Sunday, 29 September 2013

Uni Week 1

So obviously I have been busy and so have not really had time to update this blog. Uni has been good so far but there was been a limited amount of wildlife. I am staying in a rather green area of Sheffield, which bodes well but so far there has not been much about, except in the way of fungi which have been in excess! I did however go for a walk on the edge of the peak district through church so I have been able to see some things that way. Most notably was that there were a flock of around 5 swallows hunting, which will probably be my last this year. I also found a handful of meadow pipits as well as your usual carrion crows. So it has been a good start and hopefully we will continue to find plenty of birds. I have joined the bird-watching society so hopefully through there I will also get to visit some other sites further afield.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The departure

So off we go to uni. Its goodbye my beloved Halifax for a little while anyway. And then, just as we were setting off would you believe what was on my mums budlia bush as we pulled out? it was a beautiful painted lady butterfly. Once more I lacked a camera and had other priorities at that exact moment but even so it was a bit sickening to see, this species that I still need a photo off, especially after missing one less than a week ago...
  So thats two in a week when they really should have started to migrate back, when I have lacked them for the past 2 years!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Walking to town

Walking into Halifax today for a goodbye meal with some friends prior to leaving for uni and I spotted a monster Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar, my first of the year. It seems to me to be out rather late but it seemed to be doing ok and getting ready to pupate any time soon.
  The only other thing I noticed on my walk was that there were still a few swallows hunting the lane in bradshaw park. These I recall are the last I have seen this year at the time writing (24.09.2013).

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Soil Hill

-Wall Brown
I had a brief walk round the hill this afternoon. It certainly had more going for it than it has done recently. On the bird front there were good numbers of skylarks, around 30 birds flushed, and about 15 meadow pipits to go along with them. There were also a few swallows hunting the road on the way up, as well as a kestrel hunting the fields lower down. There was a flock goldfinches on the thistles again, but they were much flightier today. On the insect front I had two firsts on the year with butterflies: Wall brown which I got a decent view of, as it roosted on a dry stone wall, and painted lady, which I did not get a good view of as it flew around me and then chose not to land, but overall a good day.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Soil Hill

There was a continued lack of birds on the hill today, surprise surprise. And because of the clouds and wind there was also a lack of insects, only one small tortoiseshell butterfly. On the bird front I flushed one meadow pipit and about 6 skylarks. On the way up I flush a flock of around 20 goldfinches, which was the undoubted highlight.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Bradshaw Park

Walking through Bradshaw park today on my way to town and at some water filled tyre tracks I was pleased to find a large flock of swallows gathering for their migration, as well as a group of 5 or 6 meadow pipits. The swallows were hunting above the pool as well as gathered on the wires above, they totalled around 40 birds. They meadow pipits were washing themselves and skulking around the dry stone wall. It was very nice to see, and so far the latest swallows I have seen this year.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


Went for a walk today in Ilkely today with my family, since I would be leaving soon. Saw plenty of things on the walk, grey wagtail, dipper and heron, though the kingfisher was the highlight. We spotted it several times on the walk.


Monday, 9 September 2013

Garden Speckled Wood

Its happened before, but its not frequent so when a speckled wood turned up in the garden it was very exciting. It did not really stay for photos, so the best I could manage was this, on the bird table. Its not brilliant but it will do as a record shot for the second record

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Soil Hell

Since it was a nice warm day with little breeze I decided to wander up to soil hell again to see if there would be anything. On the way up, via the fields I found 3 small coppers, which I would have thought would have been quite late in the season, though the number suggested not.
-Small Copper
There was more on the bird front today as well. On the way up by after the fields there was a large flock of Goldfinch feeding on thistles by the roadside, and with them there were a pair of linnets, which is a bird that the hill has been lacking recently. Other species included good numbers of Skylark, a few meadow pipits, 3 woodpigeons, a few carrion crows and a kestrel hunting.
Once more the hill excelled on the dragonfly front, so long as there are dragonflies there, it will excell in that department. There were only 2 individuals up there today, but both were different species: Common Darter and Black Darter, both males. The common darter was much more flighty than the black darter but I managed to get a record shot for the hill.
-Common Darter Male
It took me some time to pin down the black darter but once I found where it was staying still then I was able to get some photos of it. At first I went for the stealth approach, but soon it did not seem too fussed about me being there and I could approach it with ease.
-Male Black Darter
So another productive couple of hours on the hill...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Bolton Abbey

We decided to go to Bolton Abbey today since it was a nice day, though very humid. There were quite a few insects about and that was why we saw lots of swallows and house martins hunting on the river as soon as we reached it. Some must have also been drinking from it given how much water they were throwing up, either that or their aim was poor.
As we walked along the riverside we flushed a brown hawker dragonfly. It landed and I tried to track it down but flushed it again and it moved off so I was unable to get a photo
In my pursuit though I did find a couple of small coppers, which I would have thought were quite late. They were very approachable and I was able to get some good photos of them.
-Small copper
Up by the bridge we found a good number of wagtails hunting on the shingle beach, both pied and grey, as well as one dipper perched on the far side of the river.
-Grey Wagtail
We made it to the cafe without anything else particularly exciting. At the cafe there were the usual Mallards and feral pigeons about. The feral pigeons were very bold and they would sit on the tables picking up crumbs once the people had left their trays.
-Feral Pigeon
Walking back was just as unevetful until we reached the bridge again. Here we found an obviously very sick, but very large and colourful caterpillar on the path. We moved it off the path and I took some photos for i.d. It appears to have some kind of fungal growth on its back end, but I have no idea what it is.
A little further down the river we found three mandarins sheltering under a tree on the far side of the river. There was also a female goosander hunting in the river. It was quite bold too, not flying away at the first sight of us, and happily continued fishing.
And so we end where we began, with a large number of swallows and martins hunting the river. There seemed to be more on the way back, and the numbers were quite something.
-House Martins
And so we headed back to the car, the only other thing of note was a speckled wood butterfly which we found flying along the path