Friday, 31 July 2009

July 31st 2009

This morning was very warm so the garden had quiet a few butterflies with 3 Peacock, 8 Large White, 6 Painted Lady, 2 Comma, Green-veined White and Gate Keeper all before 10am with Sparrowhawk, 2 Swift, and 4 Swallow overhead plus 23 Lesser Black-backed Gull heading west.
In the afternoon I met up with Dave for our Friday session at Draycote Water (hard to believe folks but no cake for me – I’m on a diet) and met up with Bob Hazell spending a great hour chewing the cud before we decided to give the country park a bashing for butterflies.
In just over an hour walking the perimeter of the top field we had another good count considering it was cloudier and windier than this morning.
Small Skipper 2
Common Blue 10
Small Copper 7
Comma 1
Painted Lady 96
Peacock 32
Red Admiral 1
Small Tortoiseshell 1
Gate Keeper 35
Meadow Brown 5
Speckled Wood 1
Green-veined White 1
Large White 171

Small Copper

Common Blue
We also managed to find 2 Southern Hawker and stumbled across a possible Azure Damselfly, 3 Silver Y, flushed a worn Dingy Footman and estimated the number of Udea lutealis (a mico moth) to be over 200 at least and met a very nice couple on there way back to Yorkshire. Surprisingly considering I have hardly seen any before there were hundreds of Ladybirds.

Udea lutealis by Bob Hazell - another cracking shot.
Looks like its cloudy and mild tonight with the odd shower so hopefully the moths might increase and my neighbours are letting me light up me garden up like Eddystone Lighthouse. Though last nights catch was poor again I did manage a Chocolate Tip.

Chocolate Tip - a poor shot considering I took loads - teach me not to check quality before releasing it.


July 30th 2009

Once I had completed me walk and moths I ambled round the valley managing an adult Osprey over Grandborough village heading towards Draycote Water just before I got drenched by another heavy shower. Earlier I had managed to see Tree Sparrow at Flecknoe and a Brown Argus along the Hill Rd. There were many Swifts on the move either because of the weather front approaching or they were on the way south. Lucky buggers don’t have to queue for three hours to leave the country like us humans do.
On the way to Cubbington to meet the boys for a drink in the evening we managed only a single Buzzard and there seem to be a few moths flying in the car headlights but this was not reflected in my catch.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

July 29th 2009

Overnight was a little better than of late so managed a few moths with Pale Prominent and Peppered Moth of the form f.insularia which was only my second record being the best.
Unfortunately the day went down hill after that with heavy rain and it got so bad I ended up enjoying pigeons - god forbid.

Wood Pigeon


Tuesday, 28 July 2009

July 28th 2009

I’ve been away for my annual ride in the tube of doom so arrived home this afternoon finding the garden a hive of activity with 6 Painted Ladies, Holly Blue, 4 Peacock, and 6 Large White. Also of interest were 8 White-tailed Bumble-Bees, 2 Red-tailed Bumble-bee and a single Common carder Bumble-bee. I was desperate for some fresh air so wandered over to Cock Robin and despite the blustery conditions more butterflies seen with Peacock, Red Admiral, 3 Painted lady, 3 Large White and 4 Speckled Wood as well as Southern Hawker and Common Blue Damselfly. Back home and early evening I had overhead 50 Swift 20 House Martin and 5 Swallow.
Had considered spending the evening at the pond but rain was on its way so gave it a miss especially as very little has changed since my last visit and the forecast is predicting a deluge mid-morning tomorrow. Meanwhile here's three photos I've been sent

Hummingbird Hawk-moth by Pa Phillips taken in 2006 but there are a few around at the moment so keep your eyes peeled.

Old Lady by Micheal Brewer found in his conservatory over the weekend. Just starting to emerge so I hope I get one soon. Mind you the way the weather is - any moth will do.

