Saturday, 30 June 2018

Dizzy in a haze for 30 days...

No lizards in a bottle for me nor indeed much else in such scorching heat.
So, today was the only proper 30DWiJ 'bucket list' event which actually happened!! - a macro photo course at Blashford, run by John and attended by myself, Sahrah and two others and which was very successful albeit terribly difficult to take sample photos for critique in the afternoon session with so much light.

With all three lanes of traffic at J1 slamming on brake lights I took an 'executive decision' to go via Bramshaw just in case there was an incident and, being pretty early, was a pleasant detour through the heart of the forest via Milkham with no traffic other than a handful of MAMILs. It was so nice it seemed a shame to miss out by being in a classroom for most of the day but, with the shutters down and fans on it was a very comfortable environment and it was actually nice to avoid this continuing heatwave.

On arrival the pond held several Anasymia lineata and a small frog on a lily whilst the path by the tool store had a two foot Grass Snake briefly; later in the day the usual snake sites were unsurprisingly empty.

With the moth trap unavailable J6x4 set up shop in Tern Hide.

After lunch, and searching for photo-subjects, I made a bee-line (no pun intended), for the beewolf spot and found two, neither keen on stopping. The second one was busy around my legs carrying a honeybee and eventually having dumped it on the ground, returned, picked it up and flew straight into a burrow. Picture with prey below but sadly not the in flight 'money shot'!!

What few dragonflies, Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer and a single Brown Hawker, were all too 'busy'.

Practiced a few techniques from the course before retiring to Ivy  South briefly were the grebes still have two young and some of the Common Terns have fledged; a nice Silver-washed Fritilliary was on brambles on the way back.

Finally, after the course finished, a solo excursion through the moth trap (thanks to Jim) held plenty of moths but I didn't have time nor enthusiasm to dwell too long. Don't remember seeing Clouded Brindle before.

Back home the lavender is attracting plenty of honeybees, the odd bumble, some Lasioglossum spp and another bee which was just too quick but felt like a flower bee spp.

Strangely a mixed group of adult and juvenile Swallows, about 20 strong appeared overhead - wonder where they came from and where they might be going so early in the summer. A couple of Swifts also.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Penultimate day..

... and no change in weather so still minimal moth catch. Was rather hoping for some of yesterday's water beetles for macro practice but the only non moths were this tiny caddis and this froghopper. Even with cooling, moth specimens were too fired up to hang around; even the usually placid Lackeys were off like a shot. Two Flame were, oddly, NfG/T and this LYU sat still just long enough whilst the Browntail was the only 'quiet' moth.Three Swifts 'screamed' overhead.

At the pond three Emperors hawking at various points, a couple of Comma, one Swift overhead and a Swallow skimming the water. The swans have lost another cygnet and now down to two.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Within sight of the finish line....

Another minimal catch with almost more water beetles (presumably Rhantus suturalis as per previous posts) than moths plus a caddisfly. Not sure about the micro yet but Common Emerald was nice and, despite being reasonably common, was NfG/T.

Housebound  today due to 111 call and subsequent ambulance arrival so just a few invisible Med Gulls and, whilst scanning the skies, a few silent singleton Swifts. A Blue-tailed Damselfly was probably the only Odonata I've ever seen here!!

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Beautifully cool...

... at 05:45 but the clear chilly nights are continually reducing the moth counts, last night just 15. Curiously, this was the first night without ANY Heart and Darts! The Buff-tip was the best of the bunch, Common Rustic spp and Bee Moth first for the year and Ringed China Mark, Eudonia mercurella and Bramble Shoot Moth were NfG/T.

Later at TH much warmer but with a pleasant cooling sea breeze on a high tide. The harbour swans have eight very large young but the Shelducks were down to five. Ten Buzzards, one each of Kestrel and Sprawk plus the female Harrier. Forty-five or so Black'wits, rather more Avocets and a single summer plumage Turnstone, presumably an early returner or one that didn't bother set off. Still no Common Darters and just too hot for most hovers but plenty of  other dragonfly action especially over the meadow

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

And the sun's beating down heatin' up this house like a blow torch.....

Just another Tuesday in the south.... (courtesy M. Lambert etc)

Combination of heat and personal circumstance are limiting  30DWiJ to local stuff. So a quick look in the garden produced this Ancistrocerus spp (Potter wasp) and a Megachile bee plus the usual garden hovers. At least a dozen Med Gulls went over westwards, some, despite calling, almost impossible to see in such a blue sky; a Common Tern also went over as did three or four Swifts.

Alarm calling Herring gulls alerted to these two Buzzards which came in from the west and turned northwards. Meadow Browns have now replaced Speckled Woods and a couple of Commas including this one on the fence rail.
The Southern Hawker was patrolling the first bay. Also some local fisherfolk!!

Monday, 25 June 2018

Too hot..

The temperatures are creeping up just as they did last June and no sign of any break in the next fortnight except for an outside chance of a shower at the weekend. Twenty-eight moths of eighteen species was again pretty poor but Toadflax Pug was NfG/T and Pammene fasciana was only the second.

A brief shop/library/pond outing of twenty minutes produced two Grey Herons disputing where to fish, a couple of fresh Commas and the odd Blue-tailed and Azure Damsels. A Southern Hawker was my first of the year and, a little further round, a Tree Bumblebee was intercepted on a leaf by Sicus ferrugineus  - I don't know whether this Conopid is an endoparasite on bees and if so how specific its Bombus targets are.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

D24 part 2... And a plague shall be upon this land...

...well all over the Ragwort at least!!

After the moth trap taking only minutes to process, an early stroll around the park for some new butterflies was on the cards - only neither the body nor spirit were willing and so it was pushing 10am before arrival and, being a nice weekend day, meant parking by the log stack, all the lower parking being taken.

