Thursday, 31 July 2014

Owl medley

Hello

Always photogenic, owls are often targeted by wildlife photographers.  Sometimes though an owl will simply materialise in front of a photographer armed with a camera.  Such is the case of this medley of owls as depicted by local naturalist Robin Gossage...

Regards

Neil M



Short-eared Owl

Barn Owl

Little Owl

Tawny Owl

All pictures courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Further ringing

Hello

The reasonable weather of recent weeks coupled with a generally good breeding season resulting in plenty of young birds about has provided the momentum for plenty of action from the county bird ringers. Scientifically there is value in ringing young birds in the nest, inasmuch that it provides a significant understanding of their life history when seen or recovered again.  However this isn't always feasible, so the next best thing is to try and ring birds which are clearly juveniles and can be easily aged as 'hatched that year'. The moult strategy employed by a bird may sometimes provide a significant clue as to the age of the bird.  Some species may retain much of their juvenile feathers until a year later, whereas some species such as Tree Sparrow and Long-tailed Tit will rapidly moult the feathers they left the nest with and become very difficult to identify from adults.

Yesterday John Woollett ringed at Stortons GP and Chris Payne ringed in his excellent bird garden in Greens Norton.  John caught typical species associated with the reserve and Chris ringed good numbers of House Sparrows plus other species including Starling, Collared Dove, finches, tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Yesterday afternoon and this morning saw Dave Francis and colleagues ringing at the Old Scaldwell Road Feeding Station at Pitsford Reservoir.  This produced a very high total of 110 birds, 102 which were new. The total included 27 Tree Sparrows (nearly all juveniles), 10 Chaffinches, 8 Sedge Warblers, 4 Reed Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, a Whitethroat, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler and a Moorhen and a Woodpigeon!  Using mist-nets also provides an indication of what is lurking in the often dense seasonable foliage when small birds are typically very hard to spot!

Regards

Neil M

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Big bird in the net!

Hello

Some wild bird ringing in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Reservoir this morning proved very interesting, not least when a juvenile Grey Heron collided with a mist net!

In all we processed about 45 birds which included a Kingfisher, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, 2 Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, 9 Chiffchaffs and 3 Willow Warblers.

Other birds noted on-site included 2 drake Red-crested Pochard, 2 Black Swans, 6+ Little Egrets, a Curlew, an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a Nuthatch.

At Harrington Airfield this morning, Eleanor saw a 'cream crown' Marsh Harrier, 2 Ravens, 2 Grey Partridge, 2 Turtle Doves, 4 Crossbills, 3 Redstarts, a Whinchat, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Grasshopper Warbler.

Regards

Neil M

Neil Hasdell with the
captured Grey Heron.

Kingfisher.

Both images courtesy of
Lynne Barnett.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Wheatear

Hello

Very limited opportunity for birding today, but a migrant Wheatear at the top of Blueberry Hill (Blueberry Farm), Maidwell this evening was the first south-bound individual seen so far this season...

Regards

Neil M

Monday, 28 July 2014

Birds of the harvest


Hello

Efforts at ringing on the Harrington Airfield plateau this morning provided 38 captures which included 15 Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Willow Warblers and 4 Yellowhammers. Other birds noted included 2 Redstarts, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Hobby. My apologies if the planned ringing session prevented you from visiting the site today.

At Pitsford Reservoir this afternoon, birds in the Scaldwell Bay included 6 Little Egrets, a Kingfisher, an adult male Ruff and a Green Sandpiper.

Also this afternoon, there was a single Whinchat in a wheat field adjacent to the gated road between Cottesbrooke and Brixworth, and 2 Ravens were in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton.

Regards

Neil M

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday birds

Hello

Late yesterday evening and this morning there was some bird ringing in the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Reservoir leading to the capture of 74 birds which included only 12 re-traps.  Species included 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 12 Wrens, 9 Blackcaps, 7 Chiffchaffs, 6 new Robins, 3 Reed Warblers, 3 Sedge Warblers (almost certainly migrants as there is only one pair on the reserve this year), a Whitethroat and a Kingfisher.

