Sunday, 31 May 2009

May 31st 2009

Out with Dave too Oversley Wood near Alcester enjoying the weather and coming up trumps with 2 Club-tailed dragonfly at least two miles from there limited breeding area in Warwickshire and a totally unexpected sighting.

Club-tailed dragonfly
Plenty of butterflies with 35 Speckled Wood, 18 Large White, Green-veined White and 10 Painted Lady while moths were represented by Nematopogon swammerdamella, Celypha lacunana, Clouded Silver Carpet and Red-twin Spot Carpet. The best of the few birds seen were 5 Buzzard, Raven, Coal Tit and 2 Spotted Flycatcher.
On the way home we called in at Stockton to see the White-legged damselfly finding at least 10 with plenty of butterflies including 2 Large Skipper, 16 Painted Lady, 4 Brimstone, 15 Common Blue and 2 Orange Tip while a Burnet Companion moth was new for Dave. A nearby meadow had over 120 Greater Butterfly Orchids. The best birds we could find were Buzzard and Whitethroat.
Finally everybody knows you don't slag your friends off so with gritted teeth I am really pleased this beauty was in the Hall brothers moth trap in nearby Long Lawford last night. O I want one for Christmas.

Puss Moth by the Hall Brothers


May 30th 2009

In the Grandborough valley the 2 Quail remain along the Flecknoe Road and nearby a fledged Yellow Wagtail was calling for its parents. Also seen were Lesser Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler between Sawbridge and Woolscott with Turtle Dove and Spotted Flycatcher in the Flecknoe area.
As the day warmed up a quick check of the Wolfhamcote Embankment produced Grizzled Skipper, Common Blue 6, Green Hairstreak, Large White and Orange Tip butterflies before finding a good spot to count the Painted Lady migration counting 146 in 90 minutes and a Cuckoo. Of interest the PLs have now reached the Faroe Islands (north Atlantic) after originating from the Africa.


Friday, 29 May 2009

May 29th 2009

Dave and I were enjoying a stroll round Draycote Meadows soaking up the glorious sunshine when a message from Terry regarding a Woodchat Shrike at Brandon Marsh smashed any ideas of tranquility. Despite Friday traffic Dave had us at Brandon in record time and after a brisk walk to the Carlton Hide (nearest I get to running) we were rewarded with distant but countable views. Many thanks Tel that’s two pints of Archers we owe you. My first record for Warwickshire though I saw one in 1999 in Sutton Park West Midlands which used to be in Warwickshire before they played around with the county boundaries. Other sightings from Carlton were 4 species of dragonfly and a Grass Snake then we moved to look from the bench over newlands for a better view.
This morning there were 2 Quail in the valley and before we left Draycote Meadows we managed 30+ Grass Rivulet a day flying moth and this evening a Hedgehog sunbathed under my Kilmarnock Willow. The garden moth trap had Double Square Spot and May Highflyer new for the year
The Painted Lady invasion has made the news channels and still passing through in good numbers with Mark recording 23 in 15 minutes in his garden and I must have seen at least 200 today on my travels.


Thursday, 28 May 2009

May 28th 2009

Last nights mothing session in Ryton Woods started with Cuckoo calling followed by a couple of bat's overhead but on the mothing front it was a slow start despite the humid conditions but it picked after midnight and we managed 56 species from 258 moths trapped including three new for me including

Great Prominent

Satin Wave
and have I mentioned the Painted Lady invasion - well this one flew on to our lightsheet at one in the morning and posed for photos later.

Painted lady
Home by 4am and a few hours sleep then it was back out this afternoon for my guided walk to toft with nine participants but apart from a Hobby that some caught up with as they arrived at the visitors center there was little to be seen. Did have chance to look at some of the more commoner species such as young Pied Wagtails, Kestrel male Gadwall and good views of Buzzard as it flew over our heads while of the 54 PLs seen 12 were on the flowers on farborough bank giving everyone a chance to appreciate them along with 12 Common Blue.
Finally a photo just to show you that not all moths are big and meaty.

