Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Wryneck at RSPB Middleton Lakes

Wryneck - just wow
Hunting for ants
Stunning pattern along the bird's back
A good crowd late morning

An excellent start to the week when a Wryneck was found at RSPB Middleton Lakes. I'd only seen one previously so I decided it was well worth the 40 minute drive from home.  I had expected a bit of a bun fight but I was pleasantly surprised there were only 5/6 birders present and the bird was showing instantly from the west screen. I enjoyed watching the bird for about an hour before it was startled when someone stepped to the side of the screen. The bird took flight and was not seen again for a number of hours. I used this hint to explore the rest of the reserve when I noted 3 Little Egrets, 1 Great White Egret, 1 Common Sandpiper and a good number of warblers before returning back to the car. 

Many thanks to those who got the news out early, it made the experience much nicer in the cooler temperature.

Lane returns to score with a Whinchat

Not a bad weekend for cricket either

There's been a bit of movement this week which coincided with Chris returning from his seasonal voluteering on the tern colony in Anglesey.

Chris marked his return by finding a Whinchat in the Old Workings and a Greenshank on the main pit. Two Clouded Yellow Butterflies were also noted on the same day.

Our Bidford regulars have been seeing the Hobby over the town & river but sightings at the pits have not been common.

A Great Crested Grebe & juvenile Pochard were recorded before Sundays count which was completed by Jon. The count included 38 Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 310 Greylag, 140 Canada Geese, 29 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 55 Tufted Duck, 1 adult Golden Plover (circled several times), 1 Snipe, 2 Green & 1 Common Sandpiper, 800 BHG, 100 LBBG, 2 Herring, 1 1W YLG, 1 1W Caspian / hybrid, 1 Common Tern, 1 Wheatear, and a big influx of warblers including 3 Sedge, 6 Lesser & 5 Common Whitethroat, 60 Chiffchaff and 9 Willow Warblers.

The Whinchat takes us to 133 for the year.

Adonis Blue at Rough Bank

Adonis Blue (male)
Adonis Blue (female)
Adonis Blue (male)
Adonis Blue (male)

Adonis Blue (female)
Reserve entrance
Stunning location
Marsh Tit

It was off to fog bound Gloucestershire on Sunday with Butterfly Dave & Craig Jones in the hope of seeing some Adonis Blue butterflies. The fog got thicker as we got closer to reserve but as if by magic it lifted as we made our way on to the slopes. The views were stunning and the butterflies showed amazingly well enabling us all to get some highly satisfying views and photos. There were also a good number of Chalk Hill & Common Blues. As the temperature increased so did the flight of the butterflies so we retired highly satisfied. 

Birds observed included a Tree Pipit, Raven, Sparrowhawk, calling Spotted Flycatcher, Buzzard, Chiffchaff and Nuthatch. Many thanks to Dave & Craig for their expertise & company.

Brown Hairstreak & Spotted Flycatcher at Grafton Wood

Brown Hairstreak
Brown Hairstreak
Brown Hairstreak
Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher
 Always worth checking barn roofs

I've had a few trips to Grafton Wood this Autumn as it's handy location is only a few miles over the border from Salford Priors. I have seen a family of Spotted Flycatcher there a number of times, it's been great to see the young birds calling for food from their parents.

The local rarity is the Brown Hairstreak butterfly which attracts visitors from many miles. Sightings have been extremely limited. The amazing conservation work has spread the butterflies around the wood making them much harder so see.

Thankfully on Friday (after a great deal of searching) I found two females low down on their favoured blackthorn laying eggs before taking flight. The wood attracted many visitors on Saturday but sighting still remained limited. 

Monday, 26 August 2019

Marsh Harrier becomes 132 on the year list at pits

Juvenile Buzzard
Main pit from north bank
Little Grebe brood
Yellow Wagtail
Banded Demoiselle
A juvenile Marsh Harrier was added to the patchs year list on Sunday when Jon picked up the dark bird as it came up from the maize field being harassed by a large number of corvids before flying further away from us in a northerley direction.

Other records included a moulting male Redstart, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 30 Swift, 50 Sand Martin, 200 House Martin, 220 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 240 Black-headed Gull, 2 Raven, 1 Hobby, 1 Kestrel and 3 Buzzard. 

Wall at Wenlock Edge

Stunning views
View towards the Long Mynd
Speckled Wood
On Saturday I had rare visit to Shropshire in the hope of seeing a Wall butterfly. Whilst still pretty common on the coast inland terriorties are uncommon. My destination of Wenlock Edge where I was met by a friendly ranger who assured me I was it the right place but it was too windy for butterflies.

Thankfully the 0.5km took me through the woodland to the limestone areas where thankfully there were numerous butterflies. It took a while to see a Wall still and to get a photograph but I estimated I saw between 12-15. Painted Ladies were numerous as were Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns and Peacocks.

Bird wise I recorded a family of Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Buzzard and a Marsh Tit.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Leighton Moss call in on journey to Lakes

Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
RSPB Leighton Moss
Driving through the lakes
Yet another stunning new in the north lakes
Stunning stayover
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.