Thursday, 30 June 2011

June 30th 2011

Draycote Water had a little bit of bird activity.
Two adult Little Ringed Plovers and a juvenile may have bred here as they have been present though elusive at times since the spring. A Little Egret flew in to toft bay but did not stay long while other highlights included 3 adult Yellow-legged Gull, 3 Common Tern, 6 Buzzard, 12 Long-tailed Tit, 7 Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler, 4 Teal and our second breeding pair of Treecreeper produced five young.
The weather started off good for butterflies but clouded over but we still managed 150+ Ringlet, 100+ Meadow brown, Comma, 2 Marbled White, 2 Green-veined White, 6 Large White, Small White, Large Skipper and 6 Small Tortishell.
Single Ghost Moth in the trap last night.


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

June 29th 2011

After three days of large catches resulting in well over 2000 moths trapped between mine and Dave’s garden I was relieved that last nights catch was very low giving Bob the chance to play catch up while I gave the valley a long overdue bashing.
Clear blue skies soon turned cloudy with rain threatening but I managed to stay dry resulting in finding 12 Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, numerous Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers, 4 Yellow Wagtail juveniles, Great-spotted woodpecker, 5 Buzzard and 2 Sparrowhawk between Grandborough, Sawbridge and Broadwell.
Napton Reservoir had a family of Grey Wagtail, 3 Tree Sparrow and 2 Cetties Warbler among the many Reed and Sedge Warblers plus a Fox while on the other hand there was hardly a bird seen on Napton on the Hill with only Coal Tit worth reporting. A good flock of Long-tailed Tits at Calcutt and it’s been a good breeding year for Skylark, Great Tit, Blue tits, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch and Bullfinch with many seen today while smaller numbers of Stock Dove and Lapwing indicate they have also had a good season.

Played catch up with our moth lists for the year and Dave is on 247 while Im lagging behind on 240 although we are both heading for a record year. The first batch of 29 photos arrived from Bob so just a few to show.

Large twin-spot Carpet

Common Footman


Small Yellow Wave

Lozotaeniodes formosanus


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

June 28th 2011

Although I had plenty of species in last nights catch my overall numbers were low so when Dave rang asking us to clear down his trap we thought it wouldn’t take long. Wrong – he had at least 75 species and well over 400 moths so by the time Bob had photograph the ones he wanted it was well past dinner time and we lost interest in going out.
Dave did have at least 24 Long-tailed Tits go through his garden and Steve Batt sent me this Greenfinch in his garden with its own identity crisis trying to beg food from a House Sparrow.


Monday, 27 June 2011

June 27th 2011

Micro moths dominated last night catch so Bob had a busy 3 hours this morning getting photos which will take him a few days to process.
No birding today - looking for clearwings instead with Currant and Red-belted bagged while friends are finding Orange-taileds in there gardens.

Orange-tailed Clearwing - Paul Cashmore

Meanwhile young Alfie took JJ to the Battlefeild Line to see his favourite engine

Thomas the Tank


Sunday, 26 June 2011

June 26th 2011

With a minimum temperature of 15c forecasted last night I had traps at Draycote Water, Alwyn Rd Allotments as well as those in our gardens set up so I was out very early to clear them down this morning with 1925 moths of 151 species between them.
Luckily the Draycote one enabled me to see the summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit in toft bay that had circled the reservoir at 4:30am, female Goosander, Little Ringed Plover and finally tracked a begging juvenile Tawny Owl down to the roof of the ranger’s office before visibility disappeared as the mist came in. Dave’s garden had Nuthatch, Goldcrest and Willow Warbler.
After breakfast it was a visit to Finemere Wood looking for butterfly’s in very warm conditions with my first Black Hairstreak, Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral of the year along with Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Brown Argus, Small White, Large White, Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. Moths included Straw Dot, Cinnabar, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet, Yellow Shell and Clouded Silver.

Black Hairstreak by Terry taken last week in Northamptonshire

On the way back we called in on Oxhouse Farm managing to attract Orange-tailed Clearwing to pheromones while Dark Green Fritillary’s flew around us along with Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Brimstone, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Green-Veined White and Small White. Other moths seen here included Narrow-bordered Five Spot Burnet, Treble Bar, Cinnabar, Timothy Tortrix, Crambus lathoniellus and Brown China Mark.