Caloptilia alchimiella


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

May 27th 2009

Quail still in the valley.
Sanderling at the pond early am and 4 Fox
Painted Lady 2 in garden once the sun came out.
It’s a short blog as I am out mothing tonight and just a reminder it’s my monthly guided walk at Draycote Water tomorrow (Thursday) at 2pm.


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

May 26th 2009

The overcast humid conditions with rain were ideal for moths with both me and Dave recording very large catches. Lost count of how many I added to the garden year list. Once I surfaced this morning the weather had completely changed becoming cloudy with bright sunny periods, very windy and a lot cooler than yesterday with Draycote Water recording gusts of over 30mph so waited for it to subside before going down the valley. While I waited Bob came round to photograph some of my moths and we had Hobby and 9 Painted Lady over the garden.

Willow Beauty


Oak Hook-tip

Limee Hawk-moth
The valley was still windy but thanks to the owners for allowing me on to there land I managed to hear the Quail calling along the Flecknoe Road which I couldn’t do from the road. Also in the area were Whitethroat plus 10 Painted Lady all heading roughly north west.
Draycote Water was still very blustery with 2 Common Tern, Ringed Plover and Spotted Flycatcher and guess what – yep – Painted Lady with 6 seen.


Monday, 25 May 2009

May 25th 2009

This morning was very overcast with light south east winds and the pond was a struggle finding only 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Sparrowhawk and 8 Lesser Black-back Gulls heading west apart from the usual warblers singing there heads off. After 2hrs I gave up birding and spent time looking for day flying moths between toft shallows and the M45 bridge. Managed 12 Celypha lacunana and single Cinnabar, Esperla sulphurella, Treble-bar, Red Twin-spot Carpet and Silver Ground Carpet amongst the buttercups and nettles. Earlier I had checked the café walls and there were Rustic Shoulder-knot, Brimstone and Foxglove Pug.
While searching for moths there were family parties of Willow Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Bullfinch foraging and a Great-spotted Woodpecker and had the opportunity to meet the owners of Toft-Alpacas something I have been meaning to do for years. If you’re familiar with Draycote Water then you would have noticed the Alpacas in the surrounding fields in toft bay and its well worth checking out there web site - I learnt a lot today.
By the time I set off for home it started to rain lightly but that did not stop the Painted Lady migration, nine overtook me in Dunchurch and a further 3 went through my garden this afternoon.– well over a hundred were seen in Warwickshire yesterday and a lot more today. Garden moth trap did well again with 21 species trapped.


Sunday, 24 May 2009

May 24th 2009

Limited time today as Dave needed to be back by 11am for entertaining duties so gave the pond a miss and went looking for Narrow-leaved Helleborine an orchid species we’ve not seen in the county before and found 4 spikes plus Early Purple and the just flowering Common Spotted Orchid.

Narrow-leaved Helleborine
The wood was cool at 8am despite the glorious sunshine, so insects were thin on the ground in the time we had but still saw Pebble Hook-tip moth, Red Admiral and 20+ Speckled Wood butterflies, a Frog Hopper species Cercopis vulnerata, Scorpian Fly species Panorpa germanica and female Broad-bodied Chaser. On top of all this we were lucky enough to have a Goshawk glide through the canopy above our heads

Broad-bodied Chaser
Back home and at 2:02pm I was on the mobile to Mark Phillips trying to get him on to a Red Kite and Honey Buzzard soaring together over my garden which drifted off north just as Mark and son Mason arrived five minutes later. We carried on searching finding the palest Common Buzzard I have ever seen and had given up on any hope after 20 minutes when the Red Kite appeared overhead and before drifting north joined amazingly by a dark phase Honey Buzzard (the first like yesterdays was pale). Mark and Mason are pretty chuffed to have a raptor watch point on there doorstep.
I spent rest of the afternoon in the garden finding 4 more Common Buzzard and 2 Sparrowhawk while butterflies in garden were Large White, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Holly Blue.


