Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Linacre July WeBS and insects

This month's WeBS count didn't get done earlier in the month as everyone who normally helps out was busy doing other things. Today was the first opportunity I'd had to do it, so here are the results of a slightly belated count: Mallard (42, all "adults", non obviously young), Tufted Duck (20; 14 adults and 6 juveniles), Coot (8; 3 adults and 5 juveniles), Moorhen (7; 3 adults and 4 juveniles), Grey Heron (1), Great-crested Grebe (1 adult and 2 juveniles on the middle reservoir, no sign of adults or juveniles on the top reservoir), and Mandarin Duck (5). No sign of any Little Grebes again. They don't appear to have bred here this year- the first blank year since recording began in 2006!

The weather was great today (21 degrees and sunny), so as well as the birds, I also spent some time looking at the insects again. There were good numbers of butterflies, hoverflies, dragonflies, damselflies, moths and bees.

I recorded 9 species of butterfly (Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Green-veined and Large White, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper, Peacock and PURPLE HAIRSTREAK). The last species was the best, simply because it was my first Linacre record of 2014, and also because I managed to get a photo as it fed on a Thistle.

Purple Hairstreak
The two moth species I saw and identified today were both new for me at Linacre. Both were moths that are easily disturbed from the ground, namely Brown China-mark and Shaded Broad-bar.

Brown China-mark
Brown China-mark is a common species throughout the UK, but is quite unusual in that its larvae are entirely aquatic! See here for more details.

Shaded Broad-bar
Shaded Broad-bar is also a very common species. Details from UK Moths here.
Hoverflies were also present in good numbers, and included another new species for me at Linacre, Volucella inanis.

Volucella inanis
Also present today were Brown Hawker dragonflies (5+), Common Blue Damselflies (10+) and 3 species of bumblebee (Red-tailed, White-tailed and Common Carder)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Carr Vale Ringing - 2 new species

On Saturday I was out ringing with my trainer and Brian from The Sorby Breck Ringing Group, at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Carr Vale reserve. It was the first visit for a while, and hopes were high for a few warblers. We were not disappointed as we caught 27 individuals of 7 different species, including 2 new species for me.

The first new species was a Lesser Whitethroat. It was one of the first birds out of the nets, and also my first sighting of the year. Unfortunately no photos as I was busy getting all the information from it!

The second new species for me was a Sedge Warbler- 1 of 3 birds processed today. The bird I ringed was a new bird, born this year, while the other 2 were retraps. 1 had been ringed by my trainer at Carr Vale last year, and we're still waiting for information about the other bird. Here's a couple of photos- the first is the bird held safely in the "ringers' grip", whilst the second is a close up of the bird's head. What a super bird!

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler's head

Along with these 2 birds I was also lucky enough to ring another 27 birds of 13 species -Whitethroat (2), Chiffchaff (2), Wren (1), Blackcap (2), Reed Warbler (2), Reed Bunting (1), Bullfinch (1), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (2), Long-tailed Tit (2), Dunnock (1), Robin (1) and Song Thrush (1). All these birds were new birds, except the Dunnock, which was a retrap.

Year List update
163 - Lesser Whitethroat

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Suffolk Butterflies and Moths

As well as looking at the birds in Suffolk last week, I also managed to spot a few butterflies and moths. Most of the species seen were at the RSPB Minsmere reserve. Over the course of the week I managed to spot 19 species of butterfly and 3 moths.

The butterflies included many of the commoner species, namely Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Common Blue, Small Copper, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Green-veined White, Small Heath, Small, Large and Essex Skipper (a new species for me) and Comma as well as a few more unfamiliar ones such as Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Grayling, Purple Hairstreak, (2 basking in the sunshine from Bittern Hide), White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary. More information about all these species can be found on the Butterfly Conservation's website here. Here are a few pictures.

Essex Skipper

White Admiral

I didn't take my moth trap with me, so the moths I saw were three day-flying varieties; 6-spot Burnet, Rosy Tabby (Endotricha flammealis, seen at Dunwich Heath) and a mint moth called  Pyrausta aurata or Small Purple and Gold. More information about these species can be found on the UK Moths website here.

6-spot Burnet

Small Purple and Gold

Rosy Tabby

Friday, 25 July 2014

A Week in Suffolk

I've just been down to Suffolk for a week's holiday, and in between visits to Southwold and Aldeburgh, and sitting on the beach in amazing 25 degree heat, I managed to see a few birds and increase the Year List, including a  new British Tick, in the form of a Collared Pratincole. Here's a terrible picture that I managed to get.

