I visited Grafton Wood yesterday for the first time since the cloudy, and hence somewhat disappointing, Open Day eight days ago. However it was a beautiful sunny day yesterday and I was rewarded with five sightings of separate female Brownies.
It was fairly chilly when I first arrived in the wood at 10:30, even though it was sunny, but it gradually warmed up and about an hour later I had my first sightings of two females in a large overgrown hedgerow, to the north of the main pond.
Half an hour or so later I bumped into Steve Williams and he told me he'd seen two females too, but in different locations to mine. We both went to investigate the area where he'd had his sightings and almost immediately found one of the females searching the blackthorn for suitable egg laying sites.
After crawling up and down various tiny blackthorn stems, this one (presumably?!) seems to have
got confused and I watched it lay an egg on a Field Maple sucker!
Walking back towards the pond, Steve then spotted another female flying and basking on a different stretch of hedgerow. No more sightings at the pond, although I'd earlier met someone who'd seen a female in an Oak tree there first thing in the morning at around 9:30.
At about 2:15 Steve and I both decided to call it a day and walk back to the car park. However
on the way back, Steve pointed out the area where he'd had his first sighting of the day - on a hedgerow roughly halfway between the church car park and the wood. Believe it or not, within a few seconds there it was - flying out of the hedge and stopping to bask just in front of us.
This was the fifth separate female I'd seen on the day, and shortly afterwards I spoke to another guy who'd had a sighting of a female right in the middle of the wood. That one, together with the one seen early on near the pond, plus my five sightings, meant that at least seven separate female Brownies had been seen in or near the wood yesterday. Evidence that the flight season is still very much alive!