This morning there were nine species of warbler singing and the orchids are now coming out. Bee Orchids are doing quite well and so are the Spotted Orchids. Northern and Southern Marsh-orchids are still in flower and the Pyramidal Orchids should be out in a little while. There were several Large Skippers about as well as the first Meadow Browns and Ringlet. A Painted Lady was also seen near the pumping station. PS.
There are still three Pintail (all in eclipse/juvenile plumage) on the Slurry Lagoon. There are also still some butterflies and dragonflies about, including Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral and Brown Hawker. PS.
This morning, during the bird count, two Rough-legged Buzzards were seen flying over the site. A total of thirteen Common Buzzards were also seen, four Sparrowhawks and three Kestrels, with a Peregrine on Gedling church spire. On the river were a pair of Goosanders and a Lesser Redpoll was feeding in a riverside Ash tree. There were lots of insects about, including Buff-tailed and Red-tailed Bumblebees and Honey Bees, Brimstone, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies. PS et al.
During the last few days many migrant species have been returning to the lagoons and helped to provide a quite exciting morning’s watching in very pleasant bright weather this morning. Amongst others, the Sand Martins are now present in considerable numbers on the river bank. Willow Warblers were noted in several locations, as were Chiffchaffs and one or two Blackcaps. A single Reed Warbler was heard in the Deep Pit and a Whitethroat in the brambles on the Slurry Lagoon. The highlight of the morning was a Wheatear, which perched very close on fence posts, and the close second was the appearance of three Buzzards, which displayed well, including an aerial fight. The Cetti’s Warbler was in good voice also.
Meanwhile two Common Terns were struggling with Black-headed Gulls for space on the tern platform.
Butterflies, including Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, and Red Admiral were noted and the Blackthorn Blossom was a sight to see (and smell). A Yellow Wagtail was also seen over the Large Gravel Pit and six Shelduck flew into the Slurry Lagoon.
A Barn Owl was seen again this evening at about 16.30, hunting around the Large Gravel Pit. Three to four Chiffchaffs were present and four Commas and two Small Tortoiseshells were also seen. PS.
As August was a wildlife seeker trip I searched the internet to see what was around. As there was nothing really exciting it was decided that we went to Norfolk.
Five of us left in one car and we reached Cley at about 10.30 am. We made our way to Salthouse beach car park and spent the next three-quarters of an hour sitting below the dunes – out of the wind – doing a bit of sea watching. Gannets were going south in variable numbers. There were the usual gulls and a few waders passing by. A small flock of Common Scoter were seen off shore. It was hoped that there might be Shearwaters and Skuas moving through. The only skua species we saw was so far out we couldn’t identify it.
We decided we would head for Titchwell; at least we could sit in a hide out of the wind.
Alas – it was not to be. We were almost in Stiffkey when the car we were in broke down.
While we were waiting for the breakdown truck Marsh Harrier was seen.
We arrived back in Nottingham at about 3.00pm so a few of us decided to call at the Lagoons for a couple of hours. While there we added Red Admiral and Speckled Wood to our trip tally.
Total trip records (2009 in brackets)
Birds 168 (148) Mammals 12 (6) Butterflies 23 (15) Dragonflies 7 (3) Others 7 (1)
Otmoor and Bernwood 2010
After picking up Brian, Norman and Steve we set off on the first of our two Wildlife Seeker trips. As there was nothing exceptional around, I set off down the motorway to Oxfordshire and to the first of two new sites for the NWG trips.
The first site was RSPB Otmoor. We arrived with the sun shinning and within minutes Steve heard a Turtle Dove. As we walked up the track towards the feeding station we noticed that the path verges were full of butterflies – Common Blue, Small and Green-veined Whites, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper. The bird list was growing slowly with the commoner birds.
There were dragonflies all round but unfortunately we were unable to identify them except for Ruddy Darter. We continue along the nature trail calling into the new hide then up to the viewing screens. Along the way two Kestrel were seen sitting on the fence posts. After about five minutes at the viewing screen we added Green and Wood Sandpiper to the growing bird list. Two eclipsed Garganey were also seen.
Between the two viewing screens we were amazed at the numbers of Common Blue butterflies on the Thistles. There were in excess of 1500 – every flower head had a butterfly on it. I had never seen anything like it. It was a photographer’s dream – if they would sit still.
On the way back towards the car park Brian commented that I had promised him Hobby. At the screen one and possibly two were seen but very distantly. A little later Turtle Dove was heard again and we all had good views thanks to Steve who found it sitting in a dead tree. We also had one on the path in front of us on the way back to the car. Red Kite was numerous with eight seen on the site but the best but most unexpected bird of the day was yet to come. As we approached the feeding station a small flock of birds rose into the air calling. Steve and Norman identified them immediately as Common Crossbill – 27 of them. There had been an irruption of them nationally in the past week with sightings from Northern Scotland to Kent but nobody had expected to see them in Oxfordshire.
As we had lunch in the car park we had a Hobby fly over the cars to every ones delight.
With the daily bird tally standing at 53 and the butterflies at 9, we set off to the second site of the day – Bernwood Forest and Meadow – another new site for us.
Having told the others that this was a good butterfly site, I was a little apprehensive as the sun had gone in although it was still quite warm. It was then that Marsh Tit was heard, being the only bird at this site that was added to the daily list.
As the sun broke through and the others were watching a Silver-washed Fritillary I saw a Weasel run across the path. We turning out of the wood and into the meadow and were greeted to three of four Marbled White butterflies. A little further on we saw a small group of Small Skippers but try as we did we couldn’t turn them into Essex Skippers!
