have all raised young successfully. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers also nested close by and their progeny are regularly coming to our garden for food and water.

Pied Flycatcher

Due to our holiday in Bulgaria; featured in the previous edition of Country Eye we did not make our usual pilgrimage to the sessile oak-woods in Wales to engage with the special birds there. However the woods and river near Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire proved to be a first class substitute. Here we caught up with Pied Flycatcher and Redstart, but sadly we dipped out on Wood Warbler a bird in serious decline.

More common woodland species such as Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Coal Tit are easily observed here as my photographs show and the tumbling brook provides another interesting habitat.


Coal Tit

Here we enjoyed good views of Dipper; the only passerine that swims underwater to feed, as well as delicate Grey Wagtails, really more yellow than grey, taking insects from the surface of the water or plucking them from the air.



The colourful introduced mandarin duck is also found here nesting in holes in trees, as is the Goosander a substantial fish eating duck with a saw bill that any fishmonger would covet. Kingfishers were also in evidence; in fact a whole family of these jewels piping loudly as they flew up and down the river.

Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpipers also breed along the river where they hunt for insect larvae and worms amongst the shoreline.

As I write at the end of July our local drought has certainly ended and frequent heavy showers are hammering down the flowers in our wild flower borders in the garden. However our window cleaner has just told me that high pressure is on the way up from The Azores, so we might yet see some summer.


Ian Misselbrook
August 2015


© All Images are the copyright of Ian Misselbrook. For further information, please

Some text may be lost if you are viewing with a low screen resolution - click here for more info