Saturday, 23 May 2009

May 23rd 2009

Ideal conditions for moths last night starting cloudy and remaining warm with little wind so woke to a hat full with a few to be identified delaying my visit to the pond with Small Magpie, Clouded-bordered Brindle and Willow Beauty new for the year.
By the time I arrived at the pond it was a stunning sunny morning with high thin cloud and Mick was already three quarters of the way round having seen Common Sandpiper, Dunlin and Oystercatcher and plenty of warblers.
I caught up with the Oystercatcher feeding on the shoreline of the sailing club while overhead 2 Hobbies and 2 Sparrowhawk were enjoying the early morning thermals together.
A search for moths around the cafe produced Mottled Pug, Small Square-spot and my first for the year Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet.
Apart from a 4 Black-headed Gull, 2 Lesser Black-back Gull, Common Tern and 3 Buzzard little else of note seen so concentrated on butterflies managing Brimstone, Large White, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper and Orange Tip.
Back home while planting the last of me bedding plants I had a couple of Buzzard drift over and was just finishing when another buzzard came over at 12:15pm flying differently being mobbed by corvid forcing it to fly low over estate - Honey Buzzard and its grey head made it a male. The corvid ignored the previous buzzards but went nuts when this appeared.
Rest of the afternoon spent looking for butterflies and day flying moths finding Small Yellow Underwing, Yellow Shell and Adela rufimitrella all new for the year and adding Green-veined White and Brown Argus to my butterfly day list.
Of interest there has been an invasion of Painted Ladies on the Isle of Scilly so keep an eye out over the next few weeks and a few Honey Buzzards have been seen inland today. Eight Lesser Black-back Gull flew over garden after dusk.
Texting Mark this evening and his Dad also had the HB being mobbed plus a Raven go over his house this afternoon in Lytham Rd Rugby.


Friday, 22 May 2009

May 22nd 2009

Met up with Bob Hazell early afternoon as he was leaving the pond and he had seen very little so as we ordered our coffee and cake I found a Poplar Hawkmoth (untangled from a spiders web) and Muslin Moth on the cafe walls so a quick call on the mobile soon had him back for photos. Once fed and watered we walked to toft but with a cool westerly wind all we could manage was 3 immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls and back in the car park 3 Common Blue butterflies.

Muslin Moth by Bob Hazell

Muslin Moth by bob Hazell

This evening while setting up my garden traps 2 Canada Geese and a Cormorant flew over.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

May 21st 2009

A mild night with a light south westerly wind so down the valley by 4:30am deciding to give this part of my patch a good search, working the areas between Sawbridge and Wolfhamcote returning via Nethercote and Flecknoe back to Sawbridge before moving down the valley to check on the Hill and Flecknoe Road areas.
Barn Owl: 2 still hunting after 5am near breeding site
Little Owl: one in trees near Sawbridge
Turtle Dove: one heard in suitable breeding area
Spotted Flycatcher: one Flecknoe Village
Hobby: one high over Grandborough Fields Farm
Lapwing: at least 3 pairs in area
Tree Sparrow: 4
Cuckoo female seen between Nethercote and Flecknoe and one heard in distance towards Brauston, Northamptonshire
Common Tern 2 heading towards Draycote Water north of Sawbridge and may be commuting from Daventry Country Park, Northamptonshire.
By late morning it had warmed up and no sign of rain so went looking for butterflies in the Stockton and Napton area finding my first Small Heath and Dingy Skipper of the year along with Hairy Dragonfly, Beautiful Demoiselle and Banded Demoiselle before ending up at Napton Reservoir. I had just managed to get half way round seeing Reed, Cetties and Sedge Warbler when the winds picked up and the skies finally opened up with a short sharp shower resulting in a hundred Swift and a Common Tern appearing. Five minutes after it passed a female Marsh Harrier appeared hunting over the adjacent field before drifting towards Napton on the Hill.
Called in at Draycote Water late afternoon with 2 Sanderling, Dunlin and my first Little Stint (one winter one summer) of the year in toft bay feeding where the embankment has collapsed and Common Tern off biggen bay.

Sanderling by Bob Hazell
Back home and after a couple of quiet moth nights my catch included Waved Umber, Iron Prominent, Peppered Moth, Rustic Shouldere-knot and my first Small Square Spot of the year.

Rustic Shoulder-knot

Peppered Moth
E-mails tonight after the pub informed me I had missed Little Ringed Plover, Hobby and Peregrine at the pond so well done Bob Hazell and John Harris.

