Archive for the ‘Butterflies and Moths’ Category

 

Last week whilst I was doing the weekly survey I came across a moth resting in amongst the flowers in the garden. Now I confess I don’t know a lot about Moths but thanks to the help of a facebook group it was soon identified as a Silver Y Moth (Autographa Gamma). A common Moth it is named after the y-shaped mark on its wing.

 

This reminds me of a very good holiday we had in Menorca some years ago. I am sure it is more developed now but it is good to know that the wildlife is still worth visiting.

Martin Tayler's bird blog & nature photos

Menorca has the only resident population of Egyptian vultures in Europe (around 100 pairs) and so it would have been disappointing not to see them. We walked along the gorge from Santa Galdana on the south coast with wild flowers adorning the route to a backdrop of dramatic limestone cliffs and birdsong all around. We had sightings of booted eagle and black kites on our way and were well rewarded with good views of Egyptian vultures at the end of the gorge.

DSC05305DSC05287DSC05293DSC05321DSC05359Egyptian vultures

DSC05049Booted eagle

DSC05628Black kite

On the return journey we also saw a kestrel, more views of booted eagles and kites and even a pair of little egrets. The most stunning aspect of this walk was the birdsong; we had no difficulty in recognising Cetti’s warbler but were grateful to some birders who pointed out nightingales and Siberian chiffchaff. The nightingales were everywhere and filled the valley…

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Today’s venue was the New Hythe and Leybourne complex of lakes in the Medway valley in Kent. This is one of the best venues to hear and see Nightengales when they first arrive and so Keith and I decided to visit to see if there were any early returners.

Certainly, there were migrants establishing territories and a number of Chiffchaff and Blackcaps together with a single Willow Warbler were heard and in some cases seen. Apart from these birds, it was relatively quiet on the lakes and there was no sound of any returning Nightengales yet.

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Blackcap (m)

The other highlight of the day was a number of butterflies, probably all overwintering species brought out by the warm weather. Brimstone, Red Admiral and Peacock were all seen.

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There were plenty of Rabbits as well

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
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)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
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)

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

A bright Sunny day and so a good opportunity to do this week’s invertebrate survey. Finally, there seems to be some movement towards spring and in the garden, I recorded 4 species of Bee including Tree Bumblebee which as far as I can remember I have never seen here before. I also found a single Comma butterfly.

Tree Bumblebee (left) and Comma Butterfly

Around the Tarn, it was much the same picture with the same 4 species of Bumblebee including another Tree Bumblebee but no butterflies to add to the count. I did see a Slider, an American species of Terrapin which has been introduced into our waterways by pet owners who no longer want to look after them.

Red Slider and Common Moorhen

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Rock Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
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)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)                                                                             Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestis)                                                                                   Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)                                                                                           Honey Bee

 

Boxing day brought a sunny day and two unexpected visitors to the garden. The first was a single Long-tailed Tit, which appeared for about 5 minutes around the feeder station before flying off. This is a species that is very uncommon in our garden (previous sightings up to 5 Nov/Dec 2013; 5 Oct 2015 and 1 in Jan 2016).

Long-tailed Tit

However, the most surprising visitor was a Red Admiral Butterfly which fluttered through the garden mid-morning. They are known to over-winter in dry places such as sheds and can be enticed out if the temperature is mild enough during the winter.

Although most butterfly species over-winter as an egg, pupa or caterpillar, some species can survive the winter months as adults. These butterflies don’t actually hibernate, instead they go into a dormant state where they shut down their metabolism to a very low level. Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Brimstone can all survive through the winter as adults, waiting for the spring when they can breed. Red Admirals only achieve a partial dormancy and so are the most likely species to be seen on the wing on warm winter days.

Red Admiral

 

 

 

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On the way back from a trip to Peterborough, Sue and I stopped off at Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust for lunch and a couple of hours bird watching. From the main hide, we could see that the number of Whooper Swans present had risen significantly since our last visit back in mid-September with arrivals from the breeding grounds in the artic.

 

Also present were good numbers of duck species which also make their home for the winter on the washes of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk

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Eurasian Wigeon

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Common Pochard

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Northern Shoveler (m & f)

 

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Pintail (m)

The star birds of the day, although only seen briefly in flight were a group of 3 Common Cranes, which flew into the far side of the reserve before disappearing into the vegetation and out of sight. These once very rare birds are now increasing in numbers due to re-introduction programmes in Somerset and East Anglia.

