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Owen's lifetime of wildlife in a year. (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
May 6th

Very enjoyable walk around the local patch in strong sun looking for insects until my camera battery ran out after only an hour.

Was still fun though, a real range of butterflies. Holly and common blue. Brimstones and my first Dingy Skipper for the site (and indeed Wales)

Lesser Whitethroat joins the heard only list. Where it will probably stay. Not a species I have much luck with and another local patch birder heard them all summer last year in the same spot without seeing them.

34 common blue

Birds 244 Mammals 21 Herp 15 Butterflies 34 Total 314 Lifers 92


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Well-known member
May 12th

My wife bought me a guided morning at Arne rspb as a Christmas present so we’re having a brief getaway in Dorset.

Arne is tomorrow so we spent the afternoon at Durlston Country park in Swanage. My first visit

Spotting an Adonis Blue almost immediately was the start of a great visit. We then wandered along the cliffs looking down on the auks. Fewer numbers than a few colonies I’ve been to but more than made up for by the fact you could look down on them swimming in the shallow and clear water. Never had such great views of them swimming and hunting before.

Mainly Guillemots but some razorbill amongst them (didn’t see any puffins) as well as Shag and Fulmar.

Moved onto a small sheltered gulley under the lighthouse to look for butterflies. More Adonis blue. Common and small blue, a lovely fresh Small Heath and the butterfly I’d really come for Wall. It was overcast and a bit windy so they didn’t want to fly far which really helped. The variety of species in one tiny place was great.

Walking back to the car park my wife spotted (and thankfully called) a weasel crossing the path with prey in its mouth and driving a few miles to a cool cliff top pub she also spotted a Brown hare. Very pleased with her contribution:) she even managed to catch a glimpse of the hurtling sparrowhawk that scattered the feeding sparrows from our beer garden table which I missed

245 guillemot
246 razorbill
247 shag
35 Adonis blue
36 small blue
37 wall
22 weasel
23 brown hare



Birds 247 Mammals 23 Herp 15 Butterflies 37 Total 322 Lifers 92


Well-known member
May 13th

Went to Arne for my guided morning. An amazing reserve of course, and can really highly recommend their volunteers and guides, very helpful both on the day and the run up. Had great views of Smooth Snake very quickly, probably my main UK target of the year. Its always special seeing snakes and it was great to really take in the many differences from adders. The only lizards we saw were slow worms (which were gorgeous) so it leaves me needing to see Sand Lizard to have seen all the UK native reptile species but Smooth Snake was definitely the one I wanted most.

Lovely views of a pair of Dartford Warblers, Sika and loads of invertebrates. The wood ant nests were amazing. I'm pretty sure the insects included Green Hairstreak but not the sort of views that I'd tick a lifer on. I've not been including Dragonflies in this but I loved seeing quite a few Four Spot Chasers.

Great day for mammals as well. As well as the Sika we had, squirrel, rabbit and fox in the reserve and Roe and Hare on the drive home. A six mammal day is good going for me. We did a bit of bat detecting last night after I wrote up the day as well, as well as 3 common species my detector was claiming Leisler's Bat but I'm going to have a closer study of the recordings as that would have been a lifer.

A great day, loads of Demoiselle's when we stopped for my wife to have a swim in north dorset as well. but the highlight was definitely the Smooth Snake.




24 Sika
25 Fox
16 Smooth Snake

Birds 247 Mammals 25 Herp 16 Butterflies 37 Total 325 Lifers 93
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Well-known member
May 14th

Quick detour from the shops to a small city centre park that has a decent track record with passage flycatchers. It’s not the best place to search for birds as it has a playground in the middle so being accompanied by my wife and seven year old made looking a bit more socially acceptable.

Two spotted flycatchers were eventually located towards the top of a pine

Not a bird I was ever going totally miss but saves me a trip a bit further afield

248 spotted flycatcher

Birds 248 Mammals 25 Herp 16 Butterflies 37 Total 326 Lifers 93
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Well-known member
May 15th

The other half of my wife’s Christmas present was a voucher for a trip with Speckled Wood Wildlife and I chose to use it on their Rodborough Common trip.

The second half of the trip got rained out but prior to lunch we had amazing luck with the butterflies. Lots of Duke of Burgundy, an incredible looking butterfly that the mixed weather conditions made quite approachable.
The guiding and company was great but I think I probably could have found the Dukes myself.

The same definitely doesn’t go for the Green Hairstreak. Another lifer and incredibly well camouflaged as it wasn’t feeling like flying in the cloudy conditions. Can’t believe our tour leader spotted it for us. Quite a few other butterflies including a single small blue and a great Mother Shipton moth. The Dukes were amazing looking butterflies, I loved the underwing and one of my top targets for the year.

The weather getting worst meant that I bailed on the second site where they saw Adonis Blue but having already seen them in Dorset I was happy to instead twitch a pair of stints on the way home.

Having set off for butterflies I didn’t have my scope but the stints showed well from the first hide at goldcliff and a few visiting birders were very helpful with sharing their scope views.

