Saturday, 27 August 2016

A mixed bag at Cranford Park today....including my first Spot Fly of the autumn

Nathalie joined me at Cranford Park today, initially to walk the butterfly transect with me, but also to have a look at what was about.
The butterfly transect took an hour longer than last week, because we kept getting distracted by other critters and birds.
It was a good count, somewhat down on last week, but although it was warm it was quite breezy.
Speckled Wood

Red Admiral

Green-veined White
Today's tally was.....
19 Green-veined White
8 Holly Blue
1 Red Admiral
22 Speckled Wood
1 Gatekeeper
11 Meadow Brown
total 62 butterflies, 6 species
but the icing on the cake was this gorgeous Jersey Tiger Moth that Nathalie spotted along section one of the transect.....

There were lots of Harlequin Ladybirds again today, in various stages from larvae to adults. Not only were they on the green gates by Roseville Road, but also on most of the Lime trees down the drive way, and on most of the Sycamores in the woods and along the river....

The mint in the Secret Garden has flowered and was attracting lots of these little hoverflies,
Syritta pipiens......
and along the hedgerow by the M4 wall there were plenty of Dock Bugs....

We found more Dead Mans Fingers fungi near to where I found the first patch a few weeks ago....
and right at the end of the transect, just as we were looking over the stone bridge towards the M4 a Kingfisher flew up the river. A nice end to the walk, especially as I haven't seen a Kingfisher at Cranford Park for some months now.
With the transect done, we had a wander around looking hopelessly for any signs of the Hobbys. We had no luck at all, although going by my records over the last two years the juveniles are normally fledged and calling loudly by now.
Up at the Headland area we searched for crickets and grasshoppers. Nathalie managed to photograph one or two, but I failed dismally.
But I did spot this Red Kite perched on one of the dead trees that border the back of the woods...
I wasn't the only one to spot it though, and soon a small gang of Jackdaws came over to mob the Kite.....

We decided to end our day back at the River Crane to hopefully see the Kingfisher again but it didn't reappear.
Instead we spent over an hour watching not one Spotted Flycatcher, but two.........
These lovely little brown jobs visit the park in spring and autumn during their migratory travels.
I've seen them at Cranford Park in exactly the same place before, so wasn't overly surprised to see them today, but having two on site instead of the usual solo bird was an added bonus.....

If you want to see them at the park over the next few days, stand on the stone bridge near the car entrance. Look towards the M4 and check the yellow lichen covered trees and the dead tree on the left hand side. The birds were also diving in to the willows on the right, then re-emerging and settling back over the river.
In one tree alone for a few minutes we had both Spotted Flycatchers, at least three Chiffchaff, a male Blackcap, a fresh Common Whitethroat and a juvenile Goldfinch.
Other birds seen today were one of the Buzzards in the woods, one or possibly two Kestrel out in the meadows, two Green Woodpeckers flying along the woods edge, and many large movements of mixed tit flocks with one including Goldcrest.
A really pleasant day with good company. Thanks Nathalie.
It was also good to bump into Sheila and actually show her the Spotted Flycatchers, her first ever.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely blog, the spotted flycatchers are really nice. I haven't seen one for a couple of years!