Another ringing effort this morning at Broadholme Sewer Treatment Works adjacent to Ditchford Gravel Pits required more ringers present to set up, but only resulted in 7 birds being ringed (4 Starlings, a Pied Wagtail, a Carrion Crow and a Magpie).  However three Peregrines put on a show all morning, and other birds included a Hobby, three Green Sandpipers and several Grey Wagtails.

This morning there was a Redstart and two Whinchat in 'shrike hedge' in the Brampton Valley between Cottesbrooke and Hanging Houghton, and this afternoon two Ravens and a Hobby sauntered over the garden here at Hanging Houghton.

Finally at Harrington Airfield today, birds on show included a Redstart, a Grasshopper Warbler and two Turtle Doves.  A short ringing session is planned for this site tomorrow morning (Monday) and the old airstrip will have restricted general access.  The concrete track and designated footpaths remain unaffected.

Regards

Neil M

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Sultry Pitsford

Hello

A visit to Pitsford Reservoir this evening provided a few birds in the vicinity of the dam and yacht club, amounting to a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, three Yellow-legged Gulls and the pair of Ruddy Shelduck.

Regards

Neil M

Stortons Ringing

Hello

The Stortons Gravel Pit Ringing Team were hard at it again today and enjoyed another busy morning. Warblers took centre stage and of the 80 birds caught, 63 were new birds, and many of them sub-Saharan migrants.  Blackcap was the most common bird caught but also there were numbers of Garden Warbler, Whitethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat.  Star bird though was a juvenile Grasshopper Warbler (please see images below).

At Harrington Airfield this morning, there were still two Redstarts present (including the now moulting adult male), a singing Grasshopper Warbler, a Turtle Dove and a Willow Tit.

Regards

Neil M




Grasshopper Warbler.
Images courtesy of
Kim Robinson and
Chris Payne

Friday, 25 July 2014

The last CBC of the season.

Hello

A walk around the reserve section of Pitsford Reservoir was called for this morning, as we completed the last Common Bird Census of the year.  Plenty of birds about but mostly standard fare which included about six Little Egrets, two Yellow-legged Gulls, a couple of Kingfishers and family parties of Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Tawny Owl.  The best of the smaller birds were Grey and Yellow Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat and Marsh and Willow Tit.  There were some large feeding flocks made up of tits, warblers, Goldcrests and Treecreepers moving through the foliage. Insects included a good variety of common butterflies and dragonflies.

In the pre-roost gathering of gulls by the yacht club this evening, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was present as were two Yellow-legged Gulls.  The pair of summering Ruddy Shelduck were with Canada Geese just off the dam.

At Harrington Airfield this evening, Eleanor kept to the main concrete track and saw a singing Grasshopper Warbler, a 'purring' Turtle Dove, a Redstart, a Barn Owl, a pair of Grey Partridge and two Crossbills flying low in an easterly direction towards the B576.

Regards

Neil M


Flowering Rush
Pitsford Res
Courtesy of Lynne Barnett

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull
Pitsford Res



Thursday, 24 July 2014

One good tern...

Hello

Sorry nothing to report today, so just a retro image of Eleanor (wearing my cap and a belligerent Arctic Tern) on the Farne Islands in 2007!

Regards

Neil M






Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Swallows might make a summer, but Redstarts declare autumn!

Hello

Yesterday Chris Payne and John Boland spent some time monitoring and ringing Swallows in the south of the county with considerable success.  Please see the image below of these iconic British summer birds...

At Harrington Airfield this morning there were two Redstarts in bushes between the concrete track and the airstrip.  One was a juvenile but the other was a cracking adult male bird.  Both birds were quite vocal.

In the garden again today, birds coming to the sunflower feeder included the couple of Nuthatch and the Marsh Tit, with a Grey Wagtail nearby.

Regards

Neil M


Juvenile Swallows
Courtesy of John Boland

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

NN6 Birding

Hello

Eleanor was back at Harrington Airfield this morning and came across a mixed flock of birds in the vicinity of the old shooting wall off the main concrete track. Birds of note included two Spotted Flycatchers, a variety of warblers including Lesser Whitethroat and a Redstart. Two Turtle Doves were in the dead willows half way along the concrete track and a Grasshopper Warbler was 'reeling' at the very end of the same track. A Whinchat was by the main entrance.

