Sunday, 5 September 2021

Linacre Butterflies and Dragonflies - 5th September 2021

 After a very cloudy, overcast August, with very few periods of sunshine, and lower than average temperatures, it was lovely to be down at Linacre this afternoon enjoying some bright sunshine and 23 degrees of heat!!

As always, the sun brought out the butterflies and I managed to record 2 Red Admirals, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Peacock, 6 Speckled Woods, 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Wall Brown (male), 1 Comma, 1 Purple Hairstreak and a very tatty looking Common Blue Butterfly.

As well as the butterflies, I also managed to find 1 Common Darter, 1 Migrant Hawker and 4 Brown Hawkers, including a very obliging individual.

Brown Hawker

Birdwise, it was quite quiet, but I did record 13 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (12 adults and 1 juvenile), 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 House Martins, Swallows (heard, but not seen) and 1 singing Chiffchaff.

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Pacific Golden Plover and Black Stork!!

 Yesterday I had a drive over to RSPB Frampton Marsh to see a couple of nice birds: Pacific Golden Plover (lifer!) and Black Stork (British tick).

The Pacific Golden Plover was very easy to see, as it fed for the whole visit on a small piece of water on the marsh, about 20m from the sea wall. I got excellent views via the 'scope and even managed a half decent photo.

Pacific Golden Plover

The Black Stork (a juvenile) wasn't quite so easy, as it was at in a ditch about a 45 minute walk from the car park when I arrived! I walked across, however, and got great views of it on the ground, and then several more throughout the day as it flew around the reserve.

Black Stork

Other birds seen around the reserve included Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Spoonbill (17), Black-headed Gull, Grey Heron, Swallow, Canada and Greylag Geese, Little and Great-crested Grebe, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mute Swan and Goldfinch.

Year List update:
162 - Pacific Golden Plover
163 - Black Stork
164 - Green Sandpiper
165 - Spoonbill
166 - Spotted Redshank

Volucella zonaria at Linacre - 17th August 2021

 I had my forst visit to Linacre since betting back from Cornwall, on Tuesday. It was a very grey, overcast day, with a maximum of 16 degrees and frequent drizzly rain! Thankfully, there were a few breaks in the  cloud, which allowed me to see a few insects, including  a new species for me at Linacre - Volucella zonaria!

Volucella zonaria is a species of hoverfly that has been extending its range in Britain over the last few years. I've recorded it in Derbyshire before (at Hardwick Hall), but Tuesday's sighting was my first at Linacre. 2 individuals were seen, along with two other Volucella species; Volucella inanis and Volucella pellucens (no photo).

Volucella zonaria

Volucella inanis

Other insects seen were: Red Admiral (1), Meadow Brown (1), Wall Brown (1 male ), Common Blue Butterfly (1 male), Green-veined White (2), Large White (1), Peacock (1),  Shaded Broad Bar (1), Straw Dot (1) Yellow Shell (2) and Eristalis sp (hoverfly).

Wall Brown

Birdwise, it was quite quiet, but the following species were noted: House Martin (4), Common Buzzard (1 heard), Mallard (69), Mandarin Duck (40 adults and 2 ducklings), Tufted Duck (25 adults and 1 juvenile),Coot (8 adults and 1 juvenile), Moorhen (11 adults and 5 juveniles), Great-crested Grebe (3 adults and 4 juveniles, 2 each on the middle and bottom reservoirs), Grey Wagtail (3 adults and 2 juveniles), Chiffchaff (wheeting heard, and 1 bird seen in the willows by the boardwalk) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (9; 5 adults and 4 juveniles, including 1 that was begging for food - Chesterfield-bred?)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (3 adults and 1 juvenile)

Lesser Black-backed Gulls (juveniles)

Saturday, 14 August 2021

Cornwall Dragonflies and Butterflies

Whilst in Cornwall this summer I managed to see a few species of dragon and damselfly: Migrant and Southern Hawker and Beautiful Demoiselle.

The Southern Hawker was seen at several sites, including The Lost Gardens of Heligan, whilst the Migrant Hawker was seen in the grounds of our holiday let.

The Beautiful Demoiselle was seen at the National Trust's Cotehele. 

Beautiful Demoiselle

Whilst at Cotehele we also managed to see a good range of butterflies: Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Large White, Green-veined WhitePeacock, Silver-washed Fritillary, Comma and Painted Lady.

Painted Lady

Cornwall Gulls

Jayne and I have just had a couple of weeks in Cornwall. Whilst there, we managed to see a few birds, including a couple of old friends (Herring Gulls), one "year tick" and 2 new darvic-ringed Great Black-backed Gulls.

The familiar birds were two Herring Gulls that we saw in St Ives on 6th August. The gulls, W:186 and W:195, have both been seen in previous visits to Cornwall, having been ringed there in 17th June 2014 and 26th June 2014 respectively. 



The new birds, two Great Black-backed Gulls, were both spotted in and around Looe. The first one, L:AY6, was seen on two occasions (30th July and 12th August) in the harbour area. It had been ringed, as a pullus, on Looe Island, on 20th July 2012, and had been reported in and around the harbour ever since. My sighting was the first since June 2020.

L:AY6 (12th August 2021)

The second gull, L:BB6, was spotted on rocks on Hannafore Point, opposite Looe Island, on 9th August 2021. It too had been ringed on Looe Island, as a pullus, on 24th June 2013. This bird had travelled a little further than the harbour, having been seen in Dawlish Warren, Devon, in 2016 and 2017, before returning to Looe Island to breed. My record was the first since 2019.


The new bird was a Manx Shearwater, seen flying past St Ives Island, on 6th August.

Year List update:
161 - Manx Shearwater

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Bakewell Gulls

 I had my first trip to Bakewell today to see if there were any returning Black-headed Gulls. There were!

In total, there were about 30/40 birds, including a good number of juveniles. There were also lots of people (!), so it took me over two hours before I found my first ringed bird, a metal-ringed adult bird from Finland. Unfortunately, I only managed to get 4 digits of its ring, T321, so I won't be able to find out where or when it was ringed.

_ T321 _ _?

The second bird I saw was a British-ringed bird, EW97345, a familiar face! It had been ringed in Boston, Lincolnshire, on 9th January 2010, and was first seen in Bakewell, by me, on 1st September 2018. It was then seen here in July and September 2019 and August 2020.


RSPB South Stack - 26th July 20221

 After yesterday's visit to Cemlyn Lagoon, I drove across to RSPB South Stack. The target species was Chough, and I was not disappointed!!

I parked in the first car park, and the first bid I saw and heard was.... Chough!! In total I saw a minimum of 16 birds, which flew over my head calling, before landing on the cliffs about 10m away. Wow!! Many of the birds were darvic-ringed, and I managed to get 6 numbers, so I'll update with details as soon as I get them back. Here are a few photos.


Whilst walking along the cliffs in the sunshine and 20 degree heat, I also spotted a Hooded Crow, a pair of Ravens, Jackdaws, Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls, Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Stonechat, including this juvenile bird.


There were lots of insects buzzing about too(!), the highlights being a Wall Brown and several Grayling.


Year List update:
159 - Chough
160 - Hooded Crow