Friday, 31 May 2013

Draycote Water & Napton Cutting

After a dull wet week and getting frustrated at being confined by my limitations I finally managed a trip down to the pond at mid-day with Dave for lunch then a brief look in intermittent sunshine at Napton Cutting.
Bloody Hell it was good to get out even if the pond had every grockle and its kid out, never seen the places so packed and could hardly find a parking place let alone a seat in the visitor center, luckily the cutting was more tranquil. The pond only had adult Yellow-legged Gull and single Buzzard on show while the cutting had 3 Dingy Skipper, 2 Brimstone, 8 Large White, 2 Green-veined White, Peacock and Orange-tip plus 2 Cinnabar, 3 Blue-tailed and 2 Common Blue Damselfly. Birds included Garden and Sedge Warbler and the Butterfly Orchids should be flowering in a week.

In the morning my garden had 2 Buzzard and a Raven over along with 2 Common Blue, 4 Large White, Small White and 2 Green-veined White butterflies.

Not surprising the moth trap has been dire the first part of the week but as this warm weather front moves in the last two nights have produced Grey Dagger, Heart & Dart, Rustic Shoulder-knot, Grey Pug and Scoparia ambigualis new for the year.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Garden, Trains and Space Shed

A quiet day enjoying the garden with Great Tit, Robin and Dunnock all bringing there recently fledged young out to feed.

June has three steam specials of interest to me.
The Railway Touring Company are putting on The Cheshireman, London Euston to Chester which will go through Rugby on Thursday 6th June behind LNER A4 Class 4-6- 60019 'Bittern, Times to be confirmed.

The same company will run another steam special with BR Standard 7MT class 70013 Oliver Cromwell coming out of London Euston on 27th June heading for Stockport via Buxton, Derbyshire. This train will head north to Bletchley then divert via Bedford heading for Melton Mowbray so will be going over the Harringworth Viaduct, Times to be confirmed.

The final train for the month and the most exciting will be on Saturday 29th June when Locomotive Services vice Steam Dreams will run The Ebor Streak from Kings Cross London to York to celebrate Mallard breaking the world steam traction speed record on 3rd July 1938. The normal speed restrictions of 75mph for preserved steam trains has been lifted to 90mph so LNER A4 Class 4-6- 60019 'Bittern has been chosen to pull this train. The route will be via St Albans and Peterborough. Times to be confirmed

Space Shed

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Few birds around

With three visits to the pond this bank holiday weekend I recorded absolutely bugger all so luckily the weekend was saved by Early Purple Orchids down Draycote Meadows on Saturday while today’s visit to Ryton Meadows produced 9 species of butterfly including first for the year Small Copper, Dingy and Grizzled Skipper. Ten Buzzards between Lawford Heath and Brandon Marsh noted.

On the mothing front my first Poplar Hawk-moth was in the trap this morning.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

New Garden Moth

The mild conditions with overnight drizzle for the last two nights has done wonders for the trap adding Mullien to the garden list bringing it to 558 (314 macros and 244 micros) plus Yellow-barred Brindle, Flame Carpet, Maiden's Blush and Silver Y added to the year list.


Spot fly

Overnight rain was probably responsible for the Spotted Flycatcher at Draycote Water this afternoon that was between the scrape and the sailing graveyard. Plenty of warblers and swifts but the only other bird of note was a Common Sandpiper.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A sunny day

The cloud cover cleared in the night so not so many Swifts this morning and in a poor half hour watching the pond enjoying the sunshine the only bird of note was a Buzzard. The lower car park was more productive with 2 Sedge and 3 Garden Warbler along with a Lesser Whitethroat.
Napton on the Hill was beautifully tranquil but just about void of birds though there were plenty of Large White butterflies on the wing with at least 16 counted along with 3 Green-veined White, Orange-tip and Holly Blue. Earlier we had 2 Green-veined White at the pond.
Brandon Marsh were holding an open day with the car parks already full by the time we arrived so very well attended. Colin had run a trap overnight so the kids had something to look at and caught 20 species with the best being Pine Beauty and a possible Ochreous Pug.
My own trap has been pretty dire since getting out of hospital so pleased to see 16 moths of 11 species with Least Black Arches, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Powdered Quaker and Waved Umber added to my year list.

Orange-Tip by Francoise Farrington

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Pond and Ryton Meadows

I did not get the chance to get out till yesterday afternoon when we paid a brief visit to the pond but all that was on offer from the visitor centre was 300+ Swift.
Did slightly better this morning when over 3000 Swift were present along with 200 House Martin and a Common Tern, also my first Mallard brood of the season.
After Marmalade and Toast at the Long Itch Diner (cooked breakfasts don’t go with my new figure) we moved on to the Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire Ryton Meadows Reserve where they were holding an open day. Unfortunately the dull weather was not ideal but they certainly put on a good spread. 6 Buzzard, Cuckoo male and 3 Great-spotted Woodpeckers noted.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Multiple Egrets

I’m not allowed to do much so early in my recovery so Dave picked me up at eight and we watched the pond from the fishing lodge for 30 minutes but all we had was 300 Swift. The lower car park was more productive and sheltered from the chilly wind with Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler and 6 Whitethroat. On our way out we spotted 3 Little Egret together over Toft hamlet heading for Toft Bay but doubt if they landed with so many runners around.
Interestingly two minutes later as we left Dunchurch another Little Egret was seen heading for the pond from Windmill Lane so may have been 4.
We tried our luck on Lawford Heath but it was very windy and cold so had to do with a Whitethroat, 2 Buzzard and 4 Tree Sparrow at the junction of Ling Lane and Coal Pit Lane.
I stayed in the visitor centre at Brandon Marsh managing Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Coal Tit which gave me a chance to play catch up with Keith and Lesley and many others before arriving home in time for the wacky races bloody shattered.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Back from Stupidity Land - with a bang

I’m supposed to be in Kazakhstan but alas due to health problems I decided to cancel my trip which was good foresight as I have been hospitalized for the last 11 days.
Cut a long story short I've been bloody stupid and after treatment for water retention which reduced my weight by over 2 stone I have been diagnosed as having a severe impairment of the left ventricular causing heart failure so now on cardiac rehabilitation.
Arctic Tern
I was desperate for some fresh air so Dave took me to the new visitors center at the pond which has only been opened a week and with out to much physical effort we managed 3 Common and one Arctic Tern on the fishing platform and a Yellow Wagtail on farborough bank and I’m pleased to say I haven’t lost my touch finding a Red Kite coming towards the visitor center from the direction of Dunchurch which I got Dave and Bob on to.
Swallow Draycote Water

Sanderling Draycote Water

Shuttle-shaped Dart from a period of very few moths in my trap

Woodchat Shrike was the only crippler I missed while ill - this one turned up at Brandon Marsh.
Many thanks to Bob Hazel for his photos