Sunday, 10 November 2019

10th November


Friday evening saw the first big numbers of Fieldfares arriving with 200 birds around the entrance to Langlands farm. Always a fantastic sight and sound. This morning there were another 100 plus birds in the Magic Garden. Very jumpy, and obviously new in, many were drinking from the field ditch or even roadside puddles but within ten minutes had moved on…


The torrential rain has led to some flooding in the Bottom Fields...


and along with the usual Mallard and flock of Black-headed Gulls there was a Grey Wagtail, Little Egret, a single Teal and a distant pair of Gadwall, only my second sighting of the year…


A mobile flock of around 65 Curlew was also present. I caught up with them briefly in the evening gloom but they all flew except this long-billed individual…


Other sightings included a flock of 40 Lapwing over the village and a covey of 21 Grey Partridge, the largest flock for many years. This may not be unrelated to the fact that there have been no releases of Red-legged Partridge this year.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

13th October


Another quiet week but the first Redwings dropped in on Tuesday…


and overlapped with the last Swallows which were seen up until at least Thursday. Chiffchaffs, including a couple of singing birds, were also still present all week. 
The large Jay movement on the continent (e.g. 30,000 counted passing over one German site in a single morning) was probably responsible for the appearance of half a dozen birds in the parish this week.
Heavy rain had led to flooding in the Bottom Fields in Ainderby but despite some nice looking habitat bird pickings were pretty slim. Around 100 Black-headed Gulls were joined by a dozen Herring Gulls, Mallard numbers peaked at 46 but a single Little Grebe and three Teal were the only other waterfowl…


Waders were represented by a single Snipe, a flock of 20 Golden Plover and 22 Lapwing. A larger flock of Lapwings, around 200, were on wet fields near the river…


I am also continuing my slow progress on trying to identify fungi with this large Puffball down Potter’s Lane…


And what I think are Golden Scaly Cap (Pholiota aurivella) near the Christmas Tree plantation...

  
And as I haven't posted anything for a couple of weeks I also ought to mention the other recent flying visitors to the village, the UCI World Cycling Championships with the Men's Elite Time Trial passing through the parish...



Sunday, 22 September 2019

22nd September


I think Ainderby has had a nature bypass in recent days, exceptionally quiet for the time of year. A walk down the river today saw some good areas of mud exposed but only a single Green Sandpiper and Snipe to show for it. A Yellow Wagtail, a dozen Swallows, three singing Chiffchaff and a pair of Mute Swans were the only other birds of note.
Yesterday walking to the north of the village I saw two Sparrowhawks, a group of seven Grey Partridge (still haven’t recorded Red-legged yet this year) and heard Golden Plover calling. I eventually found the goldies tucked into the middle of a beet field with a flock of Lapwing…


When a dog walker flushed them there was a surprising total of 90 Lapwings and 12 Golden plover hidden in here.    
In the Magic Garden the only sightings were a very fresh looking Comma butterfly, this bee species…


And at least half a dozen Migrant Hawkers around the reedbed…




Sunday, 15 September 2019

15th September


Another exceptionally quiet week for birds. The one highlight was my first Peregrine of the year, it was perched in a field along Potter’s Lane on Friday evening. Unfortunately it saw me before I saw it so the tiny dots in my photos aren’t even worth posting. As it flew away it did a half-stoop at a flushed Woodpigeon and knocked it to the ground but didn’t stop to take advantage and the lucky pigeon lived to fight another day.
Also along the river were the first returning Meadow Pipits, a Yellow Wagtail, 20+ Swallows, at least three (singing) Chiffchaffs, Little Egret, a pair of Mute Swan and a single Goosander. Not a single wader seen or heard and, although Pinkfeet are now starting to move through Yorkshire I had to make do with a skein of Greylags…


A relatively quiet week for butterflies too although there were still Painted Ladies around and I also spotted a Small Copper along Greenhills Lane, quite a common butterfly but surprisingly scarce in the parish. This is only my third sighting in the last ten years…


The start of the real fungi season too with this striking one seen in the Magic Garden. It’s one of the Ganoderma species, possibly G. australe (The Southern Bracket)...


Sunday, 25 August 2019

25th August


A walk along the river today was quieter than last week with little sign of movement although a group of ten Goosander was nice…



I also had Kingfisher, two Little Egrets, three Snipe, Greenshank and two Green Sandpipers…


This afternoon I looked around the Magic Garden. A good range of dragonflies with Brown, Southern and Migrant Hawkers, both Common and Ruddy Darters and Banded Demoiselle.



There were also up to four Sedge Warblers in the reed bed, these must be passage birds as they haven’t been present through the summer.
As usual also saws lots of insects I couldn’t identify including this wasp with its head fully in the plant...



