Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Wall to wall sunshine!!

First up at Titchfield on a nice breezy but warm day (after recent heavy rain and wind) was this Wall butterfly in the reception garden - my first here and first in Hants in an age. Further around this Jersey Tiger was nectaring on Hemp Agrimony with Gatekeeper, Comma and Small White plus three Volucella species. At the dipping pond just the usual Odonata plus the noisy family of Sparrowhawks chasing each other round and showing well at times. A Fox wandered along the boardwalk in front looking pretty ropey, a Kingfisher called and, later at KBH, one of the juvenile harriers was showing well.

Nine turnstones on the beach were forced up onto the groynes as the tide came up.

On the west side (south scrape only) a massive drop off from last visit with all the Avocets having gone, godwits down to 30+ and Common Terns to a similar number. Single Redshank and Ringed Plover.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Beware : Piranhas left in vehicle ovenight..

... on the way back from TH a van with this sticker (an Aquatics and Pond specialist) made me chuckle.

On the beach a small group of Black Tern watchers with five moulting individuals (the terns not the watchers!!) which, with a rising tide and dog disturbance  decamped to south scrape along with about 250 Common Terns, a couple of Sandwich and the odd Med Gull.

This was one of ten recently returned Turnstones and a Common Sandpiper, two LRPs and a Snipe was about it for waders. Three juvenile Sparrowhawks were very noisy around the dipping pond but no sign of SMH.

One or two calling Willow Warblers were my first of the autumn.

Insect wise Volucella inanis on Water Mint and Hemp Agrimony, Conops quadrifasciatus (×3) and Leptura quadrifasciata were new for the year.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Triple tigger..

Three tigers today including this one of two Jerseys, a nice Maiden's Blush and Small China Mark. Chores, shopping, nursing home visit and too hot to go out.
Enough's enough. Turn the heat off!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

This, one of a few Brown Argus, was along the sweeping meadow fenceline along with the odd Little Flower Bee and a couple of Emperor Dragonflies. Elsewhere, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Darter and Southern Hawker.

On the pond still a few Anasymia lineata and a Reed Warbler was crashing about. Two moth traps not looked at except for Tanner Beetle at the top of one, only the second I've ever seen, also in a Blashford moth trap.

On Ibsley Water, 50+ Grey Herons, a similar number of Egyptian Geese and Great-crested Grebes, three Common Sandpipers and two Redshanks. Three Buzzards, one being a nice pale bird soared off in the distance.

Borrowed J6x4's 128RC but no plates at home fitted it unfortunately.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Got the blues....

.... well the Chalkhill Blues at least. A brief stop at QECP produced virtually nil on the rabbit-burrow-strewn slope but the aggregate dump area, unsurprisingly, had plenty of Chalkhill Blues (mostly males) fighting with each other, Common Blues, Whites and Browns. Just reasonable numbers of Cheilosia illustrata on the ponds umbellifers and a Southern Hawker. Birdwise just two Bullfinches and a calling Siskin. Too hot to warrant any further effort so retired to the cool of home.

Earlier, this Oak Eggar was the biggest moth since the Privet Hawk but much more surprising in this concrete jungle. Still very small numbers but virtually different array of species to the previous night, oddly. Both the eggar and a Garden Tiger were relocated elsewhere to prevent recapture.

Bee numbers on the lavender seem to be dropping but the Lassioglosums are still roosting within a few square inches each night.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Cloak and daggers...

Saturdays odd moth was identified as a Cloaked Minor thanks to Sean at UKMoths and today four typically smart Dark/Grey Daggers were the best. A couple of thorns escaped, one a Dusky the other something different but both gone in a flash. Small Waved Umber was the 40th new species for the trap today and Tree Lichen Beauty up to ten for the month.

Biggest surprise was a full adult Dytiscus marginalis scuttling around which I repatriated to the pond where just the lone Reed Warbler, well hidden and singing his heart out.

Sunday, 22 July 2018


Another cool, breezy night with a low catch but Southern Wainscot was new, Square-spot Rustic was first for the garden and two Ruby Tigers were best-of-the-rest. A couple of Lacewing spp were nice to see hopefully providing some 'defence' from aphids.

A Plump Duck breakfast and a pond circuit was pleasant but just House Martins overhead.

Another short but dispiriting visit to the nursing home with most time watching Swifts over the garden.

Later, the usual bees on the lavender bush included two Lassioglosums, some Red-tails, a Four-banded Flower Bee, a single Eristalis tenax and a couple of B. vestalis, the cuckoobee for terrestris which I've not seen here before.

Friday, 20 July 2018

These two Lychnis were new and the Dusky Thorn was first of the summer.
Micro Hofmannophila pseudospretella also popped up although I think I've trapped it here before. More surprisingly was a very dead (last year??) Jersey Tiger in the garage!! A later check found the eighth Tree Lichen Beauty of the month inside the shed and a very smart  Dark/Grey Dagger on the garage wall.

Later still, sitting in the nursing home garden, up to twenty Swifts were feeding and screaming overhead and three Sand Martins headed eastwards.

Yesterday, a very quiet couple of hours at TH produced nothing better than two Snipe feeding in close much to the delight of a group of ladies but, unsurprisingly, no sign of the very late and small Avocet chick. Also no harrier activity. About 100 Common Terns were on the beach at low tide but too far out to check for other species.

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.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Just 28 moths last night with Scalloped Oak being NfG but too keen to escape before a photo. A second Marbled Green, a more monochrome version after the one eleven days ago and these two Tree Lichen Beauty were the best of the remainder. Still three Lasioglossums roosting in the lavender along with this honeybee.

Whilst waiting at traffic lights adjacent to PFC mid-afternoon, a Peregrine was circling and looking to land on the floodlights.