Up at 4am for an early morning flight from Stansted to Belfast the first stages were completed without problem for me the captain or the aeroplane - car hire collected, my next challenge was to find the Montiaghs Bog NNR. Now in theory this should only have been a short drive from the airport. However, for me it was endless frustration as I couldn't work out where to stop and start looking...
For 10 minutes I stood at a quiet cross-roads trying to work out which direction I should head, according to the hand-drawn map I held. Eventually, a local farmer stopped and offered help. My questions brought a wry smile to his furrowed head - the pools I was driving around in search for were less than 30 metres away over a fence and behind some bushes!
Next stop for me was the Peatland Country Park for Real's Wood White - again trying to navigate around NI on my tod whilst driving was anything but easy. I tried several likely looking locations for arriving at my chosen destination. Thankfully on arrival, locating my first Real's Wood White was easier and 6 or 7 individuals were seen with relative ease.
One RWW was very confiding - even allowing for some sought-after close ups. Phew!
Real's Wood White
Other bonuses on the trip were the Pitcher Plants at the Peatlands and numerous sundews at various locations.
With both target species UTB and several hours to spare I travelled clockwise round Loch Neigh on the A31 up to Coleraine and on to the Giant's Causeway - that fantastic geological formation.
The return trip to Belfast and flight back to Stansted was followed by a return drive to Kent. At 11.30pm I arrived home for bed - knackered! Still - some good insects on the old list!