The Bennerley Bugle No. 15 – Gallery

April 14, 2014 in Photo Posts, The Bennerley Birders Pages by Bennerley



Small Tortoiseshell


House Sparrow-on a house!




Speckled Wood


Small Tortoiseshell


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


Big Butterfly Count 2013

July 20, 2013 in Misc by Jim Steele

Have a spare 15 minutes? This year’s Big Butterfly Count is now upon us and it represents an easy and enjoyable way to contribute to our knowledge of butterflies in the UK. Check out the link:




Ken Orpe’s Butterfly Bulletin (slightly edited) 9/05/2013

May 9, 2013 in Misc by Jim Steele

Hi Everyone,

Many thanks go to all the 100+ recorders who have kindly sent me their butterfly sightings and transect forms over the last 2 weeks whilst Pat and I have been away on holiday – I will be answering all queries as soon as possible. From the details received it is clear that many areas of the County are still quite devoid of butterflies, although there are now more Whites and Orange-tips on the wing in certain parts, together with the occasional Holly Blue. Mind you, the situation in Holland is even worse than here in the UK – we saw millions of dandelions in flower, along both the grass verges of  roadsides and the banks of the dykes, but hardly any butterflies were taking advantage of the supply of nectar. We failed to connect with a ‘Grand Surprise’ (Camberwell Beauty) but we were pleased to see red squirrels in the many woodlands to the north of Arnhem (site of the ‘Bridge Too Far’).  

Here in this region, 4 new butterfly species have managed to emerge during the warm and sunny conditions that were enjoyed by all – these being the Speckled Wood; Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper and the Grizzled Skipper, which was seen over the County border in South Nottinghamshire

The first Speckled Wood was noted in the Whaley Bridge garden of Angie & Alan Seymour on the 27th of April 2013 and then followed sightings at Chaddesden, Derby (Pauline Mycock), Allestree, Derby (Steve Plant), Aston Brickyards (Colin Bowler), Woodside NR, Shipley (Kelvin Lawrence & John Green), Stanton Ironworks & Loscoe Dam (Maggie Campbell), Jim Mart NR, Press (Nikki Mahadevan & Paul Beard) and Lathkill Dale on the 7th of May 2013 (Ian Weatherley).

The first Green Hairstreak was seen by Frank Bell on the 30th of April 2013 at Lantern Pike NR in the High Peak and this was followed by individuals noted at Monsal Dale (Frank Bell), Lathkill Dale

(Simon Roddis) and Hopton Quarry (John Barker), and single figure sightings at Coombs Dale (Phil Gilbert), Lightwood, Buxton (Steve Orridge), Bamford Edge (Nikki Mahadevan) and Longstone Edge (Dave Mallon), whilst over the border in Staffordshire, at Cannock Chase, 20 individuals were seen on the 6th of May 2013 (Brian & Jean Hallam). The most surprising record for this species was an individual that appeared in the Whaley Bridge garden of Angie & Alan Seymour on the 6th of May 2013 – I would imagine that there are not many garden lists that contain Green Hairstreak amongst the species recorded, either in Derbyshire or even the UK!!

The annual survey organised by Butterfly Conservation East Midlands for the spring ‘skipper’ butterflies is about to commence so if you would like to help then please send me an email and I will send you a list of the sites where the Dingy Skipper was noted in the County last year. The first sighting of this species for 2013 was made by Jim Steele on the 6th of May at the local ‘hotspot’ of Stanton Ironworks, which is under threat from a massive development. Meetings have taken place with the site owner’s ecologists and Butterfly Conservation has made representations to the Local Authority in an effort to try and save at least part of the site for this BAP butterfly species and the very interesting other wildlife that occurs there.  

