Saturday, 30 August 2008

August 30th 2008

Down the flecknow Rd before first light getting 3 Barn Owls (2 toft farm & 1 Kytes Hardwick) on the way. The raked field still had the 2 Wheatear with the Whinchat immature now much further away and the large mixed finch flock (mainly Linnets) included a Corn Bunting. Four Grey Partridges in the area and yesterdays immature Marsh Harrier still present though distant. A very brief visit to Draycote Water produced 2 Shags on fishing platforms, Wheatear farborough bank, Common Sandpiper 2 and 4 Black Tern.
Back at home getting the trailer packed for tonight's mothing session and 3 Black Tern flew over garden just as John Judge rang to say he had 62 there. Brief words with Dave to pick me up and we arrived just in time to chat to John at Draycote before walking out to farborough spit to view terns. Difficult to count as they were distant and the wind had strengthened but we managed various counts between 56 and 64 so Johns count of 62 will be good enough for me. Over coffee we caught up with Pete and Linda Price who had seen 11 Shelduck earlier with two still remaining by inlet and 6 Common Sandpiper while Pete Findon had seen a Hobby. We had a Pintail fly in and Swift over. Also of interest were two Pale Eggars on the wall of cafe along with 2 Brimstone, Garden Carpet and a Flounced Rustic while butterflies seen included Peacock 4 and Brimstone.

Pale Eggar


Friday, 29 August 2008

August 29th 2008

At last we managed a few patches of blue sky after a week of cloud though it did not seem to have any affect on the birds when Dave and I went to the pond this afternoon. Our walk out to farborough spit produced 2 Shag on fishing platform, 5 Yellow Wagtail over farborough bank, 2 Common Tern, Buzzard and thousands of gulls including at least 200+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls either out in centre or hawking insects overhead. Double-striped Pug was on the wall of cafe.
The valley was a different matter with two Wheatear in the raked field along flecknoe rd, Whinchat, Buzzard 2, Stock Dove 19 and over 100 Linnets. A Grey Partridge was accidentally flushed then I picked up an immature Marsh Harrier with its golden head and throat some distance away and it came low over our heads and started hunting the recently harvested wheat fields before drifting out of view.
Back home with Bullfinch and Coal Tit on feeders late afternoon and Dave has just phoned to gloat he has a Pale Egger in last nights catch, another tick for him.


Thursday, 28 August 2008

August 28th 2008

A welcome Tree Pipit accompanied by a Wheatear female was on the toft banks perimeter road, Draycote Water till flushed by a Severn Trent van - my first here since 2005. There were at least 4 Shags dotted around the reservoir, two on fishing platform, one on outlet and one with 5 cormorants on valve tower and three Common Terns. Other sightings today included Hobby, Sparrowhawk and Dunlin over toft bay, three Yellow Wagtail farborough bank and two raven over country park heading in to valley. Caught up with Bob Hazell in rainbow Corner and he had seen a family party of Goldcrests, Common Sandpiper, Spotted Flycatcher and another two Ravens. His sharp eyes found a Red Underwing which makes this at least the 6th one of the year so spent some time photographing it before putting the worlds to rights over a cup of coffee. Plenty of Common Blues, Speckled Wood 4 and two Vapourers also seen. A few Spotted Flycatchers reported from Napton on the Hill and John Judge rang this afternoon reporting two Crossbills in Bilton Rd, Rugby. A long overdue sighting for this part of Warwickshire considering there has been a large influx recently of this species from the continent. Nice one John.

Gold Spot trapped last night



Tuesday, 26 August 2008

August 26th 2008

A very smart Wood Sandpiper was resting in toft bay Draycote Water at first light but soon legged it when flushed by fishermen. The five Shags remain with two becoming popular with photographers on fishing platform and 3 on top of valve tower. Other birds seen were Common Tern 5 including adult still feeding young, Ringed Plover over, Yellow Wagtail 6, Goosander 5, Gadwall 3, Wheatear female on farborough bank, Garden Warbler 2, Whitethroat 3, Blackcap 3 and a lone Swift. five Vapourer moths also seen.
The ploughed field along flecknoe rd had a large flock of finches including Linnets, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Yellowhammers and there was an early Golden Plover in the far right hand corner. Woodbine Farm had Yellow Wagtail and between Sawbridge and Willoughby there were Whitethroat, Blackcap 2, Chiffchaff, Tree Sparrow 6, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard 3. Text received from Terry S indicating that the Spotted Flycatchers on Napton on the Hill had increased to 4. Back home and there has been a steady stream of Swallows going over garden heading south this afternoon.


