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Sunday, 16 June 2019

A Day In Rutland - on 12th May, 2019

I'm way behind with everything after returning from the Outer Hebrides. It had not been helped by me again succumbing to a chest infection. I am now (reluctantly) once more on a course of antibiotics and awaiting the results of an x-ray. I have, however, used my forced incarceration to process all the photos from the Outer Hebrides, and shall shortly start to write a report on that visit. In the meantime, here is a post for which I'd processed all the photos before the Hebridean adventure, and (hopefully) will require little writing effort!

It had been a while since I'd been out anywhere, the weather forecast was good, and I felt a visit to Ketton Quarry coming on to see if the Grizzled and Dingy Skippers were about yet. This was the day to find out!

I was on a bit of a mission, so I took the quickest route, arriving at around 11h00. I made a brief circumnavigation of the level section which leads from the car park to the gate which opens onto the slope into the first part of the quarry, seeing nothing of great interest until just before the gate, where I spotted my first Cinnabar moth of the year. It was not very cooperative, and when it settled it did so rather untidily - but at least it showed its hind-wing.

Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaeae) - Ketton Quarry
I spent about an hour searching the area, but didn't find the hoped-for Dingy or Grizzled Skippers. Here are a few of my finds.

Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) - Ketton Quarry
Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) - Ketton Quarry
Common Heath (Ematurga atomaria) (female) - Ketton Quarry
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) (female) - Ketton Quarry
Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) - Ketton Quarry
At around mid-day I returned to my car to have a quick picnic lunch, but spotted a Holly Blue just before I got there.

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) (female) - Ketton Quarry
In less than half an hour I was back in the quarry, and things had changed somewhat! Almost immediately I saw a Small Heath butterfly which flew and drew my attention to a Common Blue butterfly which, in turn, disturbed a Grizzled Skipper! The Small Heath was exceedingly tatty, so does not appear here, and I lost the Common Blue when I was distracted by the skipper, so only got a poor shot.

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) (female) - Ketton Quarry

Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) - Ketton Quarry
Shortly after this, two gentlemen arrived. It turned out that they too were looking for the skippers, so I showed them where I'd seen the Grizzled Skipper, and it was still around. We stayed with it for a short while before making our way up the steep path that leads out of the quarry in a westerly direction. At the top I scoured the hedgerow while the other two descended into the area below. I didn't find anything to photograph so also headed downhill. Between the three of us we spotted Dingy and Grizzled Skippers. The real highlight was a mating pair of Grizzled Skippers - something that none of us had witnessed before!

Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages) - Ketton Quarry

Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) (pair mating) - Ketton Quarry
After a most enjoyable time spent here, I set off to another part of the site, on which I'd seen Dingy Skippers in the past, and my two companions headed off on a circular walk around the whole site. 

I did find more Dingy Skippers, but I noticed that these were all tending to fold their wings soon after landing. I'm not familiar enough with this species to make any positive assumptions, but I'm wondering if this was because the day was warming up considerably and they found that they needed to minimise their heat absorption.

Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages) - Ketton Quarry
A Small Heath, in better condition than the previous one, proved difficult to photograph as it flew every time I got to within about six metres!

Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) - Ketton Quarry
I also found a soldier beetle that I was not familiar with, although I understand it is a quite common species - Cantharis rustica :-

Cantharis rustica - Ketton Quarry
As I left this area, a Grass Snake sped across the path in front of me - too quickly for me to even raise my camera to it - and disappeared into a thicket.

I then passed through my original location and paid a visit to the small narrow 'valley' that heads up towards the north of the site. Here I photographed a few more insects, and also found my two companions from earlier, as they headed back towards their car. The first, below, is what I believe to be the very small moth, Pyrausta aurata, but there is a very similar Pyrausta, and I'm not sure.

Pyrausta aurata? - Ketton Quarry
Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) - Ketton Quarry
Hairy Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) - Ketton Quarry
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) - Ketton Quarry
In the hope of finding dragonflies, I headed back to my car and off to the Egleton side of Rutland Water. To cut a long story short, I had a distant sighting of one teneral Common Blue Damselfly, and didn't get close enough to get anything other than a record shot. I was quite intrigued by something that I assumed, at the time, was a wasp, but turns out to be a cuckoo bee species! There was also a moth doing its best to look like bird poo!

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (teneral male) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
Cuckoo bee sp. (Nomada leucophthalma ?) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
Epiblema sticticana - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
After this, it was time to head home after a most enjoyable and rewarding day, and there were no further sightings of interest.

Sadly, my day did not end on a high. When I was less than 100 metres from my home, the car in front of me stopped. I stopped, and then the car in front of me reversed into me at speed. Luckily, I had a witness to the event, or I think I'd have had a problem with the guy's insurance paying up. As it was, I was without my beloved Smart car for three weeks.

Thank you for dropping by. I suspect that my next post will feature the Outer Hebrides, and wouldn't be surprised if I had to break it down into two instalments!


  1. Oh no! Hopefully the medication will help and you will be better off. very beautiful pictures, wonderful destination. Harmful car case !! Be well!

    1. I'm feeling a bit better at the moment, thank you, Anne. However, I was supposed to have been going away tioday on a photographic trip to Norfolk, but have had to cancel.

      Yes, Ketton Quarry is one of my favourite places to visit - I wish it was closer to my home (just under 100km).

