Fluttering June.

June soon came and went, with a mixed bag of weather it was hit and miss throughout the month but definitely a month of quantity and some quality stuff.
On the birding front I saw family groups of Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroats, young ones in tow following the movements of the parents as they zig zagged through the bushes feeding. I was now seeing more Sandwich Terns offshore feeding, their loud calling giving themselves away over the waves. A female Marsh Harrier flew past the garden mid month, they are becoming more regular past. And then there were the Swifts, how lovely to see them flying overhead again, but this brings me onto a worrying concern for these birds, on the television I heard numbers were down by 50%.....not good to hear, so to see hundreds of them all heading south/southeast during the month and only just after they've arrived in the country is confusing to say the least. Reports of 1000's of Swifts moving past Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coasts is good in respect that hopefully numbers getting here are still healthy as opposed to the report of a huge drop! but what are they up to moving like this, surely too many to be failed breeders but why head off so early?
Other snippets close by were Bee-eaters seen over Sidestrand and Northrepps and a possible Eagle species near Southrepps?

 On Sunday 2nd June I noticed at least 6 Painted Lady butterflies pass through the garden within an hour, another mass invasion was perhaps on the cards?
As the days passed I was still seeing a few Painted Lady butterflies, but with the changing weather they were not showing every day, by mid month they were everywhere, a mass invasion of these beauties had been spreading across Europe and they were definitely here, on a few flowering bushes along the side of the church I counted over 30 butterflies and there were more flying around. They are a long distance migrant but do not always turn up 'en masse'.
Last year it was Large and Small Whites, this year it is the turn of the Painted Lady's.

 As the month moved on there were more and more Red Admirals around, and a couple of species of dragonfly were seen, this Four Spotted Chaser (below) was along Church Lane and a Broad Bodied Chaser made a flight over the garden.

 It seemed to be a good year for Common Spotted Orchids, I found the first one of the year behind the Pilgrim Shelter and then days later they started to show along the clifftops, and this year there appeared to be many more west of the clifftop wood with over a hundred counted in one stretch alone.

 A special orchid to see was this Bee Orchid (below), there were just 2 plants on grassy area near the clifftop where the bottle banks are located past Middle Street.
 I love to see the Hummingbird Hawkmoths return to the garden, such energetic little things always on the move feeding.

 And as the month moved on and the weather got warmer the moths started to arrive and one species I look forward to getting are the Hawkmoths. So far I have had 4 species and hopefully soon will have the Convolvulous returning to feed on the Nicotina plants.
 Pine Hawkmoth
 Eyed Hawkmoth
This Eyed Hawkmoth was a new addition for the garden list, theres no mistaking where it gets its name from, look at those eye markings on the underwings to ward off predators.
 Privet Hawkmoth
Poplar Hawkmoth

Muted May ! Or was it ?

 It certainly felt like May was muted, with hardly any bird photos taken and concentrating more on insects and flora it seemed that way until reviewing everything I listed and photographed to upload here, I realised it was actually quite busy!
The Lesser Whitethroats were active at the start of the month and then went quiet, hopefully about to start nesting and bringing up some little uns'.

 Everything was paired and looking at nesting, House Martins were buzzing around the houses, more Swallows were passing. There were still a few Wheatears being seen in the fields off the lanes, and on the 8th of the month I had my first Swift over the garden, a sight I long to see every year. The next day and even more swifts passing overhead and then it seemed to just stop, no doubt the changeable weather had held them up further south!
 Along the clifftops when Sarah and I were walking the dogs on the 13th, we encountered our first ever Wall butterfly.
 A lot more plants were coming into bloom and on one occasion with the sun shining bright I couldn't help notice a sea of light blue through the gaps in the hedgeline, rounding a gap further along Sarah and I were amazed at the expanse of colour before us, the mobile phone camera could not match the sight our eyes saw. After asking around and researching I found it to be a crop called Lacy Phacelia (known by other names also such as scorpion weed) it is used as a ground cover for birds/with a high nectar count it's used for pollenation/and also used as green manure. They were definitely attracting the bees, I think I will have to get some of this for the garden.

 Another new plant addition for us both was the Early Purple Orchids, found in the roadside verges along the lanes, it had eluded us the previous year but now we had finally found some.
 On the 14th my first Hobby of the year flew past the back garden, a few more were seen heading in during the month. And on the same day an evening walk to the clifftop bench with the dogs produced at least 3 Harbour Porpoises close in to the groynes. 
We were starting to see a few of these little green gems around Trimingham, the Green Hairstreak is a stunningly coloured butterfly.
This Wolf Spider was in my garden, it's resting position,stretched out as in the 2nd photo, is characteristic of this spider, it is a webless spider ( except for the female spinning a web for the nursery of young) due to the fact that it is such a fast moving spider it can chase down its prey with ease.

