Sunday, 2 August 2015

August Diary

30th August - Overcast but warm today, as the month draws to an end today's walk was pretty uneventful, no butterflies, no dragonflies even the birds were scarce, the highlight being five Swallows hawking low over the glades, probably get ready for their return migration which must be looming.
29th August - After an uneventful few days, the weather has improved after some heavy downpours.
Still very quiet bird wise, Wood Pigeons are still calling unseen from the tree tops, today a pair of Jays were having a dispute in the woods, around the glades Magpies and the odd Carrion Crow were seen. over the Horse Paddocks a single Swallow was hawking for insects, this is only the second sighting I have seen at this site which seems very strange.
Back  in the woods near Two ponds as I was watching the Shorthorn cattle relaxing on the banks, i disturbed a family of Grey Wagtails, three in all, unfortunately I only had my short lens on the camera so a distant heavily cropped record shot.

Shorthorn Cattle
Record shot two Grey Wagtails on Two Ponds

A male Red Tailed Bumblebee was seen feeding on a Scabious  flower head,

Male Red -Tailed Bumblebee

 Two sightings of Dragonflies today both were female Common Darters, one allowing a close approach as it warmed up in the early morning sunshine.

Common Darter

Butterflies were scarce today, and those that were seen were mainly Meadow Browns, with just two Speckled Woods in the Woodland, and one Common Blue in the glades.

Common Blue

An interesting Parasitic fly in the form of Tachina Fera  was seen in the brambles.This fly lays its eggs on plants, the larvae then parasitizes the caterpillars of moths and Butterflies. 

Tachina Fera
Lots of Garden or White Cross Spiders around the Brambles.

Common Garden or White Cross Spider.

23rd August -  Warm and sunny once again with a promise of rain for later this day, still quite on the birding front, although a family of Wrens at least five were seen in the brambles, Wood pigeons can still be heard calling from high in the trees and today a couple of Jays  heard.
Butterflies for today included one Large White, , one Speckled Wood, three Meadow Browns, a single Gatekeeper.
Dragonflies seen included one Common Darter female, and a few Migrant Hawkers.

21st August -  Another hot and humid mornings walk, but the Dragonflies were very obvious this morning, mainly Migrant Hawkers at least ten seen around the woods mostly around the bramble patches.

Migrant Hawker

A good selection of Butterflies, four or five Speckled woods, one Common Blue, a fair number of Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, not much else seen.

Common Blue
A surprise today bird wise in the woodland, when I came across a large mixed tit flock, consisting of at least fifteen Long Tailed Tits, Blue tits, and Great Tits with at least five ChiffChaff. Feeding on insects around the Elderberry trees, again near the old Air raid shelters. obviously the place to go for breakfast.

Long-tailed Tit.
19th August -  Warm sunny morning that brought out a few  Dragonflies and Butterflies, Four Common Darters, all females , in fact no males have been seen at all so far, three Migrant Hawkers around the brambles again, Still a few Meadow Browns to be seen, although some are looking very worn and faded, Gatekeepers in good numbers although not as numerous as earlier in the month, Holly Blue, and Common Blue also seen. with one Speckled Wood in the woodland.
Still very quiet for birds at the moment, a single song thrush seen flying off with a snail, three Chiffchaffs seen around the Elderberry trees near the old air raid shelters, and just one Magpie , and a few Carrion Crows around the glades. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard unseen from the woodland.
A single Rabbit watched me for a few seconds before disappearing back under the Bracken.

Female Common Darter

15th August -  Another beautiful morning, with warm sunshine. Dragonflies seem to turn up all over the woodland and not necessarily near water, I have found a couple of thick bramble patches that are usually bathed in sunlight and particularly attractive to these little beauties, today a Female Common Darter, at least five Migrant Hawkers and one Southern Hawker. none would settle long enough for a photograph but nice to watch them hunting for other winged insects.
The warm sunshine  had also encouraged the Butterflies out today, with some good sightings including, Meadow Browns, a few Gatekeepers, Small White, Peacock, Common Blue and another sighting of a Brown Argus all mostly around the meadow areas of the glades.

Brown Argus
As my wife and I walked past a very large Buddleia still with some pristine blooms at the top of the glades, this beautiful Painted lady flew into view and landed at the top of the Buddleia, I spent the next fifteen minutes or so playing hide and seek with the Painted lady as she slowly worked away through the blooms coming closer and closer to me. I assume it was a she, a bit unfortunate for the male being called a Painted lady. This is only the second I have seen this year, so a few images to remind me of this lovely migrant Butterfly.

Painted Lady

And finally some more fungi appearing on the deadwood, not sure if the recent damp weather has any bearing on their appearance or if this is the normal time of year for their appearance,  this is another unknown fungi fo me that has recently appeared, think I need a Fungi I.D. book.

