Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Pitsford's birds and insects


I spent most of the day at Pitsford Reservoir today, completing a Common Bird Census on the reserve this morning and back again this evening to set up for a ringing session there tomorrow morning.

It was an early start this morning and there were so many wildlife distractions that it took me an age to walk around the reserve (plus I'm getting older)! Bird highlights included a Curlew calling as it flew south and at about 8am four Crossbills were flying low around Christies Copse. Some fifteen minutes later and a nice male bird was seen flying around on his own, I'm not sure if he was in the original group or not but I didn't see any of them again after that.

A pair of Spotted Flycatchers are breeding on the reserve and waterbirds are faring well with several broods of Mute Swan and Great Crested Grebes. The summering Lapwing flock is over fifty birds strong now, the Gadwall are up to one hundred and twenty and the Pochard increased to seventeen birds today. One of the drake Wigeon is still present as is the pair of Oystercatcher which still seem intent on breeding.

Other birds today included a couple of Little Egrets, a Kingfisher, a Grey Wagtail and just one pair of Willow Warblers on territory this year. Although we have lost breeding birds such as Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler, there are now breeding Red Kites and Nuthatches.

Insects were in profusion in the sunny, warm conditions and dragonflies included Blue Emperor, Southern Hawker, Black-tailed Skimmer, Four-spotted Chaser and Broad-bodied Chaser, plus a couple of Beautiful Demoiselles. Lots of butterflies included a good number of Marbled Whites between the Maytrees Hide and the causeway, Purple Hairstreaks in the oaks and two White-letter Hairstreaks near to The Point.

Elsewhere and Fiona found hitherto unknown colonies of Marbled White and Purple Hairstreaks in the triangle of land between Brixworth, Hanging Houghton and Scaldwell villages. Other good butterflies seen today included a Purple Emperor in Titchmarsh Wood and still three late Black Hairstreaks at Souther Wood. Fermyn Wood hosted a Purple Emperor, nine White Admirals and five Silver-washed Fritillaries. A colony of Marbled Whites near Gayton numbered 50/60 individuals. A Dark Green Fritillary was at Ring Haw, Old Sulehay today and a Silver-washed Fritillary was at Glapthorne Cow Pastures

Kenny's efforts at Linford Lakes this evening provided an opportunity of catching and ringing the tenth Cuckoo there this year!


Neil M

A shoal of about twenty-five
large trout were circulating in 
the water in the causeway tunnel
at Pitsford today...

Small Skipper.

Great Crested Grebe with
her two chicks.

Female Gadwall.

Four-spotted Chaser.

Common Tern selecting
and catching the correct
size fish for it's young. One
bird was actually seen with a
tiny Pike in it's bill!

Male Beautiful Demoiselle.

All images from Pitsford
Reservoir today...

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