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  2. What a great selection Richard, we have a number of bombylius species in our garden and there seems to be many different markings, confusing to say the least of it. So sorry that you have had to go back onto antibiotics again. I feel for you as I get respiratory problems very easy and I have now had pneumonia 3 times.
    Take care and get well soon.
    Very best wishes to you both, Diane

    1. There are, I believe, a few species of Bombylius to be found in UK, Diane, but I think this is the only one in these parts. It's a delight to watch in action.

      So sorry to hear that you are prone to respiratory problems - I'd suspected as much from your past blog posts. Other than getting a bit 'chesty' after a cold, I'm usually OK. However, to have a chest infection happen twice in quick succession 'out of the blue' (no cold) is a bit inconvenient - especially as I was supposed to be off to Nolfolk for a few days today!

      Take good care, and have a good week. Best wishes - - - Richard

  3. Sorry to hear of your health set back and hope you are better soon. This is a wonderful post full of great photographs

    1. Thank you, Margaret, for those kind words. Have a great week - - - Richard

  4. Hello Richard,
    When you take pictures in the fresh air, I am not healthy at all, I do not know about butterflies at all, but when I look at your pictures these animals look really great.
    Pity by car ..

    Greetings Frank

    1. Thank you, Frank. I find that, as I get older, my wildlife interest grows wider - but the knowledge is not necessarily deeper!

      With my very best wishes to you for the week ahead - - - Richard

  5. Hello Richard, That dous not sound good to me. Again antibiotics! Hope the photos will show only good news. Ah and than a person whom got his driverslicence with a package of butter (a saing in Holland for some one who do not know how to drive. If it was on purpuse than that is a different story. Having spoken my concern I continue about your fantastic photos of all the different butterflies and moths. Just so wonderful. The topper for me is the Green Hairstreak. Never saw one. And I do have something with green ;)
    Take care of your cold and get better soon.

    1. Thank you, Roos, for your very kind words.

      The incident with the car was an accident - not intentional! The person in front was, I think, lost and realised that he didn't want to be where he was, and so reversed without checking his mirrors. I didn't have time to react.

      I'll swap ten of my Green Hairstreaks for one of your Tree Frogs any time you like!

      Have a wonderful week - - - Richard

  6. Hi Richard: Sorry to hear that ill health is forcing you to spend too much time indoors. I wonder, are we getting to the age where this is a foretaste of things to come? In any event, you had a splendid outing with many good sightings, and have some excellent photographs to prove it. Get well soon! Much love to you both, David

    1. Thank you for your very kind words, David. Health-wise, I'm keeping my fingers crossed at the moment!

      With love to you and Miriam - - Richard

  7. Another photographic feast. Wonderful, thank you.

    1. Thank you, Adrian. I really do enjoy days like this one, but am never sure which lens to take. In this case, I think I took the right one (for a change!).

      With my very best wishes - - - Richard

  8. Wow Richard, pretty shooting. Love 'em all.

    1. Thank you, Bob, for those much-appreciated kind words. Have a great week - - - - Richard

  9. Nice photos Richard, I love them. Get well soon.

    1. Thank you for your kind words and wishes, Caroline!

  10. Enhorabuena por ese bello e interesante blog. Saludos desde Asturias.

    1. Hola Belén! Gracias por tu visita y tus amables palabras. Con los mejores deseos de un Reino Unido fresco y bastante húmedo.

  11. First things first. Gini and I both wish you a speedy (and this time, complete!) recovery! We are also quite sorry to hear about your car accident and trust that since you didn't indicate any injury that there was none.

    Thank you so much for a fantastic photographic extravaganza! That Cinnabar is spectacular! Happy that you found the Dingy and Grizzled Skippers. Even happier you shared images of them! Seriously, the entire post is just wonderful and was a fantastic accompaniment to this morning's coffee.

    We are looking forward to discovering the delights of the Outer Hebrides! But first, recuperate!

    Gini and I have been traveling for some unfortunate reasons in the past weeks but have settled down now and will share some recent exploits soon.

    Wishing you and Lindsay all the best as this new week gets underway.

    1. Hi Wally. I'm so sorry to hear that you've had problems which have taken you away from home. I hope that there was a happy outcome, and that life is getting back to normal now.

      I'm fine, thank you, although I have to go for an x-ray again in three weeks time. It got a bit scary, however, when I got called in at short notice for a CT scan! And as for the car accident, no one was hurt and the car is fine now - it was just an annoyance.

      I've still got a fair way to go with Pt.1 of the Hebridean Adventure report as I've had a lot of catching up to do with domestic demands. Might have something sorted by the weekend!

      With my very best wishes to you and Gini - take good care - - - Richard

  12. Hello Richard,
    you are not the only one that is behind. I lag behind even further than you ;-)
    I think your header photo is fantastic with the strawberry butterfly. Beautiful and sharp shots and very beautiful in color and lighting. your other photos of the many butterflies and the inserts are also just beautiful shots. You have mastered macro photography super.
    I enjoyed it again.

    Kind regards, Helma

    1. Hi Helma. I find it so frustrating that there are not enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done. I seem to be even finding it difficult to get out to enjoy some photography, and when I do it means another day or two taken up with processing photos! I often wonder how I ever managed to work full-time before I retired!

      Thank you so much for your very kind words.

      I hope that you have had a good weekend, and that your week ahead will be full of happiness and wildlife. Take good care - - - Richard

    2. Hello Richard,
      I still have about 5 years before I can retire so you will understand that I have almost no time hahahahahaha ....
      Nice response :-)

      Kind regards, Helma


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