A downturn in the weather now past, this was a long, ‘lockdown’ trek into the moors (or the nearest thing we have to moors) in the hope of some new locations for Grizzled Skipper.

male Swallow

After a Swallow and my first Cinnabar of the year, I bumped into Dave who coincidentally had the same idea so we tagged along for a while, exploring the currently inactive Great Central Railway together (at a safe distance) and especially an area cleared of invasive bramble and thorn but we found no evidence that the colonising food plant has attracted the desired butterfly.

Here we met the enthusiastic Paula Barnes of Gotham and had a long natter (from at least 10 metres apart) on the wonders of the moors’ wildlife – she saw a Hen Harrier here last winter.

This stuff causes my wife and me some angst.

Field Horsetail

Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is a nuisance weed in our garden but it has its place in the wild. These are the fertile, spore-producing shoots which come up early in the season.

I could hardly disguise Dave’s presence and at the same time profess to knowing this was Hieracium section hieracium (at least not without a rucksack weighed down with books and several hours at one spot.

Hieracium section hieracium

And this one is Crepis biennis – a simple jizz glance for him

Crepis biennis

I did spot what I am fairly certain was a Grizzled Skipper at Rushcliffe Halt though flight identifications of such a small and flighty insect are a bit ropy and this one didn’t settle in view, but my first Small Heath of the year obliged at its sun-lounger.

Small Heath