Posts Tagged ‘Butterflies’

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Some pictures taken on a visit to the Butterfly House at the Natural History Museum in London

Tarn Park

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28 bird species were seen on the patch this month.This brings the years total to 49 and increases the total by 1 with the first sighting for the year of Grey Wagtail on the Tarn. This is an annual visitor on passage and was the second I had seen that week, having also had one at Sutcliffe Park.

Grey wagtail (This one seen in Canterbury)

Grey wagtail (This one seen in Canterbury)

The butterfly species Count was recorded this month 4 and the first record this year of Small Tortoiseshell was the only new species bringing the year total to 8.

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

3 species of Dragonfly were seen during the month with Migrant Hawker being a year first for the patch.

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Today saw me travelling out to the Wirral coast in search of more waders. My first stop however is Bidston Moss, an area of lakes and trees about 2 miles inland.
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The star birds here were birds of prey with Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Kestrel all present. Also a single Common Chiffchaff and a Comma butterfly trying to shelter from the rain.

Comma

Comma

Rain on a spiders web

Rain on a spiders web

The next stop was Leasowe Common where again the most notable thing was the movement of Swallows as well as a pair of Reed Buntings amongst common species. Also good numbers of Small tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood Butterflies

Speckled wood

Speckled wood

Leasowes Lighthouse

Leasowes Lighthouse

Starlings

Starlings

Then onto Meols beach. Meols is a good place to look for waders as there is an channel in the mud which retains water even at low tide and is attractive to wading birds. Checking through the waders present the most frequent is Common Redshank (c400), Ruddy Turnstone (c40) and Oystercatcher (c25). However also present were a Bar-tailed Godwit, a few Dunlin and a pair of Curlew Sandpipers.

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

The final stop was the seafront at West Kirby which is the place where the Wirral coast meets the Dee estuary. It is one of the best places to see waers at high tide. The wader roost on the mudflats was comprised of Oystercatcher (c500), Curlew (c50) and Dunlin (c20). In addition there were many birds roosting on the off-shore islands. There seemed to be mostly Oystercatcher, but distance and haze made it difficult to see if there was anything present with them.

Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Bar-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa lapponica)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

A few days in Liverpool gave me the opportunity to do some birdwatching in one of my favourite areas of England. Today saw me heading towards Southport. The first stop was Marine lake, a boating park in the summer but now quiet.

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Interested to see 3 Little Egrets roosting on the islands – these are now widespread in England where once they were a rarity.
The whole coast north of Southport is wide mudflats and coastal marsh. My next stop is at RSPB Marshside, which consists of a stretch of coastal marsh.

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The first pink-footed geese of the winter had already arrived, just a small party of 8. The NW of England, together with Norfolk, are the two best areas to see these winter visitors.
Pink-footed Goose stretching
photo by Steve Garvie (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rainbirder/)

The waders present included a small party of Golden Plover, together with around 40 black-tailed Godwit and a dozen curlew. A Water Rail close to the hide was a nice sighting. The was also a noticeable movement of Swallows and House Martins on migration.

Leaving the reserve I walked back into Southport whilst looking for roosting waders on the mudflats. There were good numbers of Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Knot and Black-tailed Godwit.

Black-Tailed Godwits

Black-Tailed Godwits

There was also a single Ringed Plover.

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Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Red Knot [sp] (Calidris canutus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)

Male Large White

Male Large White

Female Large White

Female Large White

The large white is one of the commonest butterflies in United Kingdom and is found in most parts of the country. The favourite food plant for its caterpillars are members of the brassica family such as cabbage and brussels sprouts and this has led to its colloquial name ‘the cabbage white butterfly’. Populations of the large white butterfly have held reasonably steady over the last 40 years, during which records have been collected showing a decline of less than 10%. In flight it is easily confused with the small white butterfly, from which it varies only in size and in the markings on the upper wing.

An afternoon walk in Regents Park.

