A morning so perfect it was almost worth the two months of rain that preceded it. An hour’s wander around the old quarry (three quarters of the way up the bostal road) was accompanied by many thousands of strands of silk drifting south, catching the sun as they passed by.
Bird-wise it was pretty quiet: a Meadow Pipit singing very strongly and ‘parachuting’ beside the road, a couple of Yellowhammers, Linnets, Whitethroat and Skylark. A Sparrowhawk flew high west, then back east again, and a couple of Mistle Thrushes also seemed to be flying at high altitude. The most interesting stuff was closer to the ground – a Hummingbird Hawk Moth feeding on thistles, a bunch of smart Cinnabar Moth caterpillars destroying some ragwort, and dozens of Marbled White butterflies. Lots of skippers too, but I’m rubbish at identifying these – can anyone offer advice as to which species they might have been? Parts of the escarpment there is a carpet of bird’s foot trefoil and clover at the moment – should be good for blues again later in the summer.
The rest of the day was spent in and out of the garden, for the first time in a long while. A Blackcap sang occasionally, and a pair of Buzzards wheeled overhead, while Great spotted and Green Woodpeckers called from nearby. There’s plenty of hirundine activity above the village, but no small raptors – I’ve still to see a Hobby this year. An agitated cock Blackbird ‘chucking’ madly on-and-off all day was probably trying to protect recent fledglings from the local cats – a full-time job in Firle, where felines seem to outnumber people. A Small Copper butterfly that dropped in was the first I’ve ever noticed in the garden.