Tuesday, 30 June 2009

June 30th 2009

Jupiter and four of its moons were showing well early this morning but alas the International Space Station must have been to low to be seen unless I’m blind as it flew over southern England.
Once the trap was cleared it was out before the predicted heat wave enjoying a wander round Lawford Heath and Frankton though there was not a lot about. Corn Bunting, Yellow Wagtail, Buzzard and Hobby were the best of the bunch.
This afternoon while listening to the girlie ping pong from Wimbledon the garden had Southern Hawker, Painted Lady and Red Admiral.



Monday, 29 June 2009

June 29th 2009

It was another good night for garden moths with my first Leopard Moth of the year and a very bright green July Highflyer along with good numbers of the more regular species.

With a butterfly trip arranged this afternoon I wanted to do a quick check on the pond so at 5:30am I was enjoying a Little Ringed Plover in toft bay. Only other bird of note was a Yellow-legged Gull with 40 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 20 Black-headed Gull and 2 joggers. Blimey I thought I was the only fool – must be breeding.
Mid-morning and my garden produced a very brief visit from a Hummingbird Hawk-moth – my second record for the garden of this immigrant.
Despite being extremely warm this afternoon I visited Combrook and Oversley in the south of the county enjoying many species, a pint of a rather nice ale and a few birds.
Some of the highlights were:-
Mother of Pearl, Dun-bar, Shaded Broad-bar, Straw Dot, Silver Y, Chimney Sweeper, Yellow Shell and many micros to be identify
Small Skipper, White-letter Hairstreak, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral, Painted Lady
Azure, Common Blue, Red-eyed, Large Red and Blue-tailed Damselfly and Emperor Dragonfly, Broad-bodied Chaser and my first for the year Southern Hawker
Red Kite south of Stratford on Avon near Red Hill, Raven, Lesser Whitethroat, Nuthatch, Buzzard, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Hobby.
Muntjac, Hare, Stoat, Rabbit and Squirrel while last night my garden had 2 Hedgehog


Sunday, 28 June 2009

June 28th 2009

Another cracking night in virgin territory with our host taking a keen interest doing the rounds to see what we had caught. Although the full count is still being collated the plus side for me were the 3 V-Pugs I trapped, the numbers of Heart and Club a species I rarely catch and the hundreds of micros that's taking ages to get to grips with. Biggest surprise was the Marbled White and Meadow Brown butterflies that were in one of my traps. In the night Tawny Owl and Barn Owl were heard and as we broke the traps down in the morning we had Great-spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Willow Warbler, Skylark, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff.

V Pug

Marbled White

As Dave was away I had his garden trap and mine to clear down before crawling in to the sack.
Later in the day I had a walk to Dunchurch managing Buzzard, Hobby, Treecreeper, Willow Tit, Nuthatch and Spotted Flycatcher along with Red Admiral, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Ringlet butterflies.


June 27th 2009

After last nights mothing session I eventually surfaced to find I had over 200 months to sort out in my garden traps eventually identifying 61 species before getting ready for another session tonight. Clay was new for the year and amazingly I trapped 4 of theses Buff Arches when normally I’m lucky if I get one in a year.

Buff Arches
Most of the day has been humid and cloudy with very little bird activity in or over the garden. Sparrowhawk over at 2pm and Lesser Black-backed Gull at 4pm. A wander to Sainsbury’s via the Cock Robin nature reserve brought me my first Emperor Dragonfly of the year.
Travelling locally to Frankton for tonight's session we passed some old fishing ponds which had a pair of Teal on and while waiting for the rest of the tribe managed Buzzard, Garden Warbler and Blackcap.


Saturday, 27 June 2009

June 26th 2009

Late afternoon thunderstorms and heavy rain finally brought in birds to Draycote Water with 2 Black Tern and 3 Common Tern out in centre and a Wood Sandpiper on the shoreline of biggen bay. Other sightings included Sedge Warbler, 9 Goldfinch, Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Grey Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail, 6 Bullfinch, 4 Green Woodpecker, 21 Lesser Black-backed Gull and the first returning Yellow-legged Gulls with 2 adults.
Earlier in the afternoon with Dave we had searched for butterflies being very successful with 12 Marbled White behind the Travel Lodge by the Princethorpe flyover on the A45, hundreds of Meadow Browns and Ringlets at Draycote Meadows with another Marbled White and day flying moths including 5 Cinnabar and Yellow Shell. We also searched the adjacent disused railway line (cycle route 41) finding 3 Silver-ground Carpet, Common White Wave, Yellow Shell and 2 Brown Silver-lines and 2 Large Whites.
Reason for the late visit at the pond was to run a trap for a couple of hours and I soon realised I should have brought a shovel – place was cooking. Soon ran out of pots and in the end recorded over 450 moths of 81 species adding Peach Blossom and Plain Golden Y to my pond list. Off to bed.