Little Ringed Plover by Bob Hazell


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

May 20th 2009

Draycote Water was quiet mid afternoon with Common Tern, Treecreeper in biggen bay and a pair of Grey Wagtail with four recently fledged young on the birding front while butterflies were represented by 4 Common Blue, 3 Speckled Wood and a few whites.
Moved on to Draycote Meadows where there were a more butterflies out with 4 Common Blue, 2 Small Copper, 6 Speckled Wood, 4 Large White and Orange-tip amongst the orchids along with Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Corn Bunting, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Jay and Lesser Whitethroat in the area.


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

May 19th 2009

Last night the wind dropped mid evening so decided to visit the pond for a short mothing session and while setting up a Barn Owl silently drifted over the sailing graveyard taking me by surprise and later in the night a Tawny Owl was perched on the rood of the Rangers Office.

White Ermine draycote Water
The session produced 77 moths of 26 species with Tinea trinotella, Ash Bud Moth, White Ermine, and Maiden’s Blush new for the year while back home my garden trap had my first record of Seraphim a woodland species. That now puts me on 399 for the garden so get the cake ready.

After a couple hours sleep I was back down to pond where the skies were full of Swifts with at least 1500 estimated along with 100 House Martin, fewer Swallows and 10 Sand Martin and this soon attracted the interest of 2 Hobby’s.
Out in the centre there was a flock of 16 Common Scoter including 12 males with most of them asleep while other species seen included Peregrine, Grasshopper, Reed and Sedge Warbler, 3 Common Tern, 15 Buzzard, 4 Stock Dove, 4 Yellow Wagtail 3 Long-tailed Tit, 5 Lesser Black-back Gull and Draycote’s first Spotted Flycatcher of the year.
All though slow to warm up there were still a few butterflies out with 3 Large White, 5 Common Blue, Holly Blue and 2 Small Copper.
Just after dinner time a series of weather fronts dropped more liquid on me and by that time I was in the valley and the cause for the Little Egret that flew north over Grandborough village heading for Bunker Hill. Only other bird note of were 2 Grey Partridge and a Wheatear male along Hill Rd.
Back home and at least 5 Swift and a House Martin feeding overhead


Sunday, 17 May 2009

May 17th 2009

Arrived at pond at 7am too be treated to 2 Hobby circling low over the country park above our heads giving fantastic views before they drifted east and probably the same two were seen later by Dave Hutton hunting the many Swifts feeding over farborough bank. Another walk out with the Bumbling Bears to toft bay produced Dunlin and Turnstone flying over east otherwise it was pretty disappointing considering the easterly wind and rain threatening. Other sightings included 500+ Swifts, 2 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Sparrowhawk.
We had another Hobby over the A426 near Dunchurch and after breakfast we called in to see the Early Purple Orchids before moving on to Brandon Marsh.

Arrived too late to see the Red Kite seen by Colin, Sarah and Graham over the courtyard but did managed 2 Turnstone on east marsh pool. Also seen were 2 Cuckoo, Cetties Warbler and the usual breeding species and once the heavens had finished dumping the wet stuff on us the sun brought out a Hobby over the golf course and 6 Buzzard. The visitors centre bird feeders had female Nuthatch and male Great-spotted Woodpecker making a number of visits.
Afternoon spent catching up with some zeds and between the rain showers Bullfinch and Coal Tit both made brief visits to the garden feeders as well as a Squirrel.


Saturday, 16 May 2009

May 16th 2009

Last night mothing session was rough going with appalling conditions reflected in the catch with only 52 moths of 18 species but I added Adela reaumurella, Grey Birch and Orange Footman to my Warwickshire list so worth the effort and my home trap had new for the year Poplar Hawk-moth, Iron Prominent and 2 migrant Diamond-back Moths of the pale form which I have not seen before.