Monday, 25 August 2008

August 25th 2008

Out mid afternoon to the valley where birding was productive with Tree Sparrow 3, Corn Bunting 2, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff between Sawbridge and Willoughby and in Sawbridge village itself there were Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Sparrowhawk. No sign of the Little Owl at Grandborough Fields (seen yesterday by Mark) and apart from a Stock Dove, Yellowhammer and Raven along the Flecknoe Road there was little else. A long overdue visit to Napton on the Hill produced Spotted Flycatcher, Whitethroat, Blackcap 3, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Hobby, a few Chiffchaffs and the unusual sighting of a Whimbrel circling the Church before moving off west.
Late evening visit to Draycote to do roost and managed Med Gull second winter and Yellow-legged Gull adult 2 and immature 3. Also seen were Common Tern 4, Shag 5, Little Owl sewage farm, Goosander 5 and a Barn Owl was off farborough bank.


Sunday, 24 August 2008

August 24th 2008

Me and Dave were a little bleary eyed after a late night BBQ when we entered the valley this morning so not surprisingly did not see much in the rain apart from Stock Dove and a flock of Linnets 90+.
Weather deteriorated as we walked out to toft bay at Draycote Water with low cloud producing heavy drizzle but we managed to see Wheatear 4, Shag 2, Yellow Wagtail 2, Grey Wagtail 3, Common Sandpiper 2, Common Tern 3. As we tried to shelter the best we could under trees in toft bay brought us a passerine flock involving 30+ birds including six Chiffchaff and 5 Long-tailed Tits and off shore there were 3 Shoveler. On our return it was good to meet up with Pete & Jon Hall and chatted for a while and Pete spotted Draycotes first Snipe of the autumn going over.
Breakfast at Long Itchington and by the time we had demolished a couple of thousand calories the sun was shining and it was a totally different day as we did Brandon Marsh. Dunlin and Green Sandpiper 2 were the best birds on east marsh but the visit was marred by some selfish prats in carlton hide taking up all the seating room with tripods - Dave dragged me away before I could re-act!! (whats up with these folks - logic says you don't do it - especially on a bank holiday when its busy).
Over newlands we had adult and juvenile Peregrine, a few Whitethroats and four Sparrowhawks. On the plus side met up with Bob and updated Di on draycote news so good to hear she caught up with everything.


August 23rd 2008

Early bird catches the worm? Arrived at Draycote Water before sun rise and had the place to myself – what bliss. Two Med Gull immature were in the field behind farborough spit at first light amongst 200 Black-headed Gulls, Wheatear and three Curlews. Once the farmer came out to do his early check on cattle they all left though one of the Curlew was still hanging around at 1130am circling reservoir calling or in adjacent fields. Further along farborough bank there were two more Wheatear’s including the immature male, Grey Wagtail 5 and Dunlin flying around calling. The stretch from farborough bank to outlet had Great-spotted Woodpecker, Common Tern 5, Lesser Whitethroat, Green Woodpecker 5, another Wheatear on hensborough bank and a stunning juvenile Knot on the shoreline of the windsurfing area. Next area to explore was the lower car park and the sailing graveyard where in one hour I managed Spotted Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat 4, Whitethroat 4, Garden Warbler 2, Chiffchaff 3, Goldcrest 3 and adult and immature Hobby.
Bob Duckhouse had located two Shags and when we caught up with each other he thought there may be at least 5 and possibly 6. I managed 4 from the café and on my second circuit finally confirmed there were six, all immature though one bird on the fishing platform looks ill. After dinner immature Peregrine seen chasing the gulls and at 2pm an Osprey came in and landed on one of the buoys before hunting and once successful flew off with its catch towards Bourton Hall.
Other birds noted were Teal 6, Shoveler 3, Gadwall 2, Kingfisher 2, Yellow-legged Gull 2 adults and Common Sandpiper 3 and Goosander 5 still off draycote bank.


