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.
The warm weather has encouraged the Dragonflies and Damselflies to emerge and several species can be seen around the site. So far Banded Demoiselles, Common Blue Damselflies, Azure Damselflies, Blue-tailed Damselflies, Small Red-eyed Damselflies and Four-spotted Chasers have been seen. A rare species on site, the Large Red Damselfly has been seen twice and this afternoon a Hairy Dragonfly was seen for the first time on the site. RW. 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)
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.
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.
Both of these walks were quite well attended with six and ten people turning up at each, respectively. Despite the weather being overcast on both occasions the air was warm and the insects showed in sheltered spots. When the sun did briefly shine it warmed up incredibly quickly and insect activity increased.
On the first walk, as I had seen a Southern Hawker on the way to meet the group I took them first along Willow Walk, but unfortunately we did not see it although we did find Gatekeepers, Large Whites and a Speckled Wood. Along the Lower Path we came to grips with Large White, Small White and Green-veined Whites, looking at each species in a book and comparing their markings so that most people soon had no trouble identifying their Whites. There were very few Ringlets and Meadow Browns about but plenty of Gatekeepers. All along the Lower Path there were abundant Common Blue Damselflies and just one or two Blue-tailed Damselflies and, near the ‘Irish Bridge’ we found a Brown Hawker. We walked around the banks and found some Common Blue butterflies and there were dozens of Six-spot Burnet cocoons attached to the wire of the Deep Pit fence. We walked back along the north east side of the Slurry Lagoon and found some Small Skippers and one Essex Skipper and the Long-winged Coneheads were thick in the grass, which gave people a foretaste of the Cricket and Grasshopper walks. We gave the Willow Walk and Southern Hawker another try before finishing and the dragonfly was obliging, giving prolonged close views as it patrolled its patch.
The Sunday walk was slightly more successful as the sun came out more and there was more butterfly activity. On the Lower Path we were surprised to see a Weasel that was hunting along the path and coming towards us. It kept darting off the path to one side or the other and reappearing again. As the morning warmed up more butterflies emerged and a splendid Red Admiral was seen, followed by several Peacocks and Commas. This time the ‘Irish Bridge’ gave up a Migrant Hawker and three Brown Hawkers were seen as we followed the path. Several times we were distracted by the numbers and variety of the hoverflies along this walk especially when one or two exceptionally large species were seen. Near the river two Small Tortoiseshells were feeding on the Creeping Thistle flowers. As it was fairly warm we went to the Small Gravel Pit to see what activity there was and found several damselflies emerging from their larval skins and clinging to the reeds. Other Common Blue Damselflies were egg laying, some females going right under the water to lay on vegetation. A Black-tailed Skimmer landed on the beach in front of us as we watched the emerging damselfly nymphs and one or two Blue-tailed Damselflies were also seen. We walked back around the Deep Pit and there were a lot more Common Blue butterflies about than on the previous walk and we finished the walk looking at the Long-winged Coneheads again.
A female Pochard was on the Slurry Lagoon this afternoon with three recently hatched ducklings. A first summer Little Gull was also present, nipping off to Holme Pierrepont but returning again later. There are eleven tern chicks on the tern rafts and several species of dragonfly were recorded, including Emperor, Brown Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer and Red-eyed Damselfly. Two or three Viper’s Bugloss plants were found in the corner of the Slurry Lagoon nearest to the car park.
A first summer Little Gull rested on the Slurry Lagoon for a short time this afternoon. Three Four-spotted Chasers were seen and two Red-tipped Clearwings were attracted to lures. On the southern, inside bank of the Deep Pit several Burnet Companions were seen. The cygnets were out briefly and a Gadwall with nine new ducklings and a Mallard with four were also on the Slurry Lagoon. RW.
A Wheatear was catching insects on the Causeway late morning. A chiffchaff was singing along the Ouse Dyke and a Southern Hawker Dragonfly was hawking for insects also along the Ouse Dyke path. JMD.
A very warm and sunny day slightly spoilt by a strong south westerly breeze which kept the butterflies from flying. A group of seven of us set off along the Ouse Dyke where we encountered the usual selection of large, small and green-veined whites, speckled wood butterflies along with common darter, brown hawker and southern hawker dragonflies. We were even greeted by the call of the resident kingfisher as it speed off up the path.
On entering the site we soon found the first of our target species of common blue, which it became apparent are very abundant all around the site as there is plenty of birds-foot trefoil on the bank tops and sides. The next of our target species for the day was the small copper, only one of these was located at the top of a bank I know from previous visits to be one of the best places to find them. Unfortunately we weren’t so lucky with the small heath which failed to show at all, probably due to the wind whipping across the site.
Dropping down to the river bank to get some shelter from the wind we encountered our next target, brown argus. Or at least the back markers did, by the time the rest of us had backtracked it had disappeared into the long grass. However, we did all get to see this small butterfly later as altogether we encountered six in various parts of the lagoons.
The walk continued in the shelter of the hedge bordering the back of the gravel pits where plenty of common blue damselflies along with other butterflies and dragonflies were taking advantage of the windbreak offered by the hedge. Our return to the site found more brown argus on the central bund between the deep pit and the slurry lagoon, and also along the bottom pathe following the railway line.
By the end of the walk we had encountered ten butterfly species, including those mentioned above along with small tortoiseshell, brimstone, meadow brown and painted lady. Other highlights included two hobby, wheatear, whinchat and various warblers.