Monday, 3 July 2017

July Diary 2017 !

26th July -  My walks lately have been confined to the woodlands just lately, bird sightings have been sparse, Tit flock this morning with Blue Tits and Great Tits with many juveniles, a lone Robin, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling unseen, at the Budleia site, still some Red Admirals, Peacock and Gatekeeper Butterflies.
Fungi starting to appear around the woodland following the heavy rains of late. not sure about this one could be the Blue Roundhead Stropharia caerulea or another similar species Stropharia aeruginosa.

19th July - Warm sunshine following the heavy rainfall during the early hours, not much to report really, although a few juvenile Wren were noted, Robin,. Blackbird and Song Thrush, A few Great Spotted Woodpeckers were very vocal but not seen.
The only Dragonflies seen today were a few female Ruddy Darters..
The old air raid shelter Buddleia attracting quite a few Butterfles, Peacock, Gatekeeper and numerous Red Admiral.

Fruits of the woodland plant Cuckoopint very prominent in the undergrowth. and a few blooms on the  Nettle-leaved Bellflower caught my eye flowering in the shady areas of the woodland.

Fruit of the Cuckoo Pint Plant

Nettle Leaved Bellflower

13th July - Some warm sunshine after a day of rain brought out the Butterflies, Red Admiral, Comma, Peacock feeding on Buddleia blooms, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns around the sunnier aspects where brambles are ,around the glades still a few Marbled whites, Large Skipper and Small Skipper. one unidentified moth feeding on the Knapweed flowers

Marbled White
unidentified at present.

Three species of "odonata" seen today, a fine male Broad Bodied Chaser near Two Ponds, a Ruddy Darter female sunning itself on the bracken, at least two Migrant Hawkers in the woodland.

female Ruddy Darter
As for the birds still very quiet, a few woodpigeon calling from the treetops, a fleeting glimpse of a Green Woodpecker, Blackbird.

The fungi on the old tree stump is coming to the end of its life , but several other fruiting bodies appearing around the stump. ( see below)
 Bumblebees represented mainly by White -Tailed variety, this Hoverfly caught my eye sunning itself on the bramble, possibly  a "Dead Head Hoverfly "  Myathropa florea

Myathropa florea

Dead Head Hoverflies can be identified by the distinctive pattern on the thorax which resembles a blackened skull. and the yellow body hair.

3rd July - First few days of July have been warm and sunny, the woodlands have been relatively quite bird-wise, although two juvenile Common Whitethroat were seen today in the hedgerow.

I have been watching this fungi on an old tree stump develop over the last few days. not sure exactly what it is at the moment.

two days later
three days later
Plenty of Butterfly sightings at the moment, Ringlets and Meadow Brown by far the most common sightings, a few Fresh looking Comma's have been seen basking in the sunshine, Large Skipper and Small Skippers in good numbers in the meadow grasses, Marbled Whites are more numerous this year frequenting the open grasslands. two Green Veined whites seen today.

Meadow Brown

Male Small Skipper

Large Skipper
Marbled White

The only dragonfly seen at the moment has been the female Ruddy Darters resting up on the bracken in the woodlands. the legs appear all black and there is a definite pinched look to the body.

probable immature male Ruddy Darter

Plenty of worker bees around the clover and Knapweed in the meadows.

Red-Tailed Bumblebee


Leaf-Cutter Solitary Bee

Thursday, 8 June 2017

June Diary 2017 !

29th Jun - 

The rain has subsided leaving a warm humid feel to the woods today, a few birds still singing, mainly Blackcap, although I did hear a Nuthatch calling and a brief view of a Green Woodpecker. Today seemed to be a day for Butterflies, I have never seen so many Ringlet Butterflies of all sizes on the wing , closely followed by Meadow Brown, the long grass of the glades seems covered in them. Small Skippers are very numerous as well with the odd Large Skipper being seen. just one Comma, one Red Admiral, about five Marbled Whites appearing around the glades.