38 Duke of Burgundy
39 Green Hairstreak

249 Temmincks Stint
250 little stint




Birds 250 Mammals 25 Herp 16 Butterflies 39 Total 330 Lifers 95


Well-known member
May 19th

Popped up to the valleys, 3 miles from where I grew up, to Aberbargoed. A small reserve on the side of an old coal tip that is great for Marsh Fritillary. Weather wasn't the best for butterflies and I ended up walking back and forth for 2 hours before there was enough sunlight to entice them out. Did have my first UK painted ladies and Small Coppers of the year while I was waiting and my first Common Frog (after plenty of tadpolls)

When the Frits came out they were immediately worth it, for my money Britain's most gorgeous butterfly



40 Marsh Fritillary

Birds 250 Mammals 25 Herp 16 Butterflies 40 Total 331 Lifers 95


Well-known member
May 21st

Third visit in two and a bit weeks to Cinderford's Linear park. First one I think I was too early, second one too gloomy but this one the tiny patch of ground alongside a forest pool was totally packed with butterflies and damselflies (and a few interesting moths)

Before I'd even walked 50m from the car I had a muntjac crossing the trail in front of me, hardly the most classic of UK species but one I wasn't sure I was going to see this year so very welcome.

As soon as I got up to the spot i'd been told about I saw two Wood White's flying. Their slow lazy flight and bright white limbs giving them a real fairyish feeling. They instantly became a real favourite. I just stood open mouthed watching them for quite a while but they wouldn't settle at all.

Crossing the fence to the pool I soon found quite a few more including some much more interested in settling for me for photos. Glad I got them but they are definitely a species that seems more special in flight. Beautiful things.

Leaves me with 11 british species to see, I know I wont get all of them this year but I'm making good progress.

Also had loads of common blues (three to a stem at one point), dingy and grizzled skippers and small heath. Burnet Companion and loads of smaller moths and a lot of damsels.

On the way home I tried the blorenge again for Whinchat, still very vocal cuckoos around and at least 4 male Redstart but still no whinchat for me. I'll keep trying.


26 Muntjac
41 Wood White

Birds 250 Mammals 26 Herp 16 Butterflies 41 Total 333 Lifers 96


Well-known member
May 27th

While everyone on here was probably heading to worth for the Eleanora’s we went to Watford for the Harry Potter studio tour.

A much disrupted evening drive home was improved by a single Grey Partridge somewhere near Bath.

251 grey partridge.

Birds 251 Mammals 26 Herp 16 Butterflies 41 Total 334 Lifers 96


Well-known member
May 28th

Went out for a brief family visit to Cosmeston and only took the camera as I wanted a few shots of Bee Orchids.

A quick hunt for butterflies didn't turn up many but did flush a gorgeous Latticed Heath moth and have me in the right place for a Hobby, my first at the site or in Penarth generally.

252 Hobby

Isle of Wight tomorrow, hoping for maybe Gannet on the crossing but probably not much else except Glanville Fritillary and maybe Wall Lizard and Red Squirrel

Birds 252 Mammals 26 Herp 16 Butterflies 41 Total 335 Lifers 96 lh.jpg
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Well-known member
May 29th

On the Isle of Wight for a family holiday/butterfly hunt.

The weather forecast isn’t giving us too much real sun so when we got here and there was some we tried one of the Glanville sites straight away. An amazing site, had a skipper that I need to check the photos of. Some lovely blues and Burnets but no frits.

The ferry over was a bit weird as it never really feels like you’re at sea, surrounded by land on all sides, but had a gannet and 6 common terns.

253 gannet
254 common tern

Birds 254 Mammals 26 Herp 16 Butterflies 41 Total 337 Lifers 96


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Well-known member
30th May

I had planned on doing a wildlife day at some point this week but in the end I managed to combine looking for a few targets with family stuff.

Ventnor botanic gardens seemed fine as a family morning out. Had a playground and cafe and my wife has a botany degree so thought we would try it as a family rather than the other main Wall lizard site which seems to just be a carpark nearby.

Managed 8 lizards as we walked around. Didn’t actually find the dedicated lizard wall but we’d found some almost immediately anyway including some lovely green adults.

Then went for a picnic lunch on the ventnor undercliffs a good Glanville Fritillary site. Had a few flying about 5m up the vegetated cliff that were impossible to photograph but then came across 3 more basking on the open stone. Seemed Much smaller than the other Frits I’ve seen this year but gorgeous butterflies. Loved the underwing although I didn’t manage to photograph it

Stopping off at a Red Squirrel site rounded off the afternoon. Leaves me with only really Scarce Chaser as remaining target so very happy.

Especially glad of the Glanville. Very pleased that my wife was ok with a family half term on the Isle of Wight to give me a shot at them but I can’t really imagine I’d get a second shot any time soon. Leaves me 9 British butterflies to see.