Poplar Hawk-moth
After a few hours sleep it was down the valley checking on some of the last of our some migrants to arrive and both Turtle Dove and Spotted Flycatcher were back in areas they were breeding in last year. Also seen were Cuckoo, 2 Red-legged Partridge, Buzzard, 3 Tree Sparrow and Treecreeper but no sign of any kite. Mark had a Cuckoo calling in toft early morning so we are doing slightly better for this species than in the previous three years but the species is still very scarce compared to its former status as a common breeding species.
Mid afternoon among the showers a visit to the pond produced Little Tern and Knot off the valve tower but no sign of Turnstone and Sanderling that JJ had earlier. The partial summer plumage Knot was nearly overlooked as it was resting in the area where the embankment has collapsed so managed to find the only bit of shoreline available on the north side. Also present were Common Sandpiper, Artic Tern, Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Yellowhammer, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, 3 Buzzard and Great-spotted Woodpecker.


Friday, 15 May 2009

May 15th 2009

Neighbours think I’m off my head – running around the garden last night putting umbrellas over me traps as the heavens opened and it pelted down. They don’t just protect the bulb but a great shelter for the moths so this morning I still had many to look at considering the elements. New for the year were Pale Pinion, Common Marbled Carpet, Spectacle and Rustic-shouldered Knot and at last Dave's garden kicked off and he also trapped a few.
Understandably it was not worth going birding this morning so enjoyed the delights of Sainsbury’s arriving back home to 2 Canada Geese honking there way south low over me garden. Draycote Water was very quiet with 2 Sand Martin, 10 Buzzard, male Common Scoter and 6 Common Blue worth mentioning this afternoon and no trace of the Red Kite that was seen in the valley by Terry.
More rain tonight but the traps in garden and in the woods are primed and ready to go. Big influx of Diamond Back Moths from the continent so here's hoping.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

May 14th 2009

A grey overcast night with light north east winds producing another good moth catch with Small Magpie, Figure of Eighty, Ruby Tiger, Clouded Silver and Treble bar all new for the year among the 42 moths present and again dominated by Shuttle-shaped Darts.
I was down the pond by 7am hoping for more Black Terns as many were on the move yesterday evening but only one Black Tern remained from yesterday and 3 Common Tern arrived mid-day. A few waders went through with 4 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper and Ringed Plover while the Common Scoter was still in toft bay. 3 Yellow Wagtail.

Dunlin by Bob Hazell
Two points of interest - the numbers of Garden Warbler on site is very impressive with at least twenty compared to 2-4 in a good year

Garden Warbler by Bob Hazell
and a male Gadwall is being very attentive to a female Mallard with 4 young. At this stage I am not sure if the Gadwall is just acting parental or if this is a hybrid pairing. The young are darker compared to Mallard young but we will have to wait and see how they develop.
Meanwhile some low down specimen of man kind not worthy of oxygen or hospital food nicked me coat from Trog so good old Bob Hazel was kind enough to give me a lift home before the heavens threatened to open and the weather looks crap for tomorrow so if your out and about you may need your scuba gear.

Green Carpet by Bob Hazell
it was in the gents of the country park so dragged Bob and Francoise in - as u do?


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

May 13th 2009

Yesterdays effort took its toll so after checking the trap it was back to bed surfacing mid-morning to wind and rain so caught up with me moth records – here’s some boring info - garden macros 289, garden micro’s 109 so 2 to go to reach 400 moth species for my garden and my total amount of moths caught in the garden since stating in August 2005 is 23,662 and my county total stands at 553 species and 55,771 caught.
OK even I’m bored so early afternoon the thought of terns on a fresh east wind with rain was enough to get the gear on and check the pond out and BINGO the first bird I clap my eyes on is White-winged Black Tern off the valve tower with 9 Black Terns. I raced up to farborough spit but the wind had taken it in to rainbow and was on me way there when John Coleman arrived to say he had seen it earlier from the fishing lodge. We split to search area and the bird was last seen heading for toft so presumably it cleared off. While all this was going on more terns were arriving and leaving so it was hard to get an exact number but at least 13 Black, 16 Common and 14 Artic seen and when Bob Hazell arrived he located a newly arrived Common Scoter bathing, feeding and yawning in toft bay. Also seen were 500+ Swift and 4 Yellow Wagtails. The WWBT is my fifth record with the last in 2005 as I missed last years being abroad at the time.


