Sunday, 13 August 2017

Pennington Marsh - 6th August

It was a beautiful sunny morning for a change, August has been a very unsettled month to date with long spells of often heavy rain and low temperatures. I was up early and decided on a walk around Pennington Marshes for a few hours. Arriving at 06:30 I first walked along the Ancient Highway for a few hundred metres and then to the coast via Shoveler Pools, Jetty Lagoon, Butts Lagoon then to Keyhaven Lagoon and back to the car. It was high tide at 08:55 and I expected good numbers of waders on the pools but due to the high water levels these were rather devoid of bird activity. There were many warblers in the bushes and much of my time was spent with these. Totals for the morning were as follows:

Teal - 2
Red-breasted Merganser - 1
Water Rail - 2
Avocet - 3
Black-tailed Godwit - 12
Whimbrel - 1
Greenshank - 2
Turnstone - 66
Dunlin - 260
Common Sandpiper - 2
Grey Plover - 72
Snipe - 7
Common Tern - 51
Sandwich Tern - 4
Sand Martin - 15
Swift - 4
Bearded Reedling - 4
Wheatear - 5
Whitethroat - 9
Sedge Warbler - 7
Reed Warbler - 8
Chiffchaff - 4
Willow Warbler - 6

Sedge Warbler (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Sedge Warbler (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Sedge Warbler (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Sedge Warbler (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Sedge Warbler (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Sedge Warbler (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Reed Bunting (female) - Pennington Marsh

Reed Warbler (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Reed Warbler (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Whitethroat (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Wheatear (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Wheatear (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Black-tailed Godwit - Pennington Marsh

Reed Bunting, a worn adult male - Pennington Marsh

Red-breasted Merganser - Pennington Marsh

Red-breasted Merganser - Pennington Marsh

Avocet (adult) - Pennington Marsh

Avocet (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Avocet - Pennington Marsh

Willow Warbler (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh

Little Egret - Pennington Marsh

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Slimbridge WWT - 3rd August

With another free morning during our week long stay at our cottage in Cowley in the Cotwolds, but with a bad weather forecast, I decided to head for Slimbridge and the shelter of the hides. It was a pretty foul day with strong-westerly winds and some very heavy showers accompanied by strong winds. I started at the South Lake Discovery Hide where the highlights were around 300 Black-tailed Godwit, three Snipe, 14 Ruff and two Green Sandpiper. There were large numbers of Black-headed Gull but few large gull and over the course of the hour or so that I was there I only noted six Lesser black-backed Gull and similar numbers of Herring Gull. Dodging the showers I headed to the Rushy Hide which was very slow, approximately 30 Sand Martin, six Green Sandpiper and two Black-tailed Godwit. One of the Green Sandpiper was very close to the hide but unfortunately in rather poor light.

Green Sandpiper - Rushy Hide, Slimbridge

Green Sandpiper - Rushy Hide, Slimbridge

Green Sandpiper - Rushy Hide, Slimbridge

I then headed to the Robbie Garnett hide which was equally as slow with nine Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Green Sandpiper and 12 Sand Martin. On to the Holden Tower which was as good as dead, a heard only Yellow Wagtail and two Teal. I decided that I would push the time a little for getting home as the Zeiss Hide was bound to have a few birds but once again it was very slow with six Ruff, three Green Sandpiper, 25 Teal and six Black-tailed Godwit. It was time to head home and do the moth trap.

Tufted Duck (female and chick) - Robbie Garnett Hide, Slimbridge

Green Sandpiper - Robbie Garnett Hide, Slimbridge

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Cowley Moths - 29th July to 5th August

During our week at our cottage in Cowley in the Cotswolds I ran my Robinson MV moth trap every night. The weather was far from ideal with some very wet and windy conditions, more like October than August. During these seven nights I recorded 78 species of macro-moth and 30 species of micro-moth. For me the highlights were Barred Rivulet, Blomer's Rivulet, Bulrush Wainscot, Dotted Clay and Large Twin-spot Carpet, all species I record on an irregular basis. These are the species recorded with a few images below:

August Thorn
Barred Rivulet
Blomer's Rivulet
Bright-line Brown-eye
Brimstone Moth
Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Brown-line Bright-eye
Buff Ermine
Buff Footman
Bulrush Wainscot
Chinese Character
Common Carpet
Common Footman
Common Marbled Carpet
Common Rustic agg.
Coxcomb Prominent
Dark Arches
Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet
Dingy Footman
Dotted Clay
Double-square Spot
Dusky Thorn
Early Thorn
Flame Shoulder
Flounced Rustic
Gold Swift
Grey/Dark Dagger
July Highflyer
Knot Grass
Large Twin-spot Carpet
Least Yellow Underwing
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Lesser Swallow Prominent
Lesser Yellow Underwing
Light Emerald
Lime-speck Pug
Mouse Moth
Muslin Footman
Scarce Footman
Nut-tree Tussock
Orange Footman
Orange Swift
Pale Prominent
Pebble Hook-tip
Pebble Prominent
Peppered Moth
Poplar Hawk-moth
Purple Bar
Purple Thorn
Red Twin-spot Carpet
Riband Wave
Rosy Rustic
Ruby Tiger
Scalloped Oak
Setaceous Hebrew Character
Shuttle-shaped Dart
Silver Y
Single-dotted Wave
Six-striped Rustic
Slender Brindle
Small Fan-footed Wave
Small Phoenix
Small Square-spot
Smoky Wainscot
Straw Dot
Straw Underwing
Swallow Prominent
Tawny Speckled Pug
White-spotted Pug

