Sunday, 18 August 2019

Leighton Moss call in on journey to Lakes

Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Spoonbill
RSPB Leighton Moss
Driving through the lakes
Yet another stunning new in the north lakes
Stunning stayover
Bettle
Reason to celebrate

We spent our 21st wedding anniverary up the Lake District where we got engaged. It was a short luxury break but perfect and enabled us to make the most of some favourable weather.

We did get some birding in just south of the lakes at RSPB Leighton Moss. What I didn't realise is the Wader scrapes are actaully three miles down the road. So after a quick look at the main reserve we headed down to the wader scrapes where the two hides gave stunning views of the reserve on the edge of Morecombe Bay.

There was plenty to see including my first Curlew Sandpiper for a couple of years, a Green Sandpiper, 50+ Redshank, a Avocet, 6 Little Egret, juvenile Shelducks, 10 Greenshank, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwits & numerous Redshanks.

Silver-spotted Skipper at Aston Rowant

Silver-spotted Skipper
Aston Rowant
Silver-spotted Skipper
Silver-spotted Skipper

I took the chance to team up with Lloyd Evans (who I met at Upton Warren) for a trip down the M40 to see one of the last butterflies to emerge in the calendar year which was the Silver-spotted Skipper.  Llloys knew the site well but we did have to wait a while until the temperature warmed up a little before we got the excellent views we wanted. We also recorded good numbers of Chalk Hill Blues, Painted Ladys and a single Adonis Blue (poor photo as buried). Many thanks to Lloyds for a super morning.

Scotch Argus at Smardale Gill

Scotch Argus
Scotch Argus
Very close views
Viaduct
Viaduct
Scotch Argus
Scotch Argus

On the way home from the Lake District we visted the stunning Smardale Gill in the hope of seeing a Scotch Argus butterfly. By pure luck we landed as an explosion was under way with us seeing many of these stunning butterflies along the main path & then on the banks of the viaduct.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Chalk Hill Blues on Prestbury Hill

Chalk Hill Blue
Chalk Hill Blue
Chalk Hill Blue
Chalk Hill Blue
Prestbury Hill

I took the chance of teaming up with Dave "Butterfly" Williams last week and headed to the stunning Prestbury Hill, situated right above Cheltenham racecourse.


Dave kindly gave me a full tour of this impressive reserve where we record the much sought after Chalk Hill Blues and also Small Copper, Small Blue, Peacock & Painted Lady butterflies.

Bird species recorded were Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Spotted Flycatcher, Green Woodpecker & Raven.

Rolling into August at the pits

  Common Blue 
 Black-tailed Godwit
 Brood of Tufted Duck
 View from north side

 Mandarin
 Mandarin
 Common Blue
 Common Blue 

Mandarin Duck became our 131st species of the year at the pits. The high water levels & westerly winds are certainly not helping us attract any passage waders. What I'd give for a Turnstone !

Last Sundays webcount was as follows :- 27 Little Grebe + broods, 1 juvenile Great Crested Grebe, 3 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, 13 Mute Swans + young, 370 Greylag, 178 Canada Goose, 1 Mandarin, 6 Gadwall, 13 teal, 320 Mallard + five new broods, Sparrowhawk with 3+ fledged juvenile, 8 Buzzards + brood 2/3 in plantation, 2 Kestrel, 1 Hobby, 1 Water Rail, 149 Coot, 122 Lapwing, 1 breeding plumage Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 31 Black-headed Gull, 90 LBBG, 1 Herring Gull, one juvenile Cuckoo, 1 Swift, 3 Green 1 Greater Spotted Woodpecker, 50 House Martin, 1 Grey Wagtail, lots of Warblers including several Sedge & lesser Whitethroat, 20 Long-tailed Tits, several Coal Tits & Goldcrests, 350 Rooks, 150 Jackdaw & 4 Raven. Also 7 Painted Lady, 1 Holly Blue.

Another Hobby over Broom.  

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Malvern Choughs on first day of summer break

Malvern Chough



Chough hang out
Stunning Malvern
Grayling
Small Heath
Gert & Mike from Upton were also looking for Grayling
Ready for walk ahead
Malvern view
I've got plenty of leave coming up this summer and autumn due to some lengthy extra hours managing a project at work. I took a couple of extra days to my annual week in August to get rid of a couple of days. 

My first day off was spend on the Malvern Hills which is just a couple of junctions down the M5. Two juvenile Choughs had been seen on the Herefordshire Beacon so given the super weather I headed up to explore. The previous afternoon the birds had disapperared for a few hours so I thought it might not be an easy task. Thankfully, the Chough couldn't have been any more confiding with the pair showing down to 15 feet not taking any notice of the couple of admirers.

From there I headed across to North Hill where I observed my first Grayling butterfly. This was a real scramble (in case you were thinking of going). I also noted a Small Heath & a Hummingbird Hawk Moth. 

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Routine sightings & afternoon boundaries












Things are still very slow at the pits. John & I did our normal full site count on the Sunday morning before heading off to watch the lads play cricket together. Dusty scoring 117 not out whilst Gussy came in to bat with him scoring a very fast 32 not out.

The full count was as follows :- 20 Little Grebe (plus several broods), 7 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 16 Mute Swan, 6 Greylag, 87 Canada Goose, 7 Gadwall, 4 Teal, 344 Mallard, 1 juvenile Pochard, 72 Tufted Duck, juvenile Sparrowhawks in plantation, 8 Buzzard, 1 kestrel, 21 Moorhen, 102 Coot, 2 Oystercatcher, 5 Little Ringed Plover, 63 Lapwing, 4 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 6 Black-headed Gulls, 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (plus this fledged chicks), 60 Stock Dove, 80 Swift, 1 Kingfisher, 3 Green Woodpecker, 1 singing Meadow Pipit, 36 singing Reed Warblers, 2 broods of Lesser Whitethroat (plus one singing), Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, 3 Raven. Also 6 Painted Lady (worn migrants)