Tuesday 25 June 2013

Stanwell Moor - 17 June 2013

The primary reason for the visit was to strim some of the rides and seek out a possible place to target winter finches at a ground feeding station. But we had some nets up too and were pleased to capture some individuals that are becoming quite familiar to us. We caught Y224407, a Reed Warbler, ringed at Bedfont last year and already seen on the 1st and 3rd of June. Next we caught L271161, another Bedfont Reed Warbler, first done there on 25/07/2010 and captured at Stanwell on three dates between 13th May and 8th July in 2012.

Another interesting retrap was that of V792001, a Reed Warbler processed as a 4F on 27th May 2008 and not seen again until today.

Reed Warbler V792001 - at least 6 years old

We were also pleased to locate 3 Bee Orchids, an increase on the single plant that we found last year.

Bee Orchid

The main reedbed ride is now clearer and we will be able to use a 30ft net closer to the Starling roost when we're ready to. The bramble lined spit is also clear (for the time being) and we even decided on an area where we will attempt to attract Linnet and Reed Bunting later in the year.

We didn't monitor the flash today but Little Ringed Plover calls were heard as a single bird passed overhead.

Totals :  4 (7)

Dunnock - 1 (1)
Robin - 1
Blackbird - 0 (1)
Reed Warbler - 0 (5) 
Whitethroat - 2

Sunday 16 June 2013

Hilfield Park Reservoir - 16 June 2013

CES time again and we went to help with one of our group sites that has been having a disappointing time lately. Numbers have been down, particularly the Reed Warblers, and the day started in much the same way, although it was nice to get a smattering of youngsters from other species beginning to come through.

While taking down, Chris decided to try flicking for Swifts with one of the CES nets for 10 minutes beofre taking it down, and amazingly actually caught one.

Adult Swift

While walking back, Kenny managed to complete the catch with a couple of Canada goslings.

 Goosy goosy goslings - very cute but also create an awful lot of mess!

Thanks to Mike, Kenny, Irwin and the two Margarets for having us.

Totals: 13 (5)
Canada Goose - 2
Swift - 1
Dunnock - 0 (2)
Robin - 2
Blackbird -3 (2)
Reed Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 3
Chiff-chaff - 1 (1)

Saturday 15 June 2013

Stanwell Moor - 15 June 2013

Yet another day too windy for mist netting, We decided to put in an hour or so to try for more chicks at the pool. A first scan of the pool appeared to show only one Little Ringed Plover chick and even after giving it quite a long time no more chicks revealled themselves. D homed in on a well grown chick by some short grass at the far end of the pool, only to find that it had already been ringed.

 LRP NS22981 on 10/06 and 15/06

On making my way back towards Chris, I found a well grown Lapwing chick in the grass. It was another chick that already had a ring.

Lapwing DE27586 on 8/06 and 15/06.

The LRP parents seemed to have other chicks but we couldn't spot any and were reluctant to walk the area too much. It seems that we tend to find the chicks usually hidden on the pool ( because we prefer to walk on the mud)  and consistently miss those secretted in the surrounding grass that grows longer on each visit and is now folded over onto itself.

Totals - 0 (2)

Little Ringed Plover - 0 (1)
Lapwing - 0 (1)

Friday 14 June 2013

Stanwell Moor - 10 June 2013

We started the afternoon with a walk up to the flash. We spend a short while looking for chicks and discovered that the two Lapwing chicks ringed on the 8th were still there and growing fast. We found that the Little Ringed Plovers had now moved down to the water and were behaving as though they had chicks somewhere along the grassy margins. It took longer than we would have liked to find just one chick, not the one done on the 1st of June, but consistent in size to having possibly been from the same brood. We were reasonably sure that there was a least one more but didn't want to cause any further disturbance.

Little Ringed Plover chick

We went back to the main lake, putting up a run of three nets in the reedbed and two on the adjacent spit. It was a very slow start with a retrap Reed Warbler being the only bird from the nets until almost 90 minutes later when the Starlings began to assemble for the evening roost. We got 9 Starlings in one strike, then found a Jay and a juvenile Robin in he reedbed nets. The roost amounted to 500+ but no other birds found their way into the nets.

 Vociferous Starling youngster

Smart male Starling

Total - 12 (3)

Little Ringed Plover - 1
Lapwing - 0(2)
Robin - 1
Reed Warbler - 0(1)
Jay -1
Starling - 9

Sunday 9 June 2013

Stanwell Moor - 8 June 2013

Another trip out with Phil, Josie and Nigel looking for chicks on and around the flash. We expected this to be the last try as no flying juvenile Lapwing had been seen and it seemed as though foraging foxes and crows had taken their toll. We saw some Redshank and Lapwing chicks before moving in but they quickly hunkered down and the two larger Redshanks went up with the adults, proving that at least some had made it to the stage where they could fly . Only one Lapwing chick was located for our initial efforts.

Chick number 1

We then spent some time watching the birds on the pool settle, but no small chicks came out and a near full grown Lapwing remained near the long grass, darting back in and becoming completely invisible when looked for.

A chick could be heard calling to our left and we were surprised, when it was found, at how far it was from the pool edge - closer to us than the pool infact . This little chuck still had the egg tooth in place.

Chick 2

The next find was of a nest with a newly hatch chick and another, still partly in the shell. Of course these were much too small to take a ring.

Chicks 3 & 4

On finding these siblings we swiftly departed, finding another chick too small to take a ring about half way between where we'd watched from and the cars, so perhaps another try might be worthwhile after all. 


