Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Another sweltering day, and another early start to beat the heat!

I spent the first two hours of my visit this morning checking out the Greenhouse Grounds and walking a circuit of the sheep pasture and paddocks at Migrant Alley, where I also had a 40 minute sky watch from my seat there.

The three KESTREL youngsters were all together, perched on one of the out buildings at the Greenhouse Grounds, where singles of WHITETHROAT and BLACKCAP sang, apart from that it was all very still and quiet, the peace only occasionally being broken by the sound of a WREN or BLACKBIRD.

The hope of an early Wheatear, or maybe a more exciting passage migrant was not realised as I scanned the fence lines and paddocks of Migrant Alley, I wonder if anything will drop in here now that the place has been partly trashed by the College building the football pitch  :-(  There were plenty of ROOKS and JACKDAWS though, and a pair of HERRING GULLS sat on the bare earth that will be the football pitch. At least 2 dozen SWALLOWS were up feeding over the sheep pasture, and STARLING numbers increased as the morning progressed, with at least 60 birds flocking up.

My sky watch didn't produce many species, but as well as a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, GREY HERON and a couple of SWIFTS, it also produced the first sighting of a PEREGRINE (63) this month, which flew south across the area.

I was over at the Scrubby Woods by 09:00hrs, getting there early in the hope of finding a Purple Hairstreak Butterfly low enough to photograph, but before sitting and waiting for that to happen I had a quick scan of the lakes, which paid off today as I saw a COMMON TERN (64) fishing on the main lake - a real scarce bird to find here and although this is the 3rd record of one this year, they are by no means an annual occurrence on my patch, the months list moves on again! The Common Tern takes it to 64 species now, a tally achieved in the Julys of both 2006 and 2010, and puts this July in joint 5th place out of 12  :-)

I stood in the shade of an Oak whilst waiting for any sign of a Purple hairstreak, and before long I spotted a butterfly float down onto the vegetation, but it wasn't my quarry, it was in fact my first Gatekeeper of the year - very nice  :-)
Gatekeeper Butterfly - first of the year
Half an hour passed, and I was wondering about moving on, but I then saw the silvery flutter of a small butterfly, it alighted over in some tall vegetation, and I was only able to get a shot from 2 meters away, before it flew off again and was lost to view, but at least I got a photo and achieved my goal .
Purple Hairstreak, I'll get a decent photo of one at some point this summer  :-)
I waited for another half hour, but no further sightings were had, however I did get some Damselfly photo's, and a shot of a Meadow brown with it's wings open, something I rarely see them do!
Meadow Brown
White-legged Damselfly, the males are ''blueing'' up nicely now
White-legged Damselfly
Not totally sure of this one, I reckon its an immature female Blue Tailed Damselfly.
Immature female Blue Tailed Damselfly ?
On the walk back home I saw my first COMMON BUZZARD since the 10th soaring over the Wet Woods, being mobbed by one of the Kestrels.


Phil said...

Well done with PH and first Gatekeeper Warren. Had a very brief encounter with the former today.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Well done with getting the PH , I'm still waiting .
Touche with the Gatekeeper .
Wouldn't argue with your immature female Blue-tailed Damselfly , probably to become form rufescens .

Warren Baker said...

Ta Phil,
PH are usually only encountered briefly!

Warren Baker said...

Thanks Greenie,
I was going to mention the word 'Rufescens' but thought better of it :-)

Marc Heath said...

Nice shots today Warren, those White legged are looking tempting again.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Marc,
The field where we saw the WL Damsels has been cropped now, and few are seen there. However there are a few more in the Woods I took you to, wont be about for long though!

Pete Woodruff said...

I had Meadow Brown & my first Gatekeeper up here in't north yesterday Warren, c.60/c.20 respectfully.