Saturday, 31 July 2010

July 31st 2010

It rained all night so the traps were a little quiet though Dave added Lesser Treble-bar to his year list and added another micro to his garden list. Best mine could offer was first for the year Small dotted-Buff.
Napton Reservoir had 2 Cetties 4 Reed, 3 Sedge Warbler, Little Owl and 4 Raven while Napton on the Hill had 3 Spotted Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, 5 Mistle Thrush, 2 Coal Tit, 2 Buzzard and Peregrine.
Butterflies seen today were Common Blue, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Comma, Marbled White, Large White, Green–veined White, Meadow brown and Ringlet.


July 30th 2010

The Draycote Water roost this evening was a damp affair with persistent rain making life difficult and not helped by the phantom hand shaker deciding to swim after them. This twat is becoming a real pain – mind you he can bloody swim well.
At least 14 adult, 5 juvenile and 7 third winter type Yellow-legged Gulls present along with adult Med Gull still in summer plumage although starting to moult around the face.
Three Oystercatchers roosted in dunns bay and the only other birds of note were first summer Little Gull, 3 Common Tern, 5 Common Sandpiper and 2 Little Egret.


Thursday, 29 July 2010

July 29th 2010

Draycote Water was cloudy and blustery with very little new on the migration front. Little Egrets and Egyptian Geese still present along with 4 Common Sandpiper, Dunlin and 4 Common Tern. On the young bird front there were plenty warblers in the bridal path hedgerow with 7 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler and 2 Blackcap. At least 3 Ravens were seen from farborough bank along with 12 Buzzard and a juv Yellow Wagtail.

This was in my trap last night but remains unidentified


Wednesday, 28 July 2010

July 28th 2010

The pre roost at Draycote Water produced juvenile, 2 third summer and at least 3 adult Yellow-legged Gull near the entrance while behind rainbow corner another flock of mixed gulls had 6 adult Yellow-legged Gull, another 3rd summer and a 4th year bird, also a possible 4th year Caspian Gull but to far to be certain.
At least 3 Common Terns were present and also around the reservoir were first summer Little Gull, 2 Little Egret, Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Grey Wagtail, 4 Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Raven and Egyptian Goose. The summering Mute Swan flock has reached 18 birds.

Other news: Mark Phillips had a Hobby over Blooms Garden centre yesterday and 2 Badgers at Brandon Marsh. Colin Potter photographed this Whooper x Mute Swan hybrid at Wyken Slough and Bob photographed this White Letter Hairstreak at Ryton Woods so many thanks for sharing.

Mute x Whooper Swan hybrid by Colin Potter

White-letter Hairstreak by Bob Hazell

Meanwhile another colourful gribblie turned up in Dave’s trap

presumed Caloptilia alchimiella although can be confused with Caloptilia robustella


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

July 27th 2010

We had finished clearing down Dave’s moth trap before the predicted rain arrived so risked a look at the pond but Bob and I had only gone as far the fishing pontoon when the heavens opened so took shelter under the canopy of the visitors centre. Having already seen a first winter and adult Yellow-legged Gull we kept an eye on the coming and goings of the small number of gulls present some distance away towards dunns bay when Bob spotted a “black headed gull” which did not fit Black-headed, Med or Franklins and as we contemplated the species wishing for closer views it flew off towards toft bay confirming it was an adult summer plumage Sabine’s Gull, my fourth record, the last in 2005 and before that in 1988. It landed in toft so we legged it up farborough bank but as we approached the spit it flew off north over Thurlaston. We managed closer flight views in the scope and though we hung around for an hour in the rain hoping it might return alas it did not..
Also present was a Sanderling by the fishing pontoon, 2 Little Egrets, 2 Little Gull, 3 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Egyptian Goose, 40 Swift and 10 Sand Martin but no sign of yesterdays Common Scoter. Final Yellow-legged Gull count was 4 adults and 2 first year birds.
Will be back out later tonight to do the roost so will add to this blog.

Did the roost with a JJ and a few hardy souls managing an impressive 20+ Yellow-legged Gull adults but no sign of Sabs. There was also no sign of Sanderling as the Sailing Club were using the shoreline for there canoe lessons so it must have buggered off. One Little Gull still present.


Monday, 26 July 2010

July 26th 2010

Four Crossbills flew over my garden early morning.
Mid-day visit to the pond and a male Common Scoter spent most of the visit a sleep in toft bay where the Egyptian Goose and 3 Common Sandpiper were still present along with one of the 2 Little Egrets (the other was in biggen bay). Adult and juvenile Raven flew over toft bay. At least 3 adult and one first winter Yellow-legged Gull were around with a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Yellow-legged Gull

Egyptian Goose
both pics by Bob Hazell

Other birds seen included many juvenile Pied Wagtails, male and female Pochard, 4 Buzzard, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 4 Reed Bunting and a Garden Warbler. Bob also had female Teal.