Dark Green Fritillary

With it still being very warm early evening Draycote Meadows had many Marbled Whites still on the wing plus Brown Argus to add to the day list while a Hobby hunted overhead with Blackcap, Whitethroat, Nuthatch and Spotted Flycatcher in the nearby lane.

meanwhile White-letter Hairstreaks are out in the county - Dave L


Saturday, 25 June 2011

June 25th 2011

Rained all night so very few moths trapped but the predicted warm air at mid-day meant for a pleasant ride around the Grandborough Valley which produced 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, 30+ Yellowhammer, 15 Linnet, 10 Skylark, 11 Reed Bunting and 2 Raven.
A look at the pond showed the female Goosander still present along with first summer and adult Yellow-legged Gull, Little Ringed Plover, Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 2 Yellow Wagtail, Hobby, 400 Swift, 5 Sand Martin, 2 Treecreeper and Goldcrest.
Butterflies included 4 Marbled White, 6 Meadow Brown, 8 Ringlet, 3 Large Skipper, 2 Small Skipper, 3 Speckled Wood and 2 Small Tortoiseshells plus 2 day flying Narrow-bordered Five Spot Burnet moths.


June 24th 2011

The continuous rain was not going to stop me as I met up with my family for an evening walk around Draycote Water and despite the din some of my beloved relatives can make I still managed to see the female Goosander that had been found earlier off draycote bank. A good record for this time of year while the roost held over 200 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, first summer Caspian and first summer Yellow-legged Gull.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

June 22nd 2011

A dull overcast morning slowly brightening with rain threatening so spent it clearing down our traps with Bob after another good night with more variety than the previous evening with Scalloped Oak new for the year for me while Dave had 38 species.
Raven went over Dave’s garden otherwise rest of morning spent going over next months French trip, catching up with my blog and sorting out photos after Bob had finally got back on line.

Common Emerald

Clouded Brindle

Broad-barred White

Beautiful Golden Y

I have done well with Peppered Moths this year catching all 3 variations for the first time in the same year.

Peppered Moth

Finally went out late afternoon with a ride around the valley finding Little Owl at Sawbridge and Grey Partridge at Grandborough before a look at the pond produced 2 Common Tern, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and Yellow Wagtail.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

June 21st 2011

Draycote Water had a little more to offer this morning when Bob and I wandered down to toft shallows in blustery conditions. There were 2 Common Tern, 2 Oystercatchers, Little Ringed Plover and adult Yellow-legged Gull plus 300 Swifts, 44 Mute Swan, 200+ Canada Geese, 2 Buzzard and juv Garden Warbler. The Bee Orchids are still showing thought the majority of the Common-spotted Orchids have been accidently mowed with only a couple left untouched. Only other highlight was a Stoat and a Southern Hawker.

Southern Hawker by bob Hazel


Monday, 20 June 2011

June 20th 2011

I was so wrapped up in my moths last night I forgot to look up to see the shed go over but caught up with it on its next pass later in the evening. My trap count of 297 moths included Maiden’s Blush and Small Blood-vein both new for the year while Dave trapped a Blue-boarded Carpet his third record for his garden but the first since 2005.
With so many moths to photograph Bob and I did not get out till after mid-day so took advantage of the sunshine and went looking for butterflies managing 3 Green-veined White, 3 Large White, 2 Common Blue, 30 Large Skipper, 2 Small Skipper, 20 Marbled White, 50 Meadow Brown, 150 Ringlet and 3 Small Tortoiseshell.

Large Skipper

Also around were 100's of vaneers, 15 Cinnabar, 2 Burnet Companions and 2 Amblyptilia acanthadactyla moths plus 10 White-legged Damselfly and Banded Demoiselle while on the birding front we had at least 2 Raven, Buzzard, 6 Garden Warbler and 4 Lesser Whitethroat. While searching amongst the hundreds of Bee and Common-spotted Orchids we found 2 Pyrimidal Orchids. More photos to follow when Bob is back on line.

Pyrimidal Ochid by Bob Hazel

Spent a couple of hours in the evening at Napton Reservoir with plenty of young Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting in the reed bed plus Grasshopper Warbler and at dusk both Little Owl and Barn Owl became active along with at least 3 species of bat. Stayed after dark to do some lamping managing 9 species of moth in 40 minutes including Ghost moth, Rivulet and Small Dotted Buff but the rain spoilt my chances of more.


