Friday, 31 August 2012

Moths and Napton Reservoir

If you were up and about between 3 and 4am this morning and looked up you would have been treated to stunning display of the night sky.
I have become engrossed in moth recording and keep putting blogging off till tomorrow - apologies to you all. While inputting and updating Dave’s and my own records I started wondering what the impact of a wet year is having on our moth catches. June was poor with only recoding 79 species compared to 130 in 2011 in my own garden but I actually had my best July since I began mothing so the variety of species is not a problem, What is horrifying is that in the period January to July I only trapped 6000 moths compared to 10,000 last year in the same period. Dave is showing an even more dramatic decline in his garden with 14,000 last year to 5000 this year. Ok its only 2 gardens but when I rang round trapping friends they all were reporting at least a 40% decline so that starts to become a frightening statistic if you start thinking on a county or National level, and that’s just moths. Dragonfly and Butterfly recorders are reporting a bad year as well so not surprisingly many bird species have either failed to breed or did not bother having a second brood and cleared out early. Certainly the lack of second broods amongst the warblers at the pond is very noticeable.
I also discovered we had been a wee too enthusiastic in our identification with some of our micro moths so had to revisit our photos and knock a few off. Might have been disastrous for us but we have already caught another potential 24 micros to add to our list this month so no harm done and a good learning curve.
Met up with Dave at the Just So for lunch had a walk around the Bridge Nursery garden and Napton Reservoir. A few butterflies and dragonflies noted at the nursery while Napton Reservoir had 2 Pochard, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Raven and Buzzard. There were high numbers of Southern and Brown Hawker dragonflies plus 3 Grass Snake sunning themselves despite a cool light north westerly breeze.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Catch up 23rd August to 30th August

August 23rd Draycote Water
Female/immature Wheatear along farborough Bank plus 4 Yellow Wagtail while an adult Yellow-legged Gull was on one of the buoys and 100+Swift over the north shore

Bank Holiday Weekend
Spent the bank holiday mothing in Kent with the odd bit of birding and cricket thrown in when it wasn’t to wet or blustery. Trapped a few unfamiliar species that I don’t see in my home county such as Mullien Wave, Mathews Wainscot, Star-wort, Feathered Ranunculus, Tree Lichen Beauty, Plumed Fan-foot, Pretty Chalk Carpet, Scarce Chocolate-tip and Sharp-angled Peacock while there were a few obvious migrants around such as Rush Veneer, Rusty Dot Pearl and Silver Y. On the birding front Purple Heron, Great White Egret, a few Garganey and a reasonable skua passage kept the day hobby ticking over.
I’m not a cricket lover – preferring the game to be livened up with tip and run using tennis balls but I got roped in to a charity match which played under cricketing rules in the first innings which was boring but as the tide came in for the second innings then the rules became more bizarre with the encroaching sea the boundary which made sixes dead easy to get and the inebriated umpires insisting the ball was in play when a dog ran off with it allowing one batsmen to score 76 in an over while everyone else ran around like silly buggers trying to catch the pooch. Luckily they finally decided to end the match when the bails drifted off. Still it was fun.

August 29th Draycote Water
Certainly a bit of passage going on when Dave and I popped in to the pond before the heavy rain arrived with at least one possibly two Blue-headed Wagtails on farborough bank and 14 Yellow Wagtail on toft bank along with 4 juvenile and one adult male Wheatear plus 3 Swift were over the north side.

