Thursday, 31 July 2008

July 31st 2008

It was a good birding day at Draycote Water today. The weather (humid and occasional heavy rain showers) brought in a immature Marsh Harrier over farnborough spit heading south, Green Sandpiper in toft bay, 14 Common Sandpiper dotted around the reservoir including a group of ten, and 5 Black Terns in biggen bay. Earlier I had had a Turtle Dove in toft shallows and other sightings from a long visit were Shoveler 6, Pochard 2, Gadwall 3, Common Tern 6, Hobby, Grey Wagtail, Green Woodpecker 7, Yellow-legged Gull adult and a juvenile male Wheatear.
Met Francoise for coffee and a Small Copper landed on the guard rail next to us then a search of the cafes outside walls produced many moths no doubt attracted by last nights humid weather including Dusky Sallow 2, Buff Footman, Dingy Footman, Riband Wave 2 and a Red twin-spot Carpet and earlier I found 5 Vapourers on farnborough bank. Back in toft the Green Sandpiper had moved to grey’s barn and a Red Underwing moth flew in front of me.
John Judge rang to inform me of a female Red-crested Pochard in rainbow so dashed back and then one of my farming friends in the valley reported a Marsh Harrier so checked that out for him and it was the same bird I had seen earlier at Draycote Water hunting a set-aside field where it caught something and flew off east.
Remember the Least Carpet and Bordered Pug which I spoke about in an earlier blog but had no decent photos to show you – well Steve Seal had both species in his Nuneaton, Warwickshire garden trap last night.

Bordered Pug

Least Carpet

Peppered Moth one of my better photos trapped this week in my garden.
Finally my garden has been attactive to butterflys late afternoon with Holly Blue, Comma and Small Copper


Wednesday, 30 July 2008

July 30th 2008

Last nights mothing in Ryton Meadows stated off badly when my generator died just as it got dark so we had a mad rush transferring traps to another genny situated else where. In hindsight not the best area but we still managed 94 species of 450 moths including 20 species not trapped six days previously so shows the potential of the site. This Black Arches one of the more interesting one's.

The night was less cloudy than forcasted so we were treated to views of planet Jupiter and three of its moons, a couple of satellites as well as many Green Woodpeckers, some large bats not i.d. and the usual Badgers and Tawny Owls calling.
Today has been glorious with sunshine and high cloud which brought the raptors out and managed 4 Buzzards over garden and there has been a report of a Red Kite going east over Rugby this morning. On the down side Dave has now trapped his third moth tick in as many days with Bordered and Wormwood Pug so the next time he comes round I am going to set the Goldfish on to him. Never going to catch him at this rate and it won't help when you get home and find you have forgotten to put the trap top back on.


Tuesday, 29 July 2008

July 29th 2008

A steam train going through my bedroom at 2am made me realise we were having a tremendous downpour which temporally flooded the garden. I shot out in the only suit I have and saved the trap and its contents from floating away which was a good job as I had a Least Carpet, the 10th record for Warwickshire and of course a garden tick. Spent the first part of morning e-mailing picture for confirmation arriving at Draycote about 11:00 in time to watch 5 Black Terns out in centre with a Little Tern before they pasted real close off farborough bank and away with only one Black Tern remaining three hours later on my way out. Other birds seen were Common Tern 4, Garden Warbler, Buzzard 2, Yellow-legged Gull adult, Kingfisher and missed Bob Hazells 3 Common Sandpipers and Oystercatcher. Silver Y moth was in toft shallows.


Monday, 28 July 2008

July 28th 2008

Dave came round this evening dead chuffed with himself. Another new moth for his garden (Dusky Sallow) and what makes it worse was I found it as he asked me to clear his trap down because he was busy. He had over 650 moths of 68 species and that's not including the ones that got away before being identified. It seem this weather has given plenty of moth-ers a good catch. I managed 44 species of 147 moths with my second record of Nutmeg being the most note worthy.
Only garden birding done today with Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Lapwing over and Coal Tit on the feeder. Hedgehog roaming around garden last night.


