I'm not back at work until Thursday so decided to take advantage of the blue skies and get down to Cranford CP before the apparent storm that is meant to hit tonight.
I found another spread of Shaggy Scalycap.....
but no more Stinkhorns unfortunately.
There are still plenty of Common Darter (below), Brown Hawker and Migrant Hawker dragonflies around.....
I completed the UKBMS transect today as the next nine days are going to be really busy for me at work. I was going to do it tomorrow but if the wind speeds are going to be as high as predicted, there wont be a lot to spot.
So todays butterfly tally......
31 butterflies of 8 species
Large White x 6
Green-veined White x 1
Small Copper x 4
Red Admiral x 5
Comma x 2
Speckled Wood x 9
Meadow Brown x 2
Small Heath x 2
I lingered around the northern scrub area for some time hoping to see the Whinchats. Whilst I was there I had a fairly close encounter with one of two Kestrels seen today...
and the Whinchats didn't disappoint either.....
I have no way of knowing if these are the same two females I saw on Sunday but I'd like to think they are.....
Another reason I was at the park today was to meet up with our local borough's Conservation Officer, Dragena. I had emailed her asking that the long grasses where I spotted the four Wasp Spiders recently, could be left over winter. This has been agreed thankfully.
Whilst we were there with her colleague, Tony, we heard a bird of prey calling. Initially I thought it was one of the Kestrels and looked around to see why it was calling so loudly. It was a very very pleasant surprise to see it was actually a Hobby, and not just one of them, but THREE. Two were calling which leads me to think they were juveniles. It was lovely to watch them swooping down low and then soaring up high. It was incredibly hard to photograph them though and out of all the photos I took, only a few came out well enough to publish. Thankfully one of the photos shows a food pass between the adult and one of the juveniles. I couldn't get all three in one photo but I did manage two in a few of them. So here's my dreadful pictures of todays three visiting Hobbys at Cranford Park.......
We have had Hobbys nesting at Cranford Park before but they didn't last year, and I don't think they did this year as I would have spotted or heard them by now. I do believe they have probably nested nearby and are passing through on their migration route to Africa where like all the other migratory birds, they will spend winter.
Lastly it was great to hear of Dragenas plans for the wildlife pond in front of the Information Centre. Work will start on it soon to make it deeper and a little wider.
As for when the Information Centre and toilets will be open to the public.......well as Dragena put it herself, she doesn't get involved in the politics. Fair point but one that makes me wonder if they ever will be open to us visitors. Lets hope so. There's only so many hidden bushes that I can pee behind !!!!
Not a bad visit to the park at all. Other sightings include a Red Kite and Common Buzzard on the thermals over head, two Linnet and five Goldfinches, a Green Woodpecker flying over and one of the Kingfishers sitting on the grate by the M4 viaduct. After Dragena left I went back to the viaduct to try and photograph the Kingfisher but instead came face to face with a lovely fresh looking Fox. We were both startled and safe to say the Fox turned and ran before I had a chance to lift my camera.