Posts Tagged ‘Speckled Wood’

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

Having been away from home for a while it was good to be able to do the Butterfly and Dragonfly survey on my patch today. It was a lovely sunny day although thankfully the temperature had dropped some degrees from the previous week, which made it more pleasant to be outside.

There were a number of Butterfly species to be seen with a good number of Commas and Meadow Browns, my first records of these on the patch this year, along with large White and Speckled Wood. the star undoubtedly was a Large Skipper. This is only the second record for the patch since I started recording here.

Large Skipper

Comma

Speckled Wood

On the Dragonfly front, there were good numbers of Azure Damselflies and a single Large Red Damselfly. Most of these were well away from the pond where they breed. I did check as many as possible to see if there were any Common Blue Damselfly, of which we occasionally get a few, but I couldn’t see any. On the main lake an Emperor Dragonfly was patrolling the margins.

Azure damselfly

The Tarn

Spring is here and so a new recording season begins. Having had a break over the winter from any formalised recording it is time to begin again for Butterflies, Dragonflies and Bumblebees on my patch and for Birds at Eltham Park. So a bright March day saw me doing the first of my weekly walks around the Tarn.

An early surprise was a Stock Dove in the Garden as I set out to walk down to the Tarn. This is the first record for me on the patch and although I didn’t disturb it, the bird had disappeared by the time I returned. On the walk down to the Tarn, I recorded my first Butterfly of 2017 a Speckled Wood.

Arriving at the Tarn the usual residents were in evidence but as I walked around the lake there was little evidence of Butterfly activity. Apart from the overwintering species, the first emergers are usually the Orange-Tips and eventually, a pair flew past me at the east end of the lake.

Orange Tip (m). Photo by Tim Hodson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/informationtakesover/)

Tracking back up the south side and doing the wildfowl count whilst also looking out for butterflies I reached the sluice gate at the south-western end when a flash of iridescent blue sped away from me across the Lake – a Common Kingfisher – the first of the year – it must have been perched somewhere nearby in the bushes and took flight at my approach. As I left to make my way back home, a female Brimstone butterfly flew lazily across the path.

It’s been a while since I saw a Terrapin here, but this one was taking the opportunity to sun itself.

Egyptian Goose

Coot trying out a potential nest site

The Tarn

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Butterflies

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

Speckled wood

Speckled wood

This common butterfly of gardens and parks is perhaps one of the most recognised as it has two broods a year, one in the spring and another in the summer. This ensures that individual adults are on the wing for most of the summer.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

There are a number of sub-species with colour variations ranging from  white spots (more common in the north of its range) to orange spots (more common in the south of range).

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

 

 

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This weeks butterfly and dragonfly survey looked like turning up a big fat double zero despite reasonable weather conditiond. Thankfully a single Speckled Wood at the end of the walk was a relief to see.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

After the promise of last week, the small pond was deserted and no damselflies were to be seen either on the pond or on the surrounding vegetation. Still it is rare that I dont turn up something of interest and along with White-tailed and Common Carder bees there were a number of Tree bumblebees (Bombus hypnorum) at the western end of the Tarn. First record this year of a species which may be the only bumble bee species that is currently increasing in the UK. It first began to colonise the southern counties of UK 13 years ago and now is commonly found in much of England and parts of Wales.

Tree Bee . Bombus hypnorum
Tree Bumblebee
Photo by Gail Hampshire (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gails_pictures/)

Male bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum), Sandy, Bedfordshire
Tree Bumblebee
photo by Orange Aurouchs (https://www.flickr.com/photos/orangeaurochs/)

The Greylag geese are developing fast and will soon be indistinguishable from their parents.

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I found one active Moorhen nest

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and a family of Coot.

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The weekly butterfly and dragonfly survey on my local patch. The weather is not ideal as there is a good breeze blowing but the weather forecast doesn’t look much better tomorrow.

On the walk down to the small pond there is not much activity but there are a few Large Red Damselflies on the pond and the vegetation surrounding it.

Large Red Damselfly

Large Red Damselfly

A pair of Blackbirds are gathering nesting material from the edge of the pond.

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Whilst photographing Large Red’s a  blue butterfly briefly alights on the bush and its brown underwing identifies it as my year’s first Common Blue butterfly for the site.

Common Blue

A female Brimstone passes by as I approach the lake. Contrary to what I wrote last week, a pair of Canada Geese have bred although it is surprising to see that they only have one gosling.

