Friday, 30 June 2017

A Little Otter.... No!

Date: 29/06/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Grey & Cloudy
Other Species: 
Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Blackcap, Goldcrest, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff.
Spreadsheet

Observation: 
It's been a while but Butterflies have taken over. Been to Scotland, Lake District, Norfolk, Kettering, Peterborough, Lulworth Cove & Wales since last blog and i'm loving it!

My current tally of Butterflies is 50 not 51 as I've posted on Twitter, a mistake on a simple ID for Meadow Brown thinking it was a Gatekeeper! DUH! 
But no worries I'll get them, leaving me now on 9 species left and another trip to Dorset & Lake District planned soon.

But onwards to the Patch for now. Recently it's all action on the Feeder trees outside home with a family of Bullfinches visiting every day.


Plus the 2 Juvenile Jays every hour coming onto feeders taking 3 peanuts eating them and then taking 3 more until disturbed, it's been great watching them grow.
Lauren got some great shots of them.




Plus plenty of Blue & Great Tits.


Out through Bath Mill as the normal on this very grey day seeing lots of juvenile Robin, Blackbirds and Wren along brook and up on to dog track which is now overgrown.
Skylarks in fields and Buzzard overhead. a few pairs of Whitethroat plus 3 Yellowhammer along byway.

A group of 10 Swift were screaming overhead too. (My awful picture)


Village seems a bit quiet with birds, Barn Swallow, House Martin number seem lower than previous year but are spreadsheet we didn't start counting until August so will judge numbers again.
Goldcrest do seem to be having a good year with numbers high Church Yard and Send a cow Woodland alive with their song.Also Blackcap singing in Send a Cow.

On to Lakes and Lower Lake still the single Mute Swan but only 4 Mallard. 
Top Lake a bit busier with 2 Mute and 6 Cygnets all doing well. Normal numbers of Coot and Moorhen. 
Mallard numbers into the 30's.


I carried on round and Grey Heron's which have now dispersed from Heronry and seem to be scattered down on river and here on top lake, learning how to fish with Mum or Dad watching on.


Normally the Heron fly off when anyone is near but this learning lark they don't seem bothered.


Didn't see them catch nothing but practice makes perfect.


When I walked back down the Mute Swan and Cygnets were trying to all get back on the nest, strangely?


They did manage it, but a bit of a squeeze! 
Dad was other side of the lake having a clean and chasing off those pesky Mallards.


Walked down towards Corston and through Manor Farm which seem to have a much healthier population of Barn Swallow and House Martins with House Sparrow, Crows and Jackdaw in very good numbers here. 
Think the Farm Shop in Newton St Loe only attracts Cars!


Out through Corston and onto River Avon where Blackcap and my first Dunnock of the day showed up.


It was that time of year to check on Reed & Sedge Warblers and I wasn't disappointed with at least 5 Sedge Warblers and 2 Reed Warblers.


Standing still for some time the sedge finally came into view.


The next set of Reeds seemed to be a creche for Whitethroats of which 3 Juveniles and a single Sedge Warbler.


While watch this Banded Demoiselle.


I saw what I thought was Otter!
3 running along opposite bank and in to cover but now after the excitement and looking at very bad images I think they are Mink, I've still not seen a wild Otter!


While waiting for them to come out of cover which they didn't! 
This Heron suddenly appeared from the same bushes that the Mink went into! 
Surely not trying to find lunch?



He seemed very upset by it and after a bit of squawking decided to have a clean and watch bushes until I left.


Walked on home thinking Otter, brilliant but alas another time maybe.

 I leave you with a worn Ringlet. More Butterfly trips coming up so a couple more weeks before next Blog, Sorry. 

I will do a Butterfly Blog showing you all my accomplishment of the 59 species, I hope!


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Thursday, 8 June 2017

It's been a While, but back on Patch

Date: 07/06/2017
Location: Newton St Loe
Weather: Windy to start warm
Other Species: 
Bullfinch,Buzzard, Grey Heron, Cygnets, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Stock Dove, Grey Wagtail, Jay, Swift, House Martin, Barn Swallow, Whitethroat.
Observation: 
Such a long time but been so busy with this Butterfly obsession !
Which is going well with 32 of the 59 species ticked.
But on to patch today and as normal out through Bath Mill and along brook with all the regulars about  but seemed a bit quiet. Up on to dog walk and 2 Meadow Browns took flight from the very long grass,that was my 32nd tick! Not expected was trying to concentrate on birding today but a tick  is a tick. 


Buzzard and Skylark heard on fields with so much foliage on the trees made it difficult to see anything, even fields had wast high crops of wheat but carried on up towards seven Acre where all was very quiet , though wind was blowing a hooly !
Whitethroat could be heard and managed a distant picture.