We left the meadow returning to the wood. The sun was shinning through onto a path of bramble were we did manage to see one Essex Skipper – the black tips of the antennae showing very clearly. We meet a couple who told us were we could see Purple Emperor and White Admiral so we set of in search of them. Stopping at a crossroads, Brian spotted two Fallow Deer on the path in front of us about 200 yards away. Crossing the path was an army of Wood Ants making their way from their huge mound of a nest to their feeding areas. Brian pointed out how lucky we were as, if this had been Africa or South America we would have to have waited for them to pass as you would not have dared to have tried to pass them. As we continued we were seeing Silver-washed Fritillary, Specked Wood and the common butterflies but not the ones we wanted. We were almost at the point of giving up when a Red Admiral was spotted, the only one of the day. Soon after a White Admiral was seen but there was no sign of Purple Emperor. Ringlets were seen taking the daily butterfly tally to 17 of which 13 were new to the yearly list.
As we sat in the car park having a cuppa, a Silver-washed Fritillary gave Brian a good opportunity to get a photo.
The daily bird tally was 54.
The yearly trip totals are (with 2009 in brackets): Birds – 166 (141): Butterflies – 22 (14):
Mammals – 11 (5): Dragonflies – 6 (1): Others – 7 (0).
Padley Gorge – May 2010
On what was to be the hottest day of the year so far, Deryck, Jackie and I left Nottingham at about 0730 to meet Brian, Norman and Steve in Baslow, Derbyshire. While we waited a Garden Warbler was singing near the stream. We looked for Dipper, as this was a spot I used to see them regularly but not today.
We moved off to our first stop at Padley Gorge. We parked up, dosed up with sun cream and donned our sun hats then set off down the Gorge. Our target birds being Spotted and Pied Flycatcher and Common Redstart. It wasn’t long before Redstart was heard but not seen. Continuing down the path we soon had views of 2 pair of Redstart at two nest boxes, close to each other. A few yards on down the path we were soon enjoying views of Pied Flycatchers, again at a nest box. A few of the group went a little further down the Gorge to see if they could connect with Wood Warbler but to no avail. Cuckoo could be heard calling all round but not seen. We had good views of a Nuthatch, a Treecreeper and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. With the weather so warm there were Wood Ants all along the woodland path. Also seen were Small & Green-veined White Butterflies along with Orange Tip and Peacock. We returned to the cars, the day trip list now standing at 22 birds, 2 mammals and 4 butterfly.
We moved on about a mile to Surprise View Car Park were after a coffee break we moved onto the open moor for the first time. Here we added Tree Pipit and Carrion Crow to the day list along with a fleeting glimpse of a Green Hairstreak butterfly.
We moved on again, this time to Stanage Edge, taking a slow walk up to the edge over the open moorland. On the way we could hear a Reed Bunting calling from a gully and Curlew were heard across the moor. As we approached the Edge brilliant views of Green Hairstreak were obtained and photographed. Then the next target bird was spotted sat on a rock – a male Ring Ouzel. 3 males and a female were seen before we left the Edge. A Buzzard was seen being mobbed by Curlew.
Wearily and hot we returned to the cars to move on the Cutthroat Bridge, near the Ladybower Dams were we stopped for lunch.
After a refreshing break, another load of sun cream applied we set out on what I believed to be a steady walk around the moors. I had done a similar walk about 10 years ago and had found it very pleasant. Oh how the memory fades! The path we took was not the path I had taking all those years earlier. We were however rewarded with fine views of a Whinchat. A little further on we entered the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust reserve – Ladybower Wood. The track here was very rugged but again we were rewarded with the first sighting, on our trips, of a Grizzled Skipper. These are tiny butterflies, about 22 – 26 cms
(about 1 inch or less)that can easily be over-looked. (See article – Dingy and Grizzled Skipper) Three more were found a little further on along with a Small Copper. While in the wood a peregrine glided over the treetops.
We continued on the path past the rear of The Ladybower Inn were Jackie had a visit from a strange little creature on her camera case that Brian and Norman did their best to photograph. Jackie and I later identified it as a House Longhorn. Also in this area were a few Rose Chaffers.
While going through a conifer plantation we had views of Siskin and Goldcrest.
The path seemed to go on and on, out of the trees and on to the open moor, getting steeper all the time. We were all shattered on getting to the top but here we were rewarded with fine views of Red Grouse and two chicks. After a well-earned rest we continued down hill on a well-worn path towards the cars. On the way down Stonechat were heard but we could not locate them.
Although it had been a very hot and tiring day, all agreed that it had been worth the effort with good views of the surrounding countryside and some wonderful wildlife.
I would like to thank Neil Matthew for providing us with such a good itinerary.
The yearly trip lists now stand at: – Birds – 145 (117) : Butterflies – 8 (10)
Mammals – 6 (5) : Dragonflies – 0 (0) : Others – 3 (0)
2009 in brackets.
This afternoon two Curlews were heard calling on the Slurry Lagoon and eventualy flew off to the south. There were also two Green Sandpipers and later a single Golden Plover flew in, calling loudly. There were still some Swallows by the railway bridge and two Yellow Wagtails flew over the site. Along the access track there were two Commas and along the Boundary Hedge two more Commas and a Red Admiral. PS.
There seemed to be more insect activity today than bird. Several Long-winged Coneheads were found including a mature male. There were also plenty of butterflies and dragonflies.