Shipley 20.04.2016

April 20, 2016 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

Beautiful Spring day. Willow warblers singing, as were the odd chiffchaff, blackcap and my first whitethroat of the season. Two good views of green woodpecker, raven ‘cronking’ overhead, buzzards and kestrels. Lots of very large bees that I still can’t identify and several species of butterfly – peacock, small tortoiseshell, green-veined white, orange tip and a stunning, pristine brimstone.
Called in at the Hex Pools where there was the usual Spring gathering of six gadwall, a little grebe and an unusual visitor in the form of an oystercatcher. I looked up and there were too early hobby soaring and sweeping about. Wonderful. Jim

Shipley View and Straw’s Bridge sightings

September 1, 2015 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

Over the last few days. Great crested grebe with a youngster not very old on Swan Lake. Bullfinches. Green woodpecker. Whitethroat in a bush! The odd painted lady, a late large skipper, essex skipper (small colony at the Hex Pools), brown hawker, a couple of southern hawkers, and a single migrant hawker – much less common this year. A ruddy darter landed on my hand (honest!) near the Hex Pools but I didn’t quite manage a picture, but I did catch it on the ground. On the buddleia bush in the garden at Shipley View all at the same time I saw painted lady, peacock, large and small white and several small tortoiseshell – and some stunning, pristine red admirals. Jim

Shipley Hill 9/08/2015 and Hex Pools 11/08/2015

August 11, 2015 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

At Shipley Hill searching the oaks revealed two, quick views of purple hairtreak, whilst a holly blue flitted by. Lots of gatekeepers, faded meadow brown and large whites. Peacocks, too. A stock dove was ‘singing’ close by and a garden warbler was seen briefly. My first robins of the new ‘season’ singing. Overhead a pair of very vocal raven were ‘barrel-rolling’ and later were joined by four more – doubtless a family party.

At the Hex Pools off Shipley View were plenty of common blue butterflies and a few small and at least one essex skipper. Common darter and a new species for myself at this location – a ruddy darter. Little grebe on the pools and a coot with a young chick and another first for me – a tufted duck with a small duckling proved breeding. Common buzzard in the distance and a green woodpecker called. Pair of bullfinch.


Hex Pools 20/5/2015

May 20, 2015 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

A sunny but breezy evening, and not very warm. 2 Dingy Skipper butterflies were a welcome sight – there are at least two, discrete colonies here. Only butterflies I saw. Reed warbler singing beside pool. Swifts powering about, swallow and a brief snatch of skylark song from the adjacent fields. Blue tits gathering food for newly hatched nestlings. Green woodpecker calling. Coots with young on the pools. Buzzards aloft in distance. Jim

Shipley and Woodside 3/2/2015

February 3, 2015 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

A beautiful, clear, cold day, and exposed to that Northerly wind, even colder! In the fields between the Hex Pools and the farm were 2 brown hare – this is a good place to see hares – the two of them were motionless, in typical ‘static stand off’, but by next month they will be suitably crazed, now doubt! On the Hex Pools a few tufties, a gadwall and 8 teal. Nearby a kestrel drifted past and a jay shrieked. Quick view of a water rail as it fluttered weakly into the reeds – icy conditions can bring this species out into the open affording unusually good views. At Shipley Hill a couple of nuthatches were calling repeatedly and one feeding on the tables at Derby Lodge Tea Lodge – where it is possible to consume magnificent cheese on toast and drink hot tea! Blankets of snowdrops coming out – another ten days I reckon to reach their peak and are then well worth going to see. A stock dove ‘singing’. Single redwing, great tit, coal tit and blue tit. At Woodside a goldfinch singing was my first of the season, whilst a group of fieldfare drew my attention ‘chack-chacking’ overhead. Half a dozen buzzards wheeling about and pairing up in the soft light of the now low, winter sun. At Shipley Lake wildfowl were sheltering from the bitter wind in the lee of the far bank, where I could just make out at least 12 shoveler and half a dozen silvery-backed, drake pochard, several tufties, and a few more scattered about the lake braving the conditions.


Hex Pools 16/01/2015

January 16, 2015 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

Chilly day with some sunshine. Met up with Karl P.

8 Gadwall, 2 Teal, several Coot and a single Dabchick on the pools. 2 Goosander over South. Green Woodpecker on a pylon post, Buzzard perched up and calling (strange call) nearby. Redpoll heard. Brown Hare sat up in the adjacent field. 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….

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.

Shipley 22/07/2014

July 23, 2014 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

More beautiful weather. Gatekeepers everywhere, whilst Meadow Browns are on the way down and only a few, very faded Ringlet. Lots of pristine Peacocks now on the Buddlia bushes and good to see numbers of Small Tortoiseshell. Second generation Common Blues numbered four and two Small Heath were probably second gen. too in the ‘butterfly box’ at Woodside. Eight Speckled Woods in one spot. Small/Essex Skipper everywhere in grassland and two Large Skipper hanging on. A single Holly Blue near Shipley Lake.

I couldn’t find any Purple Hairstreak at Shipley Hill but I did see my first Migrant Hawker dragonfly of the season there. Common Darter, Brown Hakwer and Common Blue Damselfly in good numbers.

Green Woodpeckers two off and a glimpse of a Garden Warbler pleasing at this time of the Summer. Meadow Pipit ‘alarm calling’ near Shipley Hill and Stock Dove ‘singing’ in the woodland there. A Reed Warbler was still singing at Parker’s Marsh (near the Hex Pools) whilst nearby a late burst of song from a Willow Warbler was unexpected. A family party of Long-tailed Tits as always a pleasure to behold. Newly hatched baby Coot on the Hex Pools. Buzzards soaring over Mapperley.


Hex Pools 8/6/2014

June 9, 2014 in Latest Patch Sightings by Jim Steele

Several Buzzards soaring, a Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. Meadow Pipits parachute display flighting. Two Little Grebe on the pools were the first for a long time.
My first Large Skipper (5 off) and Meadow Brown of the season, a Red Admiral and a couple of Common Blue butterflies.
Loads of Common Blue Damselflies.