Friday, 22 August 2008

August 22nd 2008

Draycote Water was not the place to be today. Its bad enough having to put up with walkers and Joe Public disturbing everything now a few visiting birders have decided to work the lower farborough bank where migrants usually feed up and rest after being disturbed from the upper banks. Not sure of the ethics these people work under but its pretty upsetting watching them dis-respect the birds, your patch and the effort you put in. Common Tern 4 and Buzzard 2 before we gave up. Luckily grandborough valley was a haven in comparison with a stunning Peregrine attacking the extremely large mixed corvid flock and many Stock Doves.


Thursday, 21 August 2008

August 21st 2008

Arranged to meet up with Steve Seal and Dave Hutton at Draycote Water this morning and was half way there when Steve rang to say juvenile Shag had just been found by Lee in toft shallows. On arrival it was resting on a log in front of the hide where it showed well and occasionally moving off to feed letting Steve, Dave plus April and Bob Hazell to get close up pictures while I could only manage a scenic shot with my little lens. This was my 23rd record of Shag for Draycote and a welcome year tick.

Shag by Steve Seal

We all spent some time searching toft & farborough bank and surrounding hedgerow managing to see Grey Wagtail, 4 Wheatear including juvenile male, Spotted Flycatcher and 2 adult Lesser Whitethroats while 2 Common Tern patrolled off shore.

Wheatear juv male by Steve Seal

Wheatear by Steve Seal
After coffee a walk to rainbow corner produced the five Goosanders and a few Teal then we all met up again to photograph the Red Underwing which had been on the café wall earlier and may have been the same one as me and Dave had on Sunday.

Red Underwing by Dave Hutton
Other birds seen were Buzzards 2, Swift 20+, Lesser Black-backed Gull 30+, Herring Gull and Willow Warbler but on leaving could not relocate the Shag. Butterfly’s seen were Brimstone 2, Common Blue 3 and Vapourer moth.
Back home after my Shag at Draycote I enjoyed two Old Lady's - all very legal the girls were in the moth trap. Another large count including 188 Large Yellow Underwing.


Wednesday, 20 August 2008

August 20th 2008

Out very early this morning intending to look for owls and did not have to go far with a Tawny Owl perched in fir tree by Lion Farm Rugby Road, Dunchurch lit up by street lighting and the silhouette of a Little Owl on an electrical sub station roof near the Prison along the A45. In the valley I checked on the Sawbridge site and there were 3 Barn Owls out hunting and another Little Owl and while struggling up the hilly part of the Flecknoe Rd towards the village there was a Barn owl still out hunting at 6am.
Flecknoe its self had Spotted Flycatcher and Whitethroat while nearby Wolfhamcote had a flyover Turtle Dove, plenty of warblers, my first returning Snipe for the valley and a Sparrowhawk causing havoc amongst the Collard Dove population.
Doubling back through Flecknoe towards Grandborough Fields a Grey Partridge walked out in front of me and around the Grandborough Fields Farm there were Red-legged Partridge, Whitethroat, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Raven, Skylark 8 and many Yellowhammers. No sign of the Redstart near Woodbine Farm and the ploughed field along Flecknoe Road had only one Wheatear but did hold a small group of Stock Doves, Skylarks and Yellowhammers with Buzzards 3 enjoying the thermals.
Had to be back home by mid-morning so arrived just in time to see two Cormorants flying over garden and my new moth trap even in these dull blustery damp conditions is doing well with 218 trapped last night including my 3rd Old lady of the year though it was too tatty to photograph and a welcome Angle Shades, normally a common species but this year has hardly made an appearance.
Had planned to go back out but the sofa insisted I watch the Olympics.