Thursday, 25 June 2009

June 25th 2009

Last night was cooler and blustery so a poor moth catch in comparison to the last few days and it also meant the pond took awhile to liven up. Still very quiet on the birding front with female or eclipse male Teal in toft bay, 58 Mute Swan, 3 Lapwing, 2 Lesser Black-back Gulls, family parties of Whitethroat, Blackcap, House Sparrow and Garden Warbler and 2 soaring Buzzard.
Struggled to find any insects in the sheltered areas of the sailing club car park eventually managing Blood-vein moth, 2 Grizzled Skipper, Painted Lady, 2 Larger Skipper and Common Blue while around the reservoir there were good numbers of Meadow Brown and Ringlet along with 6 Speckled Wood and 3 Marbled White.
Meanwhile some of the grockles were getting frisky in the sunshine forgetting the invention of telescopes so thanks for the show – scored it 9 for content but only 5 for artistic impression, leaving your socks on isn’t romantic.

Swallow-tail Moth

Bordered White


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

June 24th 2009

The last few days have been hectic but very productive.

Monday June 22nd 2009
With humid conditions and cloud cover predicted for the evening I managed a last minute lift to Wormlieghton early evening to run 2 traps and two light sheets for a few hours in an area that has not been trapped very often if at all. Unfortunately it means you have to sweat a bit carrying your gear but the reward of a Long-eared Owl gliding past me as I brewed up certainly made up for it and the nearby fishermen were very entertaining. The same or another was heard in the night along with Tawny Owl while earlier I had seen Sedge and Reed Warbler, Corn Bunting and Tree Sparrow.

Tuesday June 23rd 2009
The night turned in to complete joy with so many moths arriving I had a hard job keeping up and was reluctant to leave with 111 species of 590 moths in only three hours but I was due out in a few hours and needed me beauty sleep. Best of the catch for me personally was Broom and Alder Moth. My workload increased when I arrived home and the garden traps were full so had to turn them off, 199 of 53 species adding Bordered White to the garden year list.
By 9am I was having breakfast near Brighton, Sussex on the south coast with match sticks holding up the eyelids and a day of butterflies, moths and other flapping things ahead of me. Once fed the first port of call was to see the Scarlet Tigers a moth I have rarely in this country managing two then on to a Nature Reserve where amongst the many nesting Black-headed Gulls there were a few Med Gulls and a single Roseate Tern amongst the Common Terns. Also seen were Wheatear, Hobby, Little Tern, Reed and Sedge Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat along with Pyramidal Orchids.
As they day warmed up we moved on to look for butterflies on the Downs managing 17 species including my first Marbled White, Dark Green Fritillary, White-letter Hairstreak and Adonis Blue of the year. Day flying moths or those disturbed included Six Spot Burnet, Grass Wave and a road side Cream Spot Tiger caused mayhem until it was re-found. Fragrant Orchid added to a growing list and a few unidentified bats in the evening when setting up the moth traps.

Wedensday June 24th 2009
Last nights session included Scorched Carpet, Brussels Lace, Puss Moth, Four Dotted Footman, Privet Hawkmoth, Galium Carpet, Pretty Chalk Carpet, Sharp-angled Peacock which were all new for me and also managed Lobster Moth Pine Carpet, Smoky Wainscot, Heart & Club, Birds Wing and Coronet all new for the year so a brilliant session. The species count stands at 118 and still counting with 1300+ trapped. I arrived home mid-morning in time for domestic’s duties before crashing out. Getting too old to survive on 5hrs sleep in 2 days but there again I’m only on this planet for a second so why waste it dreaming of debauchery or my waistline.
Mid afternoon found me and the pheromones looking for clearwings on the allotment behind Dave’s house managing Currant and Red-belted Clearwing while he slaved away in the office – shame. A Shelduck flew over the garden this evening while getting the garden traps ready.
Meanwhile the whales and dolphins sightings in the Bay of Biscay from the Pride of Bilbao have produced Minke Whale, Sperm Whale, Long-finned Pilot Whale, Common Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin, Striped Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin and Cuvier's Beaked Whale on recent sailings so guess who's going.