While watching 3 screaming Swifts came over the hedgerows and my lighting reflexing manage to get a couple of flight shots.


Into village a it seemed no Barn Swallows or House Martins but soon the sky started to fill with them, although numbers do seem lower than previous years with 20 Barn Swallow and only 15 House Martins. 


The House Martins were still building nest ! when i went away on 14/05/2017 they were building then with not much progress ?


Grey Heron Next with the Herony disappeared into the foliage could just see 3 and one on brook and a further 3 on upper lake , so i guess a successful year with at least 6 juveniles seen, with more obviously gone or fledged .


More newcomers on the top lake with the resident pair of Mute Swans & 6 Cygnets with unfortunately one unhatched egg, but all looking good .



 Also Coot in larger numbers with at least 7  birds seen plus nests.


Thought i saw a dragonfly buzzed past me but this excellent Hornet posed. 


Looking scary !


I walked on up to small ponds to see if any Dragons were about and sure enough Broad bodied & lots of Damselflies plus a couple of Emperor were on ponds.


Alway amazes me , look at that !


Walked back return route with not much more to add to list finished with a few more butterflies, first Large Skippers of the year on patch plus Common blues and more Meadow Browns on Sunnybank.


Next targets Large Blue then Lake District Pictures to follow, fingers crossed!



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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Irish Trip for the Cryptic Wood White

Date: 29th May - 31st May 2017

Location: Belfast and Dublin, Ireland
Weather: Light Rain, Cloudy, Sunny Intervals

Observation: After returning from Majorca, we had booked to fly to Ireland for Dad (Wayne) to add the Cryptic Wood White to his list. We flew into Dublin Airport and hired a car for our 2 days there.

We drove straight up to Belfast as we had booked to stay the night there first. We stopped in Tesco’s just outside the Airport to grab some lunch and as we pulled in we spotted a single Hooded Crow feeding with some Wood Pigeon’s.
We quickly parked up and grabbed our camera’s to get a few shots.

Light was poor at this point but happy to improve from previous shots of this.


Once we got to Belfast we planned to do a recce as the weather wasn’t great for the butterfly at Craigavon. After a quick visit there were no signs of any so we moved on hoping for the weather to improve. We headed on up to Giant’s Causeway stopping at Dark Hedges Road on the way through.

Dark Hedges Road is busy with coaches and cars driving up and down and loads of people always in shot for the pictures, but a great place to visit and free!

Here’s some pictures from Giant Hedges Road:




We arrived to Giant’s Causeway at around 3pm and parked in the Train car park for £6 (a lot cheaper than parking in the National Trust car park at £10 each!) We walked to Giant’s Causeway avoiding the Visitor Centre and saving £24 total between us!
The weather not improving and very low cloud still clinging on, this didn’t stop the crowds of people!

Here’s some pictures from Giant’s Causeway:




As it was getting late and we still had an hour’s drive back to Belfast, we headed back to the hotel and after dinner went for a short walk along the river, we waited for it to get dark and done some night pictures.


The next morning, we woke up to blue skies; the weather was looking promising for the Cryptic Wood Whites!


We walked down to the Titanic Quarter and took some more pictures and also seen 3 Black Guillemots along the river, 2 of which sat on the river wall which allowed us to get pretty close without disturbing them. was also some Common Terns on a nesting raft , brilliant to see terns racing across the River Lagan.








As we were still early and waiting for the weather to warm up, we visited the Castle at Carrickfergus. The skies had clouded after and the rain started, we still moved on and headed onto Craigavon in the off-chance. 



About 10 miles from here the sun slowly came out and by the time we arrived the sky was almost clear and the sun was shining. As we parked up within minutes the first Cryptic Wood White was spotted and settled in the grass, after around 20 minutes we had counted the following butterflies:

25+ Cryptic Wood White 

3 Common Blue 

2 Small White 

5+ Small Heath 

1 Speckled Wood

Dad did have video’s the mating dance from the Cryptic Wood Whites, but wiped his card before taking these off… there's always next year!



Even got some Cryptic Wood White in their mating dance..




A big thanks to Butterfly Conservation and Ian Rippey, Rose Cremin, Marcus Malley, Catherine Bertrand.

Plenty of damselflies about also. There were also Reed Bunting, Mute Swan, Common Terns and 2 Willow Warbler (one of which posed nicely!)



As we found the butterfly so quickly we were ahead of schedule so headed back to Dublin for our final day and arrived around 5pm, enough time for a wander and some more landscapes pictures.




As we were walking from the car park, a Hooded Crow was feeding on the grass so through the fence we got some more shots (too close for 400mm!)



As we had the first flight out of Dublin, we packed up and went back to the hotel ready for the morning.

A very successful trip and some bonuses in there aswell. Butterfly Conservation at interested in doing a press release with us, so when this goes ahead we will share the article from this.




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