Tuesday, 19 August 2008

August 19th 2008

Another blustery day at Draycote Water with gusts of up to 25mph when the occasional rain fronts came in this morning. Dunlin and Common Sandpiper 2 in biggen bay, Artic Tern off shore and the Goosanders 5 still present. At least three Wheatears on farborough bank with 2 females and immature male before enjoying a coffee watching the many Swifts and 50+ Sand Martins feeding low over the water. On the way home a partial summer plumage adult and two immature Sanderling’s were in toft bay.
Rest of afternoon spent doing my domestic slog on the ironing board watching Bullfinch, Greenfinch and Willow Warbler in garden.


Monday, 18 August 2008

August 18th 2008

Draycote Water mid afternoon was dull and overcast with blustery winds but did not appear to have brought anything in and only the five Goosanders flying in to rainbow corner from the River Leam noteworthy. In toft shallows there were 6 Teal and a pair of Pochards. The ploughed field along Hill Rd in the Grandborough Valley was more productive with 4 Wheatear, 10 Skylarks, Yellow Wagtail and 8 Stock Dove while further along between the horse paddock and Woodbine Farm there was an immature Redstart working its way along the hedgerow towards the broken tree stump. This evening one Barn Owl was hunting near the entrance to Napton Resrvoir.


Sunday, 17 August 2008

August 17th 2008

The rain finally arrived early morning so by the time me and Dave arrived in the valley it had gone, replaced by sunshine and blue sky’s and was probably responsible for the 3 Wheatears in a ploughed field along Flecknoe Rd.
A walk out to rainbow corner, Draycote Water produced 6 newly arrived Black Terns, Shoveler 5, Teal 5, Common Tern, Oystercatchers 2 circling and 50+ Sand Martins resting on the sailing boats near the café but we couldn’t locate the Goosanders. Other birds of note were Grey Wagtail and Buzzard 3 and we spent some time photographing the Red Underwing which we found on the café wall.

Red Underwing
After our usual calorie conscious breakfast at Long Itchington we went to Brandon Marsh where we had 9 Green Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, 400 Lapwing, Buzzard 3 and Common Tern 2. Also present were Brown Hawker, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Hawker, Common Darter, Common Blue and Red-eyed Damselfly and a few Speckled Woods, Red Admirals and Common Blue’s.
Back home and my moth trap was heaving with over 250 moths of 40 species, the best catch for some time and included a record count for the garden of 167 Large Yellow Underwings.
I had planned to catch up with the Olympics this afternoon but text messages and phone calls alerted me to a good passage of Black Terns at Draycote along with Artic Terns so went back down and managed Black Tern 22 and Artic Terns 7 and a Hobby over biggen bay.


Saturday, 16 August 2008

August 16th 2008

A purple patch day started off with an early visit to Draycote Water where there were three Teal in toft bay, female and immature male Wheatear on farborough bank along with Grey Wagtail and a magnificent adult light phase Artic Skua was seen arriving at 9am but unfortunately it continued west (My 22nd record for location).
Adult and sub adult Yellow-legged Gull between the fishing platform and sailing club with 50+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gull 2 out in centre and Curlew 2 circled in vain for somewhere to land. While John and Alfie Judge walked out to farborough spit I searched the more sheltered areas of the sailing club lower car park finding Blackcap 2, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff 3, and Garden Warbler before we met up for coffee.
While in the café met up with Kay and Max who had re-found and re-identified yesterdays mergansers as Goosanders off the outlet so that’s where we legged it too and soon had them in sight. Definitely Goosanders, probably all immatures and my first August record. Other birds seen were Yellow Wagtail 2, Swift 300, Sand Martin 20, Buzzard 3, Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Raven. A brilliant visit slightly marred by some jerks from the sailing club trying to take a launch in to toft shallows and flushing the birds but in my best Vlad the Impaler voice soon had them scuttling for cover.
Just arrived at home when one of the farmers down the valley asked me to come over as soon as possible and on my arrival we traveled some way before stopping and he causally said what’s that?. Magic – a Long-eared Owl roosting in hedgerow and almost hidden from view, dead lucky as the field it’s in is being harvested later today and will probably move and it’s an area away from the road so I would never have found it myself. Looked like an adult but will check plumage later.