At Blueberry Farm (Maidwell) this evening there was a hunting Barn Owl, a Cuckoo and a pair of Grey Partridge.  Two Ravens overflew the garden here at Hanging Houghton and the Grey Wagtail and two Nuthatch persisted.

This afternoon Wendy and Robin Gossage spent some time at Pitsford Reservoir and witnessed a fishing Osprey, plus a marauding Sparrowhawk inspecting the tern rafts (please see below).

Regards

Neil M




Osprey at Pitsford Res
Courtesy of Robin Gossage


Sparrowhawk at Pitsford Res
Courtesy of Robin Gossage



Views of Lamport from
Blueberry Farm, Maidwell

Monday, 21 July 2014

Buddleia Magic!

Hello

This morning two Turtle Doves again put in an appearance at Harrington Airfield.

Without wishing to seem lazy, it was a day when the wildlife came to us in and around our garden at Hanging Houghton. The last few days have seen our buddleia bushes heaving with butterflies and today was no exception with large numbers of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock and smaller numbers of Red Admiral, Comma etc. The Silver Y moths then take over in the evening.

Birds in or from the garden today included two Ravens, a Grey Wagtail, and a Spotted Flycatcher, plus a Marsh Tit and two Nuthatch coming to the sunflower heart feeder.

Regards

Neil M



Small Tortoiseshell

Red Admiral

Brown Hares.  The fields between the
Scaldwell and Walgrave Bays at
Pitsford Reservoir are normally good
 for this super mammal.
 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Storton's Warblers

Hello

The ringers operating at Stortons Gravel Pits enjoyed perfect conditions this morning, culminating in the capture of 95 birds which included at least 52 warblers! They were made up of 18 Blackcaps, 20 Reed Warblers, 4 Whitethroats, 3 Garden Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs and 3 Cetti's Warblers.  Both Stortons and Pitsford now only catch very small numbers of Willow Warblers, and then mostly during the spring and autumn as the bulk of this species now breeds much further north than middle-England.  Certainly when I first started ringing, the Willow Warbler was about the most common warbler encountered.

In the relative coolness of this evening, Eleanor located a single Redstart in the Brampton Valley between Cottesbrooke and Hanging Houghton, and another in hedging near Haselbech Hill.

Regards

Neil M

Pitsford am

Hello

Birds around the dam area of Pitsford Reservoir early this morning included the pair of Ruddy Shelduck, two Yellow-legged Gulls, a Raven, three Common Sandpipers and three juvenile Grey Wagtails.  The reserve section of the reservoir (north of the causeway) is currently holding large numbers of water-birds but apart from four Little Egrets I didn't see anything of note there this morning.  A couple of short ringing sessions on-site produced two Pied Wagtails and singles of Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Marsh Tit.

Regards

Neil M

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Pitsford pm

Hello

A walk around the Scaldwell Bay and part of the Walgrave Bay on the reserve section at Pitsford Res this afternoon was very warm and sunny (in between the heavy showers of this morning and this evening).  At this time of the year the meadows are noisy with the whirring and clicking of grasshoppers and bush-crickets and the thistle and knapweed flowers are adorned with common butterflies, day-flying moths and other nectar-seeking insects.  Literally thousands of Common Blue Damselflies cruise the air-space just above the water surface and the larger dragonflies of several species are continually on the hunt around the margins and woodland rides.

Birds this afternoon included a drake Red-crested Pochard in the Scaldwell Bay, three Wigeon, a Kingfisher, a few each of Marsh and Willow Tit in the mixed tit/warbler flocks, five Little Egrets and the very smart leucistic Great Crested Grebe still.

Regards

Neil M





Various views of Pitsford
Reservoir from the causeway

Great Crested Grebe

Gatekeeper butterfly

Six Spot Burnett Moth?

Distant shot of the eclipse
drake Red-crested Pochard
in the Scaldwell Bay



Three images of a juvenile
Water Rail at Summer Leys NR
courtesy of Simon Hales




Damp feathers

Hello

An excursion in the rain this morning was relatively short-lived, but a calling Water Rail at Brixworth Sewer Works suggests that they may have bred or at least summered at this small site.

The two Ruddy Shelduck were still present off the dam at Pitsford Res, associating with Canada Geese. Various large gulls were loafing on the buoys there despite the watercraft activities, and a Yellow-legged Gull was watching over proceedings from the remnants of the gull-watching hide!