May 12th 2009

Another year tick in the moth trap – Knot Grass otherwise the catch was dominated by 11 Shuttle-shaped Dart and single Cabbage Moth and Green Carpet.
There was very little to be seen at Draycote Water this morning in a very quick look before going to Cambridgeshire, 2 Common Tern, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Great-spotted Woodpecker and a late male Teal for my efforts.
Traveled with Trog to Peterborough then it was a thigh breaking bike ride to Whittlesey in a strong easterly wind to see the 10 Dotterel south east of the village. The trip were in a pea field before moving to an onion field also in the area were male Whinchat, Red-legged Partridge, White Wagtail, 3 Yellow Wagtail and female Marsh Harrier before I moved on to the Nene Washes at Eldernell. No rest from the wind but the walk to March Farmers produced 2 Little Egrets, 2 Whimbrel, 5 Ruff, Greenshank, 4 Marsh Harrier, Cuckoo, and Common Tern but no sign of yesterdays male Montagu’s Harrier and on the returning walk to Bassenhally Farm pass Lord’s Holt I managed Kingfisher, male and female Garganey, 2 Turtle Dove, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Snipe, Shelduck, Cetties Warbler and a distant Cattle Egret. A welcome stop in Whittlesey for food then it was a late evening ride along the Nene Way back to Peterborough enjoying 2 Little Egret and 2 Barn Owl plus a romantic couple going hell for leather. Bless.


Monday, 11 May 2009

May 11th 2009

Overnight the wind had turned to the north east and increased so not worth chasing the chat or pipit and waited till this afternoon’s to visit the pond and it was a struggle against the elements but at least the Wood Sandpiper in rainbow corner made the effort worth while. Not a common visitor in these parts being only my 23rd record and my first since August 2002. Also around the reservoir were tundra Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Common Tern and Black Tern resting on OL buoy. Last nights moth catch had my first Flame Carpet of the year.


Sunday, 10 May 2009

May 10th 2009

I was in cloud heaven this morning checking me trap - 32 moths of 20 species including 4 new for the year:-Bee Moth, Sallow Kitten, Chinese Character and Heart and Dart and doesn’t include a hawkmoth species that was bombing around the garden at midnight. Also 4 May Bugs so certainly my best night of the year.

Sallow Kitten
I ambled down to pond just before 7am with Dave to hardly a breath of wind and bright sunshine meeting up with the Bumbling Bears for an enjoyable walk to the sewage farm with the birds heard singing for a change and not fighting the wind. Managed a male Common Scoter off the valve tower which moved in to toft bay, 3 Common Tern, Wheatear on farborough bank, Common Sandpiper and Dunlin toft bank with the Dunlin giving concerns it looked moribund but it slowly perked up over the next hour and stated feeding before calling a few times then flew off with the Common Sandpiper. Presumably it had done a long overnight journey and was just recuperating. Also Grey Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Swift, 3 Gadwall and 2 Buzzard while butterflies were represented by 4 Common Blue, Speckled Wood and Brimstone and moths around the café included female Muslin, Waved Umber and 2 Brimstone Moths.
Unfortunately Brandon Marsh was quiet apart from the Kodak flickers clunking away at distance dots and planes from the nearby airport droning overhead so it did not make for a pleasant visit. The Oystercatchers have four chicks and my first Azure Damselflies were on the wing.
Over my garden this afternoon I had Bullfinch female, Hobby and Kestrel and the Tree Pipit, Whinchat and Turtle Dove seen in the valley this afternoon will have to wait as I am dining at Dave’s tonight. Also of interest to me is that both Fox and Emperor Moths were on the wing this afternoon so need to do a trip to the north of the county if this weather holds out and on top of that the Nene valley has a couple of species I wouldn’t mind seeing so busy week ahead.

