Thursday, 31 July 2014

Different Tactics

Date: 31/07/2014
Location: River Avon & Bannerdown
Observation: Went for a paddle in canoe started at Batheaston and headed up to Limply Stoke. A very quite stretch of river no boats at all! We saw at least 8 Kingfishers, Hundreds of Demoiselles and Dragonflies, Grey Herons at very close range seem to be able to sneak up pretty close only had iPhone camera maybe that's why !? Also at the viaduct bridge at Dundas (Kennet & Avon Canal) saw an amazing bit of predation, a Lesser Black Backed Gull spotted 3 Moorhen chicks swooped in took one looped around,GULP! picked other up GULP! swooped around again only to take all 3 chicks 30ft in front of boat! Gull then sat on bridge in front of us and with 3rd chick still in mouth sat admiring the view of the adult Moorhens looking for any survivors, there were none !
2nd Day went to Bannerdown parked at top to look for Purple Hairstreaks weather was cloudy. Spotted only about 11 butterflies in whole walk! No Purple-hairstreaks !! :( but just as I was getting back to van a nice Yellowhammer appeared took a couple of shots and was gone.
Weather: Blue Sky, Warm, Sunny
Other Species: Kingfisher, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Moorhen, Coot, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Buzzards, Crow, Grey Heron, Yellowhammer.

Dundas Aqueduct
                                                     Amazon no River Avon !

View from Midford Brook towards Conkwell

 Purple Loosestrife

Yellowhammer @ Bannerdown

Monday, 28 July 2014

Brown's Folly Repeat!

Date: 28th July - All Day
Location:  Brown's Folly - Bathampton
Observation:  On the hunt for butterflies today, we popped back into Brown's Folly, alot less than last week, but still a fair few butterflies/moths there with a total of 15 species, took my Nikon, to get some nice colourful shots, think we done well! Smaller numbers of all butterflies, but was a lovely view and got some nice shots, so very happy!
Weather:  Blue Sky, Warm, + Sunny!
Other Species: Blackbird, Buzzard, Wren, Dunnock, Robin

Butterflies:  Common Blue, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Brimstone, Large Skipper, Dark Green Fritillary, Purple Bordered Gold moth, Six Spotted Burnet, Meadow Brown, Green Veined White, Small White, Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Silver Y Moth

Wood Sandpiper - Tringa Glareola

 Date: 27th July - All Day
Location:  Portbury Wharf + Pilning Wetlands
Observation:  We started off at Portbury Wharf, we walked around all the hides and walked down to Sheepway. Not much to note apart from the usual, a Kestrel hunting on the harbor, and a fly-over Sparrowhawk/Goshawk with a very large catch (possibly a Squirrel/Rat?), was the same as him! No sign of the Owls are around 3pm, so walked on. A few more Kestrels around the reserve hunting. In the harbour, were 2 Common Sandpipers, feeding on the mud. We moved onto Severn Beach and Pilning Wetlands at high tide. Quite a few Pied Wagtails, hopping around the path. At Pilning, there was large groups of 100+ Whimbrel/Curlew. The 2 Wood Sandpipers still present to the left of the far pool but very distant 400mm isn't enough but a life tick none the least! Was also a large gull roost on the pool with groups of Dunlin and Lapwings. Walked back around Sunset, a few juveniles Barn Swallows, perched on the wires. A nice day out but think we need to invest in a bigger lens, to get some shots other than record shots!
Weather:  Blue Sky, Sunny + Warm!
Other Species: Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Common Sandpiper, Little Egret, LBBG, Black-Headed Gull, Curlew, Whimbrel, Wood Sandpiper, Dunlin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, House Sparrow, Lapwing, Starling, Goldfinch, Bullfinch