Regards

Neil M

Moulting 4th year/adult Yellow-legged Gull
Pitsford Reservoir

Friday, 18 July 2014

Storm Birds!

Hello

A visit to the dam-end of Pitsford Reservoir at lunch-time today provided distant views of the pair of Ruddy Shelduck, an adult Yellow-legged Gull and other new gull arrivals in the shape of three adult Common Gulls and an adult Great Black-backed Gull joining the still summering immature.

A couple of Spotted Flycatchers were in Sunderland Wood (Kelmarsh Estate) this afternoon and two Redstarts remained elusive in thick hedging at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell this evening...

Regards

Neil M

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Warm birding!

Hello

Very little to report today but Eleanor again visited Harrington Airfield this morning and notched up three Ravens and two Turtle Doves.  A ringing session at Stortons Gravel Pits this morning included the capture of a stunning adult male Sparrowhawk.  At least one Barn Owl was hunting the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this evening.

Regards

Neil M


Male Sparrowhawk
Courtesy of John Boland

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Pitsford Ringing

Hello

Time spent ringing in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Reservoir today succeeded in catching 45 birds, 36 of which were new birds. Warblers included a Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Reed Warbler, 6 Blackcaps and 5 Garden Warblers. Other birds ringed included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Goldcrests and 3 Treecreepers.

Other birds noted on the reserve included a leucistic Great Crested Grebe, 4 Little Egrets, Spotted Flycatcher and a Grey Wagtail.

Regards

Neil M

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Pitsford Constant Effort Site

Hello

A ringing session in the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Reservoir late yesterday evening coupled with this morning provided a catch of 102 birds.  Yesterday evening's birds included 9 Greenfinches which seem to be making a gradual come-back after all their disease problems a couple of years ago, and singles of both Marsh and Willow Tit.  This morning's new warblers included 8 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Reed Warbler, a Willow Warbler and 6 Chiffchaff.  Variety was in the shape of a Kingfisher and 3 Yellowhammer.  And continuing the trend at this site this year, another 7 new Robins were processed which means that the CES sessions have identified 55 new birds so far this season - probably their best ever productivity.

This afternoon, the two Ruddy Shelduck were not surprisingly still present at Pitsford in the vicinity of the yacht club, as were three Yellow-legged Gulls loafing on the buoys.

A meander at Harrington Airfield this evening provided further evidence of southward movement with hirundines congregating, an adult Whinchat, a Redstart at the end of the concrete track again, one or two Turtle Dove(s) and two singing Grasshopper Warblers.

Regards

Neil M

Monday, 14 July 2014

Scarce Breeding Birds

Hello

This summer seems to have been a good one for many of our local breeding wild birds.  In addition to the common fare, it sees that several of a scarce species are also having a profitable breeding season.  Below are a couple of images from local wildlife enthusiasts depicting some of our scarcer breeding birds...

Regards

Neil M





Turtle Dove at Harrington Airfield
courtesy of Simon Hales

Adult Barn Owl with four
fledged young to the east of
the county, courtesy of
John Finlayson

Digi-scoped image (taken at long range)
of a Spotted Flycatcher at it's nest towards
the east of the county, courtesy
of Neil Hasdell

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Stortons Ringing

Hello

John Woollett and the team were busy ringing at Stortons Gravel Pits this morning, before it became too breezy to use mist nets. Seventy-four birds were processed which included plenty of new warblers - 18 Reeds, 9 Sedge and a few of Whitethroat and Blackcap.  A Sedge Warbler was caught already bearing a ring which was not originally ringed locally.

This evening, the female Red-crested Pochard was still present in the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Res (viewable from the New James Fisher Hide).

Regards

Neil M

Sunday birds

Hello

Eleanor's excursion to Harrington Airfield this morning provided views of a Redstart at the northern end of the main concrete track, plus a Turtle Dove and a Grasshopper Warbler.

A Grey Wagtail was at Brixworth Sewer Works this morning and an Osprey flew over there heading west at 12.45pm, carrying a large fish.

