Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Garden and PB

Rather cool and pretty windy last night so the trap was virtually empty  but this Elephant Hawk Moth was nice.

A few Med Gulls were heading inland at 04:50.

No Pete, no (or at least, very limited) power and hence no lunch!! No one on reserve, that I saw, other than beshorted ARK (despite the weather!!). Four distant Green Sandpipers were visible from the hanger; lots of mud suitable for a nice rare wader  - if only. A very blue-grey looking Hobby zipped through and probably in excess of forty each, Sand Martin and Swift, dropped down by the weather.
Unfortunately a smart Chrysotoxum hover, either cautum or verralli got away from me along the path adjacent to Wiggonholt Church.

Heathland was bare except for a perched-up Kestrel and a fledged juvenile Great  Spotted Woodpecker.

Torrential rain on the way home.

Large Skippers

Sicus ferrugineus

Monday, 27 June 2016

Surprising what you come across....

Started the day with a brief visit to the main car park at West Walk but with no change for the meter decided to look for hovers within sight of the car . Sericomiya silentis, Xylota segnis and Xylota sylvarum plus a few commoner species.

A coffee and 'red velvet' at Mud Island in glorious sunshine  was improved by two well-lit over flying Buzzards and a singing Firecrest. Alarm calls from local Swallows were a heads-up for a Hobby which returned later  and gave great views.

A twenty minutes stop on Portsdown produced plenty of Common Spotted and Pyramidal Orchids, fresh Small Blues and pristine Marbled Whites plus plenty of Meadow Brown's.  The ichneumon Amblyteles armatorius was particularly abundant.

Finally, a few Med Gulls and yet more Swallow alarms alerted to another Hobby, this one very much intent on taking out a hirundine or Swift.

Sunday, 26 June 2016


All six performing and female brought in what was probably a juvenile Moorhen. Other than that zilch!


Spent a couple of hours digging out some well rooted plants left by the previous owner. Watched an attractive ichneumon spp but wasn't able to catch it for a photo. Thirteen Med Gulls went north in two groups  and finally added Buzzard to the very minimal garden list , encouraged eastwards by two BHGs.
Then the rain set in heavily . No photos.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Trap, Butser, QECP, Stansted

Perhaps unsurprisingly with a clear, cool, moonlit night the trap was virtually empty although a fresh Miller was nice.

At Butser a quick chat with another butterflier, (in part about not being Europeans anymore!!) confirmed there were some Dark Green Fritillaries on the wing although I couldn't  find any. Last month's Early Purple Orchids now replaced by Common Spotted and most Burnet Moths now looking faded. A Lime-speck Pug posed for a photo plus Common Blues, Dingy Skippers,  Meadow Browns,  Large Skippers, Small Tortoiseshells and a single Painted Lady and a few hovers, the best being Chrysotoxum bicinctum.

This Med Gull was one of thirty or more - who would have thought years ago that Med Gulls would be the most numerous bird here!!

The gulls were joined very briefly by nine Red Arrows roaring by, I'm guessing on their way to Goodwood Festival of Speed.

QECP produced  male Emperor and Broad-bodied Chaser  a few more Common Spotted Orchid,  two Firecrests and a nice pair of Buzzard chasing each other and rather more flies etc than yesterday including hover Epistrophe diaphana.

Stansted, mostly a visit to garden centre, produced a few more Cheilosia illustrata,  four species of Eristalis and a couple of singing Goldcrest.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Flaming June (not!!)

Never Have I Seen...
© Saira Obaidullah

Never have I seen
The earth so green, 
The bright, blue sky 
Where birds doth fly. 

Sweet violets, 
And golden daisies, 
Tossing their heads 
And dancing in the breeze. 

Towering trees with swaying tops 
Whisper softly, “Won’t you stop?” 
Gentle springs murmur by 
As if singing a lullaby.

Possibly not appropriate today given the continuing sultry, thundery, grey and wet conditions. If only we could vote for better weather as part of the referendum! Too wet for the trap last night and probably so for the rest of the day preventing any 'wild-lifing'. After coffee and a bacon bap a short and drizzly walk produced a close and very visible singing Firecrest which looked wet and scruffy; three Med Gulls went south and two north. The umbellifers were much quieter than last week unsurprisingly  and most insects looked fairly torpid, a single Leucozona laternaria being the exception.

Yesterday's micros all now  identified or confirmed and spread-sheeted.

Wednesday's  duty was quiet with the three of us nearly out numbering visitors and birding was slow with just cream-crowned Marsh Harrier, possibly an adult female, hunting the North Brooks and taking what was probably a young Moorhen. A Hobby raced through low , too quick for Vic and Peter. People with scopes were able to locate two LRPS and a Green Sandpiper but a second flying GS was easily picked up in the bins. Precious few small birds but Whitethroat, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Sedge Warbler still vocal.  One 'gurking' Nightingale on Green Lane was almost certainly with young.

