Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Butterfly heaven at Tyttenhanger

After working on sunday morning decided to have a wander around Tyttenhanger seen if anything intresting was around, on the bird front the hightlight was seeing a kingfisher speeding away along the river colne and then further along at the top end of the pit. Also around were one Redshank on the spit and lots of Common Terns fishing over the pits.

On the insect front had a White-letter Hairsteak feeding on a Ragwort along the river Colne which was there feeding happily for least half an hour and was still there when i left. By the hides there were lots of Red Admiral and Comma buzzing around mainly feeding on the Buddleia along with the Gatekeepers, Large Whites and Meadow Browns and 2 Holly Blues. Along the pit stretch by the farm had Black-tailed Skimmer, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker and a female Emperor Dragonfly laying eggs. Other insects of note by the farm was a Purple Hiatstreak, Common Blues, Ringlets, Specked Wood Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Small Heath a very good insect count.

White-letter Hairsteak feeding

White-letter Hairsteak showing wing pattern

White-letter Hairsteak in the depths of the Ragwort

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Wiltstone Reservoir

On saturday spent a pleasent afternoon at Wiltstone Reservoir with good numbers of Common Terns fishing from the steps and a few Swallows overhead though well below their spring peak, Also on the main water were Tufted Ducks, Mallard, Great Crested grebe. Then went around to the hide where on the spit had 4 Common Sandpipers and 1 Green Sandpiper feeding on the shoreline, good numbers of Lapwings, Common Tern youngster still being feed by their parents, 3 young Redshanks, 2 Little Egrets, a few Grey Herons Flying over and a family of buzzards in the distance. The real hightlight though was seeing a young hunting Peregrine Falcon over the waders on the scrape before being chased by the Lapwings and Gulls.

Green Sandpiper and Redshank

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Week in yorkshire

Had a lovely week in yorkshire with my friends mainly staying in Whitby such a wonderful little town with such character and busy managed to explored alot of the town and the abbey though the 199 steps can be quite hard on the legs!!. Nature wise in the town in the morning off the pier had Gannets, Razorbills, Guillemots, Sandwich Terns and Kittwakes .

Later on in the week got out on to the moors on one day but after exploring Goathland (the village made famous by the TV series Heartbeat had a nice walk over the moors to the waterfall of Mallion Spout.
Also Explored Robin hood Bays which is such a pretty village espically as on the day we went it was wonderfully sunny. Then we walked back the seven or so miles back to Whitby where on route back saw annets, Razorbills, Guillemots, Sandwich Terns, Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit. Linnet and a Kittwakes coloney

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Bricket Wood Common

On sunday morning went on the local Butterfly Conservation trip to Bricket Wood Common started off quite Grey but we saw a few Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Gatekeepers and from afar Purple Haistreaks dancing in the oak trees to start off.
Then further along we had good views of at least 4 Silver-washed Fritillary flying along the path and feeding on the brambles along with a Peacock a fresh one mostly likly a new brood. Futher along along the main ride we had sightings of more Silver-washed Fritillarys, 2 White Admirals, Marbled White, Brimstones, Large White, Green-veined white, all 3 Skippers, a few moths and a possible Emerald Damselfly.

On the heathland we came across a fresh looking Purple Hairstreak down on the ragworth most likly due to the weather. Then along on the heath had quite a few Marbled white feeding in the overcast conditions a lone Holly Blue and a Small Tortoiseshell. Then in the afternoon we went to the Purple Emperor Tree where despite the condition had at least 2 sightings of 1 flying over though sadly not the greatest view but a good field trip overall.

Purple Hairstreak with wings over

Purple Hairstreak underside

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Broxbourne Wood and Hatfield Aerodrome

On saturday morning went on the local Butterfly Conservation trip to Broxbourne Woods to look for Purple Emperor and at first a no show with just Meadow Brown, Ringlets, Large and  Small Skippers showing with lots of Purple Hairstreaks flying around the oak trees. In the grass discovered a fresh Brown Argus happy to sit in the grass due to the conditions and then a fresh looking Female Silver-washed Fritillary appeared and landed giving good views before flying off for a while before coming back and laying at least 1 egg on a oak tree. Then we a bit of sun we had at least 2 flying Purple Emperor in the trees with one being a female a good result for the morning.

