Plenty to look at in June 2021.

 JUNE 2021

The month got off to a good start with decent weather. The local birds were doing well with producing young, in the garden I was starting to see younger Blue Tits ( the most numerous of new birds) Great Tits, another Robin and a couple of new Blackbirds, everything was lively. Locally on the walks the Yellowhammers were in good song, as were Common Whitethroats and Skylarks, and Blackcaps still collecting food for young. During the first week, from the garden I spotted a Ring Necked Parakeet fly past, and also a pair of Spoonbill heading along the coast. 

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Female Blackcap
On the 10th I watched 2 Little Egrets fly over the garden, this was one of 3 sightings I had of Little Egrets over the next few days around the village flying over, maybe the same birds or birds on the move? We had a couple of Painted Lady butterflies in the garden, and although there was apparently a large movement of them on the continent the numbers didn't get any higher here.
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Painted Lady
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Dot from next door brought us a freshly emerged moth which she had found in the garden, this turned out to be a lovely Lime Hawk-moth, the wings were only just 8mm in length so it hadn't emerged too long ago, Sarah placed it among one of our Clematis where it clung on under the shelter of the shade. What we didn't expect was just how quickly it then transformed itself into full adult size! Five minutes later Sarah called me to the garden, the wings were now curled up but almost half the length of the moths body, I then went to grab the camera for some photos as it transformed.
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Lime Hawk-moth.
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It didn't take long for the wings to reach and then stretch beyond the body length.
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This was 12 minutes after the first photograph!
And 24 minutes from the first photo it had finished, wings fully spread out and in it's typical resting position. What an absolute delight watching this progression unfold, and later as it grew dark it departed, wonderful.
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Mid month I spotted a Red Kite from the garden, heading in my direction. I dashed inside to get the camera and hope for it to fly over. On watching it approach I could see that it was holding some form of prey and eating it in flight.
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As I zoomed in on the image I could see it was the leg of a bird! It continued to slowly circle and approach the garden.
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On a couple of occasions it dropped the prey as you can see here in these two images, the speed of how it reacted and then caught in mid air was phenomenal! 
I think the prey was possibly a Jackdaw by the size and feather colour before it dispatched it, there are a lot of Jackdaw creche' groups flying around at the moment especially around the church! I can imagine that the group saw the approach of a raptor as a threat and tried to move it on, but a less experienced bird fell victim to the Kite perhaps? When you see corvids mob a bird of prey, the raptor sometimes flip over and faces the aggressor with legs and talons fully stretched to defend itself, so it wouldn't be hard to pick of a inexperienced bird.
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Going into the second half of the month a lot of people might have noticed a lot of Red Admiral butterflies in their garden. A huge influx of these lovely butterfly was happening around with large numbers being reported, there were 20+ feeding on the Valerian along Church Road. Probably from a new hatching or maybe migrants, they were reported in numbers along upto Titchwell that I know of.
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On the 24th of the month I went to photograph Bee Orchids. I had been informed of around a dozen spikes of these lovely plants on waste ground near the end of the village where I had seen a couple of plants a few years ago.
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I actually counted 22 spikes/plants and there were probably a few more hidden, what a great sight to see so many, with the Early Purple orchids earlier in the year it seemed a productive time for the orchids.

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Bee Orchid.
The fuzzy little bee orchid flowers look like real bees feeding on three pink petals. As bees visit the plant in hopes of mating with the little fake-bees, this bit of bee orchid mimicry ensures the plant is pollinated, as the male bees transfer the pollen to nearby female plants.
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Back to the garden and it was nice to get Hummingbird Hawk-moths in the garden once again, I never tire of watching these stunning little moths feeding on the flowers.
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And to finish up what was a great month for wildlife and nature, I even managed to add a new bird species to the garden list...a Gannet !!
I watched it fly along the clifftop from the garden then circle and come back towards me and then later in the day what was presumably the same bird did the same fly past again? If it was a sick bird I would have thought it would be resting on the cliffs or on the water, but it seemed to be in good health and flying/gliding back and forth okay, so was it prospecting new sites for nesting perhaps? These are the highest cliffs in Norfolk along here so maybe, either way it got itself onto the garden bird list which now stands at 115 bird species.
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