Sunday, 25 July 2010

July 25th 2010

Grandborough Valley was very active this morning with plenty of young Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Skylark and Whitethroats around Grandborough Fields Farm but we saw very little at Draycote Water and missed the Bumbling Bears Little Gull.
Brandon Marsh had a lot more to offer with Friday’s Black-tailed Godwit still remaining, Little Egret increasing to two, 2 Little Ringed Plover and single Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and Oystercatcher. Also present were female Gadwall with 5 young, 15 Common Tern, Hobby, Kingfisher, 4 Buzzard, many young Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler plus Brown China-mark, 3 Vapourer and Shaded Broad-bar moths.
A quick look at Ryton Woods produced Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch and Treecreeper along with 20+ Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral, 5 Silver-washed Fritillary and a few other common species of butterfly + 2 Silver Y moths.
A Hobby was over my garden late evening followed by vocal Redshank as I set up my traps.


Friday, 23 July 2010

July 23rd 2010

First part of the morning spent finally getting to grips with the many photos of micros that Bob has taken over the last few weeks, identifying, labeling and filing those I could.
Out of 500+ photos he has sent me I’m left with 30 I have no idea what they are or where to start identification so e-mails will be winging there way to those more knowledgeable than me.
Some of the prettier ones to show you are

Catoptria pinella

Argyresthia goedartella

Eucalybites auroguttella

Leucoptera laburnella

Unfortunately I never caught up with the Draycote Water Black-tailed Godwit that Kevin found in toft bay but saw one later at Brandon Marsh where there was a stunning summer plumage bird on East Marsh along with a Little Egret. Also present were 3 Kingfisher, 10 Common Tern, 3 Green Sandpiper and a Common Sandpiper plus 2 Brown Hawkers.
John rang with the news that a juvenile Med Gull was at Draycote in the afternoon so went down late evening and the bird was present in the roost along with 4 Yellow-legged Gull adults. Two Whimbrel flew over just before dusk while I was searching the graveyard for moths – netting Honeysuckle Moth, Blastobasis adustella, Red-barred Tortrix, Eudonia trunciolella, Mother of Pearl, Small Fan-footed Wave, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Purple Thorn, Scarce Footman, Shaded Broad-bar and White Satin Moth. Also seen were Sedge Warbler, 5 Stock Dove, 2 Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail and 2 Green Woodpecker.


Thursday, 22 July 2010

July 22nd 2010

Cleared the traps with Bob then down the pond but the only new arrival was an Oystercatcher. The 2 Little Egret were still in biggen, Egyptian Goose in toft bay, 2 Common Tern around the sailing club including one with white ring on left leg and red ring over a silver BTO ring on right leg, juvenile Yellow Wagtail on farborough bank and adult in country park. A large tit flock of about 40 birds roaming the country park included 2 Whitethroat and 2 Long-tailed Tit and the only other birds of note were 10 Buzzard and a Green Woodpecker.
Heavy rain showers mid-day and early afternoon cleared so spent the late evening with Chris Godding looking for Barn Owls around Barby Banks area on the Warwickshire/Northamptonshire border. No luck with the owls but did have Sparrowhawk, Sedge Warbler and 100+ Swallow while the place came alive with moths at dusk with White Plume Moth, pair of Ghost Moth, Shaded Broad-bar and many others seen.


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

July 20th 2010

Out early hoping to see a Barn owl at a new location but no luck though I did see one near Ashlawn Cutting. It was a mega night for moths with a combined total of 750 between mine and Dave’s traps so Bob helped me clear them both down before we went to the pond. Luckily it was not too busy and there were 3 adult and one 2nd year Yellow-legged Gull amongst the 20+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Little Egret in biggen bay before being flushed by Joe public, 4 Common Tern and 2 Common Sandpiper flying across the reservoir while Bob continued on to toft and saw the Egyptian Goose and 3 more Common Sandpiper, also 8 Buzzards and 2 Green Woodpecker.
Moths around the visitors centre were 2 Dingy Footman, Ruby Tiger, Dusky Sallow, Scalloped Oak, 6 Yellow-tail and Poplar Hawk-moth which was trapped in a spiders web but a deft move with the broom soon had it on its way. Plenty of butterflies around but no attempt to count them made.