Sunday, 27 July 2008

July 27th 2008

Arrived at Draycote just after 5am with the place to myself. Lovely and peaceful and more activity than expected with Great-spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, and a Reed Warbler in toft shallows and on the opposite side at the inlet there was another Grey wagtail, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and Garden warbler. On my return to toft bay were Greenshank, Dunlin and 2 Common Sandpiper but the pride of place goes to the Osprey which was present at six thirty and may have been the same bird seen later over Coventry at 9:15am. Gull roost is starting to build up with at least 500 present in the post roost – mainly Lesser Black-backed and Blacked Headed Gulls but also included 2 adult, 1 first year and 2 near adult Yellow-legged Gulls and a few Common Gulls. Back home for breakfast and shared with Sparrowhawk soaring overhead and a Comma butterfly.
Out later looking for other flying things at Southam Quarry and Ryton Woods ending up with the most butterfly species I have seen in a single day in Warwickshire with Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Comma, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Ringlet, Marbled White, Purple Hairstreak, Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Purple Emperor, and Small Copper. Moths were represented by, Chalk Carpet, Shaded Broad-bar, Yellow Shell, Lesser Treble-bar, Blackneck and a stunning Hummingbird Hawk-moth a migrant so presumed its come on the warm winds we are having at the moment. Dragonfly’s came in the form of Emperor Dragonfly, Common Hawker, Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker, Large Red Damselfly and Common Blue Damselfly. Had my first Old Lady of the year – no innuendo it’s a moth.


Saturday, 26 July 2008

July 26th 2008

Another warm humid night so once I had my home trap up and running I suddenly had this brain wave – as you do and decided to bike to Draycote Water with some of my trapping gear and have a couple of hours there. Luckily they have a few power points outside the cafĂ© so that saves me hauling me genny but I still got some very strange looks from those staggering out of the pub as I flew past in la tour mode. A worth while effort with plenty of White Satin Moths, Common Wainscot and Yellow-tails amongst a varied haul.
Back home and my own trap had many species including Ruby Tiger, Cloaked Minor and Vapourer new for the year and two Poplar Hawk-moths.
Managed a couple of hours shut eye then down valley but we have reached that quiet time of year when most birds have either finished breeding , not singing on territories or molting so some are becoming a little difficult to locate. Luckily Alfie Judge had dragged John out to Draycote Water so I gave up and joined them on farnborough spit before heading for coffee and a short search for butterflies in the Country Park adding Brimstone to the regular ones. Only birds of note were Common Tern 2, Common Sandpiper 4 and a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls loafing on the buoys – easier to see and identify this time of year and a you don’t have to struggle looking for them in the roost.
After A&J had left I went back to toft shallows where by the small pool (very little water) surrounded by trees enjoyed Common Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly, Buzzard 2 and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.
In the afternoon I had Purple Hairstreak near Broadwell and a Chalk Carpet in Southam Quarry along with Shaded Broad-bar. Finally home and a Grey Heron and a Yellow-legged Gull flew over garden this evening.


Friday, 25 July 2008

July 25th 2008

A very warm day brought a Hobby and Buzzard out over garden while this afternoon Draycote Water had a Common Tern, near adult Yellow-legged Gull and a female Pheasant with four young hiding in the long grass but giving her self away with a repeated soft call to young. We searched the country park for butterfly's, finding 3 Common Blue, 4 Comma and our first Small Copper of the year amongst the usual one's. The valley was quiet apart from the harvesters but did see a very close young Kestrel perched on post by Grandborough Fields Farm.
Our final count of moths from the Ryton Meadows trip was 754 of 100 species.

Black Arches Ryton Meadows by Steve Seal

Lobster Moth Ryton Meadows by Dennis Woodward
This evening Bullfich and Coal Tit briefly in garden and a Southern Hawker.