The other ‘spring’ skipper butterfly, the Grizzled Skipper, is somewhat of an enigma here in Derbyshire and is possibly extinct in the County. It used to occur at Ticknall Limeyards in the south of the County but unfortunately disappeared from that site many years ago. Since the new millennium there have been a few confirmed sightings at old quarries both in the N E of the County and also in the S W of Derbyshire, but this butterfly is easily confused with certain day flying moths, including the Latticed Heath and the Common Heath. As it is at its northern most range here in the East Midlands, the sites that still contain small colonies are to be found in South Nottinghamshire and North East Leicestershire and Rutland. Indeed, Butterfly Conservation has organised visits to sites this coming weekend – please see the details on the list that was attached to the last Update. Additionally, Chris Jackson of the Notts Biodiversity Action Group has arranged for a couple of free training events on the subject of this BAP species. Chris has confirmed that this species has emerged this year when he saw an individual at Saxondale, South Nottinghamshire on the 1st of May 2013 so hopefully there will be more individuals around this coming weekend

Finally, Patrick Barkham (the author of ‘Butterfly Isles’) has emailed me to say that a new butterfly identification DVD ‘Guide to British Butterflies’ is being released later this month. It contains five hours of professionally shot footage with short films on all 58 mainland British species from many butterfly locations around the UK. If you would like details then please send me an email and I will forward a link for you to check it out!!!




Ken Orpe

Avatar of PaulS

by PaulS

How Sick Does This Make You Feel?

September 24, 2012 in Latest News by PaulS

Saw this article today and it made my blood run cold.

How anyone could do such a thing to such a magnificent bird is beyond me. Having said that experiences with “gamekeepers” and raptors in the Peak Park should really take the disbelief out of stories like this.

Avatar of PaulS

by PaulS

Migrant Hawker. Aeshna mixta

September 18, 2012 in Biopedia, Invertebrates by PaulS

Length: 63mm

A small Hawker, not aggressive towards other individuals and occasionally seen in large feeding swarms. It flies late into the autumn and is likely to be the only Hawker found in November. The costa is brown and there is a “golf-tee” shaped, yellow mark on S2. The male looks quite dark with blue, paired spots along the abdomen. The pale yellow ante-humerals are indistinct and short and eyes are blue.
The female is brown with similar markings to the male but the spots are smaller and often yellow, occasionally blue. The ante-humerals are insignificant or absent and eyes are brownish.

A relatively new arrival to the UK. In the 1940′s this dragonfly was only a migrant but a small colony established in the South East from which individuals have spread. It can now be found well into Northern England. Numbers are boosted during the summer by migrants crossing the channel in the South East.


And Southern Hawker for comparison…

Male Migrant Hawker.

Male & Female Migrant Hawker.



Avatar of PaulS

by PaulS

A Big Old Arachnid. Araneus quadratus

September 18, 2012 in Biopedia, Latest Patch Sightings by PaulS

If you have a wander over to Straw’s Bridge and then have a look in the rank grass to the left of the lake you’ll come across one big spider. Araneus quadratus is our heaviest spider with individuals weighing up to 2 grams.

It’s an Autumn maturing spider and an orb weaver. It prefers a habitat where the plants are strong enough to hold its web, which is typically woven fairly low over the grass. It’s a spider well capable of tackling large prey items and is known to eat wasps and bees.

The spider is identified by the four spots on its back. The colouration can vary from bright red to green.

If you’ve come across this spider elsewhere on your travels add the locations to the post. It’s fairly common across the Uk but is fairly localised.


Avatar of PaulS

by PaulS

Urban Mothing. A Quick Guide.

July 28, 2012 in Photo Course by PaulS

If you’ve got a Butterfly bush or any pollinating plants in your garden why not venture out after dark and check the moths out and try and get a shot or two.

Firstly, it’s going to be dark (10pm onwards is a good time to be out) so you’ll need to “adapt” your camera. It’s all very technical but I’ll try and make it as simple as possible. Tape a torch to it!! That’s it really. This won’t illuminate the subject enough to take a shot but it will allow the camera to see what you’re shooting and to autofocus on it. To take the shot you’ll need to use your flash and some manual settings. Turn the camera to manual mode and select and iso speed of 400. Now set the shutter speed to 200/250th of a second and an F-stop of around 8 with a normal lens and 13 if you’ve a macro lens. Try a few test shots. If the image is bright turn the flash down a bit and vice versa if it’s dark. Don’t forget to set the white balance to flash mode.

There are quite simply thousands of different moths in the UK. See what turns up in your garden. Here’s some from mine last night.

I’ll let you have a go at IDing them. Here’s a clue. One’s a type of Footman and one’s not a moth ;)



North Wales & Little Swift

June 23, 2012 in Featured, Holiday and Trip Reports by Sam Viles

Though it best to combine the two topics into one.