Common Crane (Photographed Slimbridge Dec 2013)

Despite being the first weekend in November, we also saw a red admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly and a pair of Common Darter Dragonflies, witness to how mild the autumn has been.

Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Crane [sp] (Grus grus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

It has certainly turned chilly in London this past couple of days and so autumn cools as we move towards winter. So I thought I would put together some pictures of summer creatures as a reminder of the summer past

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper Butterfly

Common Darter

Azure Damselfly

Mint Moth

Ruddy Darter

Red Admiral

Meadow Brown

Small Tortoiseshell

 

 

Till next year

From 15th October this year, the round £1coin will no longer be legal tender in the UK. I am sure we will all continue to find them long after that date. I know we found two in the car the other day.

Even if we cant spend them in the shops after the 15th we can still put them to good use by sending them to ‘The Round Pound Appeal’. This is an appeal run by Butterfly Conservation to help in its protection work for the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary, one of our most endangered Butterflies.

Duke of Burgundy. Photo by John Plumber (https://www.flickr.com/photos/plumberjohn/)

Duke of Burgundy. Photo by John Plumber (https://www.flickr.com/photos/plumberjohn/)

Simply send in your old £1 coins and nominate one of a number of charities available

For more details

http://www.recyclingforgoodcauses.org/appeals-2/

 

 

Titchwell Beach

A bright sunny morning so we headed towards the RSPB reserve at Titchwell. Our first stop was at Island hide where we were directed onto two Little Stints amongst the waders.

Little Stint

There was also a good number of Ruff and Black-tailed Godwits plus a few Redshank and 2 Red Knot. On Volunteer marsh were a large group of Northern Lapwing and a smaller group of Grey Plover. A single Oystercatcher was also present. The sea was quiet apart from a few passing gulls plus a group of 5 Oystercatcher and a single Red Knot flying westwards.

Ruff

Black-tailed Godwit

On the salt-marsh, we saw two Black-tailed Godwits ‘fencing’ using their long bills. Never seen behaviour like this before.

Black-tailed Godwits

Returning to the visitor centre we set out along the Fen trail. From Fen hide I had a brief view of a Bearded Reedling in flight over the reeds and on Pats Pool there were a large group of Mallard, Common Pochard and Gadwall plus a few Teal and Tufted Ducks. We located 3 Little Grebes in various parts of the pool and a Grey Heron.

Pat’s pool, Titchwell

Little Grebe

Leaving Titchwell we went a short distance inland to Chelsey Barns. This is reckoned to be the best site in Norfolk for the now rare Corn Bunting. We were joined by a couple of local birders who said that there appeared to have been a change in use of the Barns as there was no longer spilt seed in the courtyard (which was what attracted the birds) and as a result it is no longer such a good site to see the buntings although they are still seen here from time to time. Unfortunately, on this occasion, we were unlucky although we did find 3 Grey Partridge, another farmland species in serious decline, on one of the fields.

Common Darter (f)

Common Darter (m)

Red Admiral

Grey Partridge. Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Red Knot [sp] (Calidris canutus)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

Today we visited Pensthorpe, a nature reserve near Fakenham. It’s a mixture of a wildfowl collection and a wild area. Our first stop is the wader scrape. Unfortunately, the only waders present are a single Green Sandpiper and a pair of Ruff. Egyptian Geese, Canada Geese and Greylag Geese were all present but the highlight was 5 species of birds of Prey that we saw whilst we were in the hide. A Hobby flew over the hide, followed shortly afterward by a Common Kestrel. In the distance, we could see Buzzard and Marsh Harrier. Sue spotted a raptor sitting on a fence post which turned out to be a Sparrowhawk.

Kestrel hunting

Greylag Goose, Egyptian Goose and Coot

 

From here we made our way to the woodland hide where there was a flurry of activity on the feeder station. A Nuthatch and a pair of Marsh Tits were the highlight species amongst common woodland birds.

Small White butterfly

Marsh Tit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our final stop was the lake where there was a large party of Tufted Duck.

Pensthorpe has a number of large lakes

 

Pensthorpe as well as having a wildfowl collection and a nature reserve has a large conservation centre involved in the preservation and re-introduction of endangered species. These include Turtle Doves, Corncrakes and Common Crane.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Hobby [sp] (Falco subbuteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)