Dragonflies represented by one female Common Darter.

female Small Skipper on Knapweed.
Large Skipper
Marbled White

Marbled White

25th Jun - A dry bright start to the day although temperatures were down, Butterflies were more prevalent today with good numbers of Meadow Brown and Ringlets all along the trails, my first Marbled White of he year was seen in the glades which would not settle for its photograph, a few Comma, several small Skippers and one Large Skipper.

Small Skipper
Large Skipper

20th  Jun -  An early walk through the woodlands at 0700 hrs to give my dog some relief from the high temperatures was quite pleasant with the woodlands to myself for a change. lots of Birdsong, a few birds seen included Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon, Robin, Song Thrush, Great Tit, Ring Necked Parakeet. Butterfly sightings were mainly confined to Meadow Brown, Ringlets Large Skippers and the unfortunate demise of a Cinnabar, only the second seen here so far this year.

Cinnabar for breakfast

Worn Ringlet Butterfly

14th Jun -  The woodlands birds are still keeping there heads down at the moment, very difficult to catch a glimpse of anything at the moment, although a young Tree-creeper showing no fear, crept up a tree very close to me.

Butterfly sightings are sporadic at the moment, I have noticed more Meadow Browns appearing at the moment and the first Skippers are also starting to appear with this fine looking Large Skipper.

Meadow Brown
Large Skipper
Unusual to see fungi appearing in mid summer but this specimen caught my eye, not sure what it is though.

                                     A nice Swollen-thighed Beetle glistening in the sunlight

1st Jun - 8th Jun -  A quick review of recent life in the woodlands and surrounding parkland,  Bird sightings have been unspectacular, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blackcaps appear to have stopped singing, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jay, Ring Necked Parakeet, a Moorhen was seen in one of the Road flood relief pools near the car park, a few Swallow sightings around Jeskyns country park with a very obliging individual nesting in the rain shelter next to the park cafe.

Temperatures have dropped last few days and heavy rain has kept the Butterfly numbers down, for me anyway. Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and an uncooperative Painted Lady which hid in the centre of a huge nettle bank.

Red Admiral
Common Blue

Speckled Wood

Painted Lady

No sign of any Skippers as yet, but these small micro moths, a type of Long Horn Moth called  Nemophora degeerella caught my eye today, at least ten dancing around in the sunlight, the males with there very long antennae  looking very strange

Nemophora degeerella
White Tailed Bumblebee's seem very common at the moment with a few Red Tails being seen.

Red headed Cardinal Beetle seen in the long grass while looking for skippers.

A few Foxgloves have flowered in the last few days not so many as last year, and some lovely Wild Honeysuckle appearing around the woodland.


Wild Honey-Suckle

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

May Diary 2017 !

30th May - The woodland seemed alive with Blackcap song this morning and not much else, a few Blackbirds, Robin. In the glades a brief view of a Whitethroat, a Green Woodpecker disturbed from the grass.

As I checked out the long grass for any Skipper sightings, which were noticeable by there absence, I disturbed a small pale moth which I believe is a Small Emerald moth.

possible Small Emerald moth.
Along one of the trails this Dor Beetle or Dung Beetle was slowly crossing, well away from any possible cow pats.

Dor or Dung Beetle

29th May -  A circuit around the country park today in warm sunshine was different, lots of open land, meadows and glades. Red clover appears to have recently flwered and is attracting lots of Bumblebee workers, I noticed White-tailed, Red tailed, Early nesting and Carder. Butterflies seen today included my first Painted lady for this site although moving fast across the meadows, Speckled Wood and Small Heath, Common blue were numerous. bringing this years species sightings to ten.

Small Heath Butterfly

I also noticed this Silver Y moth sipping nectar from the Red clover flowers again very difficult to
get near to. as was the single Cinnabar flying towards the woodland

Silver Y moth

The Ox-Eye daisies and Red Campion made a colourful display along the edge of the glades.

At Henhurst Pond , a few Azure Damselflies seen and a brief look at a Moorhen family on the edge of the reedbed, seemed oblivious to the number of dogs slashing around in the pond.

Moorhen family

26th May -  Feels like summers here another beautiful morning with early morning sunshine, the Dog Rose's are flowering and adding a splash of colour to the hedgerows.