Dusky Sallow by John Judge taken a week last Saturday on the cafe wall at the pond


Saturday, 25 July 2009

July 25th 2009

At least 3 Whitethroats along Southam Rd before we visited Draycote Water this morning. A walk out to toft bay produced Dunlin, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Sand Martin, Whitethroat and 2 Yellow-legged Gull.
Even before 9am there were plenty of butterflies on the lavender by the visitors centre and in the lower parts of country park's top field, at least 6 Painted Lady.

Silver-washed Fritillary
Moved on to Ryton Woods managing 15 Purple Hairstreak if you didn't mind a stiff neck and 6 Silver-washed Fritillary among the many other species seen but not counted. A few larger dragonflies around with 4 Brown, 2 Common and 2 Southern Hawker and Emperor Dragonfly noted. We came across a large roving flock of young birds mainly made up of Great and Blue Tit but also included Bullfinch, 3 Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker and 6 Nuthatch. At least 50 birds involved and else where we had a couple of family parties of Wren and a young Buzzard begging for food.


Friday, 24 July 2009

July 24th 2009

Yellow-legged Gull on the boats off the visitors centre the only bird of note when Dave and I visited the pond this afternoon and despite the odd rain shower came away with some outstanding butterfly counts for the country park. Not one of the best places on planet earth to go butterflying but 14 species is not to be sniffed at.
Small Skipper 9
Common Blue 14
Small Copper 1
Comma 10
Painted Lady 80
Peacock 6
Red Admiral 7
Small Tortoiseshell 20
Gate Keeper 30
Meadow Brown 80
Ringlet 40
Speckled Wood 7
Green-veined White 4
Large White 100

Painted Lady
Disappointingly we could not find any Marbled Whites so we moved on to Draycote Meadows where there were at least 100 of them and another 100 Painted Lady plus 8 Six-spot Burnet. We also managed a Buzzard and 16 Swift. All the PLs look very fresh so probably going to be thousands on the wing soon if the weather holds up.

Six-spot Burnet

Earlier in the day as the heavens opened up I managed a quick shot of this dragonfly in the garden. Think its a female Emperor Dragonfly and a garden tick.
After another very heavy shower mid evening a Whitethroat turned up in the garden and 7 Sand Martin flew south.


Thursday, 23 July 2009

July 23rd 2009

I was enjoying two Whimbrel in rainbow corner, Draycote Water when Paul Cashmore text to say he had eight go over his garden in Coventry as he left for work so must have been a movement overnight and not a bad start to your day. Not sure if mine stayed as per usual the fishermen always want to fish the area the birds are resting in. Earlier I had a male Wheatear on hensborough bank along with juvenile Grey Wagtail, 4 Common Sandpiper flying together around toft bay, Little Ringed Plover in toft bay, Treecreeper in toft shallows and immature Teal off farborough bank. Between the inlet and valve tower the Goosander was still present and a Hobby hunting back towards rainbow corner. Off draycote bank young Blackcap and Garden Warbler were very active. The visitors centre had Mother of Pearl, Uncertain and Least yellow Underwing.
Decided to visit the Frankton area and managed a few Yellowhammers, 2 Whitethroat, Corn Bunting, 2 Buzzard and 3 Jay. The fishponds had a pair of Tufted Duck with 9 young, male Teal, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher nearby carrying food.
Heading back towards Draycote village the day warmed up and 2 Hobby performed over Bourton Hall while Buzzards became more numerous and cycling through the village I had both Beautiful and Banded Demoiselle and Ruddy Darter.
Draycote Meadows had plenty of butterflies with Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Large White, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Skipper, Comma and Speckled Woods. The nearby railway cutting had Narrow-bordered Five Spot Burnet, Yellow Shell and 2 Silver Y plus Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 4 Bullfinch, 4 Mistle Thrush, and Sparrowhawk.
When I arrived home my garden had 8 Large White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Meadow Brown, a very fresh Painted Lady and an unidentified blue which shot past.
A wander around the valley this evening with Dave produced Sparrowhawk with prey, 2 Buzzard and 70 Swallows heading for there roost.