Duscky Sallow, Draycote Water

Ear Moth in Dave's trap

Lilac Beauty in Dave's trap


Sunday, 18 July 2010

July 18th 2010

Day spent out of the county looking for butterflies on the Buckingham and Oxfordshire border but the sun failed to break through so we struggled. Plenty of Red Kite around with at least 100 seen

Silver-washed Fritillary

Chalkhill Blue


Saturday, 17 July 2010

July 17th 2010

A humid night so down the valley early where a Barn Owl was out hunting at 5am between Tollgate and Laurel Farm off the A45 and a Little Owl perched on telegraph pole in Woolscott village. The Woolscott scrape had Little Ringed Plover and Little Egret but the highlight was 2 Crossbills heading west calling over Grandborough. Also seen in the area were 400+ Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Herring Gull, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 30+ Yellowhammer, 10+ Skylark, 2 Raven, Buzzard, 6 Whitethroat, 4 Tree Sparrow, 34 Stock Dove and 30 Lapwing before popping in to Sainsbury’s where another Crossbill was seen and heard low over car park.
John rang wondering why there were geeks with cameras on a railway bridge near his village and a check on tinternet gave me a deserved pain in the groin as I had forgotten that 6201 Princess Elizabeth was passing through Rugby hauling a train from Birmingham New St to Euston. Luckily she was returning in the evening so Bob and I went to the footbridge between Little Lawford and Cathiron and watched her pass at full pelt as the sun went down – magic. I cocked up my photos so many thanks to Jon Hall and Bob Hazell for sharing theirs
Meanwhile on the mothing front Dave had a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in his garden a couple of days ago – his second for the garden of this day flying migrant.

Princess Elizebeth passing through Long Lawford by Jon Hall

Princess Elizebeth homeward bound early evening passing between Little Lawford and Cathiron by Bob Hazell


Thursday, 15 July 2010

July 15th 2010

A very windy day which brought in a Little Tern to nearby Daventry Country Park, Northamptonshire but alas Draycote Water only had a Little Egret, 4 Common Sandpiper, Sparrowhawk, 20 Sand Martin and 200 Swift when Bob and I walked to toft hide and back in between the showers.
Rest of the day spent identifying moths from Bobs many pictures. He has updated his Moths in Focus site (see links) and well worth a visit.

Tawny-barred Angle

Barred Red


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

July 14th 2010

I had permission to set some traps up in the well established gardens of two house that have been demolished awaiting development in to a nursing home and temporally being used as a builders car park for the staff working on the refurbishment of my local Sainsbury’s. Although nothing bionic caught I had a healthy 350 moths from 85 species.
The inclement weather finally caught up with me at the pond early evening and got drenched, the roost is starting to build and held over 500 Lesser Black-backed Gulls along with smaller numbers of Black-headed Gull and 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls. The 3 Little Egrets were still present along with 5 Common Sandpiper. A family party of 4 Garden Warbler were in biggen bay.


Tuesday, 13 July 2010

July 13th 2010

Draycote was dull and overcast with a cool easterly breeze but at least there were a few more birds around than of late. At least 3 Little Egrets were still around with one in biggen bay and 2 in grays barn, 5 Common Sandpiper, Egyptian Goose and adult Yellow-legged Gull. The supporting cast included 150 Swift, 40 Swallow, 12 Sand Martin, 3 Buzzard, 11 Mute Swan and 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull.
On the wall of the visitors centre there were 6 Common Footman, Buff Footman and 2 Yellow-tail.
I have posted a few of Bob's moth pictures under the 10th July blog and a few more here.

Ghost Moth

Minor Shoulder-knot

Brown-line Bright-eye

Pebble Hook-tip


Sunday, 11 July 2010

July 11th 2010

A long overdue look at Grandborough Valley paid off with 450 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the field opposite Onley Prison of which 70% were first year birds and also included an adult Yellow-legged Gull. A Spotted Flycatcher was at Sawbridge and Little Egret near Gimswood. There were plenty of young Skylark, Yellow Wagtail and Whitethroat about. Draycote Water had 6 Common Sandpiper and Egyptian Goose while Brandon Marsh and Lawford Heath were quiet.


July 10th 2010

The mothing session would have been a record breaker if more trappers had been available but Dave, Scott and I with only 4 traps managed 1335 moths of 167 species with one macro and 12 micros still to be identified. Certainly kept Bob busy so will take a while to process all the images he took. Tawny Owls were heard all night and a Barn Owl seen while 5 Common Tern noted leaving the reserve at 4am presumably to feed at nearby Coombe Abbey.

Chilo phragmitella

Beautiful Golden Y

Silky Wainscot

Large Emerald

Round-winged Muslin


Friday, 9 July 2010

July 9th 2010

Bob texted and Fracoise rang to say there was a Little Egret at the pond this morning but I’m up to my armpits in moths at the moment so I gave them a miss till I meet up with Dave later today. Between us Dave and I have caught over 2000 moths this week of 145 species all due to the ideal conditions we are experiencing at the moment and though I’m on top of the macro moths the smaller ones are taking much longer to get my head round um. Luckily Bob has been doing sterling stuff with his camera. Dave is having a cracking year adding 21 to his list while I added 11 so the friendly rivalry between us has intensified as we try to be the first to reach 450.