Not so many Butterflies today a few Speckled Woods, and two Common Blue, no sign of the Small Copper seen the other day.

Speckled Wood
Along the edge of the glades I disturbed my first Cinnabar Moth of the year, which led  me on a merry dance through the long grass as I tried to get a photograph.

Cinnabar Moth
24th May - Beautiful sunny morning where the emphasis was on Butterflies today, almost the first Butterfly seen which on first glance I thought was a Small Heath turned out to be a Small Copper, the first one I have seen here at Ashenbank woods, unfortunately I fumbled the shot which was very frustrating. Together with the Small Copper which was very restless and flew out of sight was a Common Blue Butterfly.

Common Blue

Along the trails two pairs of 'battling' Speckled Woods were seen, an attempt to photograph them in flight wasn't that successful, all the butterfly's seen today were very active.

Speckled Woods engaged in supremacy tussle.
Around the glades three Little Heath Butterfly's were seen and one Peacock. so five species today which is more than I have seen here on any one day so far.
the list so far for 2017 is as follows :-
Small Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Large White
Speckled Wood.
Small Copper
Common Blue
Small Heath
Painted Lady

These little 'Spiderlings  caught my eye today probably the offspring of the Common Cross or Garden spider

22nd May -Its that time of year again where woodland birds are getting hard to see, I did manage to get some good views of a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the old Little Owl Tree, Two Chiffchaffs gave some good views , but not much else, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Mistle thrush and Great Tit, Blackcaps could be heard singing but out of sight. The only Butterfly seen was a single Peacock, I did notice last years Honey Bee nest was very active once again.

This beautiful Copper Beech caught my eye the only one on the edge of the country park.

Copper Beech
Lots of Red Campion around the woodland and glades, strangely just one example of White Campion could be seen.

Red Campion
White or Bladder Campion.
20th May -  A beautiful morning, sun shining, I had high hopes for some butterfly sightings today, but disappointingly only a single sighting of a Large white which gave me the opportunity of a photograph.

Large White
Just a single Swift today hawking low over the glades, Blackcap singing but not seen.

19th May - Managed a quick walk around the woodlands between showers seeing three Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon and Magpie, a single Chiffchaff was heard calling, around the glades a small flock of Long tailed Tits were disturbed from the edge of the woodland, three Linnit and two Swift hawking over the glades, a Collared dove was seen up near the horse paddocks.
Three or four Early Bumblebee male were drinking nectar from a huge Cow Parsley plant on the edge of the fields, no Butterflies seen today.

Early Bumblebee male

15th May -  Some light rain for this mornings walk which for a change is quite welcome especially for the garden. No butterfly or Bee sightings this morning due to the damp weather, but a cacophony of bird song which made it interesting trying to pick out individual bird song, definitely heard Song Thrush, Robin, Wren and Blackcap. Other birds noted were two Swallows hawking over the glades, a Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow and two Cormorants flying over Jeskyns park .

 10th May - Temperatures creeping up today, not many Butterflies on show at the moment just one Red Admiral, same with Bumblebees just this very cold looking Red Tailed Bumblebee.

Red Tailed Bumblebee
Birds today included Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Great Tit,  female Blackcap, Green Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, two Whitethroats seen today, one in the reeds of the overgrown Ashenbank Pond. ChiffChaff heard,but not seen.

Common Whitethroat at Ashenbank pond.

 9th May - After a warm city break in Rome it was back to the  low temperatures of  this years late spring. in fact my old fleece was required for this mornings walk.
The woodlands are carpeted in Bluebells at the moment, I saw this distant Blackbird silhouetted against the Bluebells as I walked along the trails.

Other birds noted today were many Blackcaps singing unseen in the now leaf covered trees, the odd Chiffchaff could be heard but again not seen. not too many birds were on show a few Mistle Thrushs, Wren, Robin, Great Tit and Magpie. along the edge of the woodland a very brief glimpse of a Common Whitethroat before it disappeared into the thicket.

Common Whitethroat
Small flock of Jackdaws  moving through the long grass in the meadows.