Friday, 10 July 2020

Year List Update - 5th July 2020

Wow, I didn't realise just how long it had been since I last updated the Year List!! As you can see, it's increased quite a lot since the end of Lockdown. Obviously, the there many "common" species there, but the best one, by a long way has to be the adult Rose-Coloured (Rosy) Starling that I saw, in Barnsley, back on 6th June.

Rosy Starling

Other highlights include the Wood Warbler ( a beautiful singing male seen in Padley Gorge), a reeling Grasshopper Warbler (on Leash Fen) and the adult and juvenile Spoonbills seen at RSPB Fairburn Ings last weekend.

Year List update:
109 – Red Grouse
110 – Curlew
111 – Reed Bunting
112 – Hobby
113 – Sand Martin
114 – Reed Warbler
115 – Sedge Warbler
116 – Wood Warbler
117 – Redstart
118 – Spotted Flycatcher
119 – Little Ringed Plover
120 – Tree Pipit
121 – Stonechat
122 – Rose-coloured Starling
123 – Whinchat
124 – Lesser Redpoll
125 – Grasshopper Warbler
126 – Long-eared Owl
127 – Spoonbill
128 – Common Tern
129 – Tree Sparrow
130 – Gannet
131 – Razorbill
132 – Guillemot
133 – Puffin
134 – Fulmar
135 – Kittiwake
136 – Great Skua

Sunday, 5 July 2020

RSPB Bempton Cliffs - 4th July 2020

Most years, Jayne and I try to get up to RSPB Bempton Cliffs near Bridlington to see the seabird colony there. Normally, we go up around Easter time, but, for obvious reasons, we didn't get there this year, so instead, we went up yesterday.

One of the main reasons for this year's visit was the see a Black-browed Albatross that had been seen on Friday. Unfortunately, there was no sign, so instead, we enjoyed the fantastic Gannets, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars, Puffins, Herring Gulls, Tree Sparrows, and two new species for us at this reserve, Long-eared Owl  and  Great Skua.

Gannet (adult)

Gannet (Sub-adult, possibly born in 2019, or 2018)

We don't normally see many mammals here, so a couple of very active Weasels by the side of one of the viewpoints was a very nice sight.


Sunday, 28 June 2020

Lindrick Common - 20th June 2020

This spring has seen a lot of warm, dry weather and above average temperatures. As a result, butterflies seem to have been emerging earlier than usual, so I decided to go to Lindrick Common a couple of weeks earlier myself.

When I arrived, it was obvious that they vegetation hadn't kept pace with the butterflies and there were only a few flowering plants. The butterflies, however, were all present in good numbers, with 10+ Marbled Whites, 15+ Dark Green Fritillaries and at least 15 Silver-studded Blues (all but one being male). The temperature was around 20 degrees, so the Whites and Fritillaries were all pretty active. The blues, on the other hand, were the most confiding I've ever known, and posed, beautifully, with open wings.

Marbled White

Dark Green Fritillary (underwing)

Dark Green Fritillary 

Silver-studded Blue

Other species seen whilst there included my first Ringlets of the year, along with several Meadow Browns, 1 Large Skipper, and, best of all, a day-flying moth called a Burnet Companion, which was a lifer!

Burnet Companion

Three species of orchid were out, namely Bee (1), Pyramidal (c.15) and Common Spotted (c.10).

Linacre WeBS - 28th June 2020

After a week of temperatures in the high 20s, this month's WeBS walk was a pretty chilly affair, with 12 degrees and a strong, cold wind! All in all it was pretty quiet, with very little to get excited about.

Totals were: Mallard (109, including just 1 obvious duckling), Tufted Duck (16 - all adults), Moorhen (6 adults, including 1 bird sitting on a nest, but no young), Coot (10; 7 adults and 3 well grown young), Mandarin (9 adults and 1 brood of 10 ducklings), Grey Wagtail (4; including 2 juveniles). As I said, nothing too exciting, and no grebes, cormorants or gulls!

Moorhen on nest

After walking around the reservoirs, I had an hour in the ringing site, looking for any insects. As you can imagine, given the cool weather, it was quite quiet again, but I did manage to spot my first Linacre Ringlet of the year, along with one male Common Blue Damselfly and 3 species of hoverfly (yet to be identified).


Thursday, 18 June 2020

Linacre Nestboxes - This Year's Totals

With the easing of the lockdown restrictions, I've been able to get down to Linacre to monitor the nestboxes again this year for the BTO's Nest Record Scheme.  As it turns out, it's been a pretty good season, with a total of 156 pulli of 4 species ringed.

As always, the two most numerous species using the boxes were Blue and Great Tit, with 109 and 35 pulli ringed. One pair of Nuthatches used a box and raised 4 young, whilst Pied Flycatchers had 2 broods, one of which fledged 8 young. Unfortunately, the second brood of Flycatchers were predated. One other species also built a nest in the boxes this year, a Wren. The pair laid eggs, but they didn't hatch.

8 Pied Flycatcher pulli

Blue Tits ready to fledge

Monday, 15 June 2020

Middleton Top - 13th June 2020

Since lockdown eased, Jayne and I have decided to go and visit some places that we've drived past for years, but have never actually stopped at. One such place is Middleton Top, near Wirksworth.

We parked up, and walked along the old railway line in the direction of Parsley Hay. As we walked along, we began to notice a profusion of bees, and it wasn't long before we spotted our first butterfly of the day, a pristine Small Tortoiseshell. In total, at least 12 were seen, possibly more, and were presumably, newly emerged. Along the walk, we also saw one Small Heath, one Small Skipper , 2 Chimney Sweepers (day-flying moth) and three Meadow Brown.

Chimney Sweeper

There were also many hoverflies, including a new species for me, Leucozona lucorum.

Leucozona lucorum

When we got back to the Visitors' Centre, we noticed a small nature reserve called Redhills Quarry, and had a short look around. The first thing Jayne spotted was a family of Redstarts flying around the bushes. In total, we saw 2 fledged family groups and 1 pair feeding young!


We also had a couple of Common Blue Butterflies and, what I think is a Potter Wasp, possibly Ancistrocerus scoticus.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Lathkill Dale - 6th June 2020

Jayne and I went for a walk along Lathkill Dale today. The weather wasn't great, with strong winds and lots of cloud, but we did get a few spells of sunshine which brought out a few insects.

Birdwise, it was quite quiet, but we did manage to see and hear 4 Ravens (family party perhaps?), and, best of all, a pair of mating Spotted Flycatchers! Other birds seen were: Jackdaws, Crows, Blue and Great Tit, Mallards, Mute Swan (1 pair with 5 cygnets), Grey Heron, Swallow, Swift, House Martins (20+), Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Moorhen and Coot (2 broods).

A few insects were seen in the sunnier periods, including my first Chimney Sweeper moth of 2020, male and female Common Blue Butterflies, one Speckled Wood and a Volucella bombylans hoverfly.

Common Blue (male)

Common Blue (female)

Volucella bombylans (bumblebee mimic)