A free Saturday took me off to Fitzwilliam in search of butterflies and football.
It's little more than a month since I formally closed my 16/17 football travels with the non-league finals day at Wembley, but the 17/18 pre-season friendlies are getting underway. Just about the only one in West Yorkshire today saw Hemsworth Miners Welfare hosting Willington Quay Saints from North Tyneside. I'd last seen Hemsworth at Thackley in April, and it was my first visit to their ground at Fitzwilliam. The Saints are from a few steps down the football pyramid, so it was no surprise that Welfare won the game 4-0, but for both teams it was the first 90 minutes and a good training exercise. I've put a couple of pictures from the match in extras to set the scene, and someone else has tweeted a picture that has me perched on the sidelines (second from left).
What made it a full day out was the proximity of Fitzwilliam Country Park, created on the site of the former Hemsworth colliery and drift mines. A little bit of research had suggested it had a good reputation for butterflies, so I spent an hour there before the match and a couple of hours after.
The biggest spectacle was undoubtedly the burnet moths. If I'd been counting I would have comfortably got into the hundreds. All the ones I took a close look at were Narrow-bordered Five-spot (extra). I also saw a lot of Shaded Broad-bar and a few Latticed Heath. A single Blackneck (extra) was the moth highlight of the day - it's very scarce and local in Yorkshire.
For butterflies, Ringlet and Meadow Brown continue to dominate, but I finally caught up with my first Small Skippers of the year (extra), along with Large Skipper, Small Heath, Large and Small White and a few fresh Comma. What I hadn't been expecting was a Marbled White, but I tracked just one through the long grass for a minute or so, making two new species for the year today. For my main image I've chosen a pair of Large White.
It turned into a fine summer's day, and it was good to be in a different landscape - out of the Pennines and into the flat lands.
Butterfly Journal 2017
25. 01/07/17 Small Skipper, Fitzwilliam Country Park.
26. 01/07/17 Marbled White, Fitzwilliam Country Park.