Friday, 25 July 2014

Melbury Hill - Mission Complete

Date: 25/07/2014

Location: Melbury Downs - Wiltshire & Walton Hill - Somerset

Observation: Drove Around 40 miles down to Melbury Abbas and up Spread Eagle hill to the downs at least 5 new species on offer apparently so had high hopes ! Pulled in to car park to be greeted to an army of workman laying new water pipe,Digger ,dust and Heat ,Nice ! Anyway headed off on butterfly hunt lots of Meadows browns Gatekeepers and moths more moths than butterflies almost.Walked for around 4 hours in total on way back feeling let down with no new species saw Common blues sat for a while then a Chalkhill Blue Appeared !! then gone:( so 5 new species in a week done!HAPPY.But wait theres more with the van in sight a very Small Blue Settled in front of me 6 !! Whoo back to van and headed on way home to Collard hill ,did not get to it ended up at Walton Hill.Great Views out to Exmoor and across the Levels,one final wander to trigpoint nothing apart from Six spotted Burnets all the Grass dry no flowers either .Home Happy !!
Weather: Very Hot, Blue skies at least 30c most of day  
Other Species: Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Peacocks, Small Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Common Blue, Green Veined White, Small White, Small Heath, Brimstone, Ringlets, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper - (Six Spotted Burnet, Purple Bordered Gold, Common Emerald ) 

Birds: Buzzards, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Mistle Thrush. 

Chalkhill Blue

 Small Blue

                                                                                              Purple Bordered Gold

Small Heath

 Brimstone doing a leaf 



Thanks for looking

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Priddy mineries,Blackmoor Reserve,Black Rock

Date: 23/07/2014

Location: Priddy Mineries - Blackmoor Reserve - Black Rock

Observation: Day three of my hunt for 5 new butterfly species,headed for Stockhill and Priddy Mineries on entering woods a Silver washed flew in to me ! Had a few shots then spotted a nice Dragon a Common Darter. Wandered round rest of wood Euro Peacocks feeding on Blackberry flowers was about it so crossed road Skippers Everywhere! Spoke to nice gent who said Dark Green Fritillary where just ahead! Got nice shots with wings a spread .Got back to van temp said 44 !!!! Scraped out of car park which is 6"5 my van is 6"5 ! Headed 5 or so miles to Blackmoor another Silver Washed Fritillary was first spotted then Common Blues, first time there, nice, good car park. Spotted some Linnets and 3 Buzzards Mewing. Then headed to Black Rock, Cheddar.Again first spot was a Silver Washed Fritillary, total for day 5 ! Not much else Small Copper and a Raven .Headed on top Cheddar Gorge for Final View and Home. Still need one Species gonna try Fontmell and Collard hill areas tomorrow.
Weather: Another hot day, blues skies clouded over in afternoon.

Other Species: Silver Washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Skippers, Marbled White, Small Tortoise, Small Copper, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Comma, Common Blue, Green Veined White, Large White, Small White, Brimstone, Ringlets.

Birds: Ravens, Buzzards, Linnet, Whitethroat, Barn Swallow, House Martins.

Silver-washed Fritillary

Common Darter

 Small Copper

Dark Green Fritillary

Marbled White                                 Cheddar Gorge

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Crooks Heat !

Date: 22/07/2014
Location: Crooks Peak  -Somerset
Observation: More butterfly hunting today headed for Crooks Peak, Cheddar, was a hot walk up hill with 2 buzzards calling for the soundtrack, started the hunt. Within seconds a Grayling on rock! Then another not staying still for more than a few seconds :( got a few shots ,headed on up to Top, apart for 2 Small heath not much else. At top Wall butterflies were landing probably taking in the views,Cracking! Spoke to a gent up there, told me some good numbers further round so headed off, not much there. Apart from a Stonechat family and 4 Linnets. Return route back over top few more Grayling and Rest !
Weather:  Hot, Blue Skies, Hot
Other Species: Buzzard, Kestrel, Linnet, Stonechat, 4/5 small groups of swallows
Butterflies:  Common Blue, Wall, Grayling, Brimstone, Small tortoise, Gatekeepers, Peacocks, Small Copper, Marbled White, Small white, Ringlet.

