It was nice to encounter some ex-common farmland species, including a total of 5-6 Corn Buntings, 3-4 at Pitstone, 1 at Incombe and single at Beacon Hill. Several Yellowhammers were dotted around the area and a Garden Warbler appeared along the edge of the woodland at Steps Hill foraging with a tit flock. Raptors included the usual Buzzard, Kestrel and Red Kites but I had my eye on the ground most of the time, looking for butterflies, so I may well have missed several fly-overs.
The Dark Green Fritillaries certainly made it difficult for me to get photos as they were almost permanently in-flight. However, persistence paid off and I eventually locate some perched individuals. There were a number of freshly emerged fritillaries on the south facing slope at Incombe Hole but I only encountered a single individual whilst at the beacon. Other species included Small Tortoiseshells, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Marbled Whites and a Speckled Wood. Scouring the hillside also rewarded me with 2 Chimney Sweepers, an uncommon moth in the south and a specialty on chalk downland. Large numbers of Pyramidal Orchid and Fragrant Orchids were also in flower!
Dark Green Fritillary
Next, a second stab at the Quails but this time, despite trying at an ideal time from late afternoon to early evening, I couldn't locate any singing birds!
At the onset of darkness, I tried one final site in Ashridge for roding Woodcock. Yet another dip (the third time so far at this site for this species!) Only a Fox showed itself for my troubles and on my return at 11:30pm a Tawny Owl started calling at Tring station.