Thursday, 24 July 2008

July 24th 2008

Went mothing in Ryton Meadows last night with permission of the warden Mike Slater. My first time here so used the opportunity as a recce to see if it was a suitable place to take the warwickbirders mothing as an alternative to Brandon Marsh. The place is excellent, met up with Mike who was very welcoming and as we set up 4 traps and a light sheet Alan Prior was also setting up independently of us some distance away so I managed to introduce me self as we have never met. The man knows his micros so was very helpful in identifying some those extremely small moths we normally ignore because they are so hard to tell apart.
Weather was very humid, not dropping below 15c and the moths poured in and with just one report to come in we have so far reached 93 species of 588 moths with the highlight being three new species for me in Warwickshire, Mere Wainscot, Suspect caught by Alan and a cracking Lobster Moth caught by Dennis. This moth was presumed to be extinct in Warwickshire with the last published record in 1974 though there was a visual sighting of one in 2006 by Alan so he was pretty chuffed when we showed him the moth.
Plenty of Badger activity and Tawny Owls were very vocal half way through the night.
The valley was very quiet this evening with only 2 Buzzards and a few Linnets seen.



Wednesday, 23 July 2008

July 23rd 2008

Not been out today so the only birding news I have is that Graham Rowling (he of Bee-Eater fame) contacted me regarding yesterdays young Common Tern. It was ringed at Brandon Marsh. They are using colour rings in the following order:- Red over metal on right leg is the code for Brandon (see page 72 of the 2007 Brandon report and the colour on the left leg indicating the year, 2005 Light Green, 2006 Black, 2007 Red and 2008 White. Cheers Graham I find that very useful though it also shows I haven't read the report fully.
Brilliant weather for mothing last night resulting in my garden trap producing 38 species from 130 moths while over at Shuckborough on the invite of one of my farming contacts I managed 65 species from 245 moths in just four hours so that bodes well for tonight as its another humid night and another invite. Did manage to add to my garden list with a Bordered Pug. Luckily its one of those that are pretty distinctive and easier to identify than some of that family.
Rest of the day has been sleeping, re-packing my mothing gear and watching those boys on la tour going up some monstrous bike eating mountain.


Tuesday, 22 July 2008

July 22nd 2008

Soon as I checked my trap early morning it was obvious that the overnight temperature had improved so with out wasting time I covered the trap and put it in the garage to check later and legged it to the valley (a cycling term you won't hear on the tour de france) in time to count 9 Barn Owls from three sites so we have had a good breeding season this year and now its a waiting game to see if the young survive the perils of the next few months. Other highlights from 52 species seen in the valley were Spotted Flycatcher 5 from two locations, Turtle Dove 2, Coal tit, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Corn Bunting, Whitethroat 3, Green Woodpecker 5, Stock Dove 28, Grey Wagtail, Grey Partridge 3 and Buzzard 3.
Arriving at Draycote Water there were four Common Tern including an adult feeding a very young bird which was sporting the latest in birding jewellery with a white ring on the left leg and a metal ring below a red ring on the right leg. The adult was unringed so not sure where they have come from, certainly have not bred here and no idea if they ring the chicks at Brandon Marsh or Daventry Country Park. Other birds seen were the feral Graylag Goose, escape Cape Shelduck plus adult and near adult Yellow-legged Gull, Mute Swan 30, Canada Geese 180, Green Woodpecker 4 and Common Sandpiper.

Common Tern juv by Bob Hazell
Met up with the Peter and Linda Price who had seen two Lesser Whitethroats by the inlet and then coffee with Bob, Francoise and Ollie where after a lot of mickey taking we have come up with the in joke - "saw Francoise - wish I hadn't bothered" (cheers Ollie). Bob had seen Kingfisher.
The country park had 12 species of butterfly including Marbled White 4, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and a big increase in Gatekeeper numbers.
Back Home and the trap produce this melanic Peppered Moth and Buff Ermine out of 18 species caught and with the weather becomeing warmer and more humid then we should be getting a few over the next few days - well I hope so as I out trapping every night over the next four days.