Sunday, 21 June 2009

June 21st 2009

A pleasant day bashing the pond and the valley

Spotted Flycatcher: biggen bay Draycote Water
Common Tern: 2 Draycote Water
Sedge Warbler: 3 Draycote Water
Grey Wagtail: Draycote Water 2 and one at Grandborough
Yellow Wagtail: family party at Draycote Water, one at Grandborough Fields and 2 at Napton Reservoir
Grasshopper Warbler: one seen between Woolscott and Sawbridge
Cuckoo: one found dead near Willoughby
Buzzard: Draycote Water 2, Hill Rd 4, Sawbridge 2, Napton Reservoir 3
Cetties Warbler: Napton Reservoir
Also Jay, 2 Sparrowhawk, 8 Stock Dove, 6 Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler and Red-legged Partridge seen on me travels

Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly and Large Red Damselfly at Napton Reservoir
Common Blue, Blue-tailed, White-legged Damselfly and Banded Demoiselle at Stockton Cutting
Broad-bodied Chaser at Calcutt
Banded Demoiselle at Millholme Bridge A426

Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large White, Red Admiral and Common Blue

Grey Squirrel, Fox, Hare, Rabbit

Grass Snake swimming across Napton Reservoir

Day flying moths or those disturbed at various locations were Chimney Sweeper, Silver-ground Carpet, Barred Yellow, Burnet Companion, Mother Shipton, Straw Dot, Silver Y, Light Brown Apple Moth, Garden Grass veneer, Lozotaenia fosterana, Crambus pascuella.


Saturday, 20 June 2009

June 20th 2009

Out last night mothing till 2am with the SP47 Moth’ers Club adding Marbled White Spot to my county list plus a few new for the year such as Lunar Yellow Underwing, Dusky Brocade, Small Angled Shades, Ghost Moth, Grey Arches, Peach Blossom and Blotched Emerald (100+).
My good fortune continued with a Barn Owl seen near the Princethorpe flyover on the way home and my first garden record of Lilac Beauty was resting on the side of my trap

Peach Blossom

Marbled White Spot

Ghost Moth

Only birding done today has been in the garden with Sparrowhawk and Buzzard over and a family of Robins this afternoon.


Friday, 19 June 2009

June 19th 2009

It was a blustery afternoon when Dave and I visited the pond for our Friday coffee and cake session with winds up to 25mph. Our walk to farborough point produced a male Ruddy Duck near the fishing pontoons. An unusual record for this time of year and even more so as numbers locally have dropped dramatically since they have been culling them for being over friendly with White-headed Ducks in Spain. Also seen were 3 Common Terns and 3 Buzzard while Mute Swan numbers are still well over 50+. The wind ruined any attempt to find Grizzled Skipper and all we managed were 2 Large Skippers.


June 18th 2009

A Barn Owl flew across the A45 near the entrance to Onley Prison at 6:15 am and a Cuckoo near Woolscott at 6:40am was a good start for a long overdue visit to the valley and this continued with Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Sparrowhawk, 3 Red-legged Partridge and Great-spotted Woodpecker seen between Sawbridge and Flecknoe. Searching some of the larger gardens in Flecknoe eventually revealed a difficult to see Spotted Flycatcher along with Garden Warbler and 2 Tree Sparrow. Unfortunately there were no sign of any Turtle Doves at Wolfhamcote so moved on to the Flecknoe Rd where a Little Owl at Grandborough Fields Farm and 2 Grey Partridge near the Baesley smallholding were the best I could find.
By the time I reached Draycote Water the wind had picked up which kept most of the butterflies down but managed Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell and Common Blue. New birds were female Shelduck and Redshank while the regulars included Common Tern, Garden Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler, 4 Whitethroat, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Green Woodpecker and 4 Buzzard.
On the way home I tried for clearwings on a couple of allotments succeeding at the Thurluston Road, Dunchurch one with 2 Currant Clearwing.
On our way to the pub this evening we checked on the Hill and Flecknoe Rd section of the valley hearing many Whitethroats, one Yellow Wagtail in horse paddocks and a Hobby over Hill Rd.


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

June 17th 2009

Just garden watching today. Highlights late this afternoon after a rain shower were 30 Swift, Sparrowhawk and Hobby overhead and 2 Bullfinch at feeders.


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

June 16th 2009

Despite the warm conditions I gave the pond a real bashing today.
Understandably bird wise it’s still very quiet though on the insect side I fared better coming away with a few odds and sods.
Birding highlights were Sparrowhawk, 56 Mute Swan, 250 Canada Geese, 77 Great-crested Grebe, Common Tern, male Teal, family parties of Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat.
Dragonflies were represented by Azure, Common Blue and Blue-tailed damselfly and a single Four-spotted Chaser.
Butterflies were: Grizzled Skipper, 16 Large Skipper, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, 11 Speckled Wood, 2 Painted Lady, 22 Meadow Brown, 9 Common Blue and Ringlet.
Moths came in two groups. Day flying/disturbed which were Barred Yellow, Silver-ground Carpet, 4 Straw Dot, 2 Blood-vein, Silver Y, Chimney Sweeper, Cyclamen Tortrix, Celypha Lacunana while moths roosting on the wall of the café were Small Magpie, Light Emerald and 2 Brown Rustics.