Sunday, 19 June 2011

June 19th 2011

Today was drier but still very little to see despite visiting a number of our haunts with the only bird of note being a Lesser Whitethroat at Stockton Cutting. A brief spell of sunshine produced many Ringlets, Small Skipper and 5 Marbled White plus good numbers of White-legged Damselfly.
The space shed depending on cloud cover could show well tonight with its pass from 22:53 taking it over Pembroke, Merthyr Tydfil, Witney before leaving over Clacton on the Sea heading east where its flight path will continue over Holland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Ukraine before disappearing from view over Moldova 23:02


June 18th 2011

A cracking start with a Juniper Pug in my trap despite a low catch due to the damp conditions. My 474th species for the garden and brings my county list to 658.

Dave, Terry and I joined four other enthusiasts at Wormleighton to watch the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe race past just before 8am at full throttle looking good in the bright but rain threatening conditions. There were many young Great-spotted Woodpeckers and Whitethroats in the area also but little else.

Earl of Mount Edgcumbe by Dave Cox and Terry Southgate

After breakfast Dave and I trawled around for awhile ending up at Harbury Spoilbank where despite the showers we managed Cinnabar, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet but a brief look at Brandon Marsh produced zilch of interest.

With the sky’s darkening we waited for 48151 at Cathiron ending up looking like a couple of drowned rats as a deluge dropped on us and to add to our discomfort JJ rang to say it had arrived at Rugby Station. Bugger – some jobs worth must have made a last minute route change and transferred her on to a different line. I was not a happy bunny but at least JJ and Alfie enjoyed it close up and managed some great shots. Did manage 2 Tree Sparrows here.

48151 arriving at Rugby by John and Alfie Judge


Friday, 17 June 2011

June 17th 2011

Dave and I left the pub early last night to observe the space shed going over Lawford Heath on our way home and treated to long uninterrupted views as she passed over heading for the Ukraine.
Plenty of moths and bats out and we found 2 Tawny Owls waiting patiently for a meal to be brought to them. Unfortunately the shed’s next pass just after mid-night was marred by cloud although the local Little Owl put in an appearance in my garden while checking on my traps but there are still plenty of opportunities to see the “shed” over the next few days and I have listed the times below.

Darker shade are excellent passes and the rest are classed as good.

On the birding front things are quiet as Dave and I found out as we traveled this afternoon to Wormleighton and saw nothing. I’m hoping the next weather fronts will liven things up a bit. Meanwhile the trap is keeping me active though nothing new for the year in the last two days while congratulations go to Terry who had a Yellow-legged Clearwing in his garden – jammy bugger.

For those bored we have two trains coming through Warwickshire tomorrow, the first is GWR Castle Class 4-6-0 no 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe hauling a Solihull-Bristol-Solihull train and due to pass Fenny Compton at 07:54 heading south and returning 21:51 hours while LMS 8F 2-8-0 no 48151 is being transferred from Carnforth to Southall and is due in Rugby at 13:00hrs. If the weather holds out then Dave and I should manage to see both, have breakfast at The Diner, Coffee and Cake at the Just So and a wander around the Warwickshire countryside which should be magic. If not – tough – life is what you make it.


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

June 15th 2011

Someone must be smiling on me as I woke to the garden crawling with moths and ended up with 255 moths of 53 species from my two traps plus a few found roosting around the garden. Highlights were 161 Heart & Dart plus Beautiful Golden Y, Common Emerald, Phoenix and Common Footman all new for the year then I joined Chris and Neville for a trip out to the Brecks visiting Weeting Heath, Laken Heath Fen and May Day Farm.
I have not had much luck with Stone Curlew over the last few years so I was stunned to look out of the hide at Weeting to see a pair with two young 150 yards from the hide giving excellent views and another 2 adults further away on the ridge. Also seen were Curlew, Hobby going straight over, many Small Heaths on the heath opposite and Yellow Shell.
We moved on to Laken Heath Fen and while Chris and Neville put the time in to successfully see a male Golden Oriole I preferred to look for dragonflies and spend a considerable amount of time looking over Joist fen. I managed male and female Garganey, flight views of Bittern, distant Crane in flight, 8 Cuckoo, 4 Hobby, 3 Bearded Tit, Water Rail and 4 Marsh Harriers. Dragonflies included Variable, Azure and Red-eyed Damselfly, Hairy Dragonfly, Scarce Chaser and Banded Demoiselle.
A look at May Day farm produced very little except for a Silver-washed Fritillary and 6 Brown Silver-lines.