Insect wise just a handful of Meadow Brown, two Large Skippers and Syritta pipiens.

One or two roadside Kestrels on the way back but no hawking Med Gulls over the A3 today.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Too much today!

Mothing in Portsmouth with a just-after-dawn male Blackbird sat on the trap(!!) with Med Gulls calling overhead. Nothing too different from home but enough to warrant doing again.

Off to Blashford where a few bits in their trap, Hobby twice, a close Kingfisher (but sadly no zoom lens) and plenty of tern action. A few hover flies.
Lunch by the pond and an all-girl junior school party, thankfully very well behaved but enough to frighten John 6x4 off !! Black-tailed Skimmers and Banded Demoiselle were new for the year, and surprisingly the first Common Darter was perched up in the garden upon getting home.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Early cuppa

Beautiful sunny and calm start to the day with a few moths from the trap and a cuppa in the conservatory with singing Blackbird, twittering Goldfinches and mewing Med Gulls providing a soundtrack. Double-striped Pug was a new species and the only Green Pug was in better condition than the last one.
Three micros still awaiting ID. A Eupeodes corollae was the only non-moth in the trap.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Titchfield, short visit

Still 28 Turnstone in the harbour some being close to summer plumage but not much else  - a distant cream-crowned Marsh Harrier stayed well to the north.
Single well developed  Avocet chick with about 30 adults, similar numbers of Black-tailed Godwit and four Teal, presumably failed or non-breeders.
Highlight was a new hover fly,  Anasymia lineata.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Home, Iping, QECP

Early check of Moth Trap produced little but included, Dark Arches and Peppered Moth, being new, and two smart Bufftips.

Full English at Maple Ridge where a Kite, two Sparrowhawk and ten Swift. On Iping usual stuff, the best being Woodlark and Tree Pipits. Several new male Silver-studded Blues and various moths (Speckled Yellow, Latticed Heath) and hoverflies plus Common Damselfly and Four-spotted Chaser.

Later, at QECP, three singing Firecrests. The umbellifers were stuffed with mini-beasts including Nowickia ferox and Leucozona laternaria. On the pond male Emperor Dragonfly and male Broad-bodied Chaser.

Vollucella pellucens(m)

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Birthday Lunch

Mum's birthday today so off to the Titchfield Haven cafe for lunch, the only wildlife being a few Common Terns and a single Oystercatcher. A Broad bodied  Chaser hunting over the pond. Back at Baffins this wasp collecting wood pulp

A Coelioxys bee (klepto-  or brood parasitic) was photographed whilst another looked like a Megachile spp and may have been the host for the former.

Some set up and focus tests with new 80D on feral pigeons

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Quick outing

A few hover flies and this Common Spotted Orchid was one of many.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Another Sunday, another Peregrine issue

The day started with plenty of rain ; time  for a 'sickie' ???
But no, off to Chichester, some parking issues and a Costa coffee with horrible 'wallpaper music' !

At opening, female BL-66 was calling for ages from a perch and not tempted to move despite adults being feet overhead with prey. Maybe being soaked and the last to fledge were contributing factors. Meanwhile male BL-68 was reported grounded locally, wet but safe, and where he remained for some hours.

The adult male brought in juvenile Starling, followed  a little later by a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker. Eventually, the female brought in a feral pigeon, ate part and left the rest to 66, 67 and 69 providing the best viewing for visitors today.
The missing male eventually roof-hopped and got back unscathed. The weather ensured only a few Gulls and swifts overhead and the usual garden birds and no insects etc.

Good variety of local, less local (Manchester) and international (USA, Australian and Dutch) visitors made for a pleasant day, the improving weather helping no end.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Trapping again

It was forecast dry last night so I popped the trap out, this time on the other side of the garden. Up at 04:30 ish, noticed an Elephant Hawk moth, but left it there in covered trap and went back to bed. Strangely, it had escaped somehow an hour or so later when I unloaded the trap. In fact most of the moths were outside on fence panelling where very well camouflaged. A few were on the white conservatory Upvc where less so!

First night's trapping

Well the package came swiftly and was delivered yesterday just as I returned from shopping. Well packed and padded, all there, and easily assembled. Thank you and we'll done ALS. Set up outside garage. Up at 05:30 this morning  to remove the eight moths of six species: a few more would have been nice but,  as I'm unable to identify any immediately, they've been potted for later.

Got a few right and others IDd via Facebook - Willow Beauty shown.