Sunday, 14 June 2009

June 14th 2009

Two Common Tern feeding at Wormleighton Reservoir and both Hobby and Cuckoo showing well at Brandon Marsh were the avian highlights of lovely warm morning.
Back at Dave’s we had the pheromones out and managed to attract this lively Currant Clearwing adding it to his garden list.

Honest folks it’s a moth but certainly resembles a fly.
Other sightings while we were out and about.
Silver Y, Barred Yellow, 2 Cinnabar, Silver-ground Carpet, 2 Straw Dot
Large White, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Large Skipper, 5 Painted Lady
Red-eyed, Common Blue, Blue-tailed, White-legged and Large Red Damselfly
Muntjac, Fox, Rabbit


Friday, 12 June 2009

June 12th 2009

A cool clear night was not productive for moths but ideal for observing Jupiter and four of its moons - Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Recent rain has cleared up the air pollution and if it’s clear over the next few nights Jupiter is near the moon from very late till dawn.
A Goldfinch on the feeders this time of year is an odd record for the garden while broods of Blackbird, Greenfinch and Dunnock are scattered about calling to be fed. At least 10 Swifts feeding overhead but a 30 minute check on the sky produced nothing else.
A look at the pond with Dave this afternoon in gorgeous weather was just that – a look!
Draycote Meadows had Chiffchaff, 6 Bullfinch, 2 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Jay and 2 Buzzard with 20+ Common Blue, 30+ Large Skipper, 2 Small Heath, 5 Large White, 6 Painted Lady, 6 Speckled Wood, 5 Grass Rivulet, Burnet Companion and 2 Celyha lacunana.


Thursday, 11 June 2009

June 11th 2009

The heavy rains did not stop the moths arriving last night and I ended up with a decent catch although 36 of the 51 trapped were Heart and Darts. Best of the rest were Cabbage Moth and Silver Y. Dave had 65 Heart and Dart.
The only highlight’s of visit to the valley was a Raven which flew over Woolscott and a White-legged damselfly at Sawbridge.
Draycote Water had Common Tern, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Bullfinch, 2 Jay, 2 Grey Wagtail, 8 Long-tailed Tit and 9 Linnets while back home after a heavy rain shower a Hobby went over and Willow Tit appeared on the feeders.
Another Hobby this evening flying across Onley Lane while out with Dave looking at mothing sites.


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

June 10th 2009

Two nights of mothing at Draycote Water and Oversely Wood nr Alcester has not given me much time for blogging so before disappearing again, thought I better bring the diary up to date. Very little bird news now we are well in to June but the late movement of waders and terns in the midlands brought a Black Tern to the pond on the evening of the 8th while setting up and a Greenshank calling in the middle of the night. Oversely was a more productive with local species such as Sparrowhawk, Jay, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Buzzard, Raven, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Spotted Flycatcher.
On the mothing side I managed only 103 moths of 36 species adding Shears to my pond list while last night Oversley was more productive trapping 81 species of 288 moths added four to my Warwickshire list including the longed for Red-necked Footman. Hopefully a day of valley and pond bashing tomorrow if the promised sunshine appears will give me a chance to play catch up on the birding front.
Steve Seal sent me one of his stonking images of Eyed Hawk-moth showing its ‘eyes’ after reading about my poor efforts in persuasion.


Sunday, 7 June 2009

June 7th 2009

The lousy weather this morning brought in to Draycote Water a partial summer plumage Sanderling on toft bank and a Little Ringed Plover in toft bay where the remains of an immature Mute Swan carcass had been picked clean by scavengers.
Also around were many young Pied Wagtails, 400 Swift, 100 House Martin, 2 Yellow Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, 130 Canada Geese, and Grey Wagtail.
Brandon Marsh despite more rain had Black-tailed Godwit go over heading west, Cuckoo calling and a few Reed and Cetties Warbler showing in front of east marsh hide before we decided we had enough of soggy gear.