Female Silver-washed Fritillary

Brown Argus in the grass
In the afternoon decided to see what butterflies i could find at Hatfield Aerodrome so walking along the hedgerow near the main road by the garden centre had quite a few Ringlets, Skippers (all 3), Meadow Brown ,Marbled White, a few Gatekeepers and 1 Fresh Small Cooper in the flower section by the new trees. Then walking along the hedge section had 1 White-letter Hairstreak flying high in the elm further along had quite a few Red Admiral and 1 Emperor Dragonfly flying around and quite a few Grashoppers around.

Small copper in daisy field
Meadow grasshopper

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Sharpenhoe Clappers

Had a lovely walk with the bedforshire branch of Butterfly Conservation to Sharpenhoe Clappers on the 3rd of Julywhere we started out looking at Chalkhill Blues which is surprsing early as they usually out in august bur due to the butterflies appearing early there were out already. Next we visited the main grassland section of the reserve were we had good number of Dark Green Fritillary around 100, Marble White around 80, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large skippers and lower numbers of Small Heath Green-Veined White, Small white, Small, Essex Skipper and 1 Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly.

Also in the meadows we had Coommon spotted Orchid, Southern March Orchid, Chalk Fragrant-orchid and quite a few Meadow Pipits and Goldfinchs. After walking through the meadows and enjoying the butterflies there we walked backed through the woodlands and had nice views of Large Whites, Comma and Red Admiral.

Chalkhill Blue

Marble White feeding

Small Heath

Dark Green Fritillary feeding

Essex Skipper

Dark Green Fritillaryfeeding on thistle

Friday, 8 July 2011

Transect and Symondshyde Great Wood

Record transect day at Heartwood forest with both Marbled White ) and Small Skipper 12 highest for the site and the marbled white actually beat last years total also 2 Essex Skippers, 8 Large Skippers,8 Gatekeepers, 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 3 Commas, 40 Ringlets, 81 Meadow Browns, 34 Large White, 3 Green-Veined and 1 Small White.

Marbled White at Heartwood on section 2
Then headed for Symondshyde Great Wood to have a hunt for White letter Hairstreaks no luck with them but had good afternoon with good views of a pair of Blacaps feeding young somewhere in the undergrowth and big tit flocks with Great, Blue and Coal espically nice to see the Coal tit in good numbers. Butterfly wise counted 6 Silver-washed Fritillary 1 White Admiral, 1 Holly Blue, 3 Small Tortoiseshells and a few Whites and Meadow browns.

Female Blackcap at Symondshyde Great Wood

Silver-washed Fritillary at Symondshyde Great Wood

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Weeting Heath and Wicken Fen

On the hotest day of the year (32 C) was heading home to had a morning at Weeting Heath to see a new bird for me the Stone Curlew lucky as it was early a single bird was showing quite well from the west hide with lows of crows,jackdaws, Magpies and a lone kestrel keeping him company. Also do the forest walk though on a hot day less was in the forest that i hoped!! but still saw quite a few farmland birds with Yellowhammer, Linnets and Meadow pipits and one young Chiff-chaff, one very fast Lizard and plenty of butterflies with the highlight a drifting White Admiral.

Stone Curlew
Next headed to wicken fen sadly the Dragonfly centre was closed due to it beeing a weekend but had a lovely walk round with sighting of a Grass snake sqimming around the wide while watching the bullfinch on the feeder. Lots of Damselflies and Dragonflies around with Variable Damselfly, Azure damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselflies, Four spotted Chaser, Keeled Skimmers, Black-tailed Skimmer, and a Emperer Dragonfly Laying eggs. In the reeds lots of birds feeding young with Reed Buntings, Blackcaps and Reed and Sege Warblers all seen but surprsing not Marsh harriers maybe i been too used to seeing them in Norfolk!!