Isle of Wight - 7 June 2013

Up at 5.30am and on the road to Lymington. The ferry was booked for 8.35am and we arrived early, in time to catch the earlier sailing on the 'Wight Sky' with just two other vehicles. The only problem was the heavy sky, intermittent showers and pall of black cloud hanging over the island. We found our way to the open deck, stood under a perspex shelter and watched the lightening arc from clouds to earth ahead of us. At this point, as Common Terns gathered above the ferry's wake, the chance of finding Glanville Fritillary seemed fairly remote. The rain got harder and when it reached the point where we were getting wet despite the shelter, we retreated inside. It was soon time to get back to the car and we were ashore at Yarmouth in next to no time.

Th rain was still persisting down, so not being one to miss an opportunity to visit a cafe, Chris found a very nice one in Ventnor where we enjoyed bacon baguettes. Amazingly, the rain had stopped by the time we'd finished so we set out for Bonchurch, hoping the sky would clear soon. We started from the Horseshoe Bay end and scoured the undercliff.

Horseshoe Bay

As time went on the odd White butterfly showed itself and after 20 minutes or so Chris found the first Glanville Fritillary on the day. Photography was challenging in the very keen wind but we managed some shots.

Glanville Fritillary

Common Blue

Along with a few Fritillaries, we also found Common Blues and Dingy Skippers.

 Dingy Skipper

Glanville Fritillary

We moved on to Bonchurch Down under a blue sky but it was too breezy just a few Dingy Skippers, Common Blues, a couple of Brown Argus and a Small Copper were seen.

 Bonchurch Down

Common Blue

 Brown Argus

Compton Chine was sheltered from the wind and the butterflies were up, but difficult to photograph as supercharged by the sun.  This was an interesting place where the wooden steps had recently been replaced due to a land slip. There was plenty of evidence of minor slips, some quite recently. It seemed to me that the life belt for emergencies was probably less helpful than some form or digging equipment, perhaps a JCB.

 Compton Chine

 Dingy Skipper

Glanville Fritillary

The final destination, Brook Down, provided more Glanville Fritillaries and a whole host of Adonis Blues.

 Adonis Blue (female)

Adonis Blue

Small Blue

Having found all our target species we returned to the ferry port and managed to get on a little earlier than booked. After stopping in at The Filly Inn, Brockenhurst for dinner we travelled back and arrived home just before 10pm.

Dorset/Hants butterflies - 6 June 2013

Today was a planned Marsh Fritillary day in Dorset. The morning started off a little duller than hoped but by the time SW Dorset was reached the sun had burnt off any morning cloud, but the wind was strong and quite cooling. A walk across Fontwell Down was desperately short of butterflies apart from a few Small Heaths and a family party of five Ravens frequenting the only tree at the Down head. This did not bode well, but a walk down the bridleway towards Compton Down, being in the lee of the wind, started to produce common butterflies in an old small chalk quarry, with Orange Tip, Green-veined White, Large White, Dingy Skipper and Small Blue. A walk across the upper slope of the down and very little was showing but as I dropped down lower the first Marsh Fritillary showed and walking along the lower slope eventually around thirty had been seen along with more Dingy and Grizzled Skippers. On leaving the down a couple, of Adonis Blue were seen.

Marsh Fritillary

 Marsh Fritillary

 Adonis Blue

Hod Hill was the next visit and eventually finding the right bit where most of the Marsh Fritillaries were located, another twenty odd were seen along with Dingy and Grizzled Skippers, Small Blue and a single Adonis Blue.

 Grizzled Skipper

Marsh Fritillary

 Dingy Skipper

One the way back Martin Down was paid a late afternoon visit  which only produced one tatty Marsh Fritillary, a few Small Blues and about six Adonis Blues.

Just as I got back to the car park, a Hobby was hawking over the grass.
 Adonis Blue

Stanwell Moor - 5 June 2013

We assembled a team of six to have another look for wader chicks. Some were spotted from a distance but we were unable to tie them down on moving closer to them. We backed off and waited for the adults to return but the Lapwing took their time and just three chicks were seen scattered around the pool edge while the Redshank repeatedly returned and left, but still no chicks showed themselves. At one point there was much activity in the long grass as the birds appeared to be mobbing some threat that remained unseen by us. A second sweep where Lapwing chicks had been seen drew a blank. Finally, as we were gathering to leave, Chris found a single chick, in the open, hiding in plain sight.

When we arrived the pool was being graced by a fine male Garganey.

Lapwing chick

Yoseden Bank - 5 June 2013

A bright sunny, though slightly breezy morning, made a visit worth while to look for any recently emerged Adonis Blues, but alas despite over 20 Common Blues being seen, there was no sign of any Adonis. Up to ten Small Blues were seen along with up to six Dingy Skippers, five Brimstone and just a single slightly worn Green Hairstreak.

Mating Common Blues

Green Hairstreak

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Bentley Wood, Wiltshire - 2 June 2013

There was a forecast for sunshine so we decided to try our luck at finding butterflies at Bentley Wood. The emergence times have been running late with the cold weather that we've had lately so we really weren't sure what we'd find since Pearl-bordered should be finishing by now.

It was a struggle at first but we managed to find some lepidotera in the brief spells of sunshine.

 Pearl-bordered Fritillary

One of only two Duke of Burgundy

We managed to get a few shots of an aberrant male Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

There was no sign of Small Pearl-bordered or any skippers. But we did manage to catch up with a Brimstone and a Broad-bodied Chaser.

 Brimstone on Bluebells

 Broad-bodied Chaser

 One of the numerous Speckled Yellow Moth

There were some beautiful plants on the reserve.

 Milk Maids or Cuckoo Flower

Ragged Robin

Then we tried another part of the wood and tracked down some elusive Marsh Fritillaries.

Marsh Fritillaries

Marsh Marigold