Collared Pratincole
Most of the birding, including the Pratincole,  took place at the superb RSPB Minsmere reserve, which was just 10 minutes drive from our cottage. I managed to see all of the year ticks except the Dartford Warbler and the Garden Warbler, at this site. Here's another poor shot, this time of the part breeding plumaged Curlew Sandpiper.
Curlew Sandpiper
Year List update:
153 – Red-legged Partridge
154 – Green Sandpiper
155- Curlew Sandpiper
156- Collared Pratincole
157 – Little Gull (20+ every day at Minsmere)
158 – Little Tern
159 – Sandwich Tern
160 – Arctic Tern (1)
161 – Dartford Warbler (Dunwich Heath)
162 – Garden Warbler (1 ringed at The Avenue, Chesterfield on 12th July)

As well as the birds I also managed to see a few butterflies and moths, so I'll add another post about those later.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Garden Moths- Hawk-moths are comimg!

Its been quite a while since I last blogged about  my moth trapping activities in my garden (click on the label Garden Moths for details of previous blogs).

Throughout June I put the trap out 6 times, and began to catch a much wider range of species. I won't list all the names, but instead here are a few photos of one particular family - the hawk moths.

The first moth to show is a Hummingbird Hawk-moth (link here). This species is a regular, but uncommon, annual immigrant to the UK, from southern Europe, and this was my first record in the garden. They aren't easy to photograph, but I managed to grab this shot.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth
Another hawkmoth that appeared in the garden was the Poplar Hawkmoth (link here). I've had 2 so far this year, including this one that posed beautifully for some shots.
Poplar Hawk-moth
The third species of hawk-moth seen so far is the Lime Hawk-moth (link here). Just 1 record of this species so far, but a real beauty.
Lime Hawk-moth
The final species recorded so far is one that may people may have heard of, or perhaps, even seen- the Elephant Hawk-moth ( link here). This species first turned up at the weekend (along with a Poplar Hawk-moth), and I'm hoping to see a few more over the next couple of months.

Elephant Hawk-moth

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Silver-studded Blue

Last week I posted a blog about a brilliant site in South Yorkshire where I had been lucky enough to see Dark Green Fritillary and Marbled White butterflies (see here). I went back to this site again this weekend to see if I could catch up with another species, one that I'd missed last week; the Silver-studded Blue (see Butterfly Conservation's website here for details about this species), and this time I got lucky!



I managed to see this male butterfly. Unfortunately the photos aren't very sharp, but you can hopefully see the tick black borer of the upperwing, which helps separate it from the Common Blue Butterfly (see here).

As well as this new species, I also saw at least 10-15 Dark Green Fritillaries and 20+ Marbled Whites; including several mating pairs, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath, 20+ Ringlets, Meadow Brown and a skipper species, most likely Large.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

New Moth for Linacre

A quick half an hour at Linacre this morning gained me an addition to the moth list when I found this beauty perched in a tree in the ringing area. Its a Common Carpet, which, as the name suggests, is a common moth found in a range of habitats, throughout England. More information here.

Common Carpet (nearly in focus!)
 Whilst on site, I also spotted at least 10 Ringlets, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 male Common Blue Damselfly, 1 Meadow Brown and this Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle.

Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Lovely butterflies

The other day I was going through Twitter when I came across a picture of a Silver-studded Blue butterfly. This is a species I've not seen before, and the individual in question was reported at being in Lindrick Dale, near Worksop. After a few "tweets" I had found out the site and so, with half decent weather, I decided to have a drive over to see if I could see the species for myself. Unfortunately, I drew a blank, but whilst there, I did manage to spot another couple of very nice butterfly species that I've never seen  near home.

The first species was the Dark Green Fritillary. I've seen this species once before in Cornwall, but on this walk I managed to see about half a dozen individuals. More information about this species can be found on Butterfly Conservation's website here.

Dark Green Fritillary
 The second species was the Marbled White. I only saw 2 individuals, but I did manage to get some nice shots. Again, more info here.

Marbled White (upperwing)
Marbled White (underwing)

Other species spotted during the walk were: Small Tortoiseshell (1), Small Heath (1) and Ringlet (20+).

As I said at the start of this post, I drew a blank with the SS Blues, so I'll pop back again, and hopefully add some pictures of this species next time.