Saturday, 6 June 2009

June 6th 2009

We left Rugby early in heavy rain which petered out before Kings Lynn and after a healthy breakfast of grapefruit (with side orders of egg, bacon, hash browns, fried bread etc) arrived at Thornham on the Norfolk coast straight in to excellent views of the Black-winged Pratincole. The bird was very obliging giving prolonged views in the ploughed field occasionally flushed by an over protective Lapwing with a Marsh Harrier male hunting in the distant. Though dry it was bitterly cold in the fresh easterly breeze but the views from the ridge over the Norfolk coast were memorable and we found 3 more Marsh Harriers hunting the coastal marshes.
Decided to head inland looking for warmer weather but failed miserably with no sun, Stone Curlew or Woodlark ending the day with 2 Red Kite over the A14 near Kettering.
Luckily we missed the rain all day though tomorrows forecast will mean waterproofs as a Severe Weather Warning has been issued for this area (metcheck).


Friday, 5 June 2009

June 5th 2009

The pond was quiet this afternoon apart from a few Swifts flying low over the café and a Garden Warbler calling so we called in at Stockton Cutting managing 2 day flying Burnet Companion moths, Painted Lady and a few White-legged damselfly.

Burnet Companion
Interesting moths overnight were 2 Peppered Moths in my trap showing both the normal and the melanic forms – quiet a difference.

Peppered Moth of the melanic for carbonaria

Peppered Moth

Dave had this Eyed Hawk-moth which would not show its eyes fully.

Weather for the weekend is dire so water proofs and thermals required.


Thursday, 4 June 2009

June 4th 2009

A cold night so a total opposite to the previous nights catch with very few moths (10 in mine) and a similar story from Dave’s trap when I cleared down this morning though luckily he did have a stunning Elephant Hawk-moth that Bob could photograph plus this Figure of Eighty.

Birding has gone quiet so Draycote Water could offer only 3 Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4 Linnet, male Teal and male Gadwall this afternoon and instead of the pub this evening we fancied trawling the valley hoping for Quail calling but we only heard and found 2 Grey Partridge. The Flecknoe Road birds have not been heard for a couple of day according to the land owner.


Wednesday, 3 June 2009

June 3rd 2009

Last nights humid temperatures were replaced by cooler conditions when I did a quick visit to Draycote Water this morning with Bob.
A Common Tern was off farborough bank, Little Ringed Plover circled over toft bay, male Teal landed in toft shallows 10am which is an unusual record for this time of year here and Yellow Wagtail was on toft bank. Also noted were 2 Graylag and the Mute Swan flock has increased to 52 while on the insect side very little was flying recording only 2 Common Blue and a solitary Painted Lady. Before the start of our walk we gave the café a once over for roosting moths finding Common Swift, Pale Prominent and Scorched Wing.
Both Dave’s and my garden moth traps went ballistic with 104 of 43 species in mine and Dave was still counting when I spoke to him this evening – undreds was his best description. Cnephasia longana was new moth for my garden and new for the year were Small fan-foot and Miller.

Scorched Wing

Lime Hawk-moth one of two caught last night and my 4th of the year


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

June 2nd 2009

Well at least I tried. Had intended it to be a day dedicated to the pond but there was not a lot on offer with only a Black Tern out in the centre indicative of any passage. A search of the toft & farborough banks, country park and the sailing car parks produced Grey Wagtail, Hobby, 41 Mute Swan, 51 Canada Geese, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, 8 Garden Warbler, 3 Whitethroat and a few Blackcaps by which time the warming temperatures meant plenty of insects were soon showing.
Highlights were 58 Common Blue majority on farborough bank along with 6 Painted Lady, Silver Y and 4 Yellow Shell which is a shame they have now started mowing the grass (and flowers) on the grounds they need to have good visibility of the bank’s in case of any deterioration. More Painted Lady were on the move which appears to have slowed up and one of the 6 Grizzled Skippers seen decided to pose for photos as it warmed up.

Grizzled Skipper by Bob Hazell
Bob, Francoise and I, decided to pop over to Bishops Bowl adding 8 Dingy Skipper, 5 Large Skipper, 3 Small Heath and a Straw Dot to the day list

Dingy Skipper by Bob Hazell
before calling in at Stockton so Bob could take photos of the Greater Butterfly Orchid seeing similar species to Sunday but also noting Four Spotted Chaser amongst the Dragonflies and the day flying moth Cinnabar.
Five Spikes of Bee Orchid are out at the pond but two of last years sites have failed.

Bee Orchid by Bob Hazell
Last nights catch added Freyer’s Pug, Green Pug and Scorched Wing to the garden moth year list and with cloud cover tonight it could be good.


Monday, 1 June 2009

June 1st 2009

No news - fell asleep in the deck chair this afternoon. Woke to Buzzard going over and immature Bullfinch on garden fence
Some shots from yesterday.

Common Spotted Orchid Stockton

Greater Butterfly Orchid Stockton

Buff Ermine