Sunday, 20 September 2020

20th September

One excellent bird sighting this week, a Marsh Harrier which flew relatively low over our garden. I was on a zoom call with work when I saw it and should have muted it before I swore! I managed to run out and watch it fly away south west. This is only the second record for Ainderby with the last found by an army officer visiting the village in 1943!

Probably contemporary with that sighting (and another garden 'tick') was this Hurricane yesterday evening...

Other sightings this week included a covey of 14 Grey Partridge, two Little Egrets. Grey Wagtail and two Kingfisher by the river. Swallows and House Martins were still present in good numbers as were Chiffchaffs, including up to six singing birds around the village (I’m still not clear why birds sing on migration?). On Thursday there were also two Blackcap down Station Lane, one of them doing its quiet ‘sub-song’. Chris had two flocks of Siskin by Warbler Corner yesterday.

Apart from the multiple sightings of Broad-bodied Chaser it has been a rather poor year for dragonflies and I only saw my first Migrant Hawker today. Otherwise it has been only Southern Hawkers…


and Common Darters providing the sightings...


On the plant front, pick of the finds was this Skullcap, one of my favourite plants. I thought we had lost it from the village but I re-found a small remnant patch in the Magic Garden…



Sunday, 13 September 2020

13th September

Our garden was the best place for birds this week with warblers present most days, these included up to four Chiffchaffs at a time (including one singing) and a female Blackcap. Today there were two late Swifts over the garden with a mixed flock of around 80 hirundines, a Grey Wagtail fly over and best of all superb views of a Hobby low over our heads as we celebrated my mother in law’s birthday!

I tried my first ‘solo’ moth trapping on Friday night in Jim and Sue’s garden. In the end it was a relatively cold and windy night but still managed 73 moths of 15 species. These included two new species for the parish, Autumnal  Rustic…


And Lunar Underwing…

As well as these smart Beaded Chestnuts


And Angle Shades...

Another new species, botanical this time, was Common Toadflax which I found down Waterworks Lane. Not a rare plant but still good to find and along a lane I have walked literally hundreds of times.


I'll finish with a picture of the Magic Garden looking...magical



Sunday, 6 September 2020

6th September

I finally managed to top my 100 bird species for the year this week with a Common Sandpiper along the river. I then added a surprise 101st with at least two Spotted Flycatchers near Warbler Corner found by Chris

After failing to nest this year I thought my chances of ticking off this species were very slim. Chris also found another(?) male Redstart here. I only had fairly brief views but Chris managed this lovely photo…

Other signs of autumn this week were the early return of Meadow Pipits, a good fortnight earlier than usual and probably symptomatic of the distinctly chill air. Another local feature of the turning of the seasons is the movement of Greylag geese. Although there is a large resident feral population in the area there are always (local?) movements of Greylags at this time of year…

Other bird sightings included five Little Egrets on the river, Kingfishers at Warbler Corner and in the Magic Garden and my first Goosander since early Summer…

After the incredible numbers of 2019 I spotted my only Painted Lady of the year this week…

On the same day along about a quarter of a mile of sheep-grazed river bank Frank and I tallied up 94 Small Tortoiseshell and 51 Silver-Y moths.

The other butterfly sighting  of note was my second Brown Argus of the year, a female near the railway line…

And I also added a new village moth species, a Nettle Tap (seen here on Hemp Agrimony)…


Sunday, 30 August 2020

30th August

Bird ‘highlight’ (it’s a very low bar!) was a Little Grebe, a very vocal (but elusive) bird in the Magic Garden.

 

They have nested here in the past but this was my first sighting of the year.

There was also some bird movement on  Monday, presumably ahead of the cooler weather, with two Sedge Warblers in the magic garden (my first since some briefly singing birds in April) and around a dozen Chiffchaff there. Chris had a nice male Redstart and a Hobby near the river on the same day. 

I saw what was possibly the same Hobby chasing Swallows in the village on Friday evening.

Today Chris picked up Common Sandpiper on the river and an amazing total of 15 Little Egret. An inconceivable sighting even a few years ago.

John came over on Wednesday to do the first moth trapping in the village this year. This time we just ran a single trap at a new site, Ladyfield. In the end the expected warm, humid evening did not materialise but we still managed  70 moths of 21 species. These included two new micros for the parish, a Skin Moth…

which feed on things like dead animals, owl pellets etc.

And this Straw Conch…


We also caught four of these handsome Feathered Gothics…

I continue my slow progress on finding and identifying the more obvious hoverflies, this is I believe a Tapered Drone Fly…  

And on the neighbouring plant I photographed this little potter wasp, I think one of the symmorphus family but not sure of the species…

Sunday, 23 August 2020

23rd August

My first walk down the river for some weeks today, unfortunately the recent rain has pushed water levels really high and any hoped-for wader mud was nowhere to be seen. A single Little Egret and Buzzard and half a dozen Lapwing were very slim pickings indeed.

