Tuesday, 31 August 2010

ogden reservoir-in pendle country

For a lack of anything to do today we went to pendle country for a walk. when we got there we decided that we would walk to Ogden reservoir high in the moors. Bird life was, rather sadly, quite poor but I did manage to find some goldfinches feeding on some thistles.

Luckily I managed to find a butterfly That I had been seeking for some time now, wall brown. I have needed a photo of these to help complete my butterfly photo collection. They used to come into the garden occasionally but since I realised I have needed a photo, As so often happens, the wretched things disappear, just like magpies. Luckily, wall browns are much nicer than magpies and this one sat sunbathing for me to take some photos, although it flew away pretty swiftly!

Halfway round the reser My dad noticed a thistle that was covered in moths. Although they are rather shabby compared to the ones we trap, you can clearly see that these are antler moths, turning into rather a local speciality.

And as you can see, there were an awful lot of them. From what I know, I would not say that these were day flying moths so what they were doing risking and appearance here quite beggars belief.

overall quite a poor day but catching the wll brown before the season ends was a big bonus, leaving only orange tip to get of the species that I have seen, and their season is already well over. I could also do with brimstone, painted lady and holly blue photos seeing as those I already have are quite poor. But thats really the point of record shots, for them to be rubbish!

3 wednesdays ago tomorrow

our almost, you could say, annual trip to Burnsal bridge in north Yorkshire. equipped with fishing nets and a plastic fish tank (since the glass one broke). First though we went for a walk up the river for a walk. as soon as the path ended on the concrete ridge and because more natural, we spotted a dipper sheltering from the rain. Luckily it was quite bold, either that or the rain
drowned out all other sounds.

No sooner had I finished with the dipper, I noticed a spotted flycatcher in the trees above. They are quite reliable at this site with my best ever spotted fly encounter here. So its always nice to see them.
Then one was joined by another which was also quite nice...
The rest of the walk up passed quite uneventful with only a brief appearance by a grey wagtail. luckily the rain started to stop and so it became a lot more enjoyable. On the way back, however, we managed to spy a goosander socialising with the mallards quite close to our bank.
Then further down river we found another one and this time the sun was out allowing me to get some much better photos of goosanders. I think this bird is a female but I cant really tell because all the birds look the same at the minuet because of the moult. I learnt this when a guy came into b.o.g to talk to us about goosanders.

At the duck feeding area where we went fishing we spotted another bird that is common at this site which is mandarin. This one was sat up on the raised bank with the mallards so was quite easy to photograph.
Fishing-wise we didn't catch any crayfish but had a bumper catch of 10 minnows and at least 1 giant stone loach, plus several baby's. there were also lots of bullheads but due to the state of the tank that we had put them in I couldn't really take any photos.

Friday, 20 August 2010

elland gravel pits tuesday morning, when it was sunny!!

A bright crisp morning greeted me, and, as a result, decided to go and do something I had been planning all week, but the weather had not yet presented an oppertunity. That is, to get round to a birding site in calderdale via public transpot. My chosen place was elland gravel pits becuase I can imagine that it is much easier to get to than many of our upland reservoirs. elland is not exceptional for birds but there are many great insects and so a sunny day was required. By 9.00 in the morning I had planned my route, although I was still a bit nervous in case I caught the wrong bus. I managed to get there but with a bit of walking to do which dissapointed me. I had been hoping for a more direct route there considering that there was a bus stop right outside the enterance!

I was sson within the grounds of the reserve when the wildlife began to show. a first I spotted a brown hawker in the trees but as I drifted away from the tarmaced paths and into the woods I found myself surrounded by brown hawkers and Speckled woods!

Sadly none of the brown hawkers would stay still for a photo so I still needed a record shot. luckily another species which I needed a record shot for was showing quite well, the gatekeeper butterfly. I had been seeing quite a lot of these recently but only when i did not have the camera so, seeing as though now I did, I began to take some photos!

I continued walking and flushed a flock of long-tailed tits out of the trees to my right. I noticed a large gap through the bolsom to the riverside and decided to go and have a look down there. It was there that I managed to find my one and only landed brown hawker, hidden amongst the bolsom. Sadly it flew off before I could take any more, better, photos than this.

I drifted off towards where I found a large grassy meadow where I found another butterfly that I needed a photo of, the small heath. It took a while for it to settle but soon I was able to get the shots I wanted. Now, for brown butterflys anyway, I only need a wall brown record shot!