This Ancistrocerus spp (Potter Wasp) and a bunch of Miris striatus were adjacent to the barn but there seemed little else other than the resident pair of Swallows going in and out of the outbuilding. The aggregate dump path had loads of hovers, possibly many hundreds of Syrphus spp but little variety and in the same area one or two weedy looking Pyramidal Orchids were out as the Common Spotteds start to fade.

Butterfly photography didn't pan out as expected as the very smart Marbled Whites (a dozen or so on the butterfly slope) refused to stop; just singles of Large and Small Skipper, two Common Blues, one Painted Lady and this hyped-up Silver-washed Frit which did at least perch up.

At the pond the drying out umbellifers meant that last week's insect 'feast' was now 'famine' leaving just the usual dragonflies and this Figwort Sawfly on the usual spot. The Siskins were again very noisy around here although not coming down to drink.

D24 Part 1..

I was expecting a better moth catch with last night being calm and lightly overcast but it turned out to be a damp squib. Very few moths although, curiously, Common White Wave was new for the trap. I'm sure this colourful micro will also be new once I've got it identified - (Pine Shoot Moth Rhyacionia buoliana??). This Caddisfly was the smallest I've seen for a while and was the only non-moth today.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Day 23.. Crouches with Wolves

Moth trap held back for an afternoon group visit so 'breakfast' at the pond with several Anasymia lineata and this Black-tailed Skimmer on the picnic table where it posed but sadly it only perched up on reeds briefly before vanishing. Replaced later by an ovipositing Emperor. Micro moths Acleris kochiella and Ditula angustoriana were both on the building wall along with Clouded Borders, Riband Wave and Brussels Lace.

Two mammals today, both new for 30DWiJ and the year, but both sadly dead. a Common Shrew on the south path and later a Mole near the sweeping meadow - sad, but amazing front paws.

Just one Grass Snake stretched out on the usual fallen tree.

Ibsley Water was dominated by fledgling and juvenile BHGs and the now overgrown shoreline had this Oystercatcher plus lots of noisy LRP activity and the male Reed Bunting was still scouring the shore for insects. A distant kite was sparring with two Buzzards over the river.

After hearing reports of Bee-Wolf from elsewhere I thought it was worth checking the sandy areas adjacent to the single gorse bush and lo and behold three individuals were present, two being quite large but none keen to hang around.

When the trap was available just True Lover's Knot, this Pale Prominent and the usual suspects. Packing up, a Sparrowhawk slipped over the building and through to Docken's Water.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Waiting for Godot......well Amazon actually

Housebound today  waiting for delivery of lumimuse LED and some shopping chores to be done if possible so this morning's paltry moth trap may be it for wildlife. The cool, still moonlit nights aren't conducive to catching much here and the forecast, if it's to be believed, is for a long run of similar days and nights until well into July but with low night temperatures reaching 16C. Time for a few nights off.

Three Lackeys were all a lot more worn and paler than two nights ago so presumably different individuals. A LYU was crashing about and disappeared off over the houses. Not a single micro nor 'non-moth' last night.

Bright-line Brown-eye

Riband Wave

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Two thirds in..

Pretty chilly this morning at 6am with just 31 individuals of 15 species but this Dark Arches, one of two, was NfY and very smart. This small water beetle, possibly Rhantus suturalis, was accompanied by a caddis fly.

Later, over a very nice breakfast, a clean looking adult Gannet was not too far out and the first I've seen for thirteen months!! This Tree Bumblebee was minding its own business when dive-bombed by a Merodon equestris but just managed to stay in shot. Best flyer of the day was this Golden-ringed Dragonfly in the dragon 'hotspot' opposite and just prior to the wooden Badger.

West side now given over to eclipsing ducks; last week's drake Teal had only moved six feet!! Another dozen or so were on north scrape. Lots of young BHGs at various stages including free-flying but a couple of Avocet chicks were still of an age to be possibly gulped down by gulls or herons. Only other waders were two Redshank, thirty Lapwing and four godwits. A slight increase in Med Gull presence is presumably down to non- or failed breeding.

Finally, a few flighty Marbled Whites were out today. No doubt pictures of these from elsewhere will appear before the end of the month.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

PB social..

Hardly any birds expected today and the four Med Gulls over the A27 en route seemed likely to be the best, but perhaps just edged out by a brief view of Cuckoo and a tail-on Red Kite at Pulborough. The cloudy and breezy conditions didn't seem too good but sheltered areas and an increase in sunshine and temperatures produced lots of stuff eventually. Small Heath, Brimstones (first for a while), first Ringlet of the year, first White Admiral of the year, Painted Lady and Large Skipper were the best but swamped by the sheer numbers of Meadow Browns. No Gatekeepers yet.

Black Pond had a nice fresh Brown Hawker and a new teneral Common Darter plus ovipositing Emperor and loads of Four-spots.

The din from the Little Flower Bees and digger wasps etc was amazing and in addition the Ammophila sand wasps were exploring the many burrows;  Wool-carder Bee was in the planted area adjacent to the main courtyard gate but didn't hang about for a decent shot.

Celypha lacunana was flushed up in various spots, Eristalis arbustorum and Sericomyia silentis were the best hovers, a robberfly awaiting id (Neoitamus cyanurus), this Ruby-tailed Wasp was one of dozens and Trichrisis cyanea was again present on the wooden fence.

Earlier, after a chilly, clear, moonlit night, the trap was not without its rewards with three Lackey (later one sitting quietly where I left it 14 hours earlier), my first ever Small Ranunculus and L-album Wainscot plus a nice Blue-bordered Carpet.

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!