Another Saturday to spend in the good company of my friend Chris and the weather was playing ball too.
So many decisions as to where to begin, we settled on Titchfield Haven once more. There had been reports of a rare Wood Sandpiper on the reserve so we were eager to catch up with this migrating wader amongst other delights we would surely stumble upon.
For once I had arrived earlier than Chris, it was 6.30am, the sea was like a Mill Pond, the sun had just risen but was cloaked by scattered clouds which left the mist to hang like a soft pall across the back of the meadows on the reserve for a little while longer.
Common Terns fed just offshore...
The redundant power station at Fawley was picked out by the fresh golden rays.
One bird that did give up some close views was this Reed Bunting. By it's lethargy and acceptance of our close proximity it was clearly unwell.
Two guys with telescopes were watching them further along and confirmed our initial thoughts. The Redstarts proved too elusive to photograph however. The men told us of Spotted Flycatchers not too further along the path also.
We caught up with these with ease. They have a habit of catching flies from a perch and landing at the same spot.
A Kestrel sat surveying it's territory before us, lit up nicely by the now warm sunshine.
A Dunnock sat on the fence near the reserve. An easily overlooked little bird, it has lovely chestnut markings.
Darters Dip pond threw up the usual sightings at this time of year of Common Darters basking in the sun. If the weather stays mild enough they can be seen as late as November. Apparently it wont necessarily be the cold that kills them but lack of available prey.
The hide overlooks Eleven Acre Mere. The Wood Sandpiper had been seen here and after much searching and patience it was located at the back of the Mere along with some Green Sandpipers.
This was the closest it would come to us however.
Darters Dip was quiet as we passed by again apart from the Roach nudging the surface.
The hill is classic chalk downland commanding stunning views across to the South coast and Isle of Wight. A wide variety of grassland flowers grow here which in turn bring in the insects and birds.
Having left the car park the grassland immediately comes into view along the myriad of wildflowers that adorn the site.
Our first Lepidoptera encounter was the tiny Small Heath Butterfly
More Butterflies flew before us. This lovely male Brimstone...
Although very much faded I think a female Adonis Blue...
and a very faded male Chalkhill Blue, seen here in numbers this is feeding on a Round Headed Campion...
Suddenly Skippers were everywhere, I could hear Chris calling me everytime he saw one!
'Okay' I shouted back..'Got one here too!' I replied excitedly.
The sentiment around the hill was all about reproduction. Certainly when it came to the Lepidoptera. The Skippers carried on their ovipositing in the undergrowth ready for next years offspring.
Although the photograph doesn't do it justice against the Adonis. This is a Common Blue I happened across. Still beautiful nonetheless.
Although very distant. They were exciting to watch flitting around the tree tops. We could count at least half a dozen
My attention was taken back onto the hill though and the Tortoiseshells again with Chris wondering what I was photographing...
This post is dedicated to the memory of Chris's Father who past over last weekend. My thoughts are with you all xx