Reed Bunting mother with food

Emperer Dragonfly Laying eggs

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Dragonflys and Swallowtails

First thing headed back to Hosey as the sun was out to check the ditch near the mill to check for dragonflies has it looked a possible sight for some norfolk Dragonfly specials at first just Four-spotted chasers and a few of the commoner Damselflies species on the wing but as the song got stronger had a beautiful Norfolk Chaser out for about 10 minutes.

Norfolk Hawker on Reed

Norfolk Hawker Close up
Next headed back to Hickling Broad to see what was around in the sunlight plenty of Dragonfllies with lots of of Kneeled and Black-tailed Skimmers and Four- Spotted Chasers around and singles of Norfolk and Emperor Dragonfly around plus a added bonus of a White Legged Damselfly first time i knowly seen this species. From the main viewing tower had views of a Maxium of 4 Swallowtails including 1 pair together.

White Legged Damselfly
Then headed to the RSPB reserve of Strumpshaw Fen where there plenty of bird with plenty of warblers with lots of Sedge and Reed Warbers and blackcaps but the highlight was getting views of the Cetti Warbers with 2 Confirmed views of this usually secretly bird. The hightlight of the day though was a lovely speciement of the Swallowtail floating around a patch of Nettles giving some really great views.

Swallowtail on nettle

Face of the Swallowtai

Sideview of Swallowtail on nettle

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Norfolk Coast

Had a day on the norfolk coast first went to Cley quite alot around with Reed, Sedge and Whitethroats singing around the edges of the path then at sea path had good views of a Little Egret and a Hare and some distant views of Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Avocet including a few young ones, Little and Ringed Plover and the sounds of Common Terns overhead and Meadow Pipits and Linnets on the coastal Path. Even though the water was quite low on the pools still had a Little Stint, Oystercatchers, and Black-tailed Godwits along with a 7 Little gulls from a far. Then around the main hides Lots of little Froglets and a stunning Common Lizard despite beeing quite a grey day.

Hunting Little Egret


Common Lizard
Next step was Titchwell where there lot of waders out on the scrape with the Sotted Redshanks and Black-tailed Godwits very close to the main hides so some nice views of them seem the after breeding rush south has started already. Also a bit further out were plenty of Marsh Harriers hunting and lots of gulls including quite a few Littles Gulls and a long distant view of a spoonbill after it dropped in before been dustured by a the harrier.

Bar-tailed Godwit

Spotted Redshank and reflection
Avocet and Little Gull in flight

Friday, 1 July 2011

Horsey and Hickling Broad

Next stop was Horsey on the broads as a Red-footed Falcon had been in the area for the last few weeks but due to the weather of yesterday it had moved on (just my luck!) but around the area in the morning despite the wind were quite a few of the common butterflies plus Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Brimestone and few Dark Green Fritillarys around and some nice around with the Sedge Warblers been very showly lovely to see.

Singing Sedge Warbler

Next headed to Hickling Broad taking a bit longer thant it should have due to my bad map reading had a nice walk round Hickling Broad with a sighting of 1 Swallowtail Butterfly along the reeds near the first observation
platform where also had view of Bearded Tits, Sedge and Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Whitethroats, Common Terns Fishing and Cetti Warbler heard. After walking around the reserve decided to do the boat tour glad i did some nice and peaceful out on the water then had some wonderful views of Hickling Broad from above the treeline from the observation tower then from the tour hides saw Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, and Avocet along with Egyptian Geese, Grey Heron and a nesting Great Crested Grebe pair.

Through the reeds

Looking back through the broads

High up

The bird hide in the middle of the broad

Then headed backed to Horsey to have another look for falcon no sight but did get view of a lovely Black Redstart, a Red Fox and a Pair of Stonechats.