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On Wednesday I ventured on to public transport for the first time in four months – suitably masked, of course – for a visit to Slade Wood, near Rogiet. This was a site where I’d seen Silver-washed fritillaries and White admiral butterflies last summer so I was hoping for more of those but, unfortunately, huge areas of the woodland have been felled over the winter months, which has destroyed a lot of the butterflies’ habitat.

200723 1 peacock200723 2 gatekeepers

I did still see a lot of butterflies on the Buddleja bushes – in fact, probably more Peacocks than I’ve seen in one day before, and I got some pics of a pair of Gatekeepers mating – but only spotted one Silver-washed fritillary (and didn’t manage a photo) and no White admirals. There was also a butterfly consolation prize in the form of a Brown argus, a butterfly that’s not common locally, which was in Minnett’s Field, a nearby meadow managed by Gwent Wildlife Trust.

200723 3 brown argus

Though the butterflies were a little disappointing, the birds were a huge bonus as I managed to find a family of Spotted flycatchers, with two adults and a couple of juveniles (below left), which I’d not seen before.

And the flycatchers were joined at their watering hole, a couple of muddy puddles, by two beautiful bright Siskin.

200723 6 siskin and spot fly200723 7 siskin

I may not have seen what I was expecting and I was saddened to see how many trees had been felled but I still had a wonderful day out. The sense of freedom was exhilarating, and Nature certainly didn’t disappoint!