Common Hawker in the garden this afternoon

Herald the best of some recent poor catches


Wednesday, 22 July 2009

July 22nd 2009

Finally something different for a change to report when a female/immature Crossbill flew over Southam Road (A426) a mile south of the M45 heading towards Toft, Dunchurch and part of the influx that’s been spreading south and east over the last few weeks.
Draycote Water still has the plastic Cape Shelduck, at least 2 Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. Also present were 4 Sand Martin, 2 Garden Warbler, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Lapwing and 4 Green Woodpecker. Moths found around the visitors centre included Common Rustic, Blood-vein, Large Yellow Underwing and 2 Dingy Footman while M45 bridge over the service road had a roosting Eyed Hawk-moth.
Second visit this evening and Oystercatcher was present along with adult and sub-adult Yellow-legged Gull in roost. Roost has at least 300+ larger gulls. Toft bay had possible Daubentons and Pipistrelle at dusk along with a Magpie Moth.


Sunday, 19 July 2009

July 19th 2009

Dingy Footman, 2 Common Footman, 3 White Satin Moth, Snout and Small Fan-footed Wave on walls of Draycote Visitors centre when me and Dave arrived at the pond this morning. A walk out to toft by was disappointing being cold and breezy and only managed 3 Common Sandpiper. After breakfast we were lucky enough to come across a Corn Bunting taking food to its young and sitting on nearby wires.
Brandon Marsh was quiet and again a bit of luck joining the Brandon regulars in time to watch a pair of Water Rail with two young in front of the East Marsh hide and later on when walking towards the Olive Bench another young bird walked out in front of us. Other birds noted were 5 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, 4 Reed Warbler and 2 Whitethroat but missed the fly over Little Egret by minutes.

Draycote Water are holding an open day tomorrow and will have all sort of activities for adults and children going on so get yourself there. Unfortunatly I can't make it.


Saturday, 18 July 2009

July 18th 2009

Very strong westerly winds overnight gusting over 30mph at times and more reminiscent of the gales in September tempted me out before day light.
As the first signs of day light showed a distant Barn Owl could be seen working its way along the farborough and toft banks of Draycote Water from the A426 before it crossed back over the road towards bunkers hill.
Quiet a few large gulls noted leaving the roost and included 200+ Lesser Black-back at least one Herring Gull while the long staying Yellow-legged Gull was off the fishing pontoons and a search around the visitor centre for moths produced Poplar Hawk-moth, Scarce and 2 Common Footman, 3 Diamond-back Moth and Silver Y.
A Golden Plover calling as it flew over rainbow was a very early returning bird and most unusual at this time of the year. The Goosander was still off the inlet while other waders were represented by a Turnstone in biggen bay, 5 Common Sandpiper, 4 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin. I left early so only other birds of note were Green Woodpecker, Jay and Buzzard.


Friday, 17 July 2009

July 17th 2009

Out with Dave this afternoon visiting Brandon Marsh so while we tucked in to coffee and loads of cake he helped me with the last few micros I couldn’t identify this morning. Also double checked my id of Dwarf Cream Wave which is only the second record for my garden.
Once fed and watered we took the risk of a quick walk to the hides before the next shower arrived. East Marsh had at least 9 young Common Tern, 3 Redshank, 4 Oystercatcher, 2 Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and the adult Common Terns saw off a low flying Buzzard. Very few butterflies or dragonflies about which was not surprising considering the amount of rain we have had in the last 24 hours but a pristine Comma on the path in front of us was nice. We just made it back to the car park when the heavens opened.

Bob Hazell sent me this picture of Gold Triangle he found on the walls of the café at Draycote Water but the weather has yet to bring in anything new.