August 30th Draycote Water
A blustery west wind turning north west gusting occasionally over 20mph with the odd shower thrown in for comfort, but no hoped for sea-birds - just 2 Common Tern present. Other sightings Grey Wagtail, 3 Wheatear, 6 Yellow Wagtail but no sign of any blue-heads, single Common Sandpiper and Dunlin. A Vapourer Moth and Migrant Hawker were in toft shallows. Single juvenile Raven and 2 Buzzard over windmill lane on the way home.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Our usual lay-by down the Southam road was occupied by a lorry so we decided to look around the Baesley smallholding along the flecknoe road and found juvenile Whinchat and Wheatear in the surrounding fields while the lane held 20 Tree Sparrow, Green Woodpecker, 2 Buzzard, Blackcap and Whitethroat.
Draycote Water was blustery with single Teal, Yellow Wagtail and Yellow-legged Gull while the dull plumaged female Red-crested Pochard amongst the Tufted Duck flock in grays barn disappeared in to the thick vegetation no sooner than we had found it and not seen again. Only other birds of interest were 4 Gadwall, female Goldeneye, 100 Swift and 3 Common Sandpiper. After breakfast we had 4 Ravens near Napton on the Hill as we drove past.
I’m not big on or into Orthoptera but Francoise sent me a picture of Roesel’s bush-cricket taken at Draycote Water recently which I had forgotten about it, luckily she reminded me.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Having spent most of yesterday absorbed in moths Bob and I decided to give the pond a quick look before clearing down Dave’s and my own traps. An interesting sighting of a Buzzard and Sparrowhawk perched in the same tree otherwise pretty much the same as Sunday with single Yellow-legged Gull, Goldeneye and Common Sandpiper. At least 40 Swift over the north shore, 9 Gadwall dotted around the place and 3 juvenile Whitethroats. Pictures by Bob Hazel
female Goldeneye showing the damaged wing

Yellow-legged Gull

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Orange-tail ?

The orange-tail was in fact a juvenile male Redstart but in the bright sunshine the tail looked a lot more orange than red but at least we found something at long last. Only other birds of note at Shuckburgh were 5 Mistle Thrush, 3 Raven, 2 Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Coal Tit. Earlier we had a poor visit to the pond finding Common Tern, 3rd year Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Yellow Wagtail and the over summering female Goldeneye hauled out on farborough bank while before that visit the only thing we found down the Southam Road was a Fox..
female Goldeneye
The weather became so sultry by mid-day we gave in to it and I spent the rest of the day watching the garden managing 2 Holly Blue, Comma, Brown and Southern Hawker and 2 Buzzard while going through last nights moth catch which produced 62 species from 240 moths including a record count of 43 Marbled Beautys.
After dinner at Dave’s I went lamping and sugaring for moths managing 5 Large Yellow Underwing, Sallow, Square-spot Rustic, Bright-line Brown-eye and 3 Copper Underwing to sugar solution pasted on tree trunks while lamping produced 12 Mother of Pearl, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpet, Grey Pine Carpet, 2 Green Carpet, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Willow Beauty and 2 Light Emerald, Barn Owl was hunting near the Water Tower along Ashlawn Road at 10:30pm.
With clear sky's looks like I'm for a couple of hours in the garden with a bottle of Glenmorangie for company exploring the universe.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Micros galore

This warm spell we are having at the moment has produced many of smaller moths in good numbers to the trap over the last few days. All images by Bob Hazel
Bucculatrix thoracella

Caloptilia elongella

Argyresthia pruniella 

Yponomeuta evonymella

Yponomeuta padella

Mompha propinquella 

Hypsopygia costalis (Gold Triangle) 

Insect heaven

A warm sultry day which was ideal for insects with Peacock, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Heath, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Large White, Green-veined White and Speckled Wood butterflies seen in Ashlawn Cutting along with a Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma in my garden. Dragonflies were represented by Southern Hawker in my garden, Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker and Common Blue Damselfly in Cock Robin Wood and Common Darter, Common Blue Damselfly, Brown Hawker and Southern Hawker Ashlawn Cutting. Day flying moths included Vapourer, Silver Y, Latticed Heath, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet and Shaded Broad-bar all in Ash lawn Cutting while this evening I discovered a Red Underwing roosting on my garden fence. On the birding front then it was the opposite with very little around, the best being a Swift and Raven over my garden and a Lesser Whitethroat in Ashlawn Cutting.
Red Underwing

Friday, 17 August 2012

Sandpiper, Terns and Party

Brandon Marsh had 3 Green Sandpiper and 2 Common Sandpiper while the heavy rain brought down 3 Black Tern and Wheatear to Draycote Water. In the evening Dave had planned a surprise meal with my friends to celebrate my birthday and had to endure acute embarrassment as he produced poster size pictures of me in various unflattering poses from some of our recent travels not helped by my little sister dragging out the family album to show all and sundry images of me as a tot. Lost all my street credibility. Thanks to all who attended and I’m sorry for those who had prior arrangements and could not make it.
another wonderful cake from Chris - had to bloody share it.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Black Tern

