Day 5 - Wednesday, 22nd June
The weather this morning was cold and windy with showers at times but brighter and dryer in the afternoon.
The usual discussion first thing about where to go today. I again suggested Newtown (butterflies and birds) or Afton Marsh (water voles) whereas the others suggested Parkhurst Forest in the hope that they might get a red squirrel sighting too!! We went to Parkhurst!
Parkhurst Forest owned by the Forestry Commission consists of ancient woodland, relict heath and some plantation woodland. James I hunted deer in the forest but I have read that today there are no wild deer on the island. The deer I saw in a field on one of my recent walks around the local lanes must have been domesticated.
Going to the forest reminded me of another species I would stand a far better chance of seeing than at home and that was an adder. Sadly, adders are now thought to be extinct in Warwickshire.
We took the 2.5 mile long red squirrel trail through the forest even visiting a purpose built squirrel hide. I had put the 70 - 300 mm telephoto zoom lens on the camera this time just in case!
There were quite a few butterfly species on the wing - speckled wood, meadow brown, ringlet and I was really thrilled to see up to about half a dozen white admiral - the first time I have seen this species for years. Ringlet was also new for this year. I spotted a couple of fritillaries but they were too far away to be sure of the species. I know there are Pearl-bordered and Small pearl-bordered fritillaries in the forest but the ones I saw appeared more the size of Dark green or Silver-washed.
The only butterfly I managed to get a photo of was this Meadow Brown.
Unfortunately the wooden squirrel carving in the photo below was the closest today we got to a sighting.
After lunch we had a walk around Cowes
The paintings in these last two photos had been done by students at a local college.
In the evening we went for a meal at The Crown, Shorwell. Super pub with lovely grounds with a stream, pond and island and lots of ducks. The food was absolutely superb but the only downside was that we had to wait 55 minutes but I have to say it was defintely worth the wait as it was one of the best meals I have had in a pub.