Thursday, 16 July 2009

July 16th 2009

Out early enjoying the pond and the valley before the weather is due to take a turn for the worse as a low weather front approaches from the south east which will certainly knock the moths and butterflies on the head for a few days as the temperatures drop. Draycote Water had Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Grey Wagtail in toft shallows, 2 Little Ringed Plover in toft bay and the Goosander remained off the inlet with 4 Common Sandpiper nearby. Nothing else of note (so I thought) so took a look at the area that’s under construction next to the Kites Hardwick Golf Academy near the entrance to Draycote and stupidly flushed a Green Sandpiper as I popped me head over the bund a bit too quickly.
Moved on to the Hill Road where there were plenty of Yellowhammers and a field near Grandborough village held 6 Lapwing. A walk out to the fishing lagoon produced Willow Tit, Garden Warbler, Wren and Blackcap while the return trip produced Buzzard and my first returning Raven. Little else of note till the butterflies started showing but despite my best efforts I failed to find any Essex Skipper’s so had to make do with Small Skipper, Red Admiral, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large White and Green-veined White.
Kevin’s phone call notified me on what I missed at the pond as he reported seeing Turnstone and 3 Dunlin plus the Cape Shelduck.


July 15th 2009

Just waffle today. Not been out. Mark came round for a welcome chat armed with Apple Pie so while tempted to a slither we were entertained by Large White and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies on the garden flowers and six Swifts overhead. Also had this moth to identify which nearly caught me out but eventually came to me senses and realised it was a Shaded Broad-bar

Shaded Broad-bar by Mark
Dave Ludlow kindly sent me this photo of Swallow’s nesting in a bus stop in Preston on Stour. By there size they will be leaving the nest soon and they are not the only pair I know of nesting in low buildings as Dave and Cym have them in their chicken coop in the valley along the Flecknoe Road.

Swallow by Dave Ludlow


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

July 14th 2009

Feeling better I was out down the Southam Road just after day break in time to enjoy 2 Barn Owls still out hunting and a Little Owl perched on the roof of an old farm building before moving on to nearby Draycote Water. The pond was very calm with the female/immature Goosander was still present swimming along side a female Shoveler for a few minutes and at least 4 Common Sandpiper and single Little Ringed Plover in the toft area while the gull roost has grown considerably in the last few days with one adult Yellow-legged Gull and a summer plumaged Med Gull noted before they dispersed. Also recorded were Common Tern, Redshank, Green Woodpecker, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Grey Wagtail, Sparrowhawk and Willow Warbler. Hadn’t the enthusiasm to stay longer so called it a day before the fishermen, joggers, pram pushers and cick-a-lists spoilt the peace and quiet.
The garden trap is picking up again after the weekends rain with record garden numbers of Gothic, Early Thorn and Single-dotted Wave.
Although it clouded over after a clear start the threatening rain still never materialised so once rested I searched Ashlawn Cutting for butterflies managing 4 Small Skipper, 4 Comma, 5 Gatekeeper, 5 Marbled White, 2 Meadow Brown, 10 Ringlet, Green-veined White, Large White and Small White in an hour as well as Shaded Broad-bar moth. In the damper areas there were a few Common and Blue-tailed Damselfly along with a couple of Brown Hawkers but when the rain finally arrived it had me peddling for home.


July 13th 2009

Last nights mothing session was a tiring affair having hauled my gear in to the depths of Ryton Wood where I thought I might do some good and by the time I was set up and had a brew I was shattered so woke to hundreds and I wasn’t disappointed with the discovery of my second Warwickshire Lobster Moth, my first Privet Hawk-moth and Slender Brindle and a catch of over 700 moths and 112 species. That now puts me Warwickshire list on to 526. A couple of Tawny Owls kept me company.
I was out again mid-day when I suddenly developed stomach cramps and spent most of the afternoon connected to the big white telephone before it subsided. Dave came round in the evening to see if anything was left of me and armed with enough house points we have finally sorted out where we are going next year so I have some research to do.


Sunday, 12 July 2009

July 12th 2009

Eight hours of rain overnight had an adverse affect on my moth catch managing only 30 moths in the poor conditions but a welcome surprise was a Blue-tailed Damselfly.

Blue-tailed Damselfly
The garden had Large White, Small White, Comma, Small Heath and Painted Lady butterflies today otherwise little to else to report. Tonight looks better so off to the woods in few a few hours.


