Thursday, 31 July 2014

Hellicopter and moth ticks

A visit to the pond this morning produced Yellow-legged Gull, Little Egret, 9 Common Tern, juvenile Grey Wagtail and single Yellow Wagtail then after breakfast with Colin and Dave a search of the “gully” failed to produce any sign of Tuesdays Redstart though 5 Spotted Flycatcher were nearby still. Napton churchyard was devoid of birds again though we did have a Raven and Hobby go over and it was all very tranquil till this Electricity Board helicopter flew over low.

Message to one’s self – don’t gloat when you have a new moth –it only encourages Dave to catch one. Full of the joys of summer when we met up this morning with my first Bulrush Wainscot in the trap only for Dave thinking he had a Barred Hook-tip when he briefly looked at his trap. A later look knocked that id on the head as it was a Scalloped Oak Hook-tip which alas was also new for him.
Bulrush Wainscot by Bob Hazell

Scalloped Oak Hook-tip by Bob Hazell

Monday, 28 July 2014

Recent news

Two good birds arrived recently to liven up the birding doldrums with a second summer Night Heron at Seeswood Pool, Nuneaton which was my second county record while even better was the summer plumage Pacific Golden Plover which graced Jubilee Wetlands, Drayton Bassett Pits, Staffordshire just a couple of hundred yards from the Warwickshire border so a welcome addition to my West Midlands list. Will be back if it decides to cross the border. Back to plodding the pond this morning with the same old same old still present with 3 Yellow-legged Gull, 3 Little Egret, 6 Common Tern and 2 Yellow Wagtail but a chance to play catch up with Paul and Bob was welcome. A walk around Ryton Woods in cloudier conditions than our last visit meant we only had 12 Purple Hairstreak, 3 Silver-washed Fritillary and a brief glimpse of a Purple Emperor fluttering across the canopy. Only moth noted was a Common White Wave but plenty of Brown Hawkers, Common Darter and a couple of Southern Hawkers. Recent additions to our moth lists included a Large Tabby for me and Least Carpet for Dave. News from Cym of a Red Kite over the Millholm Parc this afternoon.
Night Heron Seeswood Pools by Bob Haze;;

Least Carpet by Bob Hazell

Large Tabby by Bob Hazell

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

July 21st to 23rd

July 21st
Draycote Water did not have much Sunday morning while today we managed 6 Common Tern, 4 Little Egret, 59 Mute Swan and a party of 9 Common Sandpiper flying pass. Another sighting of House Sparrow added to the two we saw on Saturday means we are having a good year for this species here. Some patience paid off later in the day when we monitored the avian life in a gully with two over grown hawthorn bushes ending up with an impressive 15 Spotted Flycatcher, immature Redstart, female Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, Treecreeper, family of Robins and a few Blue and Great Tits just to keep things ticking over. Later we had two Hobby hunting high over Birdingbury. Big numbers of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell seen at various locations today.

July 22nd
Luckily the mist shrouding the Grandborough valley did not drift towards the pond so our walk out to the spit was not hindered by poor visibility. Mind you with only 6 Common Tern, single Common Sandpiper, 5 Yellow-legged Gull, 4 Little Egret and 61 Mute Swan to report it wouldn’t matter if it did. A check on the gulley produced just one Robin but after searching we managed to find 9 Spotted Flycatcher 300 yards away near an overgrown pond.

July 23rd
Decided to do Napton on the Hill first thing instead of the pond but it was virtually bird less apart from a juvenile Green Woodpecker though a stunning Hummingbird Hawk-moth briefly on the buddleia saved the visit. Ryton Woods was more productive as the day warmed up with 14 Purple Hairstreak, 6 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 4 White Admiral and 30+ Peacock among 12 species seen plus Clouded Border and Vapourer moth. After lunch a trip to Seeswood Pools near Nuneaton was called for to see the Night Heron there and after dining out early evening a visit to the pond on the way home produced 6 Little Egret, 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Common Tern and 2 Yellow Wagtail. Dave added two more moths to his ever growing garden list with Wood Carpet and Large Emerald over the weekend.

