Happy New Year!! (OK, a bit late….)
My first butterfly of the year a Small Tortoiseshell flitting about by the lake in the winter sunshine.
A warm, sunny late Spring day – so started my favourite week of the year. Birds were singing everywhere! Willow warblers, chiffchaff, garden warbler, whitethroat, blackcap, blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, bullfinches, reed bunting, wrens, blackbirds, song thrush and a lone skylark. Wonderful. Swifts wheeling overhead. Green woodpecker calling and a great spotted flying purposefully in that characteristic, undulating way. Mallards aloft involved in that rather dubious courting behaviour so often seen at this time. Butterflies out in modest numbers – Dingy Skippers, a single Brown Argus, my first Small Heath, lots of Common Blues, a couple of Orange Tips and a single, rather drab-looking Small Tortoiseshell. So green – and every type of grass, plant, tree and shrub a different shade! Jim
Maximum Temp. 17°C (63°F), Wind Direction: West North Westerly, Wind Speed: 13mph. Visibility: Cloud, Very Good, Sunset: 18:55 BST.
Bennerley. 7 Gadwall, 27 Black-headed Gull, Buzzard, 39 Goldfinch, 2 Meadow Pipit. Chat Corner. 3 Buzzard, Kestrel, 28 Meadow Pipit, 10 Goldfinch, 2 Mistle Thrush. Butterflies: 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Speckled Wood, 1 Small White. Dragonflies: 4 Common Darter, 3 Migrant Hawker.
On a butterfly walk (well most insects were considered) at Shipley Park the following were seen:
Essex Skipper small outnumbered Essex but not by a huge amount)
And the highlight: White-letter Hairstreak
Thursday, 3rd. July, 2014. Bennerley Marsh.
Maximum Temperature: 20°C (68°F), Wind Direction: West South Westerly, Wind Speed: 12mph, Visibility: Good, Sunset: 21:33 BST.
The birds today were keeping a low profile as they do at this time of year, apart from my garden Starlings, they are hitting the fields in family groups with commando raids! i don’t complain, they make a change from the Wood Pigeons two of which have been named Christmas and Boxing Day!
The day started well enough with a few damsels and dragons but then it clouded over and the few remained a few! still the butterflies didn’t seem to mind, especially the Ringlets and Meadow Browns, Large Skippers and Small Skippers, plus my first couple of Gatekeepers of the season and that can’t be bad!
Bennerley. 21 Black-headed Gull, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Buzzard, 2 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, 2 Grey Partridge, Pheasant. Butterflies. 2 Gatekeeper, 37 Meadow Brown, 82 Ringlet, 1 Red Admiral, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Speckled Wood, 15 Small Skipper, 10 Large Skipper, 6 Small White. Moths. 2 Five-spot Burnet, 5 Latticed Heath. Damselflies. 1 Azure, 3 Common Blue, 17 Banded Demoiselle. Plus. 2 Brown Hawker Dragonfly.
Friday, 4th. July, 2014. Bennerley Marsh.
Maximum Temperature: 20°C (68°F), Wind Direction: South South Westerly, Wind Speed: 17mph,
Visibility: Good, Sunset: 21:33 BST.
Another slow day for bird life but thankfully I find the move from “birder” to “pottering about looking for insects” quite easy, I find looking for butterflies and dragonflies very relaxing except of course when a more than interesting insect is found, then its, as with birding – “manic stations” Something like a Purple Emperor or a Small Red Damselflies would do it!
The butterflies had it to day with the Meadow Browns out numbering the Ringlets for the first time. A couple of Gatekeeper butterflies were found, they seem a tad reluctant to fly, a splendid Red Admiral and a very fresh Comma were the highlights.
The “Mud Hole” held three Broad Bodies Chasers, a female with two male seeking her attention, sadly the Mud Hole has been half vandalised by illegal motor bikes, yet again. A female Brown Hawker was oviposting in the Viaduct Lagoons and the first Southern Hawker was on the wing – thank goodness for the insects!
Bennerley. 17 Black-headed Gull, 3 Lapwing, Chiffchaff, 3 Whitethroat, 4 Goldfinch, Song Thrush, 6 Long-tailed Tit, 24 Swallow, 3 Swift. Chat Corner. Reed Bunting, 2 Skylark, 9 Swallow, 2 Swift. Butterflies. 1 Comma, 2 Gatekeeper, 70 Meadow Brown, 56 Ringlet, 1 Red Admiral, 7 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Common Blue, 5 Small White, 1 Green-veined White, 1 Large White. Damselflies. 7 Azure, 15 Blue-tail, 21 Common Blue, 1 Emerald, 61 Banded Demoiselle. Dragonflies. 1 Black-tailed Skimmer, 3 Broad-bodied Chaser, 1 Four-spotted Chaser, 2 Brown Hawker, 1 Emperor, 1 Southern Hawker.