17 common wall lizard
43 Glanville Fritillary
27 red squirrel


Birds 254 Mammals 27 Herp 17 Butterflies 43 Total 341 Lifers 97 EF102C3F-F6BD-445A-A818-7C1F31B4C7D6.jpeg

Edit. Was also fairly sure I had a flyby meadow brown at the squirrel site but didn’t think they were flying yet but just saw someone on twitter who had one Saturday also on the Isle of Wight so it probably was. Not really going to be a difficult species to see so I won’t count it yet.
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Well-known member
June 1st

Spent the morning doing my only dedicated wildlife stuff if the trip, scouring a local wildlife trust reserve for Scarce Chaser. Very little sun light and it looked like the only pools were deliberately surrounded by thick vegetation. Did manage some demoiselles during a brief patch of sunlight and a red squirrel while sheltering from a shower but no chasers.

An afternoon visit to Compton Chine for family beach stuff had the best sun of the trip. Didn’t take bins or camera but managed glanville fritillary. Small copper, large skipper, dingy skipper. Loads of blues and frisky Browns.

As we climbed back up to the car had a basking Common Lizard that was a lot happier to be photographed by phone than the butterflies were Just 2 British reptile species missing now

18 common lizard


Birds 254 Mammals 27 Herp 18 Butterflies 43 Total 342 Lifers 97
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Well-known member
June 4th

Was planning on going a bit further afield today but the weather forecasts looked rubbish. It cleared enough in the afternoon for a visit to the Alun Valley. Probably best known as one of if not the best High Brown Fritillary site left in the country. But also good for Dark Green and Small Pearl bordered frits.

Had one flyby large frit, Dark Green are being seen elsewhere so it was probably that but High Brown is so rare these days that you don't have many other sites sightings to go on. Also think I had a flyby Brown Argus but nothing conclusive.

It was sunny but very blustery which meant the number of flying butterflies was pretty low and they didn't stop long. But I had about 10 encounters with Small Pearl Bordered although probably with a lot of repeats. Didn't see more than 2 at a time. I also had one definite Meadow Brown after a few possibles that didn't stop on the Isle of Wight.

44 Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
45 Meadow Brown


Birds 254 Mammals 27 Herp 18 Butterflies 45 Total 344 Lifers 97 27DBF647-E863-4517-B90E-E5DDAE1599CF.jpg


Well-known member
June 10th

Halse Combe on the edge of Exmoor for me today for the final resident British Fritillary (life list wise, still need 3 more for this year list project)

A lovely walk up onto a quite steep bracken slope that seemed to have the species in good numbers, well good numbers for a species thats down to a handful of UK sites anyway.

Looking down from above on butterflies when the slope faced the sun wasn't the best for photography and the butterflies seemed to be the flightiest of all the fritillary species I've seen this year but eventually one strayed up onto the verge of the path and allowed some actual close views. The upperside is obviously quite close to the other british Fritillaries I've seen but the size, flight style and general colour tone in the air was surprisingly distinct.

Just below the Heath Fritillaries at the bottom of the slope there was a glade of foxgloves that was full with tiny and beautiful Green Hairstreaks. I saw one fairly torpid and camouflaged butterfly a few weeks back but this is the first time I've found any for myself or really watched them be active.



46 Heath Fritillary

Birds 254 Mammals 27 Herp 18 Butterflies 46 Total 345 Lifers 98


Well-known member
June 11th

Was supposed to be doing a trip to wixhall moss with local butterfly firm speckled wood wildlife but when It fell through they asked if I wanted to join them at Collard hill in Somerset instead.

Really fun day, 15 or so Large Blue, dozens of gorgeous Marbled White and some early Small skippers (also late grizzled skippers)

Even if you’re not into butterflies the story of bringing back Large Blues after their British extinction is well worth reading. Their catterpillars require spending some time in a specific species of ant’s nest which in turn require very specific grazing and vegetation moderation. Amazing to see so many of this once locally extinct species

Away from the butterflies we saw Hairy Dragonfly and what very much looked like Scarce Chaser. I’m going to check how likely that was as it would be a tick for me.

47 large blue
48 marbled white
49 small skipper


Birds 254 Mammals 27 Herp 18 Butterflies 49 Total 348 Lifers 99


Well-known member
June 16th

Alun Valley for large fritillaries today. Dozens of supercharged butterflies but the only frits that wanted to stop were quite worn Small Pearl Bordered. When the larger fritillaries did get it in their heads to stop somewhere near the paths they were generally rushed off by territorial Large Skippers or Meadow Browns

I did eventually get a few nice basking views and then started the even harder job of getting clear underside views for splitting High Brown and Dark Green. My impression was that High Brown were the more numerous (or maybe the more likely to stop) but who knows. Did eventually get a photo that shows the white pupilled reddish underside spots that distinguish the two species.

It's a lot easier elsewhere because High Brown is barely hanging on as a british species but thankfully they seem to be doing well on this site. It was also good to see a yellowhammer which seems to be in a similarly Perilous state in South Wales.

Leaves me just one more british resident fritillary for the year.

50 Dark Green Fritillary
51 High Brown Fritillary


Birds 254 Mammals 27 Herp 18 Butterflies 51 Total 350 Lifers 99
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