Monday, 20 July 2020

Ticking over kinda week

                                                     Roe Deer
                                                   Common Gull
                                                   Silver Y Moth
                                             Little Ringed Plover
                                                Green Sandpiper
The sightings from last Sunday certainly attracted a few more visits by local birders keen to catch up with species moving through. Despite more visits there was nothing new added. Certainly if you managed to visit without the pesky dog walkers you would have seen the Redstarts, Whinchat, Common Gull, LRP's & Green Sandpipers.

The weather was overcast on Saturday and my first big butterfly count did not really amas to anything of interest other than some fresh Peacock & Gatekeeper.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Graylings at the Bog

Last year I treked up North Hill, Malvern to see my first Grayling so this year I wanted to observe them at the Bog in Shropshire. Although early in the season for them I observed 10+ at close quarters, all very easy to find opposite the car park.

The Grayling is a strange butterfly, perhaps undervalued due to it's dark colours, yet has beautiful & subtle patterning. It was once confined to coastlines but can now be seen inland also. The Grayling disguises itself and rests on stone or dry grass and on occasion shows up its furthest wing.

The Bog was a thriving Shropshire mining village in which the old school is now the visitor centre (currently closed due to COVID-19). When the mining stopped the old buildings became homes to wildlife including these amazing butterflies.

Portland birthday day trips results in Large Tortoiseshell & Lulworth Skipper

                                              Large Tortoiseshell
                                            Large Tortoiseshell
                                         Lulworth Skipper (female)

Lulworth Skipper (male)
                                          Grayling (Tout Quarry)
                                                    Church Ope
                                                 Guillemot flock
                                                Above Church Ope

View down to Portland Observatory
                                                     Rock Pipit
                                         Great Black-backed Gulls

Lulworth Skipper (male)
                                                   Wall Brown
                                  Walking down to Church Ope Cove
                                           Common Blue (male)
                                       Silver-studded Blue (male)
                                            Small Skipper (female)
It was time to head south to try and see another species of butterfly. The Lulworth is the only british butterfly that can be found geographically by its name. Rather than head to Lulworth we opted for Portland where there would be much less people.

After a relaxing coffee at the tip of Bill we did a large circular walk taking in a range of habitats. The skippers were tricky to see but I was pretty happy that I'd photographed a male with a closed pale circle followed by a darker female. Thankfully my photos supported my thoughts. (Lloyd/Dave were both good enough to confirm ID's).

Bird sightings were limited to Great Black-backed Gull,
Guillemot flying to and from cliffs, a large flock of Common Scoter, Rock Pipit, Swifts, Gannet and Linnet.

From there we had a relaxing hour at Church Ope sat on the pebble beach taking in the views. There were plenty of people looking for the
Large Tortoiseshell reported the day before but without luck.

As we reached the car I checked Twitter for local sightings and the
Large Tortoiseshell had been seen just five minutes away from where we were ! Thankfully the butterfly was sat out in the open allowing a small group to get a great view. Lets hope they can be re-established here.

We finished with a walk around Tout Quarry but I don't think we saw its best as the breeze had increased making it tougher for flying butterflies.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Purple Hairsteak at last........

                                                 Purple Hairstreak

Silver-washed Fritillary
                                               Emperor Dragonfly
                                           Silver-washed Fritillary

I've put some serious hours into trying to see Purple Hairstreak this summer. I'm seeing them in a number of places but just not getting any photo opportunities. Finally one gave itself up at Grafton Wood on Friday thus becoming number 52 on my list of photographed lifers. There were some stunning Silver-washed Fritillary to be seen around the wood.

Year ticks continue to fall at the pits

                                                    Tawny Owl

Back at the cricket
                                                     Little Egret
                                              It's been a while

                                          Gussy posing like a pro
                         Redstart ridge delivering the goods (Dennis Stinton)

The delayed start to the cricket season coincided in a pretty good week for the pits. Kingfisher & Siskin were useful additions whilst there was improved views of the patch Tawny Owl, Litttle Egret & Whinchat. Our year list now stands at 113.

Sundays full count conducted with Jon & the Squire was as follows:- 23 Little Grebe, 3 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 5 Grey Heron, 9 adult & 9 juvenile Mute Swan, 4 adult & 2 juvenile Greylag, 114 Canada Geese, 7 Gadwall, 5 Teal, 355 Mallard, 3 Shoveler (must sighting of Autumn), 62 Tufted Duck, 1 Red Kite (2 at Wheatley), Sparrowhawk, 7 Buzzard, Kestrel, 183 Coot, 9 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 25 Black-headed Gulls, 1 adult Common Gull, 5 Herring Gull, 10 LBBG, 125 Stock Dove, 100 Swift, 1 Kingfisher, family of Green Woodpecker, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Common Redstart, 1 adult male Whinchat, lots of Warblers including broods of Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, 1 Marsh Tit (Marsh Farm), family of 4 Raven and Siskin over south.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Four year ticks in a week

                                           Hobby in main meadow

Hobby chasing the locals
                                         Perched in Old Workings

Oystercatchers on another appearing island
                                           Well hidden Tawny Owl
                                               Green Sandpipers
                                      Whinchat (1st Bird of the day)
                                                 Green Sandpiper
                                               Little Ringed Plover
                                                 Common Swift
                       Stint Island is back - not been seen for quite a while
                                            Juvenile Pied Wagtail
                                                   Reed Warbler
                                                    Brown Hare
                                              Little Ringed Plover
                                             Common Sandpiper
                                     View north looking at main pit
                                                     Grey Heron
                                     View South from Old Workings
                                           Three Green Sandpipers

Quite a week for us at the pits with four new species for the year being recorded. With birds seeming to be starting their journey back south the regular pit watchers have made numerous visits giving us some improved coverage.

It was odd that we didn't record a Green Sandpiper in the spring. It was probably due to the high water levels. We have had no such problem at the moment with two being recorded from midweek.

A returning Tawny Owl was a pleasant surprise. Firstly flying past me into the plantation before roosting in its old spot. Sadly the roosting spot is in deep cover. Hopefully I'll get a clear photo opportunity one day.

1st Bird of the Day also scored for us when we found a very shy Whinchat around the central lagoon. The bird looked to have popped out of the channel before skirting the lagoon. The Squire also came down to see the bird.

Bird of the week for me was the Hobby that appears to be very much at home and gives amzing views if you can catch him at the right time of the day. Other noteable sightings included a Little Egret, Common Sandpiper & 2 Oystercatcher. Surely time for a Garganey?

The Squire scored on Sunday morning with an Arctic Tern on the main pit. The tern hung around for twenty minutes before moving on. This became our 110th species of the year.