Saturday, 5th. July, 2014
Maximum Temperature: 19°C (66°F), Wind Direction: Westerly, Wind Speed: 10mph, Visibility: Very Good, Sunset: 21:32 BST.
I was definitely in “birding mode” today until I got on my way to Tathams Pond and found the usually very vocal Reed Warblers had fallen silent due to a big fishing match, the birding mood slightly dented I carried on to the North Marsh and the mood was restored by a family group of six Grey Wagtails plus Swallows, Swifts, Sand Martins and a dozen Reed Buntings.
Ringlets had out done Meadow Browns today, lots of both species plus Large and Small Skippers and Small Tortoiseshells, Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker, so it turned ok in the end.
Tathams Pond. 2 Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat. Shipley Gate. 4 Tufted Duck, 17 Swallow, 6 Sand Martin, 2 House Martin, 6 Swift, 6 Grey Wagtail. North Marsh. 12 Reed Bunting, Kestrel, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Grey Heron, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Pheasant, 22 Sand Martin, 3 Swallow, Chat Corner. Reed Bunting, 4 Long-tailed Tit, ,2 Swift, 3 Swallow. Lesser Black-backed Gull. Bennerley. 3 Swallow, Buzzard. Butterflies. 44 Meadow Brown, 80 Ringlet, 11 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Large Skipper, 3 Small Skipper, Large White, 2 Small White. Damselflies. 8 Azure, 4 Common Blue, 8 Blue-tailed, 65 Banded Demoiselle. Dragonflies. 2 Broad-bodied Chaser, 4 Common Darter, 1 Four-spotted Chaser, 3 Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker, Emperor.
Away Day–Holme Pierrepont GP’s, Sunday, 6th. July, 2014.
Maximum Temperature: 19°C (66°F),Wind Direction: West North Westerly, Wind Speed: 8mph, Visibility: Good, Sunset: 21:32 BST.
Headed off to one of my old regular patch’s Holme Pierrepont in Nottinghamshire, the intention was to do a little “digiscoping” but with one thing and another i lost patience with some subjects being to distant and in one case, too close! so I ended up with just one dragonfly shot-must try harder! What I settled on as I had just the compact Nikon S1 camera, was insects and there were plenty, hundreds of small blue damselflies! mostly Common Blue with some Azures and the occasional Blue-tailed, there were less dragonflies about, Brown Hawkers, Migrant Hawkers and a single Emperor, the subject of my abortive digiscoping efforts.
The Nikon S1 is an extremely fast camera even when shooting in raw and it seems quite adept at shooting birds in flight, I managed some decent snaps of a Common Tern over Blotts Pit [see separate photo post] using the 30×110 lens.
|Common Blue Damselfly & Ringlet Butterfly|
As for birds on the ground there were a couple of Little Egrets, at least two Cuckoo, a single Hobby and the usual warblers, gulls, terns and raptors, all in all a pleasant day despite no digiscoped images, lots of photos all the same.
A52 Pit. 8 Reed Bunting, Cetti’s Warbler, Cuckoo, 2 Kestrel, 10 Great Crested Grebe. 3 Black-headed Blotts Pit. 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Cuckoo, 2 Gadwall, Hobby, 5 Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, 5 Black-headed Gull, Buzzard, Willow Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 5 Reed Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler. Butterflies. 8 Comma, 3 Gatekeeper, 48 Meadow Brown, 32 Ringlet, 6 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Large Skipper, 13 Small Skipper, 2 Small White. Damselflies. 18 Azure, 140 Common Blue. Dragonflies. 3 Brown Hawker, 2 Migrant Hawker, Emperor.
Gull, 5 Common Tern, 2 Little Egret, 6 Goldfinch, 12 Swift, Song Thrush.
|Emperor Dragonfly – The only digiscoped image of the day!|
|Large Mute Family|
Lovely day again. Lots of Ringlet (bumper year it seems), Meadow Brown, several ‘Smessex’ Skipper, Small Heath and a couple of late (first brood I assume) Common Blue, a single Small Tortoiseshell and the odd Speckled Wood on the butterfly front. Great views of Brown Hawker, Emperor and Four-spot Chaser dragonflies and Red-eyed Damselfly on the lily pads at the pond and Banded Demoiselle well away from water. Willow Warbler and Whitethroat still singing. Kestrels calling and Buzzard over. High Summer.
|House Sparrow-on a house!|
|Reed Bunting-Tathams Pond|
|Taking Flight-Wyver Lane,Derbyshire, UK|
|Black-headed Gull-Wyver Lane,Derbyshire, UK|
|Teal & Oystercatcher-Wyver Lane,Derbyshire, UK|
|Oystercatcher-Wyver Lane,Derbyshire, UK|
|Lapwing-Cossall, Notts. UK|
|Red Campion, Old Moor Wood, Notts. UK|
|Distant Redshank-Bennerley Marsh