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

June 14th 2011

I overslept which buggered my plans to go down the south coast so gave Ashlawn Cutting a good look managing Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Great-spotted woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Treecreeper and Long-tailed Tit . A Spotted Flycatcher was in the adjacent grounds of Rugby Schools Polo Field.
The stunning weather brought out the butterflies with, 7 Large Skipper, 14 Common Blue, Red Admiral, 4 Marbled White, 5 Ringlet, 4 Speckled Wood, 2 Meadow Brown and Large White. A good search for the extinct Forester Moth (just in case it is not) produced Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet, Phlyctaenia coronata, Udea olivalis, 2 Blackneck, 3 Cinnabar, 4 Straw Dot, 2 Burnet Companion and Celypha rosaceana moths while Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly’s and Southern Hawker also recorded. Both Nuthatch and Treecreeper were seen along Ashlawn Road on the way home while a Hobby was over my estate.

June 13th 2011

Despite being damp the warm air brought in over 160 moths of 26 species to my trap last night so once Bob had helped me clear down and take a few photos we went to Draycote Water for a walk to toft bay. A count of 85 immature Lesser Black-Backed Gulls loafing in fields off farborough bank with at least one adult Yellow-legged Gull present otherwise it was quiet. A male Pochard in toft bay was unusual and the Mute Swan flock was down from last weeks 44 to 36 but included one with davic ring number Y74. At least 5 Yellow Wagtail and 5 Buzzard noted along with 16 Common Spotted Orchid while the country park had 12 Meadow Brown and a Ringlet.

Meadow Brown

Common Spotted Orchid

Sunday, 12 June 2011

June 12th 2011

Soggy Sunday.
We managed 90 minutes of dry weather down the Grandborough valley first thing before the rain came in for the rest of the day. Good numbers of young Linnet, Greenfinch, Whitethroat, Chaffinch, Skylark and Yellowhammer plus 2 Red-legged Partridge and 4 Great-spotted Woodpecker. As the day deteriated we went to Brandon Marsh where there was at least some shelter with 4 adult and 2 young Oystercatcher, Redshank, 5 Common Tern, 5 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Teal and many young Reed and Sedge Warbler about.


Saturday, 11 June 2011

June 11th 2011

Dave had a few spare hours this morning so we had a look at High Clays Farm, Stockton finding family parties of Blackcap and Long-tailed Tit as we made our way to Bishop Itchington.
Luckily we had decent weather till mid-day managing 5 Buzzard, Green Woodpecker and fly over Cormorant while we searched for butterflies eventually finding Dave’s first Small Blue and our first for the year Marbled White among 10 species noted. Some good sized Common Spotted Orchids and Bee Orchids also present.

Marbled White and Bee Orchid

Osprey was brought down by a heavy rain at 5pm at Draycote Water otherwise it was a very quiet visit, 100s of Swifts and first summer Yellow-legged Gull.


Friday, 10 June 2011

June 10th 2011

First opportunity I have had for a few days (thanks to Ma Robin) to blog and check on the pond with 2 Grey Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, 2 families of Reed Bunting, 2 Buzzard, Garden Warbler and young Goldcrest this morning.
So who’s Ma Robin?
Last Monday news broke of Britain’s first twitchable White-throated Robin in Hartlepool, Cleveland giving me the chance to visit the area twice in the last three days so I could see this mega and a few other sites for butterflies and Orchids.
Birds seen were the White-throated Robin a first summer female showing well on Olive Street Inner Bowling Green while Hartlepool headland produced Little Tern, Common Scoter and Eider off shore. A raptor watch point overlooking Troutsdale produced Honey Buzzard, Hobby, Turtle Dove, Tree Pipit, Siskin and Crossbill.

A few orchid sites were visited with Northern Marsh Orchid, Bee Orchid, Common Twayblade, Pyramidal Orchid and Common Spotted Orchid in flower and Dark Red Helleborine in bud. Elsewhere a roadside Fragrant Orchid was just flowering and the only White Frog Orchid plant we found had been eaten.

Pyramidal Orchid

Northern Marsh Orchid

Butterflies included Northern Brown Argus, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Wall Brown from 12 species but nothing of interest amongst the few day flying moths seen.