As I left I stumbled across another gatekeeper that was, luckily, less flighty and allowed me to get some more photos!

tradicaly the bus stop outside the enterance to egp was an hourly bus to brighouse so that was not much good. luckily my mum was in the area after going shopping so she came to pick me up. As I was waiting I managed to find some more rufous grasshoppers. I have seen so many recently that i can now identify them by their song!

moth trap out on tuesday night

Testing out my dads new, home made moth trap with some pretty interesting success. with help from the calderdale moth squad I can now put a name to all the species that we caught! Thanks once again to them!

large yellow underwing

Dark arches

Flame arches

And our old favourite the antler moth which frequently turns up in our garden etc.
as you can see, quite a decent haul for a first time!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

castle howard arboretum-last wednesday

So, here we go. Posting that I should have completed last Wednesday but am here, a complete week later, filling in the gaps. Never mind, however. Last Wednesday was a broken cloudy warm but windy type of day, so the weather was decent enough. The place we were going to was an arboretum (a tree museum) but luckily it had some lakes, although the foreign trees and vast expanses of lawn probably meant that there was not going to be much going in the way of birdlife. I decided to go straight to the lakes, as they were quite close to the entrance. I managed to spot 2 darter type dragonflys as the buzzed away from me but I was unable to pin any identification. The first dragonfly I got a really good look at was a female common darter which I found on the shore of the second lake which was adjacent to the first. It was quite docile and so I was able to take a great deal of photos.

I also, at this point, spotted a very large buzzard flying over the place but I was too slow to get any pictures which is a shame really because it was flying so low, I'm sure that they would have come out great. Anyway, around the edge of the second lake I managed to find a budlia plant which is always popular with butterflys. There were plenty of vaneselids there but the most exciting for me was when a group of about 5 large whites flew in. You can really tell what they were and not just any white because they were so big, enormous. It is a species that I really did need a record shot off (although now having confirmed a sighting, I doubt that any of my previous records were genuine)

I also managed to track down some more rufous grasshoppers in the long grass, which is actually the only grasshopper that I can identify.

There was a small pond that was situated before the main lake and so I decided to go and have a look there to see if there were any darters to try and take photos of. There were two male common darters flying about but, sadly they were a little hard to photograph because they didn't stay still.

I got chatting to some people who said that they had just possibly seen their first dark-green fritilary feeding on some of the marsh plants. I didn't catch up with it but they also said that there were a lot of dragonflys sheltering behind some long grass so I headed off there. There were indeed a great deal of common darters resting in the long grass and a check of similar habitats around the lake-shore provided similar results. I wont explain all these photos individually but they are all common darters and they were taken near some long grass.

Eventually I decided to look elsewhere for more dragonflys. I soon learnt that the dragonflys also liked to roost by the recently cut, dried, brown grass by the very edge of the lake and so managed to take even more great shots.

However the dragonflys by the lakeside were slightly more nervous that the ones in the long grass so I decided to return to the long grass and that is where the next series of photographs were taken!

But it was not just dragonflys that were roosting down by the lakeside grass as there many peacocks, red admirals and even a few speckled woods. I also managed to find a pair of common blue damseflys.

There was a third pond listed on the information map, although it was only small so I decided to head off over that way before lunch to have a look. just as I reached last clump of foreign trees before it a hawker dragonfly flew out of nowhere. This hawker however had brown wings and so I automatically new that it was a brown hawker, my first, and was worth chasing. I followed it everywhere Until I lost it, it still not having settled. I made my way to the pond, just round the corner, to find two of them plus a common hawker. I tried my hardest to get some record shots but I eventually lost them.
There was, however, plenty more to keep interest alive for example this large bee-fly that was feeding on a thistle.
and on the path there were lots of ruddy darters which were my first this year...

On my way back from the pong, towards lunch,I managed to find the first notable bird of the day. This juvenile green woodpecker which is actually the first I have seen since I got this new camera! So these below are record shots (as you can probably tell)

After lunch I went back to the darter place where the darters live and was not disappointed by yet more, common darters.

However a new butterfly had roosted on the cut grass, a painted lady which is my first of the season and (shamefully given the numbers last year) my record shot!

By the time we were ready to go home the darters had started roosting gin the trees, at eye level, allowing me to get some even better photos! what a finish to the day!