Monday, 31 July 2017

Five site ticks!!

What was intended as a short coffee and cake visit with a quick circuit produced some new stuff, the first being a very close sunbathing Adder which sadly slithered off quickly. Within a few minutes Criorhina berberina, Chrysotoxum bicinctum and Ferdinandea cuprea, all new for the park.
The usual suspects and unidentifiable mini-hovers were augmented by Scaeva pyrastri, Leucozona laternaria and glaucia. No Phasia hemiptera today.

Later, whilst trying to get photos of Chalkhill Blues a Brown Argus (also new) popped up and finally a massive insect launched out of the courtyard tree, clattered into guttering and the bumbled off high over the roof - pretty certain this must have been Urocerus gigas.

Finally a Sparrowhawk circled over the carpark.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Scaeva pyrastri

USS GHWB back in the Solent - I'm guessing its the largest ship ever to have anchored here.

Just one juvenile Marsh Harrier, a few distant Buzzards and still four or more Kestrels. Two distant Great-crested Grebes appeared to have two young on the back of one adult. Lots of Common Darters along the sunnier part of the boardwalk and this Southern Hawker, one of two, kept its distance. Two V.inanis and one V.zonaria all on Hemp Agrimony but precious little else.
No sign of any SR-eD on the cafe pond.

South Scrape was virtually birdless with just one Common Sandpiper and a single Teal amongst the other young or moulting quackers.

Saturday, 29 July 2017


About 125 mixed martins, mostly House and a couple of Swifts, quite a few Chiff and Blackcap;  Reed Warblers still singing. Still plenty of diptera on umbellifers but few hovers just plenty of M. florea(below) and Syrphus and a few Noon Flies (also below).

A half-hearted spin round the usual park route produced just one P. hemiptera. Masses of unidentifiable diptera, hymenoptera etc on virtually every piece of umbellifer but pretty much zero on Hemp Agrimony and Ragwort. Best was Chrysotoxum festivum which flew in, landed and was gone before I could get the camera up to the eye - a year first.
Eriothrix rufomaculata and Common Blue.

Little and large

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Johns first visit

Good to see John back after seven week absence after his fall - he seemed in good spirits.

On the north side just 350+ Sand Martins, ten Swifts and a handful of Buzzards.

On the south side this small Grass Snake on the usual stump and elsewhere two much smaller individuals. A distant perched Emperor and a Common Darter but again virtually no hovers or diptera. Still two very unfledged Common Terns and another handful of Buzzards. Kingfishers were calling distantly and no sign of yesterday's GWE. A Sharp-angled Peacock was on the wall.

Back home in windy conditions, the Hemp Agrimony now looks pretty dried out so no V.z for the first time in weeks; just the male V.inanis in that area plus two each of Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Insects galore

At Heath Pond just 30+ House Martins, single Swallow and Heron - first day with not a single Sand Martin nor Swift. I'm guessing tomorrows poor weather may drop a few in. Two Phasia hemiptera and Conops quadrifasciatus (male) and lots of common hovers. No Bee wolf but Small Coppers and Common Blues plus this disturbed Blood Vein (above) and a Silver Y.

At the park no birds, a couple of Silver-washed Fritillary and a few Brimstones, another ten P.hemiptera, two Gymnosoma rotundatum, Figwort Sawfly and these hovers. So Syrphus spp (many hundreds), Episyrphus balteatus (many hundreds), Sphaerophoria spp (few), Myathropa florea (dozens), Cheilosia illustrata (dozens), Cheilosia spp (20), Syritta pipiens (2), Platycheirus spp (10), Meliscaeva auricollis (10), Meliscaeva cinctella(30), Dasysyrphus albiostratus (4), Scaeva pyrastri (4), Pipiza spp (1), Eristalis pertinax (100), Melangyna spp (umbellatarum? 1), Chrysogaster solstitialis (3), Eupeodes luniger (5 females), Eupeodes spp (10).

No photos here due to flat battery/no charger.

Monday, 24 July 2017

At Chi stil at least two very noisy juvenile Peregrines chasing each other around the cathedral skies.

Back home still three female V.zonaria on the same patch of Hemp Agrimony today joined by a male V.inanis a few common hovers and some bees and wasps awaiting id; (Cerceris rybyensis above, Andrena flavipes, Lassioglossum albipes (?) and Lasioglossum spp).

Not so attractive but Sarcophaga flies, as above, are always quite photogenic. Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and a couple of Holly Blues, this posing one being pretty worn.

A Cettis was calling just yards away.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Couple hours at TH

Nice start weather wise with blue skies and a light breeze but deteriorating towards midday. Just one Harrier, still all five Kestrels 40 godwits, one sp Dunlin and fifteen mixed plumage Turnstones and a Common Sandpiper. Eleven Acres is now just bone-dry cracked mud. A few Common Darters along the boardwalk but no other odonata.
Two Slow Worms and a small Grass Snake on the east side. Hover-wise Leucozona laternaria (above) at east side entrance and four Eristalinus sepulchralis (above) near Darters Dip.

Also ichneumon type wasp (above) possibly Apechthis compunctor as per FB.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Good numbers of Tufted broods including nine very well grown youngsters in front of the hide. Lots of Sand Martins (300+) and noisy begging Common Tern fledglings. Little else of note.

