Blacks and Whites at Salcey Forest



Salcey Forest is pretty good for butterflies.  Wood White is one of the specialities.

If you park at the car park circled above…this one…

…and then walk down this track (marked in yellow above)…

…you’ll stand a very good chance of seeing a Wood White before you turn the corner, if yesterday is anything to go by.

Wood Whites are white, and live in woods.  They have a fluttering flight – they look like active ditherers. We saw several, but they kept on flying – we didn’t get good views of any settled individuals.  The first butterfly we saw was a Small White  but all the other whites were Wood Whites. they flutter close to the vegetation, looking as though they are just about to settle, but none of them did.

I remember first getting to know Wood Whites in my local woods, south of Bristol, in the 1970s – it looks like they aren’t there now.  But they are in sites like Salcey Forest where FC has managed the site so that butterflies benefit.

Further down the track we saw at least two Black Hairstreaks at a spot where there is blackthorn on either side of the track. It took quite a while to get good views of them but one finally cooperated.

Here’s an account from five years ago of a visit to the same spot at a similar time.  And here’s a mention of Wood Whites as being a conservation success story in this part of the world.


Sunday book review – Bumblebees by Richard Comont


This book is another in the RSPB Spotlight series (see my review of Kingfishers) which is published by Bloomsbury.  It’s a cracking book written, by an expert, in a thoroughly engaging and understandable manner.

I’ve had this book for a while but picked it up to find out more about the Tree Bumblebees in my garden. It would be an exaggeration to say that I couldn’t put it down but I have kept picking it up again and have now read most of it with great enjoyment.

This book is about bumblebees – it’s not an identification guide – and it covers their biology, status, threats to them and discusses where we would be without them. It’s full of fascinating facts and figures.  Do you know how gender is determined in bumblebees (and other hymenoptera)? And how  does that result in male bumblebees not having fathers or sons, but having grandfathers and grandsons?

As a book it’s attractive to look at – well illustrated with photographs.


Bumblebees by Richard Comont is published by Bloomsbury


Remarkable Birds by Mark Avery is published by Thames and Hudson – for reviews see here.

Inglorious: conflict in the uplands by Mark Avery is published by Bloomsbury for reviews see here.

Behind the Binoculars: interviews with acclaimed birdwatchers by Mark Avery and Keith Betton is published by Pelagic – here’s a review and it’s now out in paperback.

Tim Melling – Humpback Whale

Tim writes: Sometimes whale blows look photogenic, sometimes they do not.  When I was in Alaska I spotted that the perfect situation arose for taking whale blows so I seized the opportunity.  These circumstances were no wind, early morning backlighting, plus a dark background to accentuate the blow.  And here is the result on a Humpback Whale feeding in Prince William Sound.

Taken with Nikon D500 Nikkor 300mm f4 with 1.4x converter (420mm) set at f16  1/1000   ISO 1250


An Unreliable History of Birdwatching (12) by Paul Thomas

The Queen’s speech in full

By dbking from Washington, DC – IMG_2251Uploaded by Skeezix1000, CC BY 2.0,

World exclusive, an early draft of the Queen’s speech:

My government will find new ways of transferring money from public services to the wealthy few. They will persist with hard Brexit in order to cripple one’s economy. Now that’s it because I’m orfff to Royal Ascot and if they ever have a State Opening of Parliament which clashes with one’s racing again then I’ll send one of youngsters to read out this tripe. Anyway, Sheikh Mohammed tells me to bet one of my castles on Dream Castle in the Jersey Stakes so I’ve got to go.