Buff Ermine

Peppered Moth


Monday, 21 July 2008

July 21st 2008

Last night was clear with a full moon so temperature dropped to single figures producing very few moths though the day warmed up for a visit to Ashlawn Cutting this afternoon. Mainly for butterfly's but there was plenty of bird activity with Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker 2, Hobby, Mistle Thrush 4, Blackcap 3, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat 2 and Jay. Butterfly's were Comma 2, Small Skipper 5, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper 8, Green-veined White, Large White 6, Ringlet 2, Marbled White 4, Meadow Brown 6 while the only moth identified was Six-spot Burnet. On the way home I had 3 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk.


Sunday, 20 July 2008

July 20th 2008

Dave picked me up at 6:30 and we spent 45 minutes in the valley getting a family party of Whitethroats, Stock Dove 20+, Buzzard 2 and a few Yellowhammers. Surprisingly we were the first to arrive at Draycote Water to very blustery conditions which meant we were lucky enough to have a Sanderling resting on farborough bank and a our first Little Stint of the year in toft bay before the walkers arrived and disturbed everything (water level still high). The walk also produced Common Tern 3, Raven, Buzzard, Common Sandpiper and a family party of Treecreepers in toft shallows. Breakfast in Long Itchington joined by Steve Valentine who had just completed his bird survey at Illmington then it was off to Brandon Marsh but the three of us saw very little apart from a Teal, Green Sandpiper, Buzzard 3 and Whitethroat.
After coffee the we took the gamble to look for butterfly's in Wappenbury Wood and when ever the sun came out they became very active and we managed Purple Emperor 2, White Admiral, Purple Hairstreak 2, Comma 3, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large White and Small Skipper which was an excellent return considering the wind never let up. We also managed three moths in the form of Blackneck, Yellow Tail and Common White Wave but the most interesting observation was an Emperor Dragonfly catching a Broad-bodied Chaser and landing in front of us to enjoy its meal.

Remains of Broad-bodied Chaser after being killed and eaten by a Emperor Dragonfly

News from the patch today included a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker at an undisclosed location and David hunt and his dad managed Turtle Dove and Spotted Flycatcher in the valley.


Saturday, 19 July 2008

July 19th 2008

Not had a chance to get out today so the only thing of note I have seen today were four young Bullfinches on the garden feeder. I managed to trap a few good moth species last night which was pretty amazing considering at one stage the trap was threatening to float away, new for the year were Chinese Character, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, and Miller. Some of my better photos were of

Antler Moth


Brimstone Moth
Checked the internet on how the bay of Biscay was doing and the last trip out had Fin Whale 19, Sperm Whale 1 (probable), Minke Whale 2, Northern Bottlenose Whale 4, Cuvier's Beaked Whale 9, Long-Finned Pilot Whale 49, Bottlenose Dolphin 146, Risso's Dolphin 2, Pygmy Killer Whale / Melon-Headed Whale 15, Common Dolphin 1241, Striped Dolphin 437, Harbour Porpoise 3,
Cory's Shearwater 31, Little Shearwater 1, European Storm-Petrel 7, Sabine's Gull 1, so with three weeks to go things are starting to hot up for our trip.
Took the opportunity to check on my bird list for the year and now stands at 150 species seen at Draycote and 174 for the patch which is just two short of the total I had for last year. Weather looks reasonable for tomorrow so me and Dave plan a real bash at the valley and then on to the woods for butterflys.


Friday, 18 July 2008

July 18th 2008

Well the day started last night on the way back from the pub when we had a juvenile Barn Owl perched on the telegraph wires between Woodside and Grove Farms on the B4453 between Princethorpe and Bourton on Dunsmore. A good night at the pub, getting an opportunity to photograph Paul Cashmore's Pine Hawk-moth which is a scarce moth in Warwickshire with about 15 records before it was released.

Pine Hawk-moth.
Very little seen at Draycote Water this afternoon with the best being a Buzzard and in the country park in the more sheltered areas there were a few butterfly's about with Large White the most commonest and again no Marbled Whites. The valley produced a Red-legged Partridge, Lapwing 2, many Yellowhammers and a couple of Hares.
My own trap produced one of my favorite moths.

