Archive for the ‘Butterflies and Moths’ Category

The Small Tortoiseshell is one of the UK’s commonest garden butterflies. It may hibernate over winter and so is one of the species that can be seen on warm days throughout the year.

It is found across a wide geographic area stretching from Western Europe to China and Japan. There are even a few records from New York but this may have been deliberately released there.

I haven’t managed to get a photo yet but we have had a couple of Jersey Tiger Moths around the house for the past couple of days. This attractive moth shows its striking black and white barring when at rest and a brilliant burst of orange when it flies, which it often does during the day.

Jersey Tiger.
Photo by Ben Sale ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/33398884@N03/ )

As its name suggests it was until recently only found on the Channel Islands and in South Devon, but it has rapidly expanded its range over recent years and is now found across Southern England.

Box Moth

Posted: August 1, 2019 in Butterflies and Moths, Natural History
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We found this Box Moth on our Kitchen window. It is a species first recorded in 2008 in the UK and its caterpillar is considered a pest by many gardeners.

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The reserve was relatively quiet bird-wise with the highlights being a small passage of House-martins and a juvenile Buzzard, which unusually was laying on the ground. I heard it had been around the reserve for a couple of days and had been harassed by the resident crow population, so perhaps it just wanted to keep out of sight.


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Lets settle this here and now!

Lets settle this here and now!

Migrant Dragonfly

Migrant Hawker

Marsh Frog

Marsh Frog

Wasp Spider

Wasp Spider

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Common Lizard

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Am travelling a lot this week so a chance to look back at some posts from one of my favourite spots, The London Wetland Centre

The wetland Centre collection shows off the wonderful work that the Wetlands Trust do in helping to save and re-introduce endangered species from around the world. The centre collection area has also become home to native species such as the Moorhen, Tufted Duck and Mallard and helps promote other plants and insects.

Fulvous Whistling Duck

Fulvous Whistling Duck

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

Red Admiral. Photo by Sue

Red Admiral. Photo by Sue

Moorhen with chick. Photo by Sue

Moorhen with chick. Photo by Sue

Moorhen and chick. Photo by Sue

Moorhen and chick. Photo by Sue

White-headed Duck

White-headed Duck

An unpromising weather forecast but Keith and I decided to head off to New Hythe and Leybourne Lakes in search of Nightengales. This area in the Medway Valley is now one of the remaining strongholds for this declining species.

As we leave the train at New Hythe it has been raining but has now stopped and we proceed into the lake complex which is managed for fishing, leisure and Wildlife. Within a hundred yards we are greeted by our first singing Nightengale. It will be one of the 10-12 singing males we will encounter over the time we spend in the lake complex, which is excellent news for the forthcoming breeding season.

Recording of Nightengale singing

Other highlights were 15 singing Blackcaps plus a smaller number of Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge warblers, Reed Warblers, Cettis warblers and Chiffchaffs, but strangely no Willow Warblers, which neither of us has managed to hear so far this year. I hope they are just delayed and this is not an indication of some problem during their migration

We also had six species of Butterfly: Peacock, Speckled Wood, Green-Veined White, Small White and Brimstone.

As we were heading for Snodland Station we spotted a Kestrel on the church tower.

Kestrel (m)

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Lesser Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia curruca)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Nightingale [sp] (Luscinia megarhynchos)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
White Wagtail (Pied) (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)

It may be cold outside but before long spring will be here, with all the delights it brings.

Comma
Buff-tailed Bumblebee
Orange-Tip
Speckled Wood
Blue-tailed Damselfly

Keith and I Spent the day at the London Wetland Centre. It’s always fun to think about what you like to see when you visit a particular place. I mentioned in the post yesterday that I would quite like to see Ring Ouzel, although I will declare immediately that I wasn’t successful but given the day we had I am not complaining.

On our arrival, we decided that the best vantage point was likely to be the Peacock Tower and so we made our way straight there. Having had a quick look round we focused on the Islands where the Jack Snipe normally winter. All was quiet then suddenly a flurry of activity as out of the vegetation came a number of Common Snipe and then a Jack Snipe. It fed a while in the pool before disappearing into the vegetation. It appeared again for about 5 minutes before finally being seen making its way deep into the undergrowth.