Friday, 15 August 2008

August 15th 2008

Garden had 5 Bullfinches, 3 House Sparrow and a Coal Tit this morning but a timely visit to pond this afternoon with Dave to see the Red-breasted Mergansers (5) turned to disappointment as they had gone by the time we arrived. Still this was a very good record for this time of year so well done to Pete & Linda Price. Little else seen apart from one Common Tern, Buzzard 2 and a few Swallows. At least 6 Common Blues on outlet and one of the Wheatears reported to still be present off farborough bank.


Thursday, 14 August 2008

August 14th 2008

Cycled down with Francoise to pond where blue skies and sunshine brought the birds out with toft bay and toft shallows being very productive. Three Goldcrest, Willow Warbler 3 and single Chiffcaff were in the undergrowth of the small pond in toft shallow and the vegetation in front of hide held Blackcap 2, Sedge Warbler, another Chiffchaff and Kingfisher. Lapwing 36, Common Sandpiper 3, Wheatear 2 and Grey Wagtail on toft bank and the fence below farborough bank near the field with the "scrape" in it had a immature Whinchat and Green Woodpecker. Two Common Tern out in centre and a Hobby was enjoying picking off one of the 300+ Swifts and Greenshank went through. Also a Buzzard 4 and a few Sand Martin amongst the many Swallows and House Martins. After coffee a search for butterflies produced Peacock, Common Blue and Small Tortoieshell, Common Blue Damselfly, Common Hawker and my first Migrant Hawker of the year. Back home this afternoon was a good for birds of prey with Buzzard 2, Hobby and Peregrine all seen while gardening.


Wednesday, 13 August 2008

August 13th 2008

Have updated the last few blogs with photos by Pete Hall so take a peep. Its been a rainy day today so did not get out till late this afternoon with a flying visit to a very damp Draycote Water. Redshank, Common Sandpiper and Blackcap male in toft bay, Black Tern off farborough bank and Oystercatcher over. Still plenty of Swifts over biggen bay tho numbers will start to dwindle soon. Only other bird of note were adult and first summer Yellow-legged Gulls and five Green Woodpecker.


Tuesday, 12 August 2008

August 12th 2008

Someone is suffering from a dose of the wobbly legs so morning spent updating blog of trip and catching up with moth news.
Arrived at pond late afternoon for a brief visit where it was very windy with at least Common Tern 3 in toft bay, Artic Tern in biggen bay and female Pintail in toft bay. Other birds present were Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Sedge warbler, Green Woodpecker 4, Great-spotted Woodpecker 2, Buzzard 3, and Wheatear male on draycote bank. Country park had adult and juvenile Hobby and a family group of Garden Warblers. Evening meal with Dave and Christine who had cooked me a birthday cake with bloody candles you can never blow out - nearly killed me self trying.


August 11th 2008

Mini Cruise Day 3 Bay of Biscay
Out very early to watch the stars and there were a few passengers not looking so good so not surprising there were not many having breakfast today. Boy did the ship have a mind of it own last night but luckily the weather improved and as we approached the Cherbourg peninsular it was pretty calm. The English Channel can be pretty quiet sometimes but we had a steady stream of Gannets going past (final count - 497), Fulmar 15, Storm Petrel 5, Great Skua 4, Great black-backed Gulls 15, Kittiwake 2, Golden Plover 19 heading south, a medium size Basking Shark feeding, a female Kestrel going west but we missed the Minke Whale In the approaches to Portsmouth harbor there were Med Gull 2, Common Gull 2 and Common Tern 6.

Gannets by Pete Hall

Great Skua by Pete Hall
After docking we said our goodbyes and had an easy journey home arriving just in time to put the trap on.


August 10th 2008

Mini Cruise Day 2 Bay of Biscay
After a quiet night we disembark in Bilbao, Spain to glorious weather at 8am making sure we were first in the queue to leave and after a frustrating wait took a taxi up Santurtzi Hill spending three hours looking for birds and butterflies slowly making our way down the hill and back to port.