Poplar Hawk-moth
This evening it was out again with Dave and his good lady for a meal and on return the bats were out in force over the garden.


Thursday, 17 July 2008

July 17th 2008

What a difference a couple of days make, cloudy, windy, dull and the temperature more like October than July with rain threatening. On arriving at Draycote Water just after nine there were at least 1500 Swifts hawking over the trees along with 40 Sand Martin - a direct consequence of the weather and a Redshank was in toft bay feeding along side a very smart looking Common Sandpiper and an extremely young Black-headed Gull. Also my first returning Shoveler with a female in toft shallows. At least 5 Green Woodpecker were along farborough bank so with those seen by Bob Hazell there must be between 10-15 present at the moment. Coffee and lunch with Katrina joined by Bob and he reported three Common Terns which I never did see and I put him on to a White Satin Moth that was perched on the side of the cafe.
A search for butterfly's in country park produced very few and most were Gatekeepers and no Marbled Whites.
Last nights trap produced these two amongst 30 plus moths.

Common Emerald (worn)

Small Grass Rivulet

Well If I sound posative that means I have over come the pain of buddy Dave getting yet another new moth for his garden, Sharpe Angled Carpet - now four in front of me. Still it will be September soon and he is away in Austria so its a dose of agent orange while hes not looking. Another good moth caught last night was the Pine Hawk-moth by Paul Cashmore in his Coventry garden. Nice one buddy so your getting the beers tonight.


Wednesday, 16 July 2008

July 16th 2008

A lazy day today - had intended to bike 20 odd miles to look for butterfly's but windier than expected so it was washing, hovering and other domestic duties then loafed on sofa watching the Tour de France (another love of my life). Occasionally managing to look in garden and seeing Sparrowhawk and Buzzard soaring over and the garden feeders are attracting young Wood Pigeon, a Greenfinch family and Magpie. Some of you have been having difficulties contacting me via the comments section, not sure why its not working but for easier access my e mail address is



Tuesday, 15 July 2008

July 15th 2008

A fantastic day started with a very early morning visit to the valley to check on the progress of the Barn Owls and managed to see several from three locations thanks to the local farmers granting me access on to there land. Moved on to the Spotted Flycatcher and Turtle Dove locations and they also seem to being doing well then as I was returning past Sawbridge a Little Egret flew over from one of the nearby fishing ponds. I continued wandering the various lanes between Willoughby and Draycote Water managing to find Treecreeper, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Buzzard 6, Lapwing 80, Stock Dove 8, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer 18, Whitethroat 6 and Tree Sparrow.
Draycote Water had Common Tern 2, Little Gull first summer, Common Sandpiper, Green Woodpecker 5, Lesser Black-backed Gull 50+, Black-headed Gull 10 including the first returning juvenile and Buzzard 5. After coffee with Bob, Francoise and the Price's the temperature soared so I looked for butterfly's in the country park and had Holly Blue, Speckled Wood 4, Marbled White 23, Ringlet 60, Meadow Brown 50, Large Skipper 5, Small Skipper 8, Large White 6, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper 16, Small Copper and missed the Green-veined White. Also missed Mark Phillips who took this Gatekeeper photo this morning.

Also seen were Brown Hawker and Common Hawker.


Monday, 14 July 2008

July 14th 2008

I was mothing at Draycote Water last night and managed 240 moths of 67 species and I might have had more if there were not so many flys. There were hoards so cleared off for a walk in the dark - all very spooky but as the clouds cleared treated to good view of the stars, its been so dull for so long I had forgotten how magical they are. On my return to the traps the fly's had settled down and a Tawny Owl flew over calling followed by a Whimbrel which was still on draycote dam when I left.
This afternoon I had two Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk over the garden and at least 50+ Swifts hawking for fly's very low.