Draycote Water this morning in a brief visit with Bob had juvenile Black and 2 Common Tern with 120 Swift over the north shore between grays barn and biggen bay amongst hundreds of House Martins. Also noted were 2 Common Sandpiper, female Goldeneye, calling Dunlin which we failed to see and a Raven flying north.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Ribblehead viaduct

As viaducts go the Ribblehead is not very long but its 400m length and 32m above the valley floor at its highest point against the majestic background of Ingleborough the second highest mountain in the Yorkshire dales makes it an impressive location to watch steam locomotives going over. It is made up of twenty-four arches of 14m span with the north end of the viaduct 4m higher in elevation than the south end.
We had traveled up to see Class K4 61994 The Great Marquess hauling the Lancaster to Carlisle (THE FELLSMAN) train and were not disappointed.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Willow Warbler in next doors garden while clearing down my trap and a Raven went over early afternoon.
 Acleris forsskaleana

Apple Leaf Miner

Oegoconia sp

Batia unitella

Straw Underwing

Iron Prominent

Monday, 13 August 2012

A trickle

A few migrants coming in at last with a late afternoon visit to the pond producing juvenile Black Tern, 1st summer Little Gull, Shelduck, Ringed Plover and 2 Common Sandpiper plus Shoveler, Pochard, Goldeneye and Teal. A single Swift was over the garden late evening

Sunday, 12 August 2012

A mixed weekend

Friday night I scoped the “shed” as she went over on her 22:02 pass then continued lamping around Cock Robin Plantation and Wood managing an impressive 22 Mother of Pearl, 6 Riband Wave, 2 Scalloped Oak, 4 Willow Beauty, 3 Common White Wave, Yellow-tail, Dark Arches and Fan-foot. Juvenile Tawny Owl was tracked down to an Oak tree before watching the second “shed” pass of the evening an hour and 37 minutes after the first.
By the time I got home my own traps were cooking on gas with plenty in there but by the time I awoke most of the goodies had drifted off. Rest of morning spent mixing with the Olympic crowd – luckily they were going to Hadleigh Farm for the mountain bike racing while I was twitching dragonflies at the Wat Tyler Country Park. In the park the Southern Migrant Hawker showed well as did the Scarce Emerald Damselfly but they did not give photo opportunities to us small guys so left it to the big lens boys to enjoy. Also present were Emperor Dragonfly, Southern, Migrant and Brown Hawker and added Small Red-eyed Damselflies to my year list bringing me up to 24 species for the year.
JJ managed to re-sex the RCP for me – eclipsed male and had a Buzzard perched with a large recently caught Snake still alive (just)
eclipsed male Red-crested Pochard
Sunday was waste of time on the birding front with very little about. Duck species have increased at the pond with Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Pochard and Goldeneye joining the normal fare with 10 Swift still feeding above the north shore while 2 Common Sandpiper also noted.

Coming home I was well and truly stitched up by persons unknown with my garden covered in balloons, bunting and birthday banners, even the bird feeders and moth trap were decked out.


Despite loud music, sweet tooth, nakedness, slavery, cancer, lack of sleep, sexual depravity, moonshine, brawling, drug abuse, imprisonment, buggery, boredom, drunkenness, false teeth, road rage, dodgy friends, weired hobbies, other wives husbands and even dodgier family I’ve reached the ripe old age of sixty. Many thanks for all my cards and presents – if you forgot – SOD OFF

Friday, 10 August 2012

Space Shed and weekend meteor shower

The weather may give opportunities to see the International Space Station now she is orbiting at a decent hour. Jupiter is well worth a look early morning and keep an eye out this weekend for this year’s Perseid meteor shower which promises two significant advantages. First, it occurs when the Moon is at a waning crescent phase, which means bright moonlight won’t diminish the number of visible meteors. And second, the shower peaks on a Saturday night, August 11/12, so most people can afford to sleep in or at least relax the following day. Enjoy