Acleris forsskaleana
Acleris laterana
Agapeta hamana
Agriphila straminella
Agriphila tristella
Agrotis segetum
Archips podana
Blastobasis adustella
Catoptria falsella
Celypha striana
Chrysoteuchia culmella
Crambus lathoniellus
Crambus perlella
Depressaria radiella
Epinotia tenerana
Epiphyas postvittana
Eucosma cana
Eudonia angustea
Eudonia mercurella
Hofmannophila pseudospretella
Nomophila noctuella
Peribatodes rhomboidaria
Pleuroptya ruralis
Pseudargyrotoza conwagana
Pyrausta purpuralis
Thera obeliscata
Udea ferrugalis
Udea lutealis
Udea prunalis
Ypsolopha dentella

Pale Prominent

Coxcomb Prominent

Pebble Prominent

Lesser Swallow Prominent

Pebble Hooktip

Barred Rivulet

August Thorn

Scalloped Oak

Poplar Hawk

Ruby Tiger

Black Arches

Large Twin-spot Carpet

Large Yellow Underwing

Bulrush Wainscot

Dotted Clay

Least Yellow Underwing

Straw Underwing

Pyrausta purpuralis

Crambus lathoniellus

Friday, 4 August 2017

Painswick Beacon, Stroud - 1st August

Over the last couple of months I have become quiet fanatical about biological recording and have been recording all the species I see while on site working and have been visiting sites to record the species I can identify. I have been entering all my records on iRecord which I find a very user friendly package which allows analysis of records straightforward. In theory, entered records are vetted by 'experts' and then submitted to the relevant records and county databases.

We had the week from 28th July at Cowley in the Cotswolds and I planned to visit a nearby site to carry out some recording. The weather for much of the week was pretty awful and we did lots of much needed relaxing but on 1st August the weather was brighter and so I did a little research to find a potentially good site nearby. Exploring MAGIC I decided that Painswick Beacon would be an interesting site being a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). I have previously visited this site for birding and at this time had noticed that there was some diverse calcareous grassland and so decided this would be the best site.

I spent around three hours on site from 10:00 and recorded a total of 145 species of plant, insect and bird with a few invertebrates left to identify and had a fantastic relaxing time at a very interesting site which I am sure I will return to. Here are a few images from the morning.

The splendid Tachinid Fly Phasia hemiptera feeding on Hogweed. This is a male, the females being clad with orange hairs. It is a parasite of Heteropteran bugs, with known hosts including Green Shieldbug and Forest Bug. The female lays her eggs on these insects and the larvae then develop inside the living host. Painswick Beacon.

Phasia hemiptera - Painswick Beacon.

The hoverfly Leucozona glaucia feeding on Hogweed. The larvae feed on aphids, usually on Hogweed and other 
umbellifers. This is a female with the eyes being widely separated. Painswick Beacon.

The hoverfly Leucozona glaucia - Painswick Beacon.

The hoverfly Leucozona glaucia. This is a male with the eyes touching. Painswick Beacon.

The hoverfly Leucozona glaucia - Painswick Beacon.

The hoverfly Cheilosia illustrata. This is a female with the eyes separated. Illustrata is often seen on Hogweed 
and the larvae tunnel the roots of large Hogweed plants in autumn. Painswick Beacon.

Musk Orchid - I found around 30 flower spikes but most were over, this was the only 
spike with some flowers remaining. Painswick Beacon.

Common Blue, I saw around 20 this morning - Painswick Beacon.

Common Blue on Harebell - Painswick Beacon.

Syrphus ribesii, identifiable by the mainly yellow hind femur. It is similar to S. torvus which is best 
distinguished by the distribution of microtrichia (small pits) on the 2nd basal cell of the wing

The hoverfly Eristalis tenax - Painswick Beacon

Male of the Tachinid fly Tachina fera, the larvae are parasites of caterpillars and other young insects. Painswick Beacon

The hoverfly Myathropa florea. These are fantastic hoverflies and always a pleasure to see even 
though common. Larvae occur in rot holes or cavities with decaying leaves amongst roots at the base of trees, 
the adults occur widely.

The hoverfly Chrysotoxum bicinctum. A very distinctive and beautiful hoverfly. Note the double yellow bars on the abdomen 
and the long straight antennae. Very little is known about the life history of the species (or indeed the genus Chrysotoxum
but the larvae are thought to feed on ant-attended root aphids. 

Woolly Thistle, one of my favourite British plants - Painswick Beacon

Mottled Grasshopper. This is a species of very short calcareous swards. I identify most of my Odonata by the sound of their stridulation but the distinctive 'handlebar' antennae of Mottled Grasshopper confirms the identification. Painswick Beacon

Small Blue, I found this single individual in a small quarry at the foot of the beacon. Painswick Beacon

Carline Thistle, a classic species of chalk grassland - Painswick Beacon

Carline Thistle - Painswick Beacon

Brown Argus, the species seems to be having a good late season and I saw a around 15 today. Painswick Beacon

View from Painswick Beacon

View from Painswick Beacon