 It is great to find out about nature that you didn't know had an interesting background or history, this Fumitory plant is one of those such subjects. I have found it along the lane verges and on the edge of a crop field, when reading up on it I was amazed at it's meaning, the name of "fumitory" is derived from a medieval latin word meaning "smoke of the earth", pulling a plant from the ground will cause the roots to give off an acrid/gaseous smell recalling the fumes of nitric acid, this is the origin of the North American name for the plant "fume root", and if that wasn't enough background knowledge, if the sap gets into your eyes it will make them water as if affected by smoke! amazing!  
 Back to birds now, and mid month I had a cuckoo calling from the scrub near the pottery and then along middle street on a couple of days, apparently awaking people there with it's early morning calling!
I saw a group of Mediterranean Gulls pass the back garden and was happy to once again see the swifts passing over, on one morning at the end of the month I saw 2 Common Cranes out to the western edge of Trimingham circling up on thermals before heading southwest, a welcome addition to the patch list as normally when the Cranes decide to have a day out as it were from broads region, they previously seem to cut off this corner and head further along the northern coastline before turning back to where they came from, perhaps blown more this way by the winds they were a welcome sight. To finish off the bird reporting, the night silence on the 30th was broken by the very welcoming sound of a Tawny Owl, it had been at least a year or more since I regularly heard them nearby, so it was nice to once again have one around.
Chocolate Tip
And last but not least, the mothing was producing different species for the year as the month progressed, on a few occasions I took over a lot of room in our fridge with the pots! With a few new species for the garden and indeed some firsts I've not had before hopefully this year will be a productive one for the moths. 
 Treble Lines
 Heart and Dart
 Rustic Shoulder Knot
 Waved Umber
 Light Emerald
 Pale Tussock
 Green Carpet
 Lime Speck Pug
 Clouded Border
 Setaceous Hebrew Character
 Iron Prominent
 Pebble OakTip
Least Black Arches.

Amazing April.

 As April got underway there was a hope of new arrivals on the patch, the weather during the month was a bit changeable but some nice sunny days and decent temperatures. It wasn't long before we encountered our first male Blackcap singing away near Woodlands. The Peregrines were seen on a few occasions over the house, at one time it was seen to make a swoop at a Kestrel that was mobbing a Common Buzzard hunting along the cliffs. During the first 3 weeks of April, Sarah and I both got a horrendous Flu virus/come chest infection/sinus problems etc etc....I have never been so bad in my life and so everything took a back seat whilst trying to get over it, thankfully I didn't really miss much except for a few Hooded Crows that headed past.
 Once I did manage to get out and about I set about finding what had come into the area during my layoff. There was plenty of Fulmar activity along the cliffs, I had 7 pass me one morning, hugging the cliffs as they flew within feet of me. 

 Smaller birds were more numerous, quite a few Goldcrest about and definitely more Blackcap had arrived around the village and the first female seen mid month. More Swallow passed as the days progressed along with Sand and House Martin, the latter inspecting the eaves of a neighbours house already. Common Whitethroat had now moved into the area so I set about getting some images of these, but no sign of any Lesser Whitethroat at this time.

 More Wheatear were passing through, I found 4 together early one morning, and normally the Yellow Wagtails I see are fly overs along the front so a distant one actually on the ground with 2 Pied Wagtails was a nice sight. As the month drew on it got busier, Chiffchaff's calling all over the place, Lesser Whitethroat's were now in and a very rewarding time started with a few new additions to the patch list and also the garden list!

By now I was checking every corvid that flew over or past the garden in the hope of connecting with a Hooded Crow, there had been quite a few moving along so I was hopeful, and sure enough on the 24th I had not 1 but 2 Hooded Crows fly over the garden....result, a tick for the Trimingham patch and best of all the garden list! 
2 Days later whilst taking a tea break from my artwork, I stood in the kitchen doorway waiting for the kettle to boil, I saw a couple of crows pass behind the trees towards the cliffs, I was still checking all the crows for more Hooded in the hope of getting a photo, I noticed something behind the crows over the sea... I knew from the size it was a raptor so I ran..yes ran to the bottom of the garden to grab my bins off my camera tripod... as I focused in on the bird to my excitement I was looking at a Osprey! I couldn't believe it, so I grabbed a couple of distant record shots as it headed inland off to the southwest. To finish the day I added another Hooded Crow over the garden and a couple of Whimbrel heading east.

 Well if that wasn't good enough the very next day news from Overstrand from fellow birders about the previous days Alpine Swift over their houses!! It headed east (my way!) at first but then could of moved towards Cromer as it was lost to sight as it hit the ridge that way. By now I was already in the garden and scouring the skies, it was a god awful morning with horrid weather, no wonder the Swift was on the move. Then it happened, I couldn't believe my luck.... all of a sudden I saw the Alpine Swift to the front of the house....shouting out Alpine to Sarah who was also in the garden, we watched the bird fly up and over the church opposite and head off eastwards. To say I was buzzing after the last 2 days was an understatement....you could of renamed me 'Bumblebee Lawrence'!!
 I finished the month off with photographing Lesser Whitethroats.... but this was just the birds I still have the moths to add.

 Powdered Quaker
New additions to the Garden Moth List, Powdered Quaker, Mullein, White Point. It was a weird month with regards to numbers caught in the trap, some nights I would get just a handful and then on another I filled up the fridge with 42 pots! But the year list was increasing and with plenty more good stuff to arrive.
 White Point
 Shuttle-shaped Dart
 Muslin Moths
 Brindled Beauty
 Cabbage Moth
 Swallow Prominent
 Frosted Green
Red Twin-spot Carpet