An attempt to get to the Stansted Flower Show with Kate failed; massive tailback and suggestions of one hour wait! No thanks!
So off to the Sustainability Centre which was delightful. Three singing Firecrests and Cuckoo heard , Marsh Tits and  Green Woodpecker seen plus a few insects. Very nice chat with staff and volunteer.

Later, Butser was full of Burnett moths, Small Heath, Speckled Yellow and a Mother Shipton. A single Hobby zipped over to the south and the sky here and along the A3 was full of glisteningly white and strangely silent Mediterranean Gulls.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

There's always something!

Despite being a non-birding day it proved still possible  to 'engage with the public' as a trip out to Mud Island led to a chat with a couple, also purchasing plants,  and driven by a nectaring Painted Lady. Needless to say Springwatch was mentioned!! And the presence of the PL feeding on it led me to buy a Scabious!!

Plenty of Swallow and House Martin activity, presumably all nesting close by. Earlier, a few minutes parked up at West Walk was quiet; hoping for some Crossbill 'chipping' but probably a little too optimistic.

Back home my new (and first) Moth Trap was being delivered unexpectedly. Woo-hoo!!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Pulborough Duty

Humid and slow drive to Pulborough with just ten or so Mediterranean Gulls over fields adjacent to A3 prior to QECP.

But hark! what heavenly sound is this that now
steals like a dream.....
It is the heart-song of the nightingale.....

(Anna Katherine Green)

Not so much Nightingale song now but the Fattengates bird still singing and elsewhere Williw Warbler, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler still singing .

At Westmead a croaking  call revealed a drake Garganey now well on its way to eclipse plumage. Can't  remember last time I heard one outside  of WWT's collection birds!!

After lunch a brief view of a very brown Cuckoo, presumably a rufous phase female, (unless any juveniles could be this big and fledged yet) disappeared into trees near the hanger viewpoint. No sight nor sound of any waders other than Lapwing but two distant Hobbies eventually  came in and put on a nice show for a number of visitors; three very distant Buzzards were the only other  raptors. Insect-wise just two Painted Lady and hoverfly Volucella pellucens.

On the way back a similar number of hawking Med Gulls still over the A3, this time with a Buzzard in attendance.

Monday, 6 June 2016

New Forest

An easy drive down with less traffic than anticipated. Short  walk out to viewpoint with  a pair of Redstarts close to the path ( and a day total of 10+). A Cuckoo was calling during the morning but remained hidden. A few people gathered in the hope of a Honey but all struck out (at least until I left). Three relatively quiet Hawfinches zipped through and I added a fourth later on, this being picked up on call and reasonably close. Raptor wise at least three distant Goshawks, probably double figures of Buzzard a single Hobby and two Peregrines. The morning rounded out with a few  Stonechat, two Woodlark, two Raven, six Mistle Thrush, three singing Firecrests and a single Crossbill. Insect-wise pretty disappointing with just male Emperor Dragonfly and a couple of Broad-bodied Chasers. So no Keeled Skimmer, Golden ringed nor butterflies.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Chichester Cathedral; late drama!

..Peregrines sear across the cold sky and are gone...
(J A Baker)

A glorious blue day and first stint at the Cathedral. Plenty of people on and off, enough to keep busy but not so many as to feel overrun. The female came in with a pigeon which it left on a ledge and in the afternoon took it or a new pigeon into the nest turret. One or two youngsters posing in the castellations ensured that there were birds on show for most of the day. Some chaos (and concern) ensued mid afternoon when a male chick (69) surprised everyone by launching from the turret , clattering into the building and ending up on the roof of Iceland with mum in tow. Much talk of phoning for help with recovery but apparently it made it back to the cathedral OK.

Other than that one each of Buzzard, Goldcrest and Grey Wagtail , a few swifts, Painted Lady(3), Holly Blue(3), several teneral damsels (presumed Azure) and Merodon equestris.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Friday, 3 June 2016

Blashford Lakes HIWWT

..The wave found its way to the shore
I thought it was a ripple and nothing more the wave found its way all the way to the shore... (kt Tunstall)

Getting stir-crazy so decided to go for a drive despite the ropey weather, the car thermometer showing 54F pretty much all the way to Blashford. Good numbers of Swifts zooming over the approach road. Probably 250+ over Ibsley Water and 145+ Greylag Geese but pretty much nothing else.

An LRP called distantly and, as I left, a few extra degrees of temperature encouraged four mewing buzzards to circle over the car park. Caught up with a couple of locals and 'talked tech' for half an hour. No staff present so no moth trap to poke about with. Ivy South is now mostly given over to nesting BHGS and Common Terns on the new HOS-sponsored rafts.
Just three hovers with one, Xanthogramma pedisequum agg,  being attractive, co-operative and pictured here.

Departed across the forest where half a dozen Stonechats,  mostly zipping across the road and flipping up onto the tops of nearest gorse bushes.