Thursday, 28 July 2011

More moths and a new Odo

Yet another good moth trap (another Light Crimson Underwing included), plus a new Odo in the form of Ruddy Darter, found during Geoff and Elaine's visit. Also Greenshank at Rockford Lake and the first Wigeon back on Snails Lake.

Ruddy Darter


Mullein Wave

Mouse Moth


Beautiful Yellow Underwing

Garden Tiger

Small Rivulet

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

All systems go

A cracking wildlife day in the garden started with our best ever moth trap - 130+ moths of 40+ species, including our very own Light Crimson Underwing (a Red Data Book species in our garden!), Poplar and Sallow Kitten, Lime-speck Pug, Reddish Light Arches and Twin-spotted Wainscot.

Light Crimson Underwing

Supporting the cause....

Lime-speck Pug

Twin-spotted Wainscot

Maiden's Blush

The last act of the day trumped even that, however - a dusk vigil out on the patio, and an unmistakable silhouette flew right over the top of us - NIGHTJAR! Fantastic - 104 for the garden.

Monday, 25 July 2011

More local megas!

Some really top insect action on the Reserve today - Bob called us with news of a LESSER EMPEROR on Ellingham Pound (only poor photos so far), and was able to show us our first ever Light Crimson Underwing in his trap!

More moths....and foxes

More recent moth activity, plus a wacky "pink morph" Meadow Grasshopper....and some inevitable Fox shots!

Yellowtail Moth

Tawny-barred Angle - lifer!

Evergestis pallidata - a Pyralid lifer

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

And another one bites the dust!

Yet another new species - the fourth for July - finally, a Peregrine flew over this afternoon. And no less than a life Orthoptera tick - Roesel's Bush-cricket (at last!) in the long grass in the field.

Also a couple more recent snaps:

Yet another Reynard special - this one down to eight feet on the patio.

Swallow Prominent - new for The Willows

Monday, 18 July 2011

More newbies - 102 up and mammal photos

Two new bird species this week - both waders. Julia had a pair of Oystercatchers flying over, and today a Greenshank flew high overhead, calling.

But the photo action has been mammalian and nocturnal - Badgers! And Foxes! Just fantastic to enjoy these two flagship mammals up close and regular, right in front of the patio door. Some decent moth traps of late have also turned up some good 'uns, the best of which was probably the very scarce and local Cloaked Carpet.

Buff Arches

Cloaked Carpet

True Lovers' Knot

The Miller

Small Phoenix

And a bonus Frog Orchid, photographed at Martin Down.... a Dark Green Fritillary, also at Martin Down

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

More remote camera success - and some!

Last night we set the camera trap up for video rather than stills - and got a massive surprise when we checked the files this morning! BADGERS! Not just one, but five of them snuffling about by the feeders - and in one video sequence, there's a Fox in the frame as well! A garden tick - but more than that - just fabulous.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Ton up! 100 birds completed - plus Foxes and more

Success! On Julia's birthday, you have to say rather unexpectedly, came bird species no. 100 - a Stock Dove flew over and joined two others with Wood Pigeons in the horse field. Yippee! Still no Peregrine, however....

Foxes have been regular for some weeks now, feeding on cheap catfood we've been putting out, but Julia's birthday present camera trap proved for the first time the presence of not one but TWO at the same time!

Baby birds and families have been a big feature too - notably Jays (up to four at a time on the bird table) and Great Spotted Woodpecker. At least two broods of Blue Tits were reared successfully, and there's an occupied House Martin nest under the eaves as we write.

Moths have been good too - lots of hawk moths, plus various local or scarce species, such as Lilac Beauty, Bordered Beauty, Lobster Moth and Minor Shoulder-knot. There was even a day-nectaring Hummingbird Hawk-moth on our new Verbena bonariensis!

Lilac Beauty

Beautiful Hook-tip

Blood Vein

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Long time no blog - part 2: wildlife

The garden bird count has inched ever closer to the magic century - we're on 99! 98 was an unseen Reed Warbler singing towards Linbrook Lake, and 99 was a flyover Mediterranean Gull, picked up on call.

But more of a feature has been the explosion of baby birds - we managed at least one and probably two broods of Blue Tits from our boxes/soffit boards, and our feeders are being thronged by Blue and Great Tit families, Nuthatch juniors, Great Spotted Woodpecker squeakers and even House Sparrow neonates - plus more besides. Mallard are regular on and near the pond, and we even had a pair of Gadwall drop in there one evening. On the reserve, it's been all about breeding action too - Common Terns are doing well (and regularly overfly the garden) and the Sand Martins are as abundant as they've ever been. On the downside, we've had just one Hobby sighting this spring.

Great Crested Grebe - the male from the breeding pair on Ivy Lake

Sand Martins doing what they do!

Insects have been well-represented - the dragonfly list has boomed, with Four-spotted Chaser, Broad-bodied Chaser, Red-eyed, Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselflies on the pond, plus a superb Downy Emerald on the Reserve, and Hairy Dragonfly.

Downy Emerald at 1/1500th of a second

Four-spotted Chaser

Moth trapping has been fair - a full season's report will follow later! For now:

Pebble Hook-tip

Apart from the inevitable Rabbit population boom (not too much damage so far, touch wood!), the mammal highlights have been several Moles (all but one dead, alas, and the live one seen by Julia only - Simon still needs Mole as a lifer!) and undoubtedly two regular Foxes, one a chunky dog, the other a very slim young vixen, we think, who has been coming to feed right by the patio under floodlight. Fantastic stuff.

Baby Bunny

I'm ready for my close-up now!