Lime Hawk-Moth female sent by Mark Phillips that he found at home today


Saturday, 9 May 2009

May 9th 2009

We abandoned the county for Leicestershire. A brief look at Eye-brook Reservoir produced 8 Shelduck, 5 Common Tern, 3 Ringed Plover and Kingfisher then it was on to Rutland Water where we had the summer plumage Cattle Egret showing well in front of the visitors centre on lagoon 1 along with many Common Tern, Sand Martin and Swifts before moving on to Lagoon 4. This new area is an excellent set up – designed for waders so won’t be surprised if we are back in the autumn and o boy do I wish we could have one at draycote. We found winter plumage and partial summer plumage Sanderling, Little Stint, Greenshank, Redshank, 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin and 4 Oystercatcher. Not to be out done by the waders present an Osprey came in and landed on a sandy spit of one of the many island then walked out to bathe with a Red Kite showing distantly at the same time. As we made our way back to lagoon 1 we had fly by Cuckoo and Hobby and other birds of note were Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler, 2 Egyptian Geese with 4 young and 40+ Shelduck.
Spent some time wandering around the Finshade area of Northamptonshire watching at least a dozen Red Kite then moved on to Daventry Country Park but unfortunately the Red-rumped Swallow that was present this morning had not been seen for a few hours but treated to 4 Hobbies feeding low over the water near to the dam.
Just completing this blog and the moth trap is going la la - Common Pug, 2 Brimstone, Muslin, Bee Moth, Least Black Arches, Garden Carpet and a couple I will need to Id later so a few more hours should see a couple of more species - I hope.


Friday, 8 May 2009

May 8th 2009

It was still windy this morning though not as strong as it had been but soon became stronger so spent the time checking the skies above me garden while I did me domestics. A few Swifts, Cormorant heading east and Sparrowhawk over while a male Bullfinch brightened up the ironing.
Out with Dave for coffee this afternoon to the pond – and yes it was still windy. I was hoping that the skua’s seen in the Bristol Channel this morning might have been the start of something big inland but alas what do i know so we had to make do with 200 Swift, 4 Yellow Wagtail and female Wheatear as we struggled in the conditions with one gust recorded at 35mph this afternoon.


May 7th 2009

Yet another mild blustery night gusting over 25mph accompanied by drizzle early morning becoming brighter and warmer later but no sooner than I arrived at Draycote Water I wished I was somewhere else. Sorry folk this wind is getting me down and it’s not bringing in much. Managed Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Reed Warbler and 800 Swift before I gave in and did me garden. Bob Hazell took this excellent shot of Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover
My garden trap had Cabbage Moth and Dagger species (you have to check its bits to separate grey from dark)

Dagger species
A quick look at the valley this evening with Dave on our way to the pub produced 14 Stock Dove and two Buzzard.


Wednesday, 6 May 2009

May 6th 2009

The wind had dropped a bit overnight so took advantage of a dawn visit to the pond to be met by 2 Little Ringed Plover in toft bay. Also present were Common Tern, 3 Yellow Wagtail and Common Sandpiper on or from farborough bank and warblers were in strong voice with Lesser Whitethroat and Grasshopper Warbler heard and Garden, Reed and Sedge Warbler seen along with Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, and Blackcap. At least 29 immature Lesser Black-back Gulls flew north and adult Kittiwake arrived as the wind picked up again.


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

May 5th 2009

The temperature actually climbed while I was trapping last night starting at 11c and peaked at 16c with the odd light shower though the blustery wind kept the numbers down to 117 moths of 27 species. On the way back from mothing called in at Wormleighton Reservoir managing Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow, many warbler species including Garden, Reed and Sedge, Common Sandpiper and a surprisingly late Redwing unless its summering in the area – certainly looked smart.
Eventually ambled out late morning to Sainsbury’s which had Garden Warbler and Whitethroat singing above the din of cars and kids then on to Draycote Water late afternoon but it was very blustery with gusts of 35mph. Common Sandpiper in toft bay, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Stock Dove but little else and it wasn’t worth fighting the wind to look for warblers – they had there heads down.
Over the estate this even a Hobby was keeping an eye on the 10+ Swifts.


