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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Silence is Med shaped..

A nil day due to other commitments but, following on from yesterday's chat with Tim about recent avian and non-avian events at Brading and discussions on the massive increase of local breeding Med Gulls, today found another late afternoon insect hatch drawing in plenty of Larids including 50 of so Meds (with one or two 2cys). It's always strange, to me at least, to see these ghostly, bright white wraiths too busy and intent on feeding to utter a sound.

Scanning the skies produced a dozen or so Swifts much higher than any gull.

No pictures today so just this from yesterday showing how parched PB is.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Pants !!

The almost totally overcast conditions with a decent breeze made it the most comfortable day to be out in many weeks but sadly it didn't improve insect numbers and rather suppressed butterfly and dragonfly activity.

The reserve is now pretty parched but that has given the opportunity to cut and top large areas just in the last week transforming the look of the place. The footpaths and fields are a sea of Ragwort with attendant Cinnabar caterpillars plus other nectaring insects.

The Fleabane etc on the zigzag was hardly buzzing with life but a Eumerus hoverfly had me puzzled for a while and a few Four-banded Flower Bees were looking very bald. All the skippers appeared to be Small.

At Westmead a juvenile Wren with massive gape flanges was hopping around the guttering whilst in front the last half inch of water held enough insects to keep a family of Pied Wagtails busy. Bird highlight of the day was a juvenile (1cy) Marsh Harrier - presumably fledged for no more than a month, I wonder where that has wandered in from; I guess there are no breeders anywhere nearby.

Redstart Corner pool had four Brown Hawkers and a couple of Common Darters.

Winpenny pool was still full of water but birdless and the constant sound of Redshanks over the spring and early summer was now absent; presumably all decamped to wetter areas.

Similar story on north brooks although others had Hobbies and a Purple Emperor(!) in the vicinity. Without a scope only a single godwit and a handful of House Martins.

The heathland was also birdless but did at least produce a nice male Banded Demoiselle, my first Black Darter of the year (above) with many Ruddies and this Emerald Damsel, also a first.

Main highlight of the day was this Pantaloon Bee, one of two, checking holes amongst the Anthophora bimaculata, Sphecodes, Cerceris rybiensis etc which, due to the cooler conditions, were much less active than in previous weeks.

Finally, a Green Sandpiper circling the heath dropped into the muddy margins of Black Pond, although being nervous didn't stay long once it spotted me.

Caught up with Gary, Sue and Patrick.

Monday, 16 July 2018

The single lavender bush is about the only food source attracting any insects now although a few bumbles are still visiting the Himalayan Honeysuckle. B. lapidarius are now becoming more regular.

Locally, nice to hear the Cetti's back 'chit-chittering', a strident Reed Warbler and a male Blackcap singing well plus a single Swift.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

The moth trap continues to decline with just two more Tree Lichen Beauty (now seven in 10 days) and an Elephant HM which went off over the houses like an Exocet!! A potted micro awaiting ID.

The two Blashford traps were busy but nothing too exciting and all mostly too warm to be cooperative although the Canary-shouldered Thorns were a little more passive. This Pine Hawkmoth was the first I've seen for a while as was the Lobster, also above. Herald (very worn) and this Oncocera semirubella (Rosy-striped Knot-horn) were both new.

At the reception pond several Anasymia lineata and best of all a new hover - Helophilus hybridus.

Too hot and too pushed for time for much else although Ibsley Water was full of birds, albeit the usual fare, plus at least three broods of the typically late summer Tufted Ducks. A single Buzzard was having a drink and later a Sprawk crossed the M27.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Rubbery, rubbery Jerry...

Off to WWT to retrieve Zeiss 7x42 back from a refurb in Germany  - nice new rubber armoring, clean optics, eyecups replaced and both barrel end caps replaced; virtually good as new for free!!

Caught up with Graham T, Nick's father and uncle, Keith, Hugh and David and Janet and family; but little birdwise other than four Little Egrets and a heard Kingfisher. This Blackbird was just feet away and enjoying a sunbathe whilst the reeds are now so thick and tall as to make it virtually impossible to see Acros.

Hovers were pretty sparse but this Helophilus trivittatus was, ironically, the first thing I looked at!!

M, K and G went to visit Dad and, after a meal, the early evening heat drove up a load of insects, presumably flying ants, and drew in 50-100 gulls, at least 20 Med of which two or more were 2cy but no juveniles.