Saturday, 11 July 2009

July 11th 2009

As I’ve ended up as Billy no mates this weekend I decided to go out in the wee humid hours of this morning lamping for moths. Well it beats trawling for customers. For the uninitiated this entails searching with a bright light and a net so armed to the teeth with lamps, batteries and pots yours truly could be found in the undergrowth of some of the county roads in the Grandborough valley and it turned out to be quiet a successful adventure with 18 species identified from the 66 moths caught. Best of the catch was a Knot Grass from my session along the county road between Woolscott and Sawbridge, Smoky Wainscot between Sawbridge and the Grand Union canal near Flecknoe and just before dawn I netted a Phoenix between Grandborough and Bunkers Hill. Naturally all this nocturnal activity produced other sights and sounds including 2 Badger, 2 Foxes along with a good count of Barn Owl with at least 5 seen, a couple of large bats and a Muntjac heard.
The humidity finally gave way to showers and as I the approached the Basealy smallholding along the Flecknoe Rd a Quail casually wandered across the road followed 25 minutes later by a 2 Grey Partridge but no further sightings of the Quail.
Draycote Water was tranquil and despite the conditions I had a very enjoyable visit before the joggers arrived with Common Sandpiper on the shoreline of the wind surfing area, female/immature Goosander near the valve tower which has been here a couple of days, Little Ringed Plover, Sedge Warbler, Great-spotted Woodpecker and 2 Teal all in toft bay and at 7am a Black-tailed Godwit flew over heading towards biggen bay.

Single-dotted Wave
Once home and a change of clothes my moth trap took awhile to clear down with the best catch since 4th July. Over 200 moths of 55 species with Dwarf Cream Wave a garden tick and also a couple of micros to add.


Friday, 10 July 2009

July 10th 2009

A bum day on Planet Richard. First my trip to Sussex got cancelled followed by a couple of punctures and finally some gull crapped all over my moth trap. Two Hobbies over the garden saved me from a fate worse than dieting. A few waders passing through the pond today thanks to Kevins text. Tomorrow will be better according to Noah.


Thursday, 9 July 2009

July 9th 2009

It was a cloudy day with the sun breaking out late afternoon so decided to visit a number of sites looking for clearwings. First stop was the Pick Your Own fruit along the old A45 just outside Dunchurch where I managed to entice 9 Currant Clearwings to a pheromone lure and disturbed a roosting Lime Hawk-moth. Moved on to have a look at Lawford Heath where there was a Green Sandpiper circling overhead joined by a Little Ringed Plover plus 4 Buzzard, Corn Bunting and many Skylarks.
Between Lawford Heath and Brandon Marsh the roadside verge held Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large White and my first gatekeeper of the year while a Hobby was over Brandon Golf Course.
Brandon Marsh had Lesser-spotted Woodpecker flying over New Hare Covet, Sedge and Cetties Warbler families seen up close and the old farm pool produced a Beautiful China-mark and among the many grass veneers netted a Chequered Grass Veneer which I think is only my second record. Other sightings included Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Buzzard while butterflies here included Comma, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large White and Small Skipper and a session with different types of pheromones produced Red-tipped and Red-belted Clearwing.
No luck with the pheromones in Ryton Wood but the butterflies showed with 6 White Admiral, 4 Purple Hairstreak, 4 Silver-washed Fritillary, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Large Skipper and plenty of Ringlets, Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood.
This evening the garden feeders have a family of House Sparrows and Bullfinches and overhead at least 3 young Sparrowhawk sparring with each other.
Just received information that we added 17 species (10 micros 7 macros) to the Brandon Moth list from our moth night last Saturday so that's pretty impressive considering its well over the 500 mark already.


Wednesday, 8 July 2009

July 8th 2009

The heavy rain showers and cooler conditions we have been experiencing since the weekend finally changed this afternoon so spent the afternoon checking on the Grandborough valley. A Hobby was hunting over Woolscott, Turtle Dove in Sawbridge and Grasshopper Warbler along the county road between Woolscott and Sawbridge were all welcome and shows that things are finally looking up. Amongst the many family parties seen were 6 Grey Partridge, 5 Whitethroat, and 4 Buzzard along the Flecknoe road but no sign of the Quail. Draycote Water had Common Tern, near adult Yellow-legged Gull, Green Woodpecker, 4 Yellow Wagtail, Sparrowhawk, Common Sandpiper and Redshank plus the plastic cape Shelduck. Not many butterflies about and the only dragonfly seen was a Brown Hawker in toft shallows.