Insect wise pretty much nil but a few moths on the building (but curiously no covered trap). Black Arches, Pebble Hooktips, Brussels Lace, Beauty spp, Dingy Footman(several) and a few micros. Brambleshoot moth, curiously, on bramble!!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Heath Pond

A couple of hours shopping in Chi; no sight/sound of Peregrines.

At Heath Pond still a couple of hundred mixed Sand and House Martin but only one Swift; just one Grebe and Heron and a few Reed Warblers. When it warmed up still Small Coppers, Common Blues, Essex and Small Skippers, Red Admirals, Marbled White etc plus a male Volucella inanis, V.pellucens and a few common species. No sign of any Bee Wolf activity but male Crabro cribarius, a digger wasp,  was new for me. Plenty of Noon Flies (Mesembrina meridionalis) were the first I've seen for quite a while - particularly noticeable and presumably just out - not a species which is hard to miss. And a few black Arge species of sawfly.

Median Wasp

Crabro cribarius

Eriothrix rufomaculata

Gymnosoma rotundatum

Myathropa florea

Volucella inanis

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Quick park loop

Too hot and sweaty for much effort today with slightly lower numbers of insects in the heat of midday compared to last Friday. Generally less of everything although several male Brimstones which looked very new, loads of Eristalis in one area  which weren't there last week (those examined being pertinax) and a single Meliscaeva cinctella within a few feet (!!) of last year's individual (photo below).

Birdwise just too hot for anything; one singing Blackcap and a distant singing Yellowhammer and a Buzzard by junction 2.

Monday, 17 July 2017

First breeding Marsh Harriers

Not that it needed confirming having watched the two new fresh juveniles a few weeks back, but good to hear that Barry has been watching them all season and it was just the two - one on show today - a first for the reserve. And still five noisy Kestrels in front of Meadow Hide plus a couple of juvenile Cettis just outside the windows. Pretty much insectless barring a few hawkers, one Emperor male, one Banded Demoiselle male, several Black-tailed Skimmers and pretty much nil diptera. Marbled White was the pick of butterflies. An invisible but audible Water Vole was munching away outside the hide.

On the west side just two Avocets, 35 Black-tailed Godwits and a couple of juvenile Med Gulls. Three Common Sandpipers and a small but noticeable westerly movement of Swallows were the only indication of migration.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Oh deer

A very 'polished' looking Roe Deer was happliy munching away on roadside vegetation between junctions 2 and 3 on the way home. Lets hope it's smart enough to avoid trying to cross the road!!

Around the pond a surprise in the form of a Tufted Duck female with one small chick whose survival chances are pretty much nil; presumably the rest of the brood were swallowed up almost immediately, and a couple of Cormorants (one feeding, one drying out). One alarm-calling Swallow high overhead and a couple of Swifts. Still three or four female V.zonaria nectaring on Hemp Agrimony alongside several Myathropa florea, fresh Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Woods and Holly Blue.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Pre-breakfast circuit

Too cool and totally overcast for any insects although a glimpse in the same area as 10 days ago of probably two Beewolf. No hovers other than Marmalade Fly and a single Chrysogaster solstitialis and only a few skippers and Common Blue to augment Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper.

The constant sound of House Martins is such a simple pleasure for a townie and two hundred or so Sand Martins with 50 or more Swifts low over the water were very watchable. A couple of Med Gulls, and adult and a 2cy, drifted over southwards, a single Grey Heron and later a moulty Buzzard over The Causeway.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Hoverflies, nil and many

A mixed bag today with little birdwise at Blashford other than a single distant Hobby, one Black'wit and plenty of Tern activity. Reserve was very quiet with only a couple of cars. Just this single Beewolf in the usual spot and ONLY ONE hover, the Volucella zonaria above plus the mating Small Coppers and day-flying (Lesser?) Treble-bar moth.

Getting back early I popped into the park for a cuppa followed by the usual circuit. A flash of blue wings over the pond was surely a Swallow but turned into a day-hunting bat showing at point blank range and with bright sunshine turning the wing membranes blue against the brown body. No idea of spp but it felt maybe a little too large for a Pip - was actively either taking insects from the pond surface or drinking, not sure which - either way a real delight.

Thousands of hovers, mostly common stuff, augmented by Leucozona laternaria and glaucia, Scaeva pyrastri and Myathropa florea.

Three Phasia hemiptera also on umbellifer plus new tachinid Hemyda vittata (above).

Lots of butterflies including Silver-washed Fritillaries, Chalkhill Blues and Marbled Whites; all the skippers seemed to be Small.

On the bird front just a tatty overflying Red Kite.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Thinner than hoped for

Not as much in the trap as hoped  for with Nut Tree Tussock, Rosy Footman and Black Arches NfY plus the usual stuff and a couple of dopey wasps.
A Bullfinch was calling nearby and, at last, I caught sight of a Coal Tit after 21 months of hearing them in the distance, unsurprisingly flying in and out of the only conifer nearby.

Later, family of four Kestrels and single juvenile Marsh Harrier, four Cettis but precious little else.