Saturday, 17 June 2017

17th June

Good news that the Sedge Warblers have bred in the Magic Garden…


This is the first confirmed breeding in the parish for quite a few years and it sounds as if there is a second pair present as well. The Reed Warbler, on the other hand, has gone quiet but perhaps on with the business of nesting?
Five singing Blackcaps are also in the Garden this year along with at least two Whitethroat (this one is carrying a ring)…


A Four-spotted Chaser was in the Garden on Wednesday but didn’t pose unlike this cracking Banded Demoiselle…


I recently purchased the new Wildguides hoverfly identification guide. You can tell it’s not going to be easy when they categorise species by whether you need magnifying glass or microscope to identify them! However, I am reasonably confident this is a Pellucid Hoverfly…



On Wednesday (21st) I am doing a talk on The Birds of Ainderby & Morton at Morton-on-Swale village hall at 7.00pm. Entry is £4 and money will go towards my youngest son’s charity work in Moldova.   

Sunday, 4 June 2017

4th June

A Reed Warbler is still settled in the reeds in the Magic Garden and singing vigorously. I finally managed to get a shot of it today. I was reasonably pleased with this given it was singing from deep in the reed bed and I could hardly pick it out even with binoculars…


Close by I saw around 15 of these cracking little Longhorn moths (Nemophora degeerella) in a strange slow- motion ‘dance’. Look at those antennae!

This is a new species for the parish and one that is not very common in this part of Yorkshire.

In my steep learning curve of insects I have also started looking at bumble bees so this is I think a Common Carder Bee…


And this a Garden Bumble Bee…


But then just to confuse things this apparent bumble bee is actually a bee-imitating hoverfly Volucella bombylans…


It has two forms, one like this that imitates White-tailed Bumblebee and another that imitates the orange tailed bees. Nature never fails to amaze!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

3rd June

This morning I headed down Greenhills Lane. After trouble with my Achilles tendon this was the first time I have hobbled further than the Magic Garden for some time. Pick of the birds were at least six Lesser Whitethroat either calling or singing down here. Two were carrying food but these were the best shots I managed of very elusive birds…



Three Red-legged Partridge were also down here…


Along with the first big congregation of gulls since the late winter (around 150 mainly Lesser Black-backed) and a total of four Buzzards. I also tallied up 15 Speckled Wood along the route…


Back in the village the first Spotted Flycatcher has at last made an appearance, around two weeks later than the average arrival date. It was in the Garth and in Jim and Sue’s garden next door I had two Painted Ladies. 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

31st May

Still one (or possibly two) Reed Warblers singing in the Magic Garden this evening. The last confirmed breeding in the parish was as far back as 1946 so here’s hoping. A pair of Sedge Warblers are also still here but remain stubbornly elusive for photography, but whilst waiting for them to appear I did snap this Whitethroat carrying food for its young…


The final tally of Saturday night’s mothing was an impressive 417 moths of 58 species. This included eight new ones for the parish:- Eyed Hawk Moth, Orange Footman, Brown Silver-line, Winter Groundling, Cork , Alder…


May High Flyer…


And Shears…


And talking of moths I found this impressive Drinker moth caterpillar in the Magic Garden last night, happily munching on Common Reed…


Bird Year List to End of May - 98 species (six species behind last year)

Sunday, 28 May 2017

28th May

John set the moth traps in the Magic Garden last night and it was a good catch for May with over 400 moths of more than 50 species. Highlight for me was the first parish record of Eyed Hawk Moth. A superb creature…


An excellent first record of Orange Footman too. this was a new moth for John of this mainly southern species (although it has been moving northward in recent years).


Other new species included May High Flyer, Alder and Brown Silver-line. This latter species is associated with bracken so it is a long way from its natural habitat.
This is a beautiful Green Arches, one of my favourite moths..


And this is a Pale Tussock doing a very effective job of disguising itself against an egg carton…


Unlike this Poplar Hawk Moth’s feeble attempt to hide underneath a leaf!



