Sunday, 15 July 2018

It was all about the Six-spot Burnets at Rhyl today

I'm spending a couple of days with my family in Rhyl and usually I would spend an hour or so down the beach taking photos of any waders around the rock pools but today when I went for my walk the tide was in and there weren't any birds to see
But I wasn't disappointed as the warm weather and blue skies meant there were plenty of insects to observe and photograph
First up are the butterflies - ids under each one
Small Copper

Small Copper





Common Blue
Other critters included plenty of these Soldier Beetles
and as to expected in July plenty of Cinnabar moth caterpillars

 But the most prolific little critter seen today were the hundreds - and I mean hundreds - of Six-spot Burnet moths
Theses striking looking day flying moths are similar in appearance to the Cinnabar moths but Burnets have just spots on their wings where as Cinnabars have a red strip along with a few spots on their wings


There is also a species called Five-spot Burnet but sometimes the distinguishing spots can merge together which makes a true id near on impossible - it also doesn't help that some Six-spots have very faded almost yellow spots
From Splash Point in Rhyl walking along the Prom to Prestatyn Ffrith beach there is a chain link fence along the golf course - and all along that fence I found loads of Six-spot Burnet pupa cases
but as I looked closer I realised some were actually emerging

This is a first for me and I lost all track of time taking loads of photos of this incredible spectacle
One such pupa case was attracting a pair of moths who seemed intent on mating - I'm still not 100% sure if this was a male hanging around a newly emerged female or whether these two just happened to want to mate around an un-emerged pupa but either way it made for some fascinating observation


Not quite my usual blog from when I'm in Rhyl but a very different one focusing on something that the majority of people were walking past without realising

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Birthday outing to Maple Lodge and Mum's garden

Yesterday (11th July) was my birthday and I decided after a birthday breakfast with my lovely Mum to pop down to my favourite nature reserve - Maple Lodge
A friend of mine was going to join me later for his first visit but I had a couple of hours to myself to do some 'hoverating' before it got too hot
ID's under each photo
Eristalis species - possibly nemorum

Syrphus species - possibly ribesii

Eristalis pertinax

Eristalis species - possibly arbustorum

Eristalis species - possibly arbustorum

Myathropa florea - male
Thank you to Roger Morris / Nicola Garnham / Graham Watkeys of the UK Hoverflies facebook group for confirmation of IDs

 There were still plenty of butterflies about - mainly Small and Large Whites again - but also this very tatty Ringlet
a very obliging Brimstone

and a nice fresh Gatekeeper

But it was mainly the Large Whites that were most prolific - with some squabbling for the prime spot on the flowering thistles

And it was another day of not ONE Harlequin ladybird sighting - instead there were plenty of 7-spots again
I'm not very good at identifying Darters - this one could be an immature Ruddy or Red or even a female - either way it posed just long enough for me to grab two side photos and a head on shot

The Teal Hide was fairly busy with a Little Egret / five juvenile Lapwings / three juvenile Little Grebes / three flyby Grey Wagtails / a Green Sandpiper and lots of young Mallards and Coots

juvenile Little Grebes
My friend enjoyed his first visit to the reserve too and particularly liked the layout and privacy of the many hides
My birthday ended with a drink with my friend then watching the football with Mum - shame England didn't make it through to the finals but they done well to get to where they did
This morning I was on dog-sitting duty whilst Mum popped to work but before she did we found this intact exuvia on one of her pond plants - thanks to the experts on the UK Dragonflies & Damselflies Facebook group it was narrowed down to one of the Hawker species
After Mum left Gizzy the dog and myself done a little bit of 'birding' in the back garden

Song Thrush



Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Summers day visit to Maple Lodge NR

Yesterday (9th July) I decided to do a day trip to Maple Lodge NR and hoped the weather wouldn't be too warm - luckily it wasn't too bad and when it got really hot it was nice to shelter in one of the many hides
There were a few Ringlets and Commas at Comma Corner but the majority of  butterflies seen were Small and Large Whites with a few Gatekeepers around the Barn Owl Meadow

 There were still plenty of damselflies around

At the Teal Hide there was a Green Sandpiper on one of the shingle islands - a bit far for my camera lens to pick up in great detail but still a pleasure to watch as it fed and slept

A Little Grebe popped up in front of me and had a frantic preen - this looks like a teenager - a juvenile that's not quite hit adulthood yet

another juvenile bird - this time a Heron - made its way stealthily along the lake edges
before being chased off by an adult

At the Long Hedge Hide yet another juvenile - this time a Great Crested Grebe - was fishing for itself

The Tern raft looks to have been a great success this year - I couldn't tell how many adult birds were flying around or perching on the raft but it was certainly well into double figures - some chicks have hatched and you could just about see them moving around

It was a little too warm for hoverflies - unlike butterflies they are not a lover of hot weather - this one is Myathropa florea aka the Batman Hover due to the logo on its thorax
At the Clubhouse Hide a Jay was happily picking up spilt seed under the feeders

and a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker - still with its red cap - played hide and seek with me from the shrubs on the left

The nestbox at the back of the Clubhouse looks to have a new tenant - a Wren - it is probably only using the box as a roost or in this case a place to shelter from the heat of the day - it stayed in this position of half in half out for a long time

I know Squirrels aren't everyones cup of tea but there is a dominant one at the Clubhouse Hide who not only chased off any Magpies or Rabbits that dared encroach its patch - but who also took regular rest breaks across the wooden toadstool - it made for some entertaining watching