Regards

Neil M

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Pitsford wildlife

Hello

For most of today I was at Pitsford Reservoir working on ringing ride maintenance with Neil Hasdell and Helen Franklin.  Although it was very humid and warm, we managed to achieve our objective and the rides look much better now.  A few birds were seen which amounted to a Red-crested Pochard (Scaldwell Bay), c300 Gadwall, 2-3 Little Egret and a Hobby.  In the meantime, John Showers was in the Holcot Bay and located a copulating pair of Hornet Clear-wing Moths (please see image below).

Regards

Neil M


Hobby


Ruddy Darter

Hornet Clear-wing Moth
courtesy of John Showers




Fineshade update...


Dear all

I am writing to you because many of your members/readers will have visited Fineshade Wood for bird watching and I hope you will be able to publicise a major development threat here. Forest Holidays, supported by the Forestry Commission, have filed a planning application to use 96 acres of the Public Forest Estate to create a holiday park with 70 cabins and central complex. They will build a total of 2 miles of new roads fragmenting a large block of currently undisturbed woodland and there will be a particular threat to birds and, even more seriously, adders and other reptiles. There are no walking or cycling trails crossing the main part of the 96 acre site and it is currently very difficult to access - that's what makes it so important for wildlife.

With regard to birds, even the FH environmental consultant recognises the site's ecological sensitivity. The following extracts are taken from their very inadequate "Preliminary Ecological Report".  

No specific bird surveys (i.e. Breeding Bird Surveys) were undertaken; this was due to the quantity of bird data already recorded for the woodland...
Red list species that have been recorded include: song thrush, tree pipit, yellow hammer, marsh tit, grasshopper warbler, nightjar, willow tit, skylark and cuckoo. Amber list species that have been recorded include: dunnock, garden warbler, red kite, redstart, willow warbler, whitethroat, green woodpecker, bullfinch and mistle thrush...
Therefore... the site is of at least county importance for birds.

They therefore recommend as mitigation: postponing construction work until the end of the bird-nesting season, erecting 30 nestboxes and creating new areas of certain habitats (primarily tussocky grassland and dense scrub) elsewhere.  This will certainly not be compensate for the destruction of this environmentally sensitive area. 

Please can you encourage your members/readers to make an objection to this development?
The full application can be viewed here: http//:www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/planningapplications.  (It is enormous!)
The reference number for the application is 14/01156/FUL. The deadline for objections is 23 July.

Objections can be made:   by email to:   planning@east-northamptonshire.gov.uk
                                                 or online        www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/planningapplications
                                                 or by letter to      Planning comments,  East Northants Council, Cedar Drive, Thrapston  NN14 4LZ
Include your name and address (The address will not appear on the website)
  and the reference number 14/01156/FUL and the word OBJECTION

If those of you who represent groups could object on behalf of a group it would also be very helpful. It is important for East Northants councillors and planners to see that there is significant support from outside the area to counter the claim that this development will increase tourism - in fact it may put off visitors who vale the wood's environmental richness. Below you will find some more general information sent out to supporters yesterday. Do please forward this email on as you think appropriate.

Thank you very much indeed in anticipation of your support

Barrie Galpin

15 Top Lodge, Fineshade, Corby. NN17 3BB
01780-444351
(BTO Regional Representative for Northants)


To everyone who asked to be informed about developments at Fineshade Wood.

The expected application from Forest Holidays has now arrived. It is described as:
The erection of 70 cabins and associated buildings and infrastructure and construction of new access road
The full application can be viewed here: http//:www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/planningapplications
The reference number for the application is 14/01156/FUL. The deadline for objections is 23 July.
This is a very detailed application and all the documents and plans run to many hundreds of pages. 

Here are some particular points from the application:
70 cabins in 96 acres of public land of Fineshade Wood.
2 miles of new vehicle tracks.
Parking spaces for 189 cars.
This part of the Public Forest Estate will be leased by this company for 125 years.
460 mature trees (trunks > 6in. diameter) to be removed for roads and building construction.

Access will be by means of the existing single track lane from the A43 to Top Lodge.
New forest road to be built from the end of the existing visitor car park passing very close to Top Lodge residents.
An additional 60 vehicles per hour will be added to the existing traffic.
Construction traffic will use the single track lane and then the existing walking track that skirts the north of the site.