Common Snipe

 

Jack Snipe

We decided to make our way back to the centre and on the way check the hides which look across to the northern reed bed, where 2 Eurasian Bittern had been seen the previous day. No sign but as we approached the centre, a fellow birder told us one was showing in the inlet alongside Headley hide (not visible from south shore) so we passed on our lunch break and headed for Headley arriving to be told that it had retreated into the reeds 10 minutes earlier. Still, we decided to wait and see if it returned and 40 minutes later we were rewarded with excellent views about 20 metres from the hide windows (It was so close that we didn’t dare open any of the closed windows for fear of spooking it).

As we were watching the Bittern, someone shouted ‘Short-Eared Owl’ and the bird flew into the reed-bed and perched on a post, before dropping into the reeds. This is a rare species for central London, being more associated with moorland. This is the third record at Wetland Centre in the past couple of weeks, making us wonder if its the same bird and whether it plans to spend the winter here.

After the Bittern and the Short-Eared Owl had departed into the reeds, we made our way back to the Tower in the hope of catching up with one of the Water Pipits which has been around the reserve in the past few weeks, but although Keith heard a pipit, we never located it and so could not confirm if it was a Water Pipit or a Meadow Pipit.

Speckled Wood

Grey Heron

 

Eurasian Wigeon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The light was fading and it was time to make our way back to the centre. A great days birding!

 

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Short-eared Owl [sp] (Asio flammeus)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)

Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Decided to have an easy day today and so spent the day around the cottage. A Red Kite and 2 Buzzards were seen over the garden along with Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, Small White and Comma Butterflies.

Small Tortoiseshell (left) and a rather intricate spiders web (right)

We had been fascinated all week by the wasps which kept landing on the garden furniture. What was it that attracted them to spend so much time on the wooden tables? A little bit of research revealed that they are biting off small pieces of wood which they turn into pulp and then use to repair their nests.

Our first stop this morning was the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Holme Dunes. Leaving the centre I visited the Bird Observatory and spent some time looking for migrants in the beachside shrubs and trees, but apart from some common woodland birds, the only migrant seen was a Common Whitethroat.

Common Whitethroat in the beachside vegetation at Holme

My next area to visit was the Broadwater, but when I arrived at the hide, one of the wardens explained that the local cattle had broken down a fence during the night and that they had to repair it which was disturbing the birds and so the Broadwater was devoid of birds except for a single Mallard and a party of Pied Wagtails. After meeting up with Sue, our next stop was on the Saltmarsh, where there was a single Eurasian Curlew and a party of 40 Common Redshank plus a few Little Egrets.

Travelling on we had lunch at the RSPB reserve at Titchwell and then walked out to Fen hide where we found two Turtle Doves sitting in a tree. This is the rarest of UK’s breeding doves, which is a summer migrant from Africa and have suffered a very significant decline in numbers of recent years due to climate change in their wintering grounds and shooting around the Mediterranean area.

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Turtle Dove (taken in Norfolk Sept 2017)

Robin (top left), Migrant Hawker (top right), Small White Butterfly (centre right) and   Reed-bed at Titchwell (bottom)

One other treat of our visit was as we sat drinking a cup of tea and watching the bird-feeders we saw some Wood Mice scurrying around under the feeders, no doubt picking up the seed that had fallen down.

From here we walked onto Pat’s Pool, where there was a large flock of Gadwall and a single Red-Crested Pochard. A Great White Egret flew into the pool and a Marsh Harrier quartered the reed-bed at the rear of the pool.

Our last stop of the day was at Cholsey Barns, which is a farming area where I have seen Grey Partridge on previous visits. Today we were unlucky and didn’t find any, but did have wonderful views of a Male Marsh Harrier and the starlings on the telephone mast were an impressive sight.

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Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
European Turtle Dove [sp] (Streptopelia turtur)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)                                                                                        Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)