Northern Brown Argus

Met up with Dave or as he prefers to be called The Attractor now that he is 23 moth species in front of me and only 6 away from achieving 500 for his garden. On our way to the Just So cafe a Turtle Dove flew over the car at calcutt but it was not stopping. Napton on the Hill had 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Buzzard and at least one Raven while Napton Reservoir had Red-eyed, Blue-tailed, Azure and Common Blue Damselfly along with Black-tailed Skimmer plus young Grey Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Sedge and Reed Warbler.

Mothing is quiet again but the following were trapped this week

Tripple-spotted Clay

Peppered Moth melanistic

Figure of Eighty

Mottled Beauty

many thanks to Paul and Bob for photos


Monday, 6 June 2011

June 6th 2011

Not on top of the world today so after clearing down Dave's moth trap I had a brief look at the pond with Bob finding first and second summer Yellow-legged Gull before spending most of the afternoon sleeping.
The last three nights have been ideal for moths and between our gardens Dave and I have trapped over a 1000 moths of 80 species including a count of 252 Heart and Dart which has kept Bob clicking away happily. One in Dave's trap caused a stir and had to be confirmed by the county recorder - Great Oak Beauty. Trapped on the 3rd June he then gets another last night - he can be such a tart sometimes.

Great Oak Beauty by Bob Hazell


June 5th 2011

The first hour of our walk along the Dowles Brook, Worcestershire was marred by drizzle and very quiet until we came across family parties of Spotted Flycatcher, Wood Warbler and Redstart. Other sightings included a smart looking Speckled Yellow, Chimney Sweeper and the amazing Nemophora degeerella with there extremely long antennae.

Nemophora degeerella

Speckled Yellow

Other bird sightings included many Grey Wagtail, many Bullfinches, plenty of Great-spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Jays.
The hooting of a distant train reminded us to visit Bewdley Station on the preserved Severn Valley Railway where we spent a couple of hours enjoying the coming and goings of the various engines close to.

Stanier Mogul 42968

Warship Class 42 D821 Greyhound Bewdley Station

LMS Ivatt Class 43106 Bewdley Station

On leaving Bewdley we saw people gathering in a field similar to what we had witnessed last year so decided to be nosey. Parked up and crossed over to the Blackstone Farm Nature Reserve run by the Wildlife Trust for Worcestershire where they had arranged a viewing area for the public to see the most vibrant red field of Poppies you can imagine – just stunning.


June 4th 2011

I watched a Barn Owl hunting along Dunsmore Ridge at 4am as the space shed went over then around mid-day Dave and I tried our luck around Marton, Wappenbury and Draycote villages.
Unfortunately despite the humid conditions the strong blustery wind made life difficult but we managed 20+ Banded Demoiselle near Marton along with Small Tortoiseshell and Grey Wagtail while Chimney Sweeper, Brown Silver-lines, Silver-ground Carpet, Green-veined White, Large Skipper and Common Blue were at Wappenbury. Draycote Meadows had plenty of Common Spotted Orchid and a few Grass Rivulets

Mother Shipton and Common Spotted Orchid Draycote Meadows by Mason Phillips


Friday, 3 June 2011

June 3rd 2011

Coming home from Cubbington last night there were good numbers of moths out so we tried Lawford Heath with the bat detector and had Noctule and Common Pip, also lucky enough to spot a Tawny owl as it flew from one tree to another as we passed by. My own traps did well with 41 species from 115 moths.
Out with Dave to the Just So cafĂ© to get our weekly fix of Naomi’s exceedingly good quiche then a look at Stockton Cutting where we did reasonable well with Sparrowhawk and Garden Warbler, White-legged Damselfly, Four-spotted Chaser, 50+ Bee Orchid, 12 Common Twayblade, 3 Greater Butterfly Orchid, and many Common Spotted Orchids.

Common Spotted Orchid

Bee Orchid

On the butterfly front there was not many species on the wing but we did find 5 Grizzled Skippers, 3 Brimstone and 2 Brown Argus amongst the many Common Blues.
Arrived home and had the amazing sight of a Brown long-eared Bat flying around the garden for ages – looked like a young one so may have been disturbed from its local nusery. Another cracking garden record was a Hummingbird Hawk-moth this morning for the second day in a row which I forgot to mention.

Snout - Bob Hazell

Green Pug - Bob Hazell

Purple Bar new for Dave's garden - Bob Hazell

Marsh Frittilary another cracking butterfly the boys had in Gloucestershire by Dave Ludlow