Silver-washed Frit

White Admiral

Large Emerald by Bob Hazell

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Draycote Water was a little more impressive than of late this morning with a juvenile Spotted Flycatcher on the farborough bank barrier on our arrival followed by 5 adult summer plumage Black Terns feeding out in the middle with at least 9 Common Tern dotted around the site and 3 adult Yellow-legged Gulls. Only a single Little Egret noted along the north shore and a Raven over but after a rain shower our best sighting was of 2 Sandwich Terns that were observed leaving to the east. After breakfast we found a day flying Barn Owl and more surprising was a juvenile Lesser-spotted Woodpecker working its way through the canopy of a small coppice – a county tick for Dave so he was chuffed especially as he found it. With overnight temperatures of a minimum of 16c over the last two nights if it wasn’t for the thunderstorms in the wee hours on both mornings I would probably be shovelling my way towards a record count, even so 91 species from 489 moths in two days is pretty Impressive for my small garden. Nothing bionic but plenty of first of the year species.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Emerald Damselfly

Emerald Damselfly Stockton Cutting by Paul Cashmore

Six-belted Clearwing

Our first attempt at the pond this morning was thwarted by thick fog after overnight rain so enjoyed a lazy breakfast till it burned off. By the time we arrived it was warming up nicely and we had 3 Little Egret, 10 Common Tern, Common Sandpiper and 2 Yellow Wagtail on our walk to toft shallows where there were family parties of Bullfinch and Blackcap plus 2 Treecreeper and plenty of young Great-crested Grebes riding piggy back. Gave up on counting Yellow-legged Gull but must be getting on to at least 10 present of various ages. Once we had cooled down in the visitor centre meeting with up with Paul and Martyn we moved on to Stockton Cutting and with the help of Paul’s pheromones attracted 13 Six-belted Clearwings and later an Emerald Damselfly. Nuthatch and Kingfisher noted here before we called in on The Boat for a welcome pint as the temperatures rose to 25c.
Six-belted Clearwing by Bob Hazell

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Common Scoter

A trip to the pond with Bob produced my second group of Common Scoter within 4 days with 14 (13 male & fem or immature) out in the center after there were 6 males on Sunday morning which did not hang around. Also present were 5 Little Egret, 5 Yellow-legged Gull, 10 Common Tern. 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Teal, Sparrowhawk, 6 Buzzard and a lone adult Greater Black-backed Gull. Earlier I was lucky to have my second new moth of the month with Black Arches in the trap hot on the heels of a Scarlet Tiger seen earlier in the month so Bob did me proud with his pictures. It was a good catch with first of the year Shaded Broad-bar, Small Rufous (tatty) Yellow-tail and Vapourer. Best we have photographed from Dave’s catch has been Bordered Pug.
Black Arches

Elephant Hawk-moth

Scarlet Tiger

Bordered Pug

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Red Kite

Oops forgot to include in my last blog a Red Kite that was hunting the fields south of Kites Hardwick at 11:30am on our way home. Although becoming more regular on the patch early July records are unusual.

House Sparrow outshines Egret

Little Ringed Plover still at the pond this morning along with 5 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Yellow-legged Gull, Common Tern while one of the Little Egrets flew along the north shore and settled to feed on lin croft point. Bird of the morning a House Sparrow - more egret records than this species theses days.
Stunning weather produced 16 Dark Green Fritillary and 45 Marbled White at Harbury plus a Shaded Broad-bar and the brightly marked micro Catoptvia pinella but nothing special at Stockton though Emerald Damselflies were reported to be on the wing today.
Dark Green Fritillary

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Pond and Ryton Woods

Early morning walk at the pond produced 2 Little Ringed Plover, 5 Yellow-legged Gull, Common Tern, 45 Mute Swan and 68 Greylags, 3 young Great-crested Grebes hitching a ride off their parents and 2 broods of Yellow Wagtail totalling 9 birds. A long walk around Ryton Woods added 11 Silver-washed Fritillary and 16 White Admiral to this year’s list amongst 14 species of butterfly seen plus my first Southern Hawker Dragonfly and Brown Silver-line moths of the year. Birds included family parties of Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, Nuthatch and Long-tailed Tit. A second visit to the pond mid-afternoon for the Little Egret found by Bob yesterday produced 2 individuals and a Hobby.