Shipley View Lagoons 21/08/2014

August 21, 2014 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

A chilly day with little butterfly and dragonfly activity, but two Speckled Wood, a Green-veined and a Large White made it onto the wing, together with a single Migrant Hawker.
Five Buzzards, four Sparrowhawk and two Kestrels were using the wind for lift, as were about a hundred Swallows and House Martins. I counted thirty two Swifts making their way South in an hour – a good number for the date. In the bushes were a calling, young Chiffchaff, a very vocal Long-tailed Tit, a Goldfinch, Greenfinch, and the almost inevitable Green Woodpecker. Sitting and watching – my kind of birding!
Jim

Stanton 20/08/2014

August 20, 2014 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

Cool again but a good few butterflies and dragonflies still flying at Stanton.
Several Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, 4 Common Blues, an unexpected and pristine female Brimstone, a very faded Small Copper (been rare this year around here) and 2 Brown Argus – the cool weather allowed me to get up close with the mobile phone and take the picture below.
Lots of Brown Hawker and Common Darter dragonflies, and a few Common Blue Damselflies. A single Southern Hawker was once again the star in my book but didn’t land for a picture – the one below is from a few years ago when one obliged!
Jim

Hex Pools 14/8/2014

August 16, 2014 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

Breezy but still a pleasant enough day. Summer feels like it is on the wane.
Highlight was close views of three Hobbies, two working together in tandem at altitude hunting hirrundines, then joining a third at low level tackling the local dragonfly population. There is nothing like a Hobby in level, powered flight – looks like a stick with a couple of School classroom, wooden rulers for wings!
Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard aloft, whilst once again a noisy Green Woodpecker was present but invisible. Little Grebe, single Tuftie and Coot with very small young on the ponds. Song Thrush, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Bullfinch in the bushes.
A few butterflies in the cooler conditions included three Common Blues, two Gatekeepers and a lonesome Speckled Wood. Brown Hawker and Migrant Hawker and a few Common Darters represented the dragonfly contingent – best try keep out the way of they Hobby….
Jim

Hex Pools 8/8/2014

August 10, 2014 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

A bit breezy and intermittent sun but pleasant to be out.
Three Dabchick, several Mallards in eclipse plumage and a single, duck Tuftie on the pools. Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff in the trees and I heard a Long-tailed Tit close by. Buzzard in the distance. At least a hundred Swallows were hawking high over the farmland. A Song Thrush was flying backwards and forwards and probably still feeding young tucked away in the bushes. Two Green Woodpeckers flew past and duly ‘yaffled’ at me!
Fewer butterflies with just two Common Blues, several Gatekeeper, a few Small White and Meadow Brown and two Small Skippers. Nearby two Speckled Wood in a woodland ride.
One or two Common Darter and Migrant Hawker – the cooler weather caused one to ‘perch up’ and I managed to get a decent picture of it using my mobile phone camera – see attached. Useful picture for ID purposes this – Migrant Hawker are neat and medium-large dragonfly of late Summer that tend to fly for long periods above head height but stay in a particular area. This individual is a male, the female being browner. Note the lack of antehumeral stripes (the longtitudinal markings on the thorax between wing base and head, typical of many Odonata), the broken, blue bands towards the abdomen tip, the complete blue band at the base of the abdomen and the small, adjacent ‘golf T’ marking – all these features distinguish it from the larger, more striking Southern Hawker, that also has a different flight behaviour. A female Southern Hawker was active close by but wasn’t so obliging for the camera.
Jim