Santurtzi Hill by Dave Hall
The temperature was already in the high 20s when we arrived and this brought out hundreds of butterflies and were able to identify 16 species including Marbled White, Adonis and Long-tailed Blue and Clouded Yellows and missed Swallow-tail, Wood White Small Heath, Ringlet and Short-tailed Blue found by another bunch of butterfly enthusiasts from the ship.
Birds were very active and we had Turtle Dove, Hoopoe, Red-rumped Swallow 2, Raven, 2, Red-back Shrike 2, Serin 2, Fan-tailed Warbler 4 and Melodious Warblers 3 including one very obliging bird which Pete enjoyed photographing as it fed on the ground in front of him. Other sightings included Hummingbird Hawk-moth 5, Lesser Treble-bar, a Bee-fly species yet to be identified and European Wall Lizard.

Melodious Warbler by Pete Hall
Back on board me and Dave enjoyed tea and cucumber sandwiches in the posh bar before we went up top to join the others scanning the hills overlooking the harbor and found four distant Griffon Vultures soaring together and when we sailed out of the harbor hundreds of Yellow-legged Gulls were loafing on the harbor walls much to the pleasure of John while Common Sandpiper 6 resting on the edge of dockside and a Sandwich Tern flew past.
The return trip started of sunny and calm but by the evening the wind had picked up and a very noticeable swell started to effect those who hadn’t nailed there dinner down and we had a restless night being tossed about. The southern part of bay was not active until we reached deep water and then we managed 30 Fin Whale, 12 Bottled-nosed Dolphin, 8 Striped Dolphin, two very distant Harbor Porpoise and two Killer Whales’s though distant. Sea birds included Med and Sooty Shearwater, Great Skua and an unidentified wader species. Everyone kept there dinner down even though the ship was pitching something rotten.


August 9th 2008

Mini Cruise Day One Bay of Biscay
We traveled down last night and after boarding P&O ferry the Pride of Bilbao we departed late due to weather difficulties on the previous sailing.
Progressed well overnight to find us approaching the Ushant coastline of France by breakfast time so we (Dave, Peter, Dave, John & Helen) set up base camp on deck 8 for a day’s observation at sea. Weather was partial cloud and sunny with a strong southerly wind but only moderate waves so not too bad for those with weaker stomachs and as we skirted past one or two rain showers amongst the commoner species seen as we entered the northern part of the Bay of Biscay we managed to pick out single Grey Phalarope, Great Skua, Cory’s Shearwater and a few Storm Petrels.
Just after 5pm we passed over the continental shelf in to very deep water and soon had our first sightings of Common Dolphins with one pod passing under the ship which included a mother and calf and this was then followed by a school of 12 Bottled-nosed Dolphins close to ship and a run of Fin Whale sightings involving at least 44 individuals of which two came under the ship from the starboard side to surface just yards away. Pete Hall was pretty quick in running off a few shots before they disappeared.

Other cetacean sightings were the blow of a Sperm whale ahead of the ship in the company of 2 two Fin Whale but it dived as we approached and, two dolphins seen under the surface emerging from underneath the ship may have been Risso’s. Other sightings in this active period were Sunfish 3, Common Tern 5 and Whimbrel 2 flying south while starboard side had 6 Cory’s and single Great Shearwater but we made no attempt to see them being more than satisfied with what we achieving. We enjoyed an excellent meal before settling down to a few beers.

Friday, 8 August 2008

August 7th 2008

Arrived at Draycote Water just after first light in time to see a Barn Owl crossing the southam rd and presumed to be one of the many juveniles that are now in the area. Immature Turnstone near valve tower was my first for the autumn passage, 4 Common Sandpiper on farnborough bank and a Redshank circling were the wader highlights while the most productive place for warblers was the lower sailing club car park and the sailing graveyard which between them held Sedge Warbler, Blackcap 2, Whitethroat 2, Chiffchaff and Garden Warbler plus Goldcrest. Other birds noted in a two hour visit were Common Tern 2, Great-spotted Woodpecker 2, Green Woodpecker 5 and Grey Wagtail 4. Went home via the valley and found an immature Whinchat along the hill rd and on a return visit with Dave in the evening we had 6 Tree Sparrows near Sawbridge. Well I am off to the Bay of Biscay and the latest reports show that we have a good chance of seeing something with the last ferry trip having Fin Whale 42, Minke Whale 3, Cuvier's Beaked Whale 11, Long-finned Pilot Whale 39, Common Dolphin 199, Risso's Dolphin 7, Striped Dolphin 290, Bottlenose Dolphin 22, and Harbour Porpoise