Bridge butterflies and RCP still

The Bridge Nursery, Napton had a lone Swift heading south and 5 Buzzards while we looked for insects around the garden. Ten species of butterfly were seen with 4 Peacocks, Small Copper, Comma and Marbled White among the commoner species while dragonflies included 3 Brown Hawker and 2 Emperor Dragonfly. Tried to improve on my Shaded Broad-bar photos but the 4 we found were not playing ball.
Napton Reservoir still has many dragon and damselflies on show with at least 9 species found though the best sighting was of an Emperor Dragonfly catching and devouring a White-tailed Bumble-bee. Bird life was poor with only a juvenile Reed Warbler showing along with the female Red-crested Pochard which is still present but reluctant to come out of the reed bed, her bright red-bill giving her position away.
A Common Blue butterfly was also seen here and a Holly Blue was in my garden when I arrived home.
Small Tortoiseshell


Marbled White

Small Copper

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Plodding on

Red-legged Partridge and 65 Lapwing were down the Southam road first thing along with 9 Hare before a walk out to farborough spit produced yesterdays 4 Goldeneye, 3rd year Yellow-legged Gull,, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Common Tern, 2 Redshank, 2 Ringed Plover and 4 Common Sandpiper. Pochard was a new arrival while the overcast conditions brought down 20 Swift. Mute Swans increased to 35 and on our way back to the car we had 2 Willow Warbler and a Garden Warbler before meeting up with Bob who had a Teal later on.
Napton on the Hill had family parties of Great-spotted and Green Woodpecker, 2 Buzzard 5 Swift and 10 Raven including 2 perched on the sails of the windmill. The Just So produced wonderful cakes, 2 Raven, Small Copper and 3 Shaded Broad-bar.
Napton Reservoir was Dragonfly heaven with 10 Emperor Dragonfly, 15 Brown Hawker, 2 Migrant Hawker plus Common Hawker, Common Darter, Black-tailed Skimmer, and countless Blue-tailed, Common Blue and Azure Damselflies. On the birding front the female Red-crested Pochard sitting with Mallard on rotting weed was almost overlooked. Following photos from Bob Hazel

Migrant Hawker


Small Copper
Shaded Broad-bar Just So cafe

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Movement at last

There was a bit of movement today with 3 female Goldeneye joining the over summering bird making this my highest August count since 76 while farborough bank had Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear. Other sightings included over 400 Swift though the majority moved on when the weather front went through, 200 Canada Geese, 32 Mute Swan, 14 Graylag and Willow Warbler.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Pond, Napton and Northamptonshire

5 Hare and a Fox down Southam road while the overcast and blustery conditions produced adult Grey wagtail along farborough bank and 5 Common Sandpiper while out in the centre were 30 Sand Martin, 50 Swift and a 3rd year Yellow-legged Gull. Napton on the Hill had a Marsh Tit but heavy rain ruined our visit and nearly an hour spent under a tree.
In the afternoon took a look at the juvenile Marsh Harrier at Pitsford Reservoir, Northamptonshire adding Osprey to the day list.

Saturday, 4 August 2012


Mid-day meal with family produced 20 Banded demoiselle along the adjacent River Leam between the heavy rain showers.

Friday, 3 August 2012

White-beaked, Shark and the 600 Club

Having had a couple of days in Northumberland which produced my first White-beaked Dolphins away from Shetland waters then locally I’m finding it hard to get motivated on the birding front though the last few days have seen a trickle of waders through the pond though the conditions are not favorable with thick vegetation on the shore-line hiding anything that lands and heavy disturbance from olympic wannabies. The odd passerines are turning up in the valley and surrounding high ground while the large gathering of Swifts last Sunday will probably be the last of the year with Yellow-legged Gull numbers continuing to increase.
On the mothing front the last week of July was dominated by micro moths with Dave easily passing the 600 species mark with his garden list standing on 602 with a few more awaiting identification while the six micos added to my garden list since I last posted puts me on 552 species. The best macro moth I caught was Golden Plusia while Dave trapped his second Shark, the last in 2007.
Today has been typical with sunny periods spoilt by heavy down pours which on our visit to Napton Reservoir and Just So produced Common Tern, Sparrowhawk and 5 Buzzard while amongst the more commoner butterflies species we found 6 Shaded Broad-bars and 2 Yellow Shell moths. Dragonflies included Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Azure Damselfly, Brown and Southern Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly and Ruddy Darter. all pics by Bob Hazel


Pale Prominent