Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The urban Kestrels

This morning I had to collect a parcel from my local Royal Mail depot - there is an old building next to it where I've known Kestrels have nested in for years but until today I've not known exactly where in the building
One of the juveniles was calling so I was able to pinpoint where they were and looking at the amount of poop around the bottom of the round window this is definitely their nest

I counted three juveniles but there could have been a fourth - I was really hoping they would all line up for me but that was just wishful thinking and rain stopped me from watching them for longer
They look quite close to fledging but I'm hoping they'll still be there for next couple of days so I can get some better pics

Saturday, 25 May 2019

A sunny visit to Maple Lodge NR

I had a nice afternoon at Maple Lodge today - the sun shone for most of it which meant there were a lot of critters about for me to try and photograph
But first stop had to be at the Rotunda Hide to see the ever growing expanse of emerging Southern Marsh Orchids
Dave Simms count today was 2725 !!!! Which is pretty incredible when five years ago the count on 31/05/14 was just 438 !
There was a lovely Small Magpie Moth on a tarpaulin by the wildlife pond
And the fairly windless day meant there were a few butterflies settling for a photo shoot


male Orange Tip showing the detailed underwing

male Orange Tip showing the upperwing

fresh Brimstone

tatty Brimstone
Along the Woodland Walk a cacophony of soft calls made me look up to see a small flock of juvenile Long-tailed Tits

There were several hoverfly species on the wing today but I only managed pics of two species
Episyrphus balteatus
 I'm pretty sure the hoverfly below is one of the Cheilosia species - possibly Cheilosia proxima

This tiny little critter below is a Nettle Weevil
As to be expected at this time of year there were hundreds of damselflies about
Below are female and male Common Blues

I think todays high-light was spotting this stunning female Broad Bodied Chaser in the Paddock

As always a very enjoyable few hours on site

Friday, 24 May 2019

New beginnings at Cranford Park

The forecast this morning was good for my weekly UKBMS butterfly transect but the wind was a little chilly so not many butterflies were on the wing
During the 75 minute walk I counted only 12 butterflies of 5 species
Green-veined White x 1
Orange Tip x 1
Common Blue x 5 (first of the season)
Holly Blue x 1
Speckled Wood x 4
Common Blue - female
The wildlife pond in front of the Information Centre has attracted three species of odonata
Large Red Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly

Broad-bodied Chaser
That's not bad for a wildlife pond that is now in its second year plus a recent survey showed there were Common Newts there too
Nearly every buttercup contained a male Thick-legged Flower Beetle - only the males have the wonderful thunder thighs
There are quite a few young fledglings in the park now - I saw young Robins - Blue Tits - Great Tits and this juvenile Goldfinch
But the high light of my visit was accidentally finding a Nuthatch nest
I was taking photos near one of the apple trees when an alarm call made me look up
Looking down at me was a Nuthatch - I don't often see these in the park so I took a couple of pics and felt quite chuffed
When the bird didn't move I realised it was me it was alarm calling at and after looking around carefully I found I was standing right next to the birds nest hole

There was a tiny nestling Nuthatch peering out at me

Moving well out of the way I then spent a fantastic hour watching the adults bringing food to the nest

This is the first time I have ever seen a Nuthatch feeding young so it really has made my day
It will be interesting to see how big they have got on my next visit

Sunday, 19 May 2019

May visit to Maple Lodge NR

Yesterday I went to Maple Lodge NR for a very overdue visit
The weather was fairly kind for the morning but by the afternoon it was very overcast
From the Teal Hide there was a pair of Canada Geese with four goslings
From the Clubhouse Hide there were two pairs of Stock Doves

and the resident Great Spotted Woodpecker

By the Shell Hide there was a flock of recently fledged Long-tailed Tits

and a very neat looking Gadwall

I enjoy this time of year when a lot of the critters are out and about
I found two species of hoverfly
Syrphus sp

Xanthogramma pedissequum
 and lots and lots of hoverfly larvae
There were Cardinal Beetles everywhere

and this tiny Froghopper
Red and Black Froghopper
 I think the beetle below is a type of Rove Beetle
Rove beetle ?
Soldier Beetle
As to be expected at this time of year there were plenty of ladybirds
7-spot Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird

ladybird eggs
 There were plenty of other critters out and about
Dock Bug
Hairy Shield Bug
Damselfly season is now upon us - I had my first Large Red at Cranford CP last week and my first Common Blue at Maple Lodge NR yesterday
female Common Blue
But my favourite find yesterday (thanks to Chris) was this stunning female Banded Demoiselle

There were plenty of Scorpion Flies around too including this male with his bulbous tail
and several Nettle Tap micro moths
All in all a very enjoyable if overdue visit