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Amazingly hot weather and everything (me included0 was trying to keep in the shade. Consequently not much bird activity. Highlight of the day was a number of Brown Hawkers in the Wetland Pen (a year tick). Brown Hawker is one of the easiest Dragonflies to identify as in flight it appears totally brown and it is the only Dragonfly (in UK at least) with brown Wings. Also good numbers of Speckled Wood Butterflies on the wing.

Brown Hawker Dragonfly in flight 5
Brown Hawker
Photo by Tony Hisgett (http://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/)

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) 04/09/2013 13:00
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Spent the morning at Sutcliffe Park

Was pretty quiet bird-wise although I managed to get some photos of adult and Juvenile Little Grebe

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There were definitely fewer butterflies today with no Gatekeepers or Meadow Brown which were the most numerous species earlier in the summer. There were 6 Common Blues and a Holly Blue plus the usual Whites. There were 4 species of Dragonfly with at least 2 Migrant Hawkers present together with Common Blue Damselfly, Common Darter and an Emperor Dragonfly patrolling the Lake

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Common Blue Damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly

Back at home a Sparrowhawk flew through the Garden but didn’t hang around and there were 2 Jackdaws (the second day running after a three month absence).

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Off to Greenwich Peninsular to look for migrant birds. During the week a number had been seen on the rough land at the southern end (Plots of land awaiting development). Unfortunately no such luck today and only resident species found. However I did find a migrant Butterfly when I had a brief but clear view of a Clouded Yellow before it disappeared over a fence into a development plot at a place where I could not get a good view of the land on the other side.

Maravilha // Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus), female
Clouded Yellow
photo by Valter Jacinto (http://www.flickr.com/photos/valter/)

I moved onto the Ecology Park which was also quiet bird-wise but which had good numbers of dragonflies (7 species) and butterflies (6 species). The best of these was a sighting of Banded Demoiselle which flitted across the water in front of me but refused to settle to enable me to photograph it.

Banded Demoiselle
Banded Demoiselle
photo by Sergey Yeliseev (http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

This is one of my favourite damselflies and this was a first sighting for me for both this year and for the site.
Also a number of Migrant Hawker (confusingly this breeds in Southern England and is not a migrant) were present and one male perched obligingly for me to photograph.

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Butterflies included Small Tortoisehell and Common Blue.

Small Tortoiseshelll

Small Tortoiseshelll

Large White (Female)

Large White (Female)

Back at home a Jackdaw visited the garden which is the first sighting for about 3 months.

Although a quiet day for birds, an excellent one for dragonflies and butterflies

Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
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)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogea napi)
Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea)
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

My first visit to the Tarn for a couple of weeks.

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It is good to see that we have avoided the algal bloom that has plagued the Tarn in the last couple of years and the water looks clear. It seemed to be a summer day for basking and it wasn’t only the human visitors who were participating.

Our resident Terrapin on his favourite perch

Our resident Terrapin on his favourite perch

Basking Carp

Basking Carp

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)

The Moorhens and Coots continue to raise their broods and I was interested to see that one Coot was still sitting on a nest although I couldn’t see if she was brooding anything. A Grey Heron was briefly present before flying off and a juvenile Grey Wagtail flew across to the Western Island and was observed perched of a overhanging branch before it flew off down the Tarn.

However perhaps the strangest finding was a Hawkmoth.

Now I am know very little about Moths but I do know that most of the Hawkmoths are night-flyers and are seen in May June and July. Now the Hummingbird Hawkmoth flies during the day and has a later season. However it does not have orange antennae as this one does and it has an orange under-wing which this one does not. The nearest I can get is Lime Hawkmoth which can have orange antennae and can have wing colour and pattern like this one but which is a night flyer and should have been around in May and June!
Eventually it disappeared into the undergrowth but as can be seen in the video it was very active.
Will have to see if I can find a moth expert who can look at the video.