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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Deathwish dragon..

Popped in to town to collect a wheelchair from the Red Cross and was surprised to see an Emperor Dragonfly barrelling up, down and across the road just prior to the traffic lights!!

Locally, 25 Canada Geese are now in for their summer moult (and presumably more to come) much to the chagrin of the swans who weren't happy at sharing the pond. Somehow they've managed to lose three of the six cygnets despite them being quite large. The 'Starling Bush' was incredibly noisy; no idea how many adults and young were in there.

The flag iris are now gone over and the small amount of Ragged Robin has done the same but replaced with masses of Purple Loosestrife and a little Meadow Sweet for added colour, both below. The odd unidentifiable bee spp, this Syrphus spp on bramble and an Azure Damsel was it, although the strong wind was hardly conducive to insect watching.

P.S. Also booked in on a HIWWT macro course!

Monday, 18 June 2018

Two missed days..

Yesterday's weather, Father's Day and family get-together scuppered any 'wilding' and that theme continued today with just garden stuff and no outing further afield. So Syritta pipiens, Syrphus spp, Lasioglossum spp, Sphaerophoria spp (presumably  scripta), Platycheirus albamanus and Megachile spp was it and not even a chance of a local walk what with numerous phone calls to DWP, GP and local hospitals and 'Dad sitting'. Maybe moth trap tonight and a half day somewhere local tomorrow.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

A good selection of moths today, although nothing out of the ordinary, some more Grass Snake pictures and plenty of Sand Martins (600+) and Swifts(200).

J6x4 was already half way through the moths so I'm not sure how much had done a bunk whilst I was looking (unsuccessfully!)  for Jim and Jackie's Orange Tip caterpillar.

On Ivy Lake one Great Crested Grebe taking fish back and forth so presumably to a sitting female or small young and the other pair building a typical ridiculous floating nest.

A brief look at Ibsley produced little although the showers had brought down the above mentioned aerialists, a male Reed Bunting was collecting insects along the shoreline in the company of a Lapwing and this single, small Bee Orchid was nearby.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Half way point...

Treble Brown Spot, a garden tick, was the best of a paltry moth catch after last night's clear and chilly skies.

Well, after the minimal moth catch and with a few minor chores to do I wasn't expecting much and that was borne out by a visit to PHP for photos of male Black-tailed Skimmers which I'm sure by now would have been on the footpath sunbathing. Plenty there were but constantly disturbed by a stream of walkers, joggers, baby buggies etc. Birdlife was minimal with just 20+ House Martins and a handful of Med Gulls. 'Insect Alley' was heavily overgrown but the few Common Spotted Orchids are still reaching for the sky. Some of the small sandy patches had digger wasp holes with attendant Miltogrammine Sarcophagid flies, and the now well overgrown 'Beewolf patch' had Oxybelus uniglumism (Common Spiny Digger Wasp) including one which was snatched by a waiting spider. Elsewhere in longer grass adjacent to Bramble, Large Skipper was the commonest butterfly with a Painted Lady the only other species; whilst making a pig's ear of photographing the former a large queen Hornet was rooting about on the ground.

With little on offer and overcast skies a long conversation with one of the carp fisherman ensued.

Back to QECP where, after a coffee, the sun started to come out and things picked up noticeably. First off, around the pond two Emperors and a male BBC interacted and perched up along with a few damsels. Nice to see and hear song-flighting Siskins for the first time in years, like a cross between Greenfinch and Goldfinch, with one bird coming down to drink. The umbellifers, iris and other vegetation were alive with bees, hovers and other stuff including several Ladybird Flies (probably 10 for the day), Wasp Beetle, Tenthredo spp and Tenthredo scrophulariae (which was a second 'target' for the day) and the first two Phasia hemiptera of the year. NfY hover in the form of Leucozona laternaria plus a single Nowickia ferox and loads of Andrena cineraria. It was nice to see the hemipterous bug Miris striatus again.

The butterfly slope was strangely devoid of anything other than a few Meadow Browns with even the Cinnabars and Five-spots all having 'decamped' The thistles, Vipers Bugloss and other plants near the 'aggregate dump' were well stocked with bumblebees but little else

Finally the bottom path, now chest high in grasses had numerous resting Emperors including the one above and the return along the 'well shorn' chalk path had just one Volucella bombylans.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Day 13.5...

Not able to get out today so nothing new to add but as a personal 'aide memoire' a few forgotten bits from yesterday including this ex-micro moth Hedya nubiferana which I've not recorded before. Also a couple of Small Heath squabbling along Adder Alley which were never going to stop for a portrait or even a record shot - only the second I've seen this year, albeit with no time spent in more suitable habitat.

The splendidly metallic looking jewel wasp Trichrysis cyanea was investigating holes bored in the Black Pond wooden fence. None of last week's robberflies were obvious but Golden-haired Robberfly (presumably; waiting for an FB confirmation) posed briefly. The hot sandy slopes were alive with bees and wasps. Hopefully it won't be long before the central section is reopened.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

After the recent Small Elephant and Privet Hawkmoths today's bog-standard Elephant wasn't too much of a surprise; neither was the reduced catch due to a cooler night. My first Angle Shades of the year was nice to see as always as was a Barred Straw. The first Double-barred Pug was already worn and the only pug spp today. Just a single caddis fly today.

Back into Chi again to pick up a replacement UV filter and lens cap and on to PB where a session on the heath produced lots of Anthophora bimaculata, Cerceris rybyensis, Sphecodes bees, Ectemnius spp plus Choerades marginatus and a single Sercomyia silentis but still no darters, Volucellas, Criorhinas.
Too much to see and record. No sound of yesterday's Crossbills.

Reception pond had Four-spot, BBC and two Emperors, the female ovipositing plus a few small newts; Great-crested Newts were seen by the pond-dipping school group according to Lucy.

The Lesser Whitethroat was still singing strongly and continuously along the tarmac path and it was nice to sit back on a bench, close my eyes and just enjoy listening to it; pretty little else still singing.

Best sighting on the 'main' reserve was a super, low-pass flyby by a Hobby just minutes after predicting to visitors that we'd see one, followed soon after by a soaring Sparrowhawk.

Things got better over a cuppa with Pete when some squealing from the other side of the tea-terrace fence alerted to a Stoat dispatching a Rabbit before dragging it bit by bit into cover along the fenceline attracting the attention of a crow on the way; a real Springwatch moment!!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

It's that time of year again....

A brief shopping trip to Chi for a longer Arca Swiss plate for the new Manfrotto ballhead was unsuccesful but it was worth it for the sight and sounds of nesting House Martins along East Street (albeit in ever reducing numbers). At the cathedral, this young Blackbird was being fed by its dad, a 2cy bird looking pretty scruffy now; soon time for a full moult.

About a dozen Swifts were overhead and one, possibly two Red Kites were drifting around. Both adult Peregrines were present and noisy overhead and one juvenile (BL93) in the nest turret was vigorously wing-flapping before it or another took a maiden flight and returned confidently before a slightly undignified landing on the lower tracery where it remained to 'catch its breath' whilst the adults looked on disinterestedly. Not enough parking for a longer session.
Back home, other than a few moths, the summer's absence of  insects (flies, bees and wasps) continues with just the ubiquitous Sphaerophoria scripta and Syritta pipiens plus a brief visit from a neat Megachile bee