I saw a couple of male and female pheasants yesterday on my mtb rride in buckinghamshire close to oxfordshire border.
what surprised me was the number of red kites - big birds of prey - 2 ft or more wingspan, that seem to be around. When I lived there about 20 yrs ago hardly saw any so they are thriving pretty well in the area.
a red kite yesterday.
wignspan nearly 2 m - didn't seem that big to me but hard to tell.
The red kites were introduced in that area some 15(?) years ago and have thrived.
I believe it is now the area with the highest concentration of red kites in Europe. I've seen one in Sussex in the last year so it seems they are spreading their wings so to speak.
Butterflies eh! Well, we were more fortunate than most folks, I reckon, having had a short break for the last two weeks down in France. Swallowtails in abundance (both kinds) as well as many other familiar species, plus others I can't name! But the high spot for us was spotting the rare 'Cleopatra' - well, rare for those parts, it's mainly a Mediterranean species and must have been right at the northern limit of its range (we were a bit south of Bergerac). First sighting for me for many years. A beautiful species, related to the common yellow Brimstone but the male has brilliant orange flushes on the wings. Alas! sorry guys it doesn't occur in Britain.