Sunday, 13 July 2008

July 13th 2008

I was disappointed to find very few moths in my garden trap this morning due to a cold night and it was still a bit parky as we searched the valley finding only a few Linnets, Lapwing but plenty of Hares.
Started to warm up a treat at Draycote Water as we walked to valve tower with Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Grey Wagtail, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Sand Martin 20 while butterfly's were represented by Marbled White, Large White, Comma, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Gatekeeper.
After breakfast in Long Itchington we were treated to a very close Hobby flying over the village in front of car on our way to Brandon Marsh and near Ryton Woods we spotted a probable Goshawk but were unable to find anywhere to park safely. Brandon Marsh was pretty quiet with us finding a single Marbled White and Common Hawker so we moved on to Draycote Meadows Nature Reserve which was full of butterfly's. There were at least 70+ Marbled Whites and 20+ Small Skippers amongst the hundreds of Ringlets and Meadow Browns plus many Narrow-bordered Five-Spot Burnets (day flying moth). Also seen were Buzzard over and our first Southern Hawker of the year by the entrance.
Back at Dave's and his trap yielded a number of interesting looking moths including

Early Thorn

Leopard Moth
The Bumbling Bears were also out butterflying today and did well with Purple Emperor, Purple Hairstreak and Silver-washed Fritillary so something to go for.


Friday, 11 July 2008

July 11th 2008

It was a question of bad timing today. Dave picked me up for our usual end of week coffee and cake at Draycote Water and it rained cats and dogs. After a lull we walked out to inlet and guess what, it rained again - this time very heavy. So apart from 500+ Swifts we saw nowt. Do I sound pissed off - yep. On a positive side my new shoes are waterproof which is more than I can say for my underwear.


Thursday, 10 July 2008

July 10th 2008

A better day weather wise after yesterdays wash out but alas there was not much bird activity though the young Cuckoo being fed by a male Yellow Wagtail perched on its head in the valley this morning has got to go down as one of my highlights of the year and only the second time I have recorded this in over three decades of birding.
Met up with Bob and Francoise at Draycote Water to look for Butterfly's and managed similar species to Tuesday's blog adding a very pristine Comma while there were also a number of moths disturbed including Yellow Shell, Barred Straw, Large Yellow Underwing, Cinibar and a strangely marked Snout which took some identification as it was a variant I have not seen before. Thank god for the tin-ternet Mrs F.
Bird wise there were Great-spotted Woodpecker 2, Common Tern, Green Woodpecker, Common Sandpiper 3, Kingfisher reported, Skylark 5, Buzzard 4, Grey Wagtail including a very young bird so probably the third brood we have had this year and many gulls.
Dave managed to wake me from my slumber this evening so we wandered around the valley for an hour but very quiet with only 250 Lapwing grabbing our attention and a few Yellowhammers.


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

July 9th 2008

As forcasted its been a crap day with hardly any let up in the rain so its been a shopping day then back home and Bob came round for coffee just as a juvenile Greenfinch fed on feeders. Earlier there had been a young Dunnock and a few Swifts so that's my sightings for the day.
On the plus side I have been doing some homework and the Green Silver Lines moth that was in my trap of 22 species from last nights garden session was the 31,500 moth I have caught in Warwickshire since I started mothing in August 2005 bringing my total number of species seen for the county to 464. That is pittance compared to the list which is around the 1600 mark so must try harder. My garden list is 274 two behind Dave's (that's just macro's (the larger moths)though if I add on the micros I am way in front but that's not fair to me buddy as he is only just starting to take an interest in the little ones.
Also been checking on the recent Whale and Dolphins sightings in the Bay of Biscay as me, Dave, the Bumbling Bears and Ma Bear will be out there in a months time. Doing the Portsmouth to Bilboa ferry trip and is one of the best ways to see them without forking out thousands. Think this will be my 14th trip to the area and have seen 9 species of Whale and 5 species of Dolphin and still hoping for the elusive Blue Whale which has been seen from this public ferry service.