Buff Footman

Common Lutestring

Green Sandpiper and Hobby were Brandon Marsh in the afternoon when Dave and I went to check out the location for the night’s mothing session and later in the evening while setting up my traps there were 3 Muntjac Deer near the new hare covet.
Joined by Andy we went looking for Bats and saw Noctule and Daubenton’s Bat while Soprano Pipistrelle and one unidentified were picked up on the bat detector.


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

July 6th 2010

Although we did not see any Purple Emperor butterflies this morning Bob and I had a good day in Ryton Woods despite it becoming cloudy. The count included 14 Silver-washed Fritillary, 12 White Admiral, 10 Purple Hairstreak along with hundreds of Ringlets plus Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Large White, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Large and Small Skipper and a lone Wood White. This brings my butterfly count to 31 species for the county out of 34 recorded so far this year + one intro.
There were also plenty of dragon and damselflies plus at least four family parties of Nuthatch seen or heard.

White Admiral


July 5th 2010

Day spent on domestics, trying to identify some of the many micro moths that Dave and I have caught in June and up dating Dave’s records. He is one happy bunny adding 18 to his garden list this month then it was the armchair for 2 hours watching those boys in tight pants in the Tour de France.
Only news from the pond was Bob spotted the mystery hand shaker with the fetish for doing it in cold water again this morning so may be ST will take it seriously before the kids break from school. You may also on your wanderings come across the odd fishing boat on the north shore thanks to midnight intruders having a laugh.
Late evening the International Space Station (ISS Zarya) went over just south of Rugby giving excellent views – certainly much brighter theses days as it traveled at a mind boggling 4.6 miles per second, 216 miles above my little planet.


Sunday, 4 July 2010

July 4th 2010

Draycote water had a male Common Scoter and 3 Common Tern due to the blustery conditions early morning but little else.
Bob Hazell did better than I did with yesterdays Dark Green Fritillary at Combrook and the only decent moth caught last night was this July Highflyer.

July Highflyer

Dark Green Fritilliary


Saturday, 3 July 2010

July 3rd 2010

Spent a day with the Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire group and friends over at Oxhouse Farm near Combrook, Warwickshire on one of there well attended guided walks to see the Dark Green Fritillary with Mike Slater leading. The walk was very informative and came away with fond memories of being surrounded by hundreds of butterflies
Species seen were Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Common Blue, Purple Hairstreak, Dark Green Fritillary, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Green-Veined White and Large White. I had no chance of getting a proper count but the Ringlets, Marbled Whites and Dark Green Fritillary’s seem to be in triple figures.

Marbled White

Dark Green Fritillary

Moths seen were Clouded Border, Straw Dot, Silver Y, Cinnabar, Burnet Companion, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet and Lattice Heath with the bonus of 2 Orange-tailed Clearwing attracted to pheromones put out by one of the group at separate locations.
Dragonflies included Brown Hawker, Common Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly and Banded Demoiselle while other sightings of non birding interest were a few Common-spotted Orchids and among the many Crickets and Grasshoppers I was shown a Roesel's bush-cricket which I don’t think I have seen in Warwickshire before.
Apologises for playing my broken record again but birding is still quiet and in three hours we hardly saw anything and only heard Buzzard and Raven despite them sounding close.


Friday, 2 July 2010

July 1st 2010

Last night the temperature was still 18c at 1am and the garden was heaving with moths so when I emptied the traps this morning I had a good catch of 66 species from 280 moths. Best being my own Small Yellow Wave and a Barred Red. Bob came round to do his thing followed by Francoise with her moth list then Dave came round to eat at my place this evening surrounded by 10 micros we eventually identified adding more to garden his list. Grey Heron flew over garden mid-evening.
Some of the more recent moths I have trapped

Lilac Beauty

Varied Coronet

Marbled Beauty

Leopard Moth

Beautiful Hook-tip

All pictures by Bob Hazell


June 30th 2010

Eight Red Kite and 5 Buzzards were seen on the way to Glapthorn Cowpasture, Northamptonshire this afternoon where we eventually found 2 Black Hairstreaks and plenty of other common butterflies, the most unexpected was the Clouded Yellow in the village of Glapthorn.
It was certainly a day for Red Kites with another 5 seen between here and undisclosed site. The plan was for a good walk but the humidity put paid to that. A Corncrake heard calling briefly from thick vegetation was a surprise for the time of day but despite searching with the scope it could not be found. Also present were Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Snipe, Redshank, Shelduck and Kingfisher.
Only just arrived home before Dave came bounding in with another new moth for his list – Small Yellow Wave plus one we are still having difficulties identifying.

Small Yellow Wave by Bob Hazell