We had decided that Thursday 11th April would mark the end of the 2012/2013 Streakers Club egging season (although not, I hasten to add, the end of this winter's egg searching altogether - not just yet!). We weren't too sure though where to go searching.....before we retired to the pub for an end-of-season lunch and the chance to catch up with Mike Williams' photos from his recent Madagascar butterfly trip! We had finished the 'wider Grafton Wood' search a couple of weeks previously - and recorded a fairly decent count of 602 eggs. And Gill and I had/have almost finished the count around the Shurnock area - which currently stands at 302. But eventually, the decision was made to visit two locations near to a couple of previously identified potential assembly trees.
The first of these was on Hollowfields Lane to the east of Feckenham. This location had been identified a couple of years ago, due to the presence of historical egg records, and a likely looking Ash tree had been found and included in the 'Big Ash Bash' for study during the 2011 flight season. Unfortunately, this tree was not visited during that summer but last winter the Streakers did go there and recorded 20+ eggs nearby. A note was made to keep this tree on the 'potentials list' and last summer I made one visit during the 'BAB'. Despite good weather on that day I wasn't able to spot anything in the tree but it was decided to persevere, hence last Thursday's visit.
I was about 5 minutes late arriving at the site but as I drove up I could already see Mike with GPS and notebook in hand, hurriedly darting between members of the team.....things were looking good! As I then got out of the car I could hear an almost non-stop chorus of "got one", "found another one", "there's a double here", "and here", and it immediately became clear that something fairly special was going on. About an hour and a half later we called time at this site having found 65 eggs in the close vicinity of the tree, including a treble.
We then moved onto our second target area, a small piece of young, recently planted, open woodland near to Feckenham Wylde Moor NR. The story here had been very similar to the Hollowfields Lane one, in which eggs had been found in both the two previous winters, although study of a nearby and very suitable looking Ash during the last two flight seasons, had provided no adult sightings. On Thursday, for the third winter running, we found plenty of eggs here - 33 in total. So, like the Hollowfields Lane location, we will be keeping this site in the target list for this summer's 'Big Ash Bash', in the hope of finally seeing some adult activity and confirming the presence of an assembly tree.
On our way back to the cars, we found (as of course we had to) the necessary 2 additional eggs to reach our century for the day. In fact we found 4 taking our total to 102 and, suitably satisfied, we retired to the pub. Ending in a flourish!