I go searching for owls at a few locations during June, when breeding activity reaches a crescendo. On a cool, damp but still evening on the 5th I wandered up the Hertfordshire Way towards Hatchpen Farm. In a patch of woodland that separates Royston farmland from the Newsells Stud Farm a juvenile tawny owl was calling and, as I approached, one of its parents flew a short distance away. Further on a little owl was seen, close to a regular nesting site (on private land). There was no sign of the little owl when I returned a few minutes later, but the juvenile tawny owl was calling, having moved to the other side of the path, and once again I saw an adult owl fly away from the same area. Back in Royston a tawny owl was hooting from the Royston Hospital area. This was no surprise, as I've heard it hooting practically every night since early spring. I guess that this is a young male, trying to establish a territory. However, it has clearly failed to attract any female owls so far!
Newly-fledged goldfinches were noticed on my bird feeders on the 2nd, although adults were by far the most common visitors. The local blue tits were noted in the garden on the 4th, feeding young with bits of suet. Whilst I was out photographing invertebrates (see below) on the 8th I heard a quail singing ("wet my lips, wet my lips") in a field about a mile from the house. The Royston area is regarded by many as the best in the country for quail - I hear them most years in the general area between Royston and Wallington - and both my UK sightings have been nearby.
The weather was more changeable in early June than it had been in May, but I was able to get out and about to 'blitz' the local area on the 2nd and the 8th. Highlights on the 2nd were my first sighting of a marbled white butterfly this year (also Hertfordshire's first sighting), a garden 'first' in the form of a (female) large red damselfly, and finding a pair of mating common blue butterflies, together with at least 30 burnet companion moths on the lovely little wildflower meadow situated a few hundred yards from my house. Common blue and brown argus butterflies were active at two other known sites and Adonis blues were still active at both ends of The Heath.