Inspired by our recent guest blogger, I took a very pleasant walk across the boardwalk and through School Common today, to enjoy the summer warmth and looking for flying things, knowing they were unlikely to be birds, which by all accounts are skulking in the bushes whilst they moult, and generally recuperate from the rigours of child rearing. The first thing I heard as I left the car in the car park opposite the school was the popping of seed pods on the broom bushes; confirmation that the temperature was rising.
Walking through School Common near the road, I found Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown butterflies, and then found several more later on, including one Meadow Brown so dark that at first I mistook it for a Ringlet. Further on, as is my habit, I looked in on School Meadow, that often overlooked open area on the other side of the main path through School Common. It often pays to look in here, and today I was pleased to see a Green Veined White butterfly, but then thrilled to spot a White Admiral, swooping round an Oak tree and periodically coming to rest to feed on Bramble flowers.
It was a bit faded and worse for wear, so I guessed it was getting old. It was very aggressively chasing off any white butterflies that came near it. This is not the first time I have found these quite rare butterflies here, but it is still very special whenever one does show itself.
Moving back to the car park, I found this lovely bright Gatekeeper, appropriately keeping an eye on the comings and goings at the entrances to the paths leading through School Common and Jubileee Boardwalk. Having had my credentials approved, I was allowed to pass unhindered.
Scouts' Pond off Jubilee Boardwalk is getting rather overgrown, but a song thrush was hopping along the dipping platform (pity it wasn't a dipper!) and a Comma butterfly took its place when it decided not to share its space with me. A large dragonfly was hawking over the pond, often coming quited close, but never staying still and moving far too fast to photograph or identify.
The main boardwalk revealed few animal species, but I did see Large and Small White butterflies. I was hoping for more, particularly at the Warren Road side of The Beck, and no doubt a proper lepidopterist would have had more success, but never mind. The two buzzards calling as they soared above were adequate compensation, as was the kestrel in amongst a mixed flock of swifts and swallows. For a moment I hoped it was a hobby, but this time it was not to be.
The animal species may have been a bit thin on the ground, but there were plants a-plenty, providing a riot of colour. Here is the view from the boardwalk back towards Lower Street, on the Warren Road side of The Beck - glorious!