11 Species today around 50 or so butterflies but one more new one so 28 Now mmmm,,where tomorrow ?


Common Blue

Small Heath


View from Crooks Peak

Monday, 21 July 2014

Butterflies @ Bathampton Browns Folly

Date: 21/07/204  - 2-4pm
Location: Bathampton - Browns Folly
Weather: Blue skies with some cloud wind picked up later on 
Observation: Going for 5 new butterflies this year only on 24 total so far, so headed up to Bathampton through wood to the Brown's Folly.
Other Species: 2 Buzzards, Raven, Goldfinches 
Butterflies: Euro Peacock, Green veined WhiteSilver Washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Six Spot Burnet, Large White, Small White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Small Skippers + Plus plenty of Grasshoppers .
Silver-washed Fritillary - A little damaged but strike one !

                        Area was covered in Euro Peacocks i say 50 + 


Dark Green Fritillary

Strike 2 !
Then lots of Common Blues ,Gatekeepers And Green Veined 
ended the day Butterflies seen 15 different species  100 + !

3rd new one of the day ! Brown Argus

Friday, 11 July 2014

Green Woodpecker - Picus viridis

Date: 11th July - 6PM

Location:  Newton Park Lake - Zones 1,2+5
Observation:  We decided to go for a quick walk out the lanes after dinner, first we seen 1 Bat (not sure what type) hunting and catching flies, before flying off into the trees. Onto the dog walk in the campsite there were 2 juvenile Green Woodpeckers and 1 female Blackcap, all of which we got fairly close to without disturbing them! At Seven Acre, there was a small group/family of Kestrels hunting together and diving down into the corn field, nothing was successful caught whilst we were there, before they all flew into the trees as a fly-over Sparrowhawk passed by with a catch (possibly Blue/Great Tit). In NSL Village there was a dead Sparrowhawk, with no obvious injury's, possibly hit and moved out of road by passer-by. Nothing more to note at lake apart from the 1 Little Owl hunting down opposite end to normal (due to loud sheep) and 2 VERY loud Grey Heron squawking away! On the return journey, was much of the same, with 4 Kestrels in the village sat high in trees possibly the same as earlier and just resting. A very nice walk with some nice pictures, so very successful! First time in a good while that not 1 Buzzard was heard or seen though!
Weather:  Some Cloud, Sunset, Warm

Other Species: 4 Kestrel, 4 Green Woodpecker, 1 Sparrowhawk (one also unfortunately found dead), 50+ Swallow, 10+ House Martin, 4 Mute Swan, 2 Grey Heron, 5+ Song Thrush, 1 Blackcap, 1 Little Owl, 2 Jay, Wren, Dunnock, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Crow, Jackdaw

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Somerset Levels - CVL

Date: 6th July - All Day
Location:  Westhay - Ham Wall - Chew Valley Lake
Observation:  First of all, sorry for the lack of tweets and blog posts, it's down to nothing worth posting! We popped down to Westhay and the Somerset Levels for a few hours today, sun was shining and was quite windy in places, but the damsels and dragons didn't disappoint, lots about, only a few stopped on perches though, also alot of butterflies about, we also seen our first White Admiral at Ham Wall! Bird wise, not much about apart from flyovers, this included Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Hobby's. Attempted to do some Swift/Swallow shots in flight, got a few decent ones but too fast and focus is too slow, so alot of pictures of the sky or out of focus spots! A few little Coot/Moorhen's and Grebe chicks at Ham Wall. We stopped at CVL on the way home, again not alot apart from dragons, swifts and the normal, also lots of Juvenile Pied Wagtails along the dam wall. Lovely day out none the less!
Weather:  Blue Sky, Some Cloud, Sunny
Other Species: Buzzard, Kestrel, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Bittern, Swift, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Long-Tailed Tit, Common Tern, Cormorant, Pochard, Great-Crest Grebe, Little Egret, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Collared Dove

Butterflies + Insects:  European Peacock, Meadow Brown, White Admiral, Migrant Hawker, Common Blue Damselfly, Great-Diving Beetle