I did find, however, my first Marsh Woundwort for the parish (seen here with Tansy)…


And despite the cold and gloomy conditions it was buzzing with pollinators, including, unusually, a day-flying Gold Spot moth…


This moth, a Drinker, was caught in the house

And it would be nice to say the same for this one…

but this rare and stunning Bedstraw Hawkmoth was actually caught by a friend in Little Smeaton who fortunately held on to it long enough for me to see it…

The only other record of note was a call from one of the villagers that they had come back from holiday to find this in the house…

A Brown Long-eared Bat. It looked dehydrated, We managed to get it to drink and it became more active and is currently protected in a box to hopefully release tonight.

(BTW I apologise for the misaligned photos etc., the new Blogger editor is rubbish!)

Sunday, 26 July 2020

26th July

The bird highlight of the week was confirmation that the Reed Warblers have nested in the Magic Garden. This represents the first confirmed breeding in the village since 1946!



The only other bird record of note was a Kingfisher on the Wiske. This shouldn’t really be news but this was only my second sighting of the year. I’m not clear what has happened But after a really strong recovery in numbers in recent years they seem to have become very scarce again.

Insects weren’t up to much either although there was a notable emergence of second-brood Peacock butterflies on the 24th and I saw a dozen of these pristine insects along the railway footpath that evening… 

And this is (I think) a Ruby Tiger caterpillar seen the same day…


I also managed to add another couple of species to the village flower list. Bellflowers are obviously like buses, I saw my first last week and then two more turn up with both Harebell and Peach-leaved Bellflower seen this week.


And I also found this lovely Field Scabious…


I’ll finish with a brief excursion I took outside the parish to see my first Green-flowered Helleborine this afternoon. We found just a single plant, and a slightly battered one at that, in an area of old woodland but really nice to see what is a distinctly scarce flower in northern England.



Monday, 20 July 2020

20th July

I saw the first Purple Hairstreaks this week with six down the avenue of oaks along Greenhills Lane. I had 22 down here last year so I need to do another systematic count when the weather obliges.
One bonus of staring up at the top of trees is I picked up a superb Hobby passing over. This followed Hobby sightings at Thrintoft and over Ladyfield this week.
The only other bird record of note was what was only my second sighting of Red-legged Partridge this year…


One group that I keep meaning to get to know better are the hoverflies but they are a daunting prospect, these are some of the commoner and more straightforward ones…

Marmalade hoverfly, probably the commonest of them all

This is a Drone Fly, a good mimic of honeybees, and the rather distinctive one below is Long Hoverfly (imaginative!)...


I think this one is Eupeodes luniger, a common migrant...


and this is Pellucid Hoverfly, the largest British species...


My only interesting plant find this week was this Nettle-leaved Bellflower growing on a hedgebank down Warlaby Lane. A scarce plant here and the first record for the parish…


Monday, 13 July 2020

13th July

A week of mixed weather and few sightings of note but I added Small Skipper to my 2020 butterfly list…


In the same patch of grass and nettles there was this fresh Shaded Broad-bar moth...


And this slightly sinister mass of Peacock butterfly caterpillars…


In terms of dragonflies I missed yet another Broad-bodied Chaser in the village (fourth of the year) but I did see my first Southern hawkers.


Rarest find was this Wool Carder Bee (photographed by Chris Knight). A mainly southern species, this was the first record for the parish but also the first for north-west Yorkshire.


I’ll finish with this sighting outside the parish, Yorkshire (or Thistle) Broomrape. A rare plant now only known from a handful of UK sites and all of them in Yorkshire.


A really striking species which lacks leaves and chlorophyll and gains its nutrition by parasitizing thistles. With such a common host plant it seems strange that it isn’t much more widespread.

Monday, 6 July 2020

6th July

Living in an area of intensive agriculture you have to work hard for your fill of nature. In particular it has a very diminished flora so discovering  (thanks to Chris) this fantastic area of Kidney Vetch yesterday, less than a mile from home, was a real surprise (after all I’ve only lived here for thirty years!!).

A superb spot and interspersed with Zigzag Clover, Bird’s-foot Trefoil and knapweeds. 
Nearby I added a few more flowers to the parish list including Agrimony and Common Centaury…


The whole area also looked fantastic for insects so I walked there this evening in the late sun. Excellent numbers of Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells…


and the first of the new generation of Commas was on the wing but the pick of the sightings was this lovely Six-spot Burnet moth…


Not by any means a rare species (although more local in the north) but this was the first record for the village.