Thursday, 30 June 2016

Moth Sighting

While out doing macro photography in the garden lately I came across a brand new moth species which I've never seen before. This is a Large Orange Underwing and is a common Moth found across the UK normally June-July. Been doing bit of Moth trapping recently and I've had little success with many moths but have seen Garden Tiger, Diamond back Moth, Poplar Hawkmoth, Longhorn sp, Pug Moths and several small micro moth species unidentified.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers

A few images taken recently of some juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers coming down to the feeders. Every year I enjoy watching the adult birds bring their fledged young into the gardens and show them the feeders. It is such a joy to watch and see them interact with other birds. At one point, there was 5 Woodpeckers together on the feeding station. A very good breeding season for them down south. Also seen juvenile Green Woodpeckers, Nuthatch and Song Thrush  around the garden.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Salisbury Plain Birding

Found with some cracking bird's out on Salisbury plain yesterday afternoon. Great flight view's of some Great Bustard's, 2 Monty Harrier, 4 Stone Curlew, Lot's of Corn Bunting & Yellowhammer, Red Kite, Hobby, Grey & Red-legged Partridge, 1 Quail singing, 2 Cuckoo and some lovely Hare's!!
Stone Curlew in flight

Friday, 24 June 2016

Spotted Flycatcher's back on Patch!!!

Some fantastic new's which I'm delighted to find a pair of Spotted Flycatcher's back again this year on the patch nesting again very close to last year's nest. This is the 3rd consecutive year, Spotty Fly's have nested on the patch and I wish them the best of luck in successfully rearing some young this year.

Other patch sighting's today include flyover of 2 Red Kite (flying Northeast), Sedge and Garden Warbler also on patch. Both Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker feeding fledged young. New Song Thrush and Blackbird nest located in the garden. 

Spent a bit of time out in the garden this afternoon and came across some fantastic insect's!!
Large Skipper in the garden
Hoverfly species: S.vitripennis/torvus/rectus???
Unidentified Weevil species

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Ham Wall

Cracking day's birding out on Ham Wall RSPB reserve. Fantastic weather and plenty of great bird's and wildlife seen. Highlight's of the day: 4 Bittern, 10+ Great White Egret, 2 Glossy Ibis, 3 Garganey, 8 Hobby, 3 pairs of Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 1 Green Sandpiper, 15+ Reed Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 5 Great crested Grebe,  1 Kingfisher, 2 Stock Dove, 100+ Swift and several singing Cuckoo on site.

Load's of Dragonflies & Damselfly activity from Four-spot Chaser, Southern Hawker, Golden-ringed, Broad-Bodied Chaser, Emperor Dragonfly, Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies were abundant.

A great day out with loads of fantastic wildlife, A few images from around the reserve.

Great White Egret: One of 10 birds seen during the day

Four-spotted Chaser

Great crested Grebe

Reed Warbler: Plenty of singing and nesting activity

Long-Jawed Orb Weaver Spider

One of several Hobbies hawking dragonflies high over the reserve

Ox- eye Daisy

Antoher Four-spot Chaser close up

Young froglet on the move between the water ponds and small lakes

Lots of interesting snail shell patterns

Friday, 17 June 2016

Patch and Garden Sightings

Despite the thundery and wet weather today a good walk around the patch produced some nice birds and some great breeding evidence of some scarcer species.
Highlight of the walk was a very unseasonal summer plumaged Golden Plover in the field by the river which flew off calling after a few minutes.

Also on the patch Stock Dove's nesting, 2 Little Owl, 2 Green Woodpecker, 3 Reed Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler and 6 Chiffchaff were most abundant.

Back at the garden a male Garden Warbler showed well for most of the afternoon frequenting the dense scrub. Great spotted Woodpecker with fledged young at the feeders. Bullfinch, Siskin and Goldfinch all making an appearance in the garden this evening which are unusual for June.

Mammal sightings recently showed up 3 Badgers along the road by the garden few nights ago!! Evidence of recent Fox activity in the garden from several scats reveal a Fox is using the garden on a regular basis, probably making most of the abundant numbers of Rabbit's and Pheasants about.

Otherwise quite productive today on the patch. Hoping for something out of the ordinary turn up next week if weather improves. June 2015 was particularly good for Spotted Flycatcher on the patch which seem to down in numbers this year with no nesting evidence seen so far. Will keep this up to date and monitor any nesting behaviour over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Nightjar's on Purbeck Heaths

Last week I assisted a local guided walk by Lulworth Rangers onto some heathland ( undisclosed site) in South Dorset along the Purbeck Coastline.

