A Naturetrek day tour of Pitsford Reservoir began with a selection of twenty species of moths that Mischa had kept for us following use of the reserve moth traps. Favourites such at Bufftip, Yellowtail and Ruby Tiger are common captures but perhaps the Pine Hawk-moth and Privet Hawk-moth were the most impressive. A Horned Leafhopper was an interesting bycatch species!
A warm day on the reserve with a nice breeze provided observations of 15 species of butterflies and there were good numbers of dragonflies on the wing including lots of Brown Hawkers, Blue Emperors and Ruddy Darters. There were smaller numbers of Black-tailed Skimmers, Common Darters, Southern Hawkers, Migrant Hawkers and a single Lesser Emperor patrolling the water edge in the Holcot Bay with a possible Downy Emerald seen too. Emerald Damselflies were present at one spot.
The birds included a juvenile Marsh Harrier which showed in the Scaldwell and Walgrave Bays, a Red-crested Pochard, the drake Goldeneye, at least one Hobby, three Kingfishers and three Common Sandpipers.
Elsewhere and the wandering Spoonbill was reported at Thrapston Pits this morning but not seen subsequently and other birds included an Osprey and two Yellow-legged Gulls. Summer Leys LNR hung on to three Great White Egrets this morning.
Lots of flying ants this afternoon provided food for gulls and a build up of Swifts wherever the hatches occurred and included a juvenile Mediterranean Gull over Wellingborough and a Hobby there going after the build-up of Swifts.
A ringing session at Linford Lakes today provided 82 captures of fifteen species and included a very impressive 31 Reed Warblers, 6 Sedge Warblers, a Cetti's Warbler, a Whitethroat, 6 Blackcaps, 4 Garden Warblers, 7 Chiffchaffs and 5 Willow Warblers. Five Sand Martins and a Swallow were as a result of targeted ringing and three Green Sandpipers were on-site. A Water Shrew and two Great Crested Newts were excellent non-avian wildlife sightings plus signs of an Otter.
Another ringing session at Pitsford Reservoir provided 46 captures and included 12 Mallard, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, a Whitethroat, a Sedge Warbler, a 'control' Reed Warbler, a Chiffchaff and 7 Tree Sparrows.
Ringing will be carried out at Harrington Airfield this coming week-end and there will be access restrictions on-site.