Monday, 4 May 2009

May 4th 2009

The second morning in a row I wished I’d put the thermals on as I cycled out at 4am and it was down to 3 degrees but at least the wind had dropped a little as I walked the footpath from Toft to Sutton’s Spinney and Beck Hill then on to the sewage farm at Draycote Water before walking to toft shallows and up to Toft and Trog.
The first mile was dark and quiet and I was more intent on keeping warm but a Barn Owl hunting in the distance finally slowed me up and as it got lighter the dawn chorus produced Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, and a few of the commoner warblers trying to be heard.
The lagoons had very little but a welcome brew sheltered by a small spinney gave me a chance to enjoy close views of Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Great-spotted Woodpecker and my first valley Cuckoo of the year. As I walked east I was surprised to flush a Short-eared Owl and watched it for five minutes before it settled and I left it alone to continue its rest – no doubt a late migrant. By the time I arrived at Draycote Water it was raining lightly and other birds of note seen were 2 Red-legged and 2 Grey Partridge, Sedge Warbler and 6 Lapwing.
A visit to Draycote Water on a bank holiday Monday is never recommended but the overcast conditions had kept the lica brigade to a minimum. Male Wheatear and 2 Yellow Wagtail on toft bank and 3 Common Tern in toft bay along with a sleeping female Pintail while overhead there plenty of Swift and 3 Whimbrel flew over heading west.
Back home and as I prepared for tonight’s mothing session in the south of the county a steady movement of martins and swallows was noted over the garden with 10 House and 46 Swallows mainly in singles or pairs all coming from the south east around mid-day and also 3 local Swifts patrolling over.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

May 3rd 2009

Birding wise it’s been a real crap day. Though sunny the cold blustery northerly winds kept the temperatures down and we saw very little that was different from Friday when we had a walk out to the sewage farm at Draycote water with Kevin Grewcock managing only 4 Common Tern and a Common Sandpiper. In the sheltered areas we are doing well for Whitethroats and Sedge Warbler and we might have seen a Reed Warbler but it disappeared as soon as we glimpsed it. Highlight of the visit was a Pale Tussock on the wall of the café.

Met up with Colin Potter for breakfast at Long Itchington giving us a chance to look at this Knot Grass that was in his garden trap and couldn’t identify then it was on to Brandon Marsh.

Just as windy and just as quiet with a few more Garden Warbler and Whitethroat on territories than our last visit but otherwise it was the usual birds on east marsh:- male Wigeon, 2 Teal, Snipe, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and 4 Little Ringed Plover so no change there.
Back at Dave’s and he had another poor moth catch – not sure what’s going on with his garden but he’s 30% down on last years catch while I’m 20% up so he is not a happy bunny.


Saturday, 2 May 2009

May 2nd 2009

Originally planned as a day out to see the Crested Lark at Dungerness, Kent but the Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler and Collared Flycatcher at Portland Bill, Dorset meant the crew had a change of plan so I went with the flow. I have seen both in this country and abroad so was more interested in any other migrants we could pick up and the weather looked good for butterflies in the New Forest, Hampshire later.
The Collared Flycatcher showed well at Sweethill, Southwell, but there was no sign today of the Eastern Bonelli's Warbler and I missed the Goshawk that went over. With many birders all over the bill we also managed to catch up with Short-eared Owl, Grasshopper Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Puffin and Pomarine Skua.
Called in at Radipole Lake RSPB to see the male Hooded Merganser that’s wintered there though its credentials are questionable then on to various locations in the New Forest finding 9 species of butterfly including Duke of Burgundy, Marsh Fritillary two species I have not seen for ten years or so with the duke being seen in good numbers at some locations and the marsh are out slightly earlier this year. Also Green Hairstreak and Dingy Skipper and birds in the area included Woodlark, Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Wood Warbler and Crossbill.


Friday, 1 May 2009

May 1st 2009

I arrived at the pond just after 5:30am and yesterdays Grasshopper Warbler and Blue-headed Wagtail were still present along with 4 Yellow Wagtail, 12 Linnet and 16 Goldfinch and the 5 Common Tern
A check for moths around the visitor centre lights produced Swallow Prominent, Brindled Pug, Red Green Carpet and 2 Muslin Moth showing the benefits of a very mild night. Other sighting included 2 Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, 3 Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker and 2 Sparrowhawk. Met up with Dave in the afternoon and the wind had picked up so difficult to nail anything down though Bob and Francoise had found a Least Black Arches and Chocolate Tip moths that I had missed earlier.

Chocolate Tip by Bob Hazell

Brimstone Moth by Bob Hazell

Pebble Hook-tip in last nights garden trap