Tuesday, 8 July 2008

July 8th 2008

Arrived at Draycote Water mid-morning where there was a cold blustery wind and I just managed to make it to the cafe with Bob Hazell before it rained. Birds seen up to then were Sand Martin, Sparrowhawk, Common Sandpiper 4 in toft bay and Lapwing 55 flying over rainbow corner plus Yellowhammer 2, Skylark, Green Woodpecker 7, Grey Wagtail 2, Buzzard 6, Black-headed Gull 3 and 15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
After the rain in a sunny warm sheltered spot me and Bob spent over an hour looking for Butterflies and managed to find Ringlet 60+, Large White 1, Meadow Brown 5, Gatekeeper 2, Large Skipper 1, Small Copper 20, Marbled White 12 (another 5 were in Country Park) and Speckled Wood 5 plus Common Blue and Azure Damselfly and also two Bee Orchids but the flowers had gone over.

Marbled White by Bob Hazell
The dodgy duck of curious parentage I have been going on about has finally been correctly identified as a Cape Shelduck female by Dave Hutton so many thanks and just shows how much I know about exotic ducks. A South African species so he picks up the star prize of mounted Yellowhammer droppings.
Also of interest on my patch was this Pyramidal Orchid at an undisclosed site which Bob took better pictures of than me. Not a rare species but one of those people love to pick.

The weather looks really crap for tomorrow so its shoe shopping for me and little else by the look of things.


Monday, 7 July 2008

July 7th 2008

It must have been National Puncture day - had two. First one as I was just entering the valley mid-day so a three mile trudge back home and the second this evening as I left Draycote Water. Bike nearly went in pond and another two and a half mile trudge, oh did I mention it was raining.
Still the rewards out did the pain with my first Greenshank of the year in biggen bay and a Black-tailed Godwit going straight through. Also seen were Common Sandpiper2, Grey Wagtail, Buzzard 2, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Common Tern. The odd looking duck has re-appeared which I though was Hartlaub's Duck but thanks to Bob Hazells pic looks like some Ruddy Shelduck type hybrid.

hybrid by B Hazell
Dave came round for coffee this evening - dead chuffed with himself. Trapped his first Drinker, his second Plain Golden Y and a very well marked Spinach so he has left them with me to photograph in better light.


Sunday, 6 July 2008

July 6th 2008

Last nights mothing session with Dave at Oxhouse Farm, Combrook was marred by heavy rain just before we started and not surprisingly a very poor turnout with only four hardy souls braving the elements. Moths were slow to come in but we managed 29 species in three hours with two new for my Warwickshire list, Maple Pug and Satin Beauty. Both difficult to identify so very grateful for the presence of moth expert David Brown.
We arrived home at 2am and back out again to Draycote Water by 7:15am bleary eyed so the walk out to toft bay in the poring rain woke us up with three Common Sandpiper seen along farborough bank, a few Sand Martin's and on the return a Hobby flew close by. Nothing of note in Grandborough Valley and at Brandon Marsh more rain but we did see two Green Sandpiper before eventually calling it quits - there's only so much wet stuff one can take.


Saturday, 5 July 2008

July 5th 2008

Another humid night and very early morning found me in the valley looking at Barn Owls and I managed to see four and they are now starting to wander further away from the nest site. A heavy downpour might have brought down the female Whinchat which was on the edge of field off the country lane between Sawbridge and Grandborough so I did not mind getting soaked and around this area were Tree Sparrow, Linnets, Yellowhammer, Sparrowhawk, Yellow Wagtail and Whitethroat. Plenty of more Whitethroats further on in the valley with Skylarks, Yellowhammers, Lapwing 180 and Rooks 500, also my first live sighting of the year of Badger as it crossed the flecknoe rd in broad daylight.
Draycote Water was looking good with plenty of sunshine and warm winds but only found Common Sandpiper 2, Buzzard 4, Lesser Black-backed Gull 57, Black-headed Gull 7, Green Woodpecker and Grey Wagtail 2. On the butterfly front I had more luck with Ringlet 50+, Small Heath, Meadow Brown 50+, Large White 5, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood 3 and Marbled White 43 from the two locations its on.
Back home and Steve Seal has e-mailed me a moth he had trapped last night in his garden - nice one - Beautiful Carpet and a declining species in the county.