Only a preliminary ecological report has been submitted.
Biological surveys are incomplete - both the area surveyed and the time they were carried out.
Very many notable and protected species reported, showing it is certainly an environmentally sensitive site.
Site is "of at least county importance for reptiles and birds".
Partial botanical survey revealed 45 (axiophytes) "worthy plant species" and 22 Ancient Woodland indicators.
460 trees to be removed for roads and building construction.

We are currently reading all the documents in detail - if you have time to read any of them and come across anything very important please let us know (email to fineshade.wood@zen.co.uk) so we can share them widely.  There are two documents that summarise the application: "Design and Access statement" and "Planning statement" (particularly section 5.) The other documents deal in much more detail with, e.g Transport, Ecology, etc.

If you are able to send an objection to the council, here are some pointers.

Include your name and address (The address will not appear on the website)
Include the reference number 14/01156/FUL
At the top, use the word objection (or the council may count it only as a comment)
Indicate why you are qualified to object (e.g "I have been visiting Fineshade for many years")
Stick to a single issue - we believe the main weaknesses of the application are access from the A43 and the environmental sensitivity.
For many of us a short, pithy objection may be the best  approach, as we hope there will be many objections for counsellors to read
If you have particular expertise and develop a detailed objection please send us a copy by email.
Your objection should appear on the website within a few days. If it doesn't please follow it up - several comments were lost on the previous glamping application.

If you live locally, can you get your Parish Council or Village Meeting to consider the application and send an objection? Several local villages in East Northants are listed under "Consultee comments"  on the website. We believe that comments from parishes in Rutland will be important too. If you would like some help with this, please get in touch - for example we may be able to attend a parish meeting if invited. 


On behalf of the residents of Fineshade thank you very much indeed for your help and support
Barrie Galpin

15 Top Lodge, Fineshade, Corby. NN17 3BB
01780-444351
07717-446417

PS Latest on glamping. 57 public comments and 21 consultee comments have been published (is yours there?) - almost all objecting. East Northants Council are planning to make a decision in September. We are very hopeful!

Objections can be made:   by email to:   planning@east-northamptonshire.gov.uk
                                                  or online        www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/planningapplications
                                                 or by letter to      Planning comments,  East Northants Council, Cedar Drive, Thrapston  NN14 4LZ

15 Top Lodge, Fineshade, Corby. NN17 3BB
01780-444351

07717-446417

Friday, 11 July 2014

Ruddy Shelduck again...

Hello

Not much time available today, but a visit to Pitsford Reservoir late morning was sufficient to confirm the continued presence of the pair of Ruddy Shelduck, this time in Yacht Bay. Also present just off the dam were two Yellow-legged Gulls.

Regards

Neil M

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Brampton Valley migrants

Hello

This morning Eleanor located a migrant Redstart in a hedgerow between Hanging Houghton and Cottesbrooke. This particular hedge regularly attracts migrant chats and warblers and is affectionately called 'shrike hedge' in the hope that a member of this family will eventually adorn it!  I'm not sure what is so compelling about this hedge but on some occasions it can be dripping in both migrant and local birds. Also this morning Eleanor saw a 'cream-crown' Marsh Harrier quartering the fields in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton.

Regards

Neil M

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Butterflies

Hello

Today we spent much of the day slowly patrolling the woodland areas of Fermyn Country Park/Fermyn Wood/Lady's Wood in search of butterflies and other interesting flying insects. Heavy rain during yesterday and breezy conditions today conspired to keep most of the scarce butterflies high in the canopy with few photographic opportunities. Nevertheless we gradually chalked up some seventeen species of butterfly which included plenty of Purple Emperor, White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Purple Hairstreak and White-letter Hairstreak. Predatory insects on the wing included extraordinary numbers of Emperor Dragonfly, often shadowed by Brown and Southern Hawker, with Black-tailed Skimmer and Broad-bodied Chaser around muddy pools in the Country Park. Hornets were also on the wing and a Common Lizard scurried across a woodland ride. The most interesting birds noted included Kingfisher and Hobby.

Regards

Neil M




Large Skipper

White Admiral

Silver-washed Fritillary

Emperor Dragonfly

Green-veined White


Purple Emperor

Ruddy Darter


Black-tailed Skimmer


Broad-bodied Chaser