Portbury Wharf and exploring the Mendips

Just a quick post this time with a few photos from last weekend. I really wanted to get out in the sunshine and try and spot some insects and butterflies, so decided to head down to the Mendips for the afternoon. I ended up exploring Ubley Warren and Velvet Bottom reserves, owned by the Somerset Wildlife Trust.

View over the Mendips, Somerset

Things were fairly quiet in terms of bird life, although there were some lovely linnets around, plus goldfinches, whitethroats, gangs of jackdaws, and a background chorus of “cronks” from the ravens. Also a yellowhammer singing just as I left – not a species I see or hear very often so a great bonus.

I clearly need to improve my butterfly stalking and photographing techniques, but here are some of the few that landed long enough to get pictures of:

Small heath butterfly (Coenonympha pamphilus)
Small heath
Small copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)
Small copper
Ringlet butterfly (Aphantopus hyperantus)

Portbury Wharf

Not content with fitting in just two reserves in one afternoon, I also dropped by Portbury Wharf reserve on the way home. Again, the birds were pretty quiet, and I narrowly missed out on seeing a barn owl that was apparently out hunting over a field, but having this beauty stroll in front of the hide was pretty special:

Roe deer, Portbury Wharf

There were also bullfinches in full song (a very weird sound!), a circling sparrowhawk, more butterflies, and a fox which sauntered across my path but disappeared faster than I could get my camera out.

If you spot any butterflies in the UK over the next few weeks, Butterfly Conservation are running a Big Butterfly Count where you can log your sightings.

UK Butterflies also have a great guide to the British species.

Small tortoiseshell butterflies
Small tortoiseshells
Goldfinch, Portbury Wharf
Goldfinch, Portbury Wharf

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