Tuesday, 5 August 2008

August 5th 2008

Started of dry in the valley this morning with Grey Partridge on the Flecknoe Rd at Woodbine Farm but by the time I arrived at Draycote Water it was tipping it down so sought shelter in hide for an hour being entertained by feeding warblers ignoring the awful conditions. Sedge, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff 6 and a skulking Grasshopper Warbler. Soon got bored so a circuit of reservoir produced a Ruff on outlet, Lesser Whitethroat 2 on inlet, Common Tern 3, Yellow-legged Gull sub adult, Common Sandpiper 4 and hundreds of Swifts and Swallows but in the end I gave up as even the worlds best waterproofs could not keep the torrents from shrinking those bits it shouldn't.


Monday, 4 August 2008

August 3rd 2008

Out mothing with the Bumbling Bears, John Jennings and Stephen Trinder at Ryton Meadows last night and we started well with exceptional scope views of planet Jupiter and three of its moons once we had the traps set up. On high power you could see the dark belts of cloud parallel to its equator and spot on time (22:14pm) the International Space Station flew over. Other spacey highlights included the Milky Way, Stephen pointing out many of the constellation including Cygnus, Aquila, Lyria, Bootes, Ursa Major, and Cassiopeia, Corona Borealis and Hercules and one meteorite with a very long trail.
The mothing went well only marred by the rain at 4pm which made for a very wet finish but luckily it cleared by the time we were ready to take photo’s. I used my new Robinson trap and managed 80+ species of 590+ moths with some micros still to identify and with other catches still to be compiled we may over 1500 moths of 120 species for the night. At least 5 Great-spotted Woodpecker flew out of wood at first light heading towards Ryton Country Park.

Purple Bar

Bordered Beauty

Oak Egger

The Johns getting stuck in at the photo session - the smiling idiot at the front is buddy Dave.

Dave was good enough to pick me up so after a quick shower and a change of clothes we were soon out at Draycote Water enjoying Common Tern 4, Wheatear 2 on farborough bank, Yellow-legged Gull 2 second year and a sub-adult near the sailing club and Buzzard 2 but we did not try to relocate the Whinchat in rainbow corner found an hour earlier and other birds reported here today were Dunlin, Peregrine and Common Sandpiper 11.
Brandon Marsh was quiet so after a fly by Turtle Dove near goose pool, two young Whitethroats on east marsh and 5 Green Sandpiper on teal pool we decided to move on to Ryton Woods as it was warming up and managed one Silver-washed fritillary (first time Dave has seen one at rest), 2 Purple Hairstreaks high up in the oak canopy and a few Gatekeepers, Large Whites and Green-veined White along the main ride. Nuthatch heard and a large group of Bullfinches went past. Back to Dave’s for lunch then rest of day in the land of nod.


August 2nd 2008

In the valley by 6am the Barn and Little Owl were still out hunting around the Sawbridge area but I failed to find any Turtle Dove’s or Spotted Flycatcher so may have dispersed. Two Grey Partridge near Grandborough Fields Farm and a walk out to the Toft farm Fishing Pools was productive with Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Sedge Warbler, and Garden Warbler and on returning at least four young Buzzards were up and about including one totally oblivious of my presence as I walked past. Stock Doves are more noticeable and looks as if they have had a good breeding season.


Friday, 1 August 2008

August 1st 2008

Very blustery this afternoon with Dave at Draycote Water with Common Tern 2 and yesterdays Wheatear still on farborough bank, two Buzzards soaring over sewage farm plus a fleeting glimpse of a sunbathing male Grass Snake before it moved off. Hobby over country park again and a Peacock butterfly. Common Tern flew over garden this evening.