Tuesday, 2 July 2013


There are a couple of places in the Ashdown Forest where Turtle Doves have been seen in previous years. With this bird still at the top of my target list I thought I would spend a day wandering around the forest and if nothing else I should be able to pick up a Redstart at the Old Lodge Nature Reserve.

I tried a few different locations. There were birds about but they were mostly Willow Warbler types or the common Tits and the best I saw in the morning were a couple of Coal Tits and a fly over Buzzard.

The Butterflies were also thin on the ground. A few Speckled Woods and what I at first thought was a Large White. Its flight looked unusual though, so I checked it out and it turned out to be a female Brimstone. I had seen males before and they are  an easily identified sulphur yellow colour. This was a much paler greenish white and very difficult to spot once it landed in amongst the tree leaves.

Female Brimstone hiding behind a couple of blades of grass

On most of the tree leaves the camouflage was perfect and the butterfly virtually impossible to spot. It was only on the darker green and distinctive shape of the Oak leaves that I got a chance of a picture.

Not quite as well camouflaged on the Oak leaves

I was hoping for a picture of the top of the wings but checking it out when I got home I found that it never sits with its wings open.

In the afternoon I headed over to Old Lodge to look for Redstarts. I could not find any adult birds but there were a few young about.

Juvenile Redstart

A bit more colour on this one so it may be the female
Showing the rusty tail

I got a little bit confused when the next bird appeared in the shot as there was no rusty tail, but this looks more like a juvenile Stonechat.

Juvenile Stonechat

and there was an adult close by

Female Stonechat

I searched around for a while but could not find a male Redstart and walking around the perimeter there were very few other birds visible, although I was serenaded by a Peacock from one of the adjacent gardens.

On the ponds there were a few Dragonfly active and I managed to get a picture of an Emperor Dragonfly. Its a pity about the background but this is the first time I have seen one grounded so any picture is a bonus.

Emperor Dragonfly

No Turtle Dove again and I am running out of places to look. Probably find that if I give up looking, one will turn up on the feeders in the back garden.

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