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Our mixed Canada/Greylag pair have also bred (4th year) and have a small family.

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The main Greylag nursery still numbers 8 and they are beginning to look like much more like their parents.

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

Butterfly-wise it is pretty quiet. I locate another Common Blue and 2 Speckled Woods

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

But there is quiet a lot of Bee activity and Red-tailed and White-tailed workers are busily collect nectar.

Red-tailed Bumblebee

Red-tailed Bumblebee

Returning to the small pond, I am photographing Large Red’s again when a blue damselfly puts in a brief appearance before disappearing round a bush. Location and date suggest Azure Damselfly but I cant rule out Common Blue Damselfly (ironically not the commonest blue damselfly on the site). I spent some time trying to re-locate it but without success. Hopefully this is the first of many and they will be more evident next week.

Large Red Damselfly

Large Red Damselfly

RSPB Radipole

RSPB Radipole

Our final morning in Dorset before heading back to London is spent at the RSPB Radipole reserve in the heart of Weymouth.

RSPB Radipole

RSPB Radipole

As we make our way around the reserve we are serenaded by the song of Reed Warblers and Cetti’s Warblers and are fortunate to get some views of these elusive birds in the the reed-beds. We hear the call of Beaded Tits on a couple of occasions but they remain out of sight. A single Long-tailed Tit is another addition to the species seen on this trip. The most unusual bird of the morning is a Hooded Merganser (an American species). This bird was first seen in June 2008 and has stayed at Radipole ever since apart from occasional trips to other spots along the south coast. It is officially regarded as an escape from a bird collection but there is never certainty. Regardless it is a very attractive bird.

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

The joy of our morning walk is the host of Butterflies particularly Brimstones, but we also see Common Blue; Holly Blue; Small White; Green-veined White; Speckled Wood and Large White.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Common Blue

Common Blue

Its been an excellent few days with over 100 species of bird seen, but not just seen; but great views as well.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
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)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Lesser Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia curruca)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

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As I am off for 10 days in Northumbria on Saturday I have been trying to get round my survey sites before I go. This afternoon I did the weeks butterfly and dragonfly walk on my patch. It started well with a female Brimstone in the garden as I was leaving the house. Another couple of males were present by the Tarn together with Orange Tip; Holly Blue and the years first speckled Wood.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Searching along the edges of the Tarn i came across another creature watching the Tarn. In this case i would imagine looking for something to stray too close. He or she sat there for quite sometime hardly moving at all and was still there when I moved on from that section.

Red Fox

Red Fox

The first water-bird young have arrived. Eleven young Greylag geese accompanied by 4 adults so I presume this is two broods. At least one other is still on a nest on the islands.

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Parent keeps an eye on me whilst I photograph the goslings

Parent keeps an eye on me whilst I photograph the goslings

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Also the first Mallard chicks

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I couldn’t find any Canada Geese nests but these may be hidden on the islands. But the coots still seem to be building nests.

Coot

Coot

The Egyptian Geese which arrived a couple of weeks ago are still present.

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Disappointing is that the damselfly pool looks in very poor condition. There is almost no live vegetation and I am worried that there is nothing left alive in it. It is connected to the main lake by a pipe so it is likely affected by the woes that have troubled the main lake and it may be they have hit hardest here, because of the lack of drainage and water movement. This will be a major loss as 4 out of the 10 dragonfly species found in the area are located solely on this pond.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
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)
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)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

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As a homage to the passing summer here in the UK, some pictures of the last butterfly species I recorded in the garden – Speckled Wood.

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Its been a very good year it seems at least on my patch as I have recorded more than I ever have before.

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The last month has seen an upturn in activity around the patch. The winter birds are starting to return and I have seen the first large parties of Ring-necked Parakeets..The numbers flying over on route to / from the roost at Hither Green have also been increasing. There has also been a rise in activity around the feeder station although Blue Tits still seem to be a rare sighting. The Little Grebe was seen sporadically on the Tarn where the algal bloom continues and where there are only a few Coots and Moorhens left. A Grey Heron has been been leaving the Tarn on a couple of occasions which I presume means it is using the Islands as a roost site. There were 25 species of bird seen on the patch this month including 2 new ticks for the year (Goldcrest and Grey Wagtail). This brings the total to 46 species for 2014.

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At the end of the Butterfly season there were a good number of Speckled Wood around the patch along with large and Small White.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

A Migrant Hawker was the only dragonfly around the patch with a single on a couple of occasions

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
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)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
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)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

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

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)