Friday, June 30, 2017

Diary Update #31

 Thursday 29th June 2017 ~ My annual visit to RSPB Otmoor in Oxfordshire today, mainly to catch up with the resident Turtle Doves.

Obliging Turtle Dove
An overcast and chilly day with occasional drizzle but immediately upon arrival in the car park the wonderful sound of a purring Turtle Dove! However, I never quite managed to make contact with this particular individual, too far off but I was confident I'd find one along the track near the bridge and feeding areas.

Turtle Dove ~ A closer view!
I took the visitor trail towards the feeders before heading west, finishing up at the 'Wetlands Watch Lookout'. Although a little chilly and dank at times it was an enjoyable walk with Little Egret, Greenshank, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard and a trio of Red Kites, but the highlight had to be a drumming Common Snipe overhead. Plenty of young warblers as you'd expect, plus the odd flyby Common Tern but it wasn't until I made the return trip until I finally connected with my Turtle Dove! I watched a single bird fly in, which obligingly landed on top of a telegraph pole to pose for photos! Heading back to the car park a reeling Grasshopper Warbler to end an enjoyable visit!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Diary Update #30

⛅  Monday 26th June 2017  ~  With many trips back and forth to Liverpool more recently and so much to organise it was the first time I'd managed to venture out since Mum passed away on June 17th ~ RIP Mum a great innings at nearly 97!

Plenty of Red-eyed Damselfly on Goose Pool
The weather was perfect at Brandon Marsh today not overly hot, nice breeze and bright enough for many butterflies and odonata to be on the wing. I spend little time in the hides at this time of year, preferring to concentrate on the bugs and flora! That said what little time I did spend produced a couple of Hobby, PeregrineLittle Egret and a Lesser Whitethroat was singing across from the Ted Jury Hide!

It would seem that thus far this year it's been a great season for our nesting species, with lots of young birds throughout the reserve. Many butterflies to be found including a trio of Skipper with Large, Small and a single Essex recorded. Marbled Whites seemed abundant today with Comma and even Red Admiral in good numbers. Worryingly not a single Common Blue to be found anywhere on the reserve but I did manage my first Purple Hairstreak in the usual treeline along river meadow.

Pyramidal Orchid ~ Anacamptis pyramidalis
Last year saw the first Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis on the reserve and today in almost the same location stood another example. There are plenty of Common Spotted Orchid to be found too, along with the odd Bee Orchid!

Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp ~ Carlton path!
Along the path to the Carlton Hide a half dozen Ornate-tailed Digger Wasps were very active. Thanks to Dave Mount, who identified these last year and passed the information on.

Dragonflies should get a mention today with Black-tailed Skimmer, Migrant Hawker and Brown Hawker noted!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Diary Update #29

☀️  Wednesday 14th June 2017  ~  Sadly my mum isnt too well at the moment and so in between numerous trips up to Liverpool I managed my first extended Brandon Marsh visit today in glorious sunshine.

Mating Speckled Wood
With the birds busy nesting I spent my time touring the woods and meadows and didn't bother visiting the hides. Despite the glorious conditions I have to say that the amount of butterflies on the wing was very disappointing. In fact I spent a little while on River Meadow with John Osborne, who was completing a butterfly transect and he confirmed that the numbers were of concern. We did manage various counts of Meadow Brown and Ringlet, plus around a dozen or so Chimney Sweeper moths, Banded Demoiselle were abundant and a single Emperor Dragonfly was on the the River Avon. Along the treeline a year first Brown Hawker!

Large Skipper ~ Horsetail Glade
Lunch in Horsetail Glade around the bench area and here a Hairy Dragonfly, along with a couple of Large Skippers and single Grass Snake. Some juvenile Treecreepers were spending a lot of time around the fallen trees and it seems that a pair of Jays have also been nesting in the area, a distant Cuckoo was also heard!

One of three Small Heath on Farm Field
The dipping pond adjacent to the old tool store produced Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly, plus Large Red, Azure and Common Blue damselfly and I also completed a full circle around the top reed beds and farm area, recording of note Marbled White and three Small Heath, but once more numbers were disappointing!

Female Banded Demoiselle

[oedemera nobilis] a type of Flower Beetle

Black-tailed Skimmer in volunteers car park!