14th August -  Slightly overcast  with a threat of more rain for later today, but still relatively warm, as I walked up the path into the woods from the car park I was greeted with the calls of a Nuthatch, I haven't heard or seen one for over a month now. Song thrush, Stock Dove, and Woodpigeon were the only other birds seen in the woods, a Green Woodpecker in the glade,

At least three Migrant Hawkers seen around the woodland, a Red Tailed Bumblebee seen on some Knapweed. Butterflies confined to Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, one Common Blue and just the one Small Skipper.

Small Skipper

A few fungi are starting to appear on the deadwood around the trails, some Sulphur Tuft, Dryads saddle or Pheasants back mushroom and another bracket type fungi that I am not sure about.

Sulphur Tuft

Dryads Saddle 


9th August - Hot, Hot, Hot, hope it rains soon, not much to be seen birdwise, the shorthorn cattle were out in the open, grazing unconcerned by the many dog walkers out today, Rabbit seen again, making a mockery of my scarce statement made earlier this year.
In the glades a Migrant Hawker and a female Common Darter was seen.
In the Butterfly world, lots of Gatekeepers and Meadow brown on the wing today, and many Common Blue Butterflies in the grass alongside the track.

Common Blue
Common Blue
While I was trying to get a photograph of the Common Blue's,
 a new Butterfly for me flew into view, a Brown Argus.

Brown Argus
Another Butterfly which I think is also a Brown Argus in the photograph below, showing its underwing only, according to my Butterfly field guide, no forewing spot near the body should indicate an Argus Brown, although not convinced by this one.
 Not the best photographs, couldn't keep my hand still today for some reason.

Brown Argus ??

Heres another look at the Butterfly record list for this year
1.Comma  (14/4/15)
3.Peacock  (14/4/15)
4.Green Veined White (4/5/15)
5.Orange tip (4/5/15)
6.Speckled Wood(1/5/15)
7.Small Copper  (4/5/15)
8. Red Admiral (12/5/15)
9.Small Heath  ( 16/5/15)
10.Common Blue (30/5/15)
11.Painted Lady (5/6/15)
12. Small White (17/6/15)
13. Meadow Brown (17/6/15)
14. Large Skipper  ( 20/6/15)
15. Marbled White  ( 1/7/15)
16. Ringlet       (2/7/15)
17.Small Skipper (3/7/15)
18. Gatekeeper (7/7/15)
19.White Admiral (9/7/15)
20. Large White (17/7/15)
21. Brown Argus (9/9/15)

8th Aug -  Another hot humid mornings walk, quite pleasant in the shade of the woodland, the bramble patches left by the forestry contractors are a magnet for Bees, Butterflies and Dragonflies in the early morning sunshine, while I was trying to get a photograph of a female Common
Darter, this lovely Migrant Hawker flew in and obliged me with some photo opportunities.

Migrant Hawker
Butterflies represented today by a single Red Admiral, the usual Meadow Browns, Large White, Gatekeeper, no sign of any ChiffChaffs today.

Red Admiral

7th Aug - Gorgeous morning with warm sunshine, birding highlight today was a small gathering of Chiffchaffs feeding in an Elderberry tree at least four or five, together with some Blue tits and a Blackcap. not much else seen birdwise.


Around the woodland plenty of Grey Squirrels around, and today two Rabbits were seen.

Butterfly today included a few Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Comma and  Holly Blue, back to the typical view, no black wing tips so probably a male.

Holly Blue

6th Aug -   Overcast but warm today, birds were all hiding away today, the only notable bird was a juvenile Green Woodpecker up in the glades, a collared dove calling from the top of a telegraph pole, (are they still called that) and a few Blackbirds in the undergrowth. Same with Butterflies just Meadow Brown and Gatekeepers today.

 5th Aug -  A few more birds on show today, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers,Great Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wren, family group of Common Whitethroat (4) Wood Pigeon as usual gently calling from the tree tops. Butterflies represented by Meadow Brown although not as numerous as they have been, lots of Gatekeepers along the hedgerows.
There appears to be good numbers of young Grey Squirrels within the woods.
The Shorthorn cattle appear to have made themselves at home.
Forestry contractors have been into the woods and cut back all the undergrowth, bracken and brambles around the woodland.

Carrion Crow

Shorthorn Cattle around two ponds

 2nd Aug - On a beautiful warm sunny morning the woods were eerily quiet, just the rasping call of a few Wood Pigeons unseen high up in the trees, a lone Robin watched me walk by from a fallen tree. and that was it bird wise, but this is suppose to be a quiet time of the year.
Butterflies were everywhere with, Comma, Red Admiral, Peacock, Large White, Meadow Brown, and Gatekeepers showing well. Common Blue seem to be appearing now more regularly.
In the glades three Migrant Hawkers were flying over the wildflower meadows, a few Red Tailed Bumblebee's seen on the flowering Knapweed.
Back in the woods a newly emerged Tawny Grisette was showing near the footpath, these are suppose to appear late summer to early Autumn, so right on time, nice to see some fungi starting to appear. And I have just noticed a possible tube spiders web, next to the grissette these are usually constructed over a hole or crack, the web consists of a large number of trip wires which when triggered  the tubespider comes rushing out, no spider seen on this occasion.

Tawny Grisette