Friday, 26 May 2017

26th May

A walk along the river today in glorious sunshine. Migration has virtually ceased but I saw four Yellow Wagtail, four singing Corn Buntings, a pair of Red-legged Partridges, a single Common Sandpiper…


20 Greylags..


And Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel…


I also saw eight species of butterfly (including my first Speckled Wood this year) and four species of damselfly with my first Banded Demoiselles…


And Azure Damsels of the year…

Plus Blue-tailed and Large Red damselfly…



Sunday, 21 May 2017

21st May

This Reed Bunting which we caught in the Magic Garden last week was already carrying a ring...


John assumed it was one of his own but when he entered the details it had actually been ringed at Silt Fen Farm in Norfolk, 230 kms away. A good movement for this species. Perhaps one or two of Norfolk’s rarities can make the same journey?!
Otherwise it has been a very quiet week for birds so fortunately insects have stepped in to the breach. These included my first damselflies of the year, a single Large Red on Wednesday and around 20 of these Blue-tailed damselflies yesterday…


Three or four Common Carpet moths were in the Magic Garden today…


Along with this Red-headed Cardinal Beetle…


and this striking hoverfly Heliophilus pendulus (also known as The Footballer because of its stripy thorax)…


Sunday, 14 May 2017

14th May

Over the last week the highlight has been Reed Warbler in the Magic Garden. This is the fourth year in succession there has been a singing bird here and it was still present at the time of writing. Surely breeding must be on the cards soon?
Down Potter Lane in Morton I saw seven Yellow Wagtails…



And more surprisingly a Sedge Warbler singing from a hedge here in the middle of arable fields.
Nice too to have a shot of Linnet at eye level rather than a silhouette against a bright sky..


Insect interest is rapidly growing. I thought this was a solitary wasp when I first saw it patrolling the edge of a half-dug rabbit hole but it’s actually a nomad bee, I think either a Panzer Nomad(!) or a Fork-jawed Nomad…


this is a fresh Green Carpet moth…

And this is the earliest Wall I’ve recorded in the parish (seen today)


And this was the scene over the Magic Garden lake on Tuesday evening . There was surprisingly little coming to feed on this vast feast…




Friday, 12 May 2017

12th May

I met John for some bird ringing in the Magic Garden this morning. It was cold again despite the overnight cloud and there was little sign of movement. Nonetheless a reasonable catch. The most interesting bird was this female Blackcap which was carrying a French ring…


It will be interesting to get the details of where and when this bird was ringed.

We also caught two Sedge Warblers…


A bird has been singing consistently from the Bog Area all this week so there must be a chance of breeding this year.
Other summer migrants included just a single Willow Warbler, four Blackcaps and two Whitethroats…


And also five Chiffchaffs including this one showing why you shouldn’t rely on leg colour in identifying them..



Sunday, 7 May 2017

7th May

A Garden Warbler, appropriately enough in the Magic Garden, along with a singing Sedge Warbler were new birds for the year and the first Swifts were also reported in the village yesterday. This only leaves Spotted Flycatcher as a  ‘guaranteed’ summer migrant yet to make an appearance. Things are still slow though and the Swallows that breed in the village hall have only returned this week…


On the river this Grey Wagtail was carrying nesting material, the first potential breeding record for some years…


It's also noticeable that every hedgerow seems to have a pair of Long-tailed Tits this year, including this gravity-defying one…


Presumably this is an effect of the mild winter. And talking of commoner than usual this seems to be the case with Lords and Ladies…


I’ve always been interested in this faintly exotic plant, not least because of Rosemary & Clifford Ellis’s brilliant New Naturalist dustwrapper…


The even commoner name is of course Cuckoo Pint although I’m sure it should be pronounced Cuckoo ‘Pinnt’ rather than ‘pynt’  given what it refers to! Certainly in the Magic Garden it is definitely more widespread than I have ever seen it. This is one of the plants in front of a rather fine collection of Dryad’s Saddle fungi.


Despite the sunny weather the winds have kept the temperature down this week but there were occasional warmer spells and this led to double figure counts of Green-veined White and Orange Tip butterflies in the garden, plus Red Admiral, Brimstone and my first Holly Blue of the year. This individual was particularly compliant as I took this on my phone (which doesn’t have a zoom).


I also photographed this moth which I think is a Silver-ground Carpet, although this seems quite early for the species..