We popped over to our lakes to set up our camera - fingers crossed that we capture something!
Tonight we will be putting out peanuts and mealworms for our hedgehog.
We popped out to set up our camera in a more wild location … fingers crossed!
In high spirits, we decided to explore further and after stomping down stinging nettles, ducking under brambles and walking through dense leaf-litter - we ended up at a dead-end! However after retracing our steps and exploring further, we found a great corner with plenty of purple emperor flying in the canopy and landing on the path. Once again we set off and found ourselves walking down unfamiliar trails until we decided to head back to the car. And that is when the heavy drizzle began!
We also saw our garden hedgehog on our camera last night :)
Click here to see our garden visitor…
We then popped over Fermyn for a brisk walk in the cooler evening air. We saw plenty of red admiral and this cute orange ladybird which landed on Dave's arm.
Disappointed, we began our stroll back to the car, when, there on the path in front of us — sitting on a pile of poo — a PURPLE EMPEROR!
Purple Emperor Wing
We were so pleased! We also saw, what we think were the same deer, down the same ride. To cap it all off, we saw a white admiral on our return to the car.
Whilst I was taking photos of this high-fiving lizard, one flew by Dave's legs, landed for a few seconds on the path and then disappeared up into the tree canopy. I saw it briefly in the distance — but not well enough for a positive ID. The first one in Northants this year — well done Dave!
Distant deer with her fawn hidden in the grass
Sorry about the quality of the photos; unsurprisingly, my subjects were underwater and I do not have an underwater camera - yet :)
We're Calling Him George…
Smooth Newt Larvae
The Finished Home
Emerging From The Water
Flying Upside Down
Flying Off Into The Sunset
These great spotted woodpeckers were a little distant — but great to see. They didn't even seem to be trying to fly!
Great Spotted Woodpeckers
Great Crested Grebe
Thanks to Richard Wright for his identification of this magnificent (and rather large) beetle that flew up to me… "It's the dark form of Stenocorus meridianus Variable Longhorn. The larvae develop in tree stumps and dead roots and that is where eggs would be laid, not on leaves. This one might possibly be feeding on honeydew."
When I first saw this amazing ichneumon wasp, I thought it was some strange-looking, thin, black bodied damselfly!
Walking down Thrapston Town Walk between fields on our left and the Lake to our right, was reinvigorating. We watched a buzzard being mobbed by a crow, rabbits frolicking in the fields and a huge group of starlings splashing around in a large puddle between the trees. Once again, we watched terns, swifts and sand martins catching bugs over the lake and I even hugged a tree - and I liked it!!
Dismayed, I watched as heavy rain fell, forming deep puddles in our garden. Luckily, after dinner, there was a break in the weather so we took our chances! We popped to Thrapston GP where we watched sand martins, swallows and swifts wheeling through the air, in a frenzy over the lake. They were so fast; a few swifts swept past inches from our heads — what a display! On our short walk, we also spotted a sparrow hawk and the electric blue of a kingfisher disappearing across Willowbrook Lake.
Most of my photos were of air or just a blur, like this one:
Or this one:
I will keep trying!!
Common Blue Damselfly
For once, we seemed to time the weather perfectly — arriving in the sunshine and leaving just as the rain started. Although a little blustery we soon found ourselves walking in a sheltered, warm ride, teaming with damselflies.
Blue Tailed Damselfly
Male Banded Demoiselle
Female Banded Demoiselle
Male Scarce Chaser
A highlight of our visit included sitting on the bridge and by the riverbank, listening to the water flowing by and watching a pair of grey wagtail acrobatically hunting for bugs.
Ashy Mining Bee
Barnwell Country Park is a fabulous place to visit. Although very busy, it is easy to get away from the crowds and find yourself walking through swathes of nettles and cow parsley, alive with bees and damselflies.
We spotted this beautiful bunch of fluffy cygnets following their Mum closely. A little further on , we were pleased to see two young Mandarin ducks with the male duck close by ~ no sign of the female however.
Red -eyed Damselfly
Sadly, we did not hear or see any kingfishers, but were amazed at the number of red-eyed damselflies we saw from the Kingfisher hide.We also had great views of a variety of butterflies and dragonflies next to the cafe ~ a good opportunity to stop for refreshments; it would be rude not to!
Red Kite Eating Lunch
This red kite was a little too far away for my camera, but we watched enthralled as it tore into its prey, before circling the area a few times and then landing in a tree on the opposite side of the river. On closer inspection with our new binoculars, we could see its eye peering out of its nest.
Mute Swan with Cygnets
Lyveden New Bield
Even though the forecast was for rain showers, we drove over to Fermyn Woods determined to get out for a woodland walk. After 10 minutes or so sat in the car listening to the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof, we decided to brave the elements and walk on regardless. It wasn't long before the rain cleared up and blue sky poked through the clouds. The sound of rain dripping from the leaves was quite relaxing although the humidity was quite uncomfortable. Soon we had good views of Lyveden New Bield and we were treated to the song of a yellowhammer and a reasonably tame chaffinch.
We walked on and stood for a while deep in the woods listening to the sounds all around us. A stoat-like animal dashed quickly across the path in front of us and a cuckoo began calling - its song echoing magnificently around the woodland.
Common Spotted Orchid
On our way back we took an overgrown path which led us out by the fields. There, with wet legs from the tall grass, we spotted a hare which quickly disappeared into the distance ~ a real treat to spot.
With cuckoos in mind, we entered Titchmarsh LNR and listened intently; we were soon rewarded by the familiar calls of at least two, echoing throughout the woodland. Before we set off any further, we noticed two mistle thrushes hopping about searching for food — not a bad spot!
As we crept along the footpath, getting closer to the cuckoos' song, we spotted one sitting proudly in the open, atop a bare branch. Unfortunately it flew off far too quickly for a photograph! We spent a pleasant hour listening to and catching glimpses of at least three cuckoos from a hide overlooking reed-beds. They were very active and well hidden amongst the leaves. This is the best shot I could get:
We were also treated to good views of reed buntings taking mouthfuls of bugs to well hidden nests; fleeting views of great spotted woodpeckers; and the explosive call of a Cetti's warbler. As we sat on a bench overlooking two barn owl boxes, a kestrel, hobby and grey heron flew unhurriedly by - no barn owl though!