Nightjar's are my favourite bird species and family group of all birds. It is very difficult to beat a good view of a Nightjar close up on a warm summers evening out on a midge-covered heathland!!!

Over the past 3 year's, I have participated in ringing and monitoring of Nightjar populations in Wales and Dorset which really opened my eyes into this unique and mysterious bird that today we still know very little about their breeding ecology and migration patterns to and from the UK.

As a summer visitor migrant, Nightjar's arrive in mid-late May, breeding in dense and regenerating conifer plantations, feeding on open heaths and moorlands. Their prime prey source consist's mainly of night flying insect's such as moths.

They are truly a magical bird and one of Britian's best birds. So while attending the guided walk, we came across at least 10 different churring males after 9.30pm. We had cracking views of courtship flight's, male's churring in flight and feeding and even a male chasing a female right over out heads. It was one of my best flight views of Nightjar in still quite bright evening light!!

In total estimate count showed 10 males, 5 females seen between 9.30pm and 11.15pm on the heathland. Most males were only 50-100 metres apart on their territories so the population and churring males seemed quite densely populated to this medium size of heath.

Hopefully in the near future, I would love to do my own Nightjar study and really look into prey items, breeding ecology, nesting behaviours and their migration routes.

A fantastic experience and great to see Nightjar this year which is my 7th consecutive year of seeing Nightjar in a row!! Love to find one on the patch soon.....Watch this space.

Ninesprings Yeovil Country Park 14th/June/2016

While in town today I took a quick look at Ninespring's Nature Reserve in Yeovil Town. A great little secluded bit of fantastic woodland and lakes that is very good for classic resident bird species.
Sightings of note included pair of Kingfisher, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Grey Heron, Mandarin Duck (single male....where are all the others??, Normally 10 present!!), Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap around the lake edge scrub. Up in the oak woods 2 pairs of nesting Great spotted Woodpecker, several Siskin, Marsh Tit ( My 2nd site record) and plenty of the usual woodland species.

After returning from town a quick look around the patch revealed little of interest but great to see recently fledged Wren's in the garden and the Green Woodpecker down on the garden lawn. Though still eluding me and the camera!!!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Nightingale 9th June 2016

Nightingale singing near the garden last night about  10.30pm. Heard singing from nearby hedgerow across the field. Fantastic to hear one so close. 5th year record for the patch!!!

Other nice sightings from yesterday: Flyover Red Kite (Yeovil Roundabout near Coop Garage),

Green Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Bullfinch, Siskin, Skylark, flyover Hobby all seen yesterday evening from the garden!! Not bad for a few hours patch & garden birding.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Birding at Langley Park, Slough

A few images when I was up birding around Langley Park near Slough. Some great birding there with plenty of Common Tern's, Buzzard, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Goshawk, Hobby,Yellow Wagtail, Garden Warbler, Ring-necked Parakeet, Tawny Owl, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker,Mandarin Duck, Whitethroat, Swift, House Martin, Kingfisher, Great Crested Grebe all seen over a few day's visit. Cracking weather with great birds in a stunning location

Common Tern

Common Tern
Great spotted Woodpecker 

Female Mandarin and her ducklings

Squirrel keeping an eye on me as I walk past

Peace Road-Black Park
Plenty of Rhododendron at Langley Park

Magpie are really beautiful birds in the right ligh

Mute Swan and her young

Insect macro Photography

Recently I have started taking macro shots of various insects seen in the garden and looking at their Identification to build up a list of insects visiting or present in the garden.
I'm still sorting out some other photos and identification. Here's just a couple of mixed images from the garden few days ago

Summer is here

Been very busy over the last few weeks and blog posting has been very scarce of late. Local patch birding has been relatively quiet with the majority of interesting sightings coming from breeding bird populations, Butterflies, Dragonflies and Moths seen.

About 2 weeks ago I took a visit to the Somerset levels Ham Wall RSPB reserve to look for the usual wetland target species: Bittern, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Great White Egret and much more great birds.
It was bird packed day with lots of Bittern and Great White Egret nesting activity from courtship displays, feeding flights and territory disputes.  Raptor's at Ham Wall were very active too with at least a dozen Hobbies hawking the vast numbers of dragonflies present. Also saw Kestrel, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier. Other highlights from the day include Bearded Reedling, Water Rail Reed Warbler, Yellow Wagtail, Cuckoo, Reed Bunting, Cetti's Warbler and plenty of different Dragonfly species including Common Chaser, Red Darter, Four-spot Chaser, Hawker sp, Blue-tailed Damselfy, Blue Damselfy & Red Damselfly

Here's a few images of Great White Egrets from Ham Wall.