Sunday, 18 August 2019

18th August


Yesterday I had my first walk along the river for a few weeks. First bird was a Kestrel following the line of the river and then a huge female Sparrowhawk, which spiralled up and then it too followed the river south. A second Kestrel followed and as I was looking at this I almost missed an Osprey, again moving south down the river. By the time I got the camera on it, it was already past (pushed on by a blustery wind)…

Not surprisingly given the recent rain the river was running very high so there was no wader habitat but I did flush five Snipe and later saw a Greenshank flying along the river (my first of the year). A group of four Little Egret were on Big Bend


I also saw my first Sedge Warbler, in rank vegetation on the far bank, and two Yellow Wagtails. A third Kestrel passed over and then small number of Buzzards flying high south. As I watched these birds I picked up two Swift which flew in ahead of the storm clouds. Not a bad morning.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

A short interlude..


Just back from a fortnight in Shetland. Good weather (and much better than North Yorkshire had!) and stayed in a beautiful cottage on the shore…


(that’s a hell of a garden view!)

Lots of highlights - my first visit to a misty and atmospheric Foula was high up there. 1200 foot high cliffs…



Amazingly on this isolated island I had at least 25 Painted Ladies.

… the everyday Shetland wildlife (including Otter)






…Edmonston’s Chickweed, which grows in a little area of Unst and nowhere else in the world…


But pick of it all were our first Orcas, a pod swimming through Yell Sound…


Back to normality next week...

Thursday, 25 July 2019

25th July


Chris K texted to say he had had some Purple Hairstreaks at a regular site near his village. There is an avenue of oaks down Greenhills Lane that I have always fancied for this species but despite walking there literally hundreds of times I have never seen them.


Encouraged by a glorious warm evening on Tuesday I decided to try again.
It was nice to see a pair of Yellow Wagtails and Grey Partridge down here as well as good numbers of butterflies including two Small Skippers, a Wall and at least six 'territorial' Red Admirals.

But as to Purple Hairstreak no luck until I got to the last tree and a movement caught my eye, there they were right at the crown. As I watched more joined in and in total there were ten individuals swirling around each other. I decided to walk back up the lane and check the other trees again and in total I found what I estimated to be 24 of this lovely little butterfly. A first record for the village.
Because they are so hard to spot they must be massively under-reported. As if to prove this point our neighbours Jim and Sue showed me some video this evening they had taken of the Spotted Flycatcher nesting in their courtyard. Guess what it was feeding to its nestlings? Yes, Purple Hairstreak! It certainly isn't travelling to Greenhills for those so they must also be in the oaks in the centre of the village.
Incidentally butterflies are a regular part of these birds offerings to their chicks, although a Red Admiral proved too much and the parent ending up having to eat it. Interestingly Jim hasn't seen them bring any white butterflies to the nest. 
This is some film Jim took of the pair, in this case forcing down a Small Tortoiseshell




Sunday, 21 July 2019

21st July

John set the moth traps in the Magic Garden last night, this is usually the best week in the best month for moths but overnight (and the early morning) were surprisingly cold and the catch was relatively disappointing. 
This was particularly true of micro moths with very low numbers so they must be very sensitive to temperature. Nevertheless we caught just under 300 moths of 67 species. This included just one new addition to the parish list, this little micro Thistle Conch…


It might have been worse as when I got into bed last night my wife said “did you switch the traps on?” fortunately I ‘persuaded’ my son to get up and walk over the fields to go and switch them on!
The catch did include some of my favourites like..
Burnished Brass


Gothic

And Garden Tiger…


I also saw my first hawker dragonfly of the year, a male Southern Hawker…


Sunday, 7 July 2019

7th July


Chris Knight discovered a colony of White-letter Hairstreaks along Myer’s Lane a couple of years ago but this year he found them to be more widespread with the Wych Elms between Thrintoft and Ainderby holding excellent numbers (perhaps the best site now in Yorkshire).


It has also been a good year for Painted Ladies with large numbers arriving on the Yorkshire coast and these have now filtered inland including the first parish ones. These included single insects in the top fields and along Myer’s Lane and five, rather worn individuals, on the river…


It’s been generally a good week for butterflies with a good arrival of Red Admirals, plenty of Commas…


and 30+ Ringlets in the Magic Garden…


Good news that the Spotted Flycatchers have nested again in Jim & Sue’s courtyard. They have been really late this year and I hadn’t seen the female until she started nest building. This was a picture Jim took from their bedroom window…


The only other bird news is Frank saw a Cuckoo this afternoon near Langland’s farm. I haven’t yet managed to see or hear one this year.