Monday, 6 July 2009

July 6th 2009

Out this afternoon getting caught in a bloody heavy rain shower but managed Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin and 2 Common Sandpipers in toft bay, Draycote Water as well as Teal, 4 Yellow Wagtail, Hobby, Great-spotted Woodpecker, adult Yellow-legged Gull and 3 Green Woodpecker. Recent news from the valley was of a Red Kite last Saturday.


July 5th 2009

Garden Tiger last seen at Brandon Marsh in 1996
Out Last night to Brandon Marsh for a mothing night with friends and it turned out to be a brilliant night’s mothing in terms of numbers, quality and laughs. Normally it goes quiet in the middle of the night but there was just no let up with moths on the move dusk to dawn. I have only just started collating the results but we have managed to catch 3500 moths of 168 species of which Rosy Footman, Large Emerald and Scallop Shell were new for me and we may have added 12 to the Brandon list which is already pretty impressive but will have to wait for confirmation once I have sent the list off to the various recorders. Many thanks to all those attending. We also had fun with the bat detector and saw Badger and Barn owl as well as hearing Tawny Owl in the night.
Managed a couple of hours sleep then out with Dave to Ryton Woods were we spent a pleasant hour watching Purple Hairstreak 3, White Admiral 4 and Silver-washed Fritillary 5 before calling it a day.

Fen Wainscot

Scallop Shell a potential first for Brandon Marsh

Rosy Footman

Oak Eggar a potential first for Brandon Marsh


Friday, 3 July 2009

July 3rd 2009

Brandon Marsh had little to offer as we checked the place over for tomorrows mothing session apart from a Green Sandpiper on teal pool and a chance to chat to Kevin.
He who must be adored sent me this picture of the 2nd warwickshire record of Orange-tailed Clearwing.

Orange-tailed Clearwing by Terry Southgate


Thursday, 2 July 2009

July 2nd 2009

I decided to get out early before anyone woke and was down the pond by 4am watching a Little Egret fly across the reservoir towards the valve tower and a distant Barn Owl hunting in fields near the entrance. The partial eclipse male Red-crested Pochard was still present and the “lump” below draycote bank had 2 Little Owl.
A male Redstart opposite the entrance to Draycote Meadows was a welcome surprise and by 7am the old fish ponds at Frankton were producing Teal, Tufted Duck and 4 Grey Heron along with another or the one I saw earlier Little Egret.
By the time I had left insects were already out and managed Beautiful Demoiselle, Red-eyed Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly and while on the way home I had a few butterflies at Draycote Meadows including Painted Lady, Marbled White, Ringlet, Comma, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and Large Skipper.
The afternoon was spent photographing another good catch then collating 5000 moth records I have received this month.

Barred Red worn

Barred Yellow

Meal Moth


Scarce Silver-lines

Dave and I checked the valley this evening on the way to the pub and had very little while the pub night it self was raucous affair as Terry showed the Orange-tailed Clearwing he had caught that afternoon in his garden. It was not only Warwickshires second record of this moth but he had great delight in explaining he also caught the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th record. Amazingly he had caught six. well done.
Finally got back late and e-mails report the Quail is still in the valley. Yippee - must have bred.


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

July 1st 2009

With minimum overnight temperatures of 19c it was not surprising I caught a record number of moths and species in my garden trap including a new species for the garden list. The final count was 288 moths for 68 species and the Red-necked Footman brings my list up to 415.
Anyway before I could crow about it I had to clear down Dave’s trap and he had a Pine Hawk-moth which is also new for him.

Pine Hawk-moth

Red-necked Footman
Another very hot day so decided not to bother going after Bob’s partial eclipse drake Red-crested Pochard he found in grays barn, Draycote Water yesterday as it meant I’d have to put some clothes on..