Went to North Wales during half-term. Caught up with some brilliant wildlife and all in some stunning scenery. Was rather surprised to not catch up with Wood Warbler anywhere, a shame as I’m too young to remember it being common, but did manage other birds such as Goshawk, Chough, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart. Some shots from the week below:


Reed Warbler



Arctic Tern

Sandwich Tern

Then as some of you may know a Little Swift was found yesterday. This “mega” is usually found in Spain, and when seen in the UK it only usually stays less than a day. Its effectively what a hybrid between a House Martin and Swift would look like! Luckily for me and many other twitchers, it decided to roost on a local hotel, and could still be found this afternoon. It put on a fantastic display, sometimes to within 2 feet of my head! As with all Swifts and hirundines it was notoriously hard to photograph, but I hope those below manage to do it justice:


 Thanks as ever for viewing, Sam (and yes I do spend some time in Notts/Derbys :) ) 


Lock Lane Ash Tip-the sequel

April 14, 2012 in Holiday and Trip Reports by Simon Horsnall

Following Garry’s post about Lock Lane Ash Tip and the debate it caused, Paul and Alison, Garry and I met up for a hunt around and hopefully some conclusions.  Armed with magnifying devices, a library of books and a few cameras we set off.  On going through the gate we were met by some forget-me-nots, bluebells and a woodpigeon which had become lunch for the local sparrowhawk.

A bit of a walk in and the path opened up, enabling us to find the plants Garry had seen.  The pink one was considerably smaller than I had given it credit for.  It was quickly whittled down to being a storksbill but the features for ID’ing it all seemed very subjective.  Always in the quest for science I got down on my belly, brought the hand lens up to my eye, approached the flower and boy did it stink.  Nothing subjective about that character.  Successful ID: musk storksbill.  Then to the purple flowers.  The camera angle, despite my protestations, must make the flowers look more regular than they are because it was quite obvious from the plant that it was common dog violet.

Plants sorted it was onto the insects.  Examining a few bees we were nearly knocked out by a stray ball fom the golf course.  We managed to add buff-tailed, red-tailed and tree bumblebees to the day.  Tree bumblebee had given me some ID problems as I was sure I recognised it, it has a chestnut thorax and a white tip to its abdomen.  It was first seen in the UK in 2001.

A log pile had a few smooth newts underneath it amongst the multitude of woodlice.

Strolling further produced a range of plants and insects and a fungus.

Plants: ivy, parsley piert, herb robert, shepherds purse, cow parsley, red and white dead-nettles, bramble, raspberry, dog violet, musk storksbill

Birds: blackcap, chiffchaff, bullfinch, dunnock, wren, woodpigeon

Insects: Eristalis pertinax, buff-tailed bumblebee, red-tailed bumblebee, tree bumblebee, seven-spo ladybird, 14-spot ladybird, an unidentified small hoverfly and many small flies

Hopefully Paul can edit this and add a few photos.

Here’s the photos as requested…

Musk Storksbill.

Smooth Newt.

Fungus (species unknown).

Chickweed (species)

Common Speedwell.

Red Dead-nettle.

Seven Spot Ladybird.

Forget Me Not (species).


Avatar of PaulS

by PaulS

Tales Of The Riverbank (Well Canal Actually!).

March 18, 2012 in Holiday and Trip Reports by PaulS

Duty called this morning and I took Allison over to Loughborough to see her Mum as it was Mothering Sunday. It wasn’t very nice weatherwise first thing but the promise of a better afternoon gave us the opportunity to divert over to Whatstandwell on the way back and have an hour or two on the Cromford Canal. I think most on the site know the site but if you don’t it really is a fantastic place to have a walk. There’s always lots to see but the target species for most is Watervole. This is one of the UK’s stronghold for these enigmatic mammals and they rarely disappoint. We saw one today but a couple of days ago no fewer than twelve were seen in the same area. We parked in the train station car park (£2 for the day) and just walked a short distance back towards Ambergate and back again. We can though recommend parking at Ambergate and getting the train to Matlock and then walk back down the canal. This really is a great day out. Anyway today we spent most of our time watching the Watervole eating Holly and Ivy (thought Ivy was poisonous??) and watching the frogs mating, as you do! Here’s a few snaps from the afternoon. The Watervole aren’t brilliant. The sun went in and it was very dark. I’ve had to up the ISO and drop the F-stop to get anything like a decent shutter speed. Still, always nice to see “Ratty”.