Beautiful Carpet by Steve Seal
Me and Dave are off down south of county tonight mothing with the big boys but the weather may be against us so wish me luck.


Friday, 4 July 2008

July 4th 2008

Most of the day updating records for the warwickshiremoths yahoo group so nose to the grindstone and all that. Most unusal today was a Sand Martin going south over garden - does this mean autumn migration has already started. Also seen have been Sparrowhawk, Black-headed Gull and Grey Heron while I noticed this evening a group of 60+ gulls heading for pond - soon be time to start doing the roost again.


Thursday, 3 July 2008

July 3rd 2008

First part of the morning spent trying to take decent images of moths Dave brought round last night which we are having difficulty to identify so managed to see the Peregrine as it flew over my air space.
Down to Draycote Water late morning and found a Spotted Flycatcher near the half way lane/toft shallows entrance, not been many around these parts this year. The Common Sandpiper was still in toft bay with a few Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls while the warm weather brought 6 Buzzards out before the heavens opened up and a tremendous down pour had me peddling for shelter. Once the rain stopped the sun came out and a walk around the country park produced 21 Marbled Whites at least 4 Garden Warbler and many Swifts while on the way out a first summer Yellow-legged Gull was sitting on one of the sailing boats in front of cafe.
On a positive side Paul Cashmore has re-identified the Poplar Grey I put on me blog yesterday as a Sycamore which is only my second record for garden - thanks Paul.


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

July 2nd 2008

This is how it should be every night. Conditions last night were ideal with thunderstorm rumbles in the background but hardly any rain, very warm and humid and boy o boy did it bring the moths out. Added two to my garden list with Drinker and Wormwood Pug by experimenting with an old overhead projector screen next to my normal trap with an additional 50mv lamp and that certainly worked. If they did not go in to trap then they landed on screen to be potted up and managed 146 moths of 46 species.
Just a quick visit to Draycote Water before the forcasted rain. Three Common Tern, 12 Lapwing, 2 Dunlin and Common Sandpiper all in toft bay with a few Buzzards up plus many Swifts.


Poplar Grey
Mid-afternoon a Sparrowhawk landed on garden fence carrying a recently caught Blackbird and as normal shot off before I had found my camera. Coal Tit briefly.


Tuesday, 1 July 2008

July 1st 2008

Well that's June out the way - always a quiet month in Warwickshire - well it was till the record books were re-written, now its July so whats to be hoped for. In the past we have had Little Egret, Honey Buzzard, White-winged Black Tern, Great White Egret, Spotted Sandpiper, Nightjar and numerous waders though the water levels are to high at present but you'll never know if you stay on the sofa.
Today the weather has been brilliant with south easterly winds, high cloud and temperatures up to 25c so up and about in the valley first thing managing Barn Owl 2, Tree Sparrow 6, Lapwing 150, Curlew, Buzzard 2, Whitethroat 10, Skylark 20+, Grey Partridge 2 and Yellow Wagtail.
Arrived at Draycote Water just in time to call Bob Hazell back as I had found this very young Wheatear. Declining as breeding species in the county and not heard of any locally since spring migration.

Wheatear juv by Bob Hazell
Other birds seen were Common Tern, Redshank calling, Oystercatcher circling reservoir eventually landing in field off farborough bank, Buzzard 5, Green Woodpecker and Herring Gull 3 immatures. Joined up with Bob, the Prices and Francoise for coffee and chat before spending some time looking for Marbled Whites and came across my first Small Skipper of the year. Bob had Black-tailed Skimmer yesterday so check the fields between Water Treatment Works and Golfcourse, also good for Marbled Whites. Up to 12 so far.

Black-tailed Skimmer by Bob Hazell