Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The weather today was identical to yesterday, sunny spells, scattered cloud and a bit of a breeze.

A CUCKOO was seen over the College Stables as I was walking home from work, it was being mobbed by a dozen SWALLOWS, so it alighted in a nearby Ash Tree, where it began to call. Further on, the LINNETS were again feeding on the dandelion heads in the paddocks at Migrant alley, and above a SPARROWHAWK flew over.

This afternoons visit to the Scrubby Woods and lakes wasn't undertaken with the greatest of enthusiasm, after yesterdays quiet visit, but if you dont get out you dont see things! I first checked the lake, and found one of the adult COOTS out in the open, plus just one each of MALLARD and MOORHEN. I lazily counted the CANADA GEESE, and got to 15, and it wasn't until I checked with my binoculars to count the 5 Goslings with one of them, that I noticed that one of the Canada Geese was in a fact the feral BARNACLE GOOSE (63) ! That will teach me not to check everything out, nearly missed out on a new species for the month :-)

Once in the woods, I listened again for the Garden warbler, but it just isn't happening this spring :-( It's already 5 days past the mean arrival date for the previous nine years, but on the positive side in 2003 and 2004 the Garden warbler wasn't recorded until the 17 and 23rd respectively. Whilst listening, a Cuckoo called, and the TURTLE DOVE, CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP, SONGTHRUSH, and more surprisingly a TREECREEPER all sang. Eventually I got round to the Butterflies, Damselflies, of the latter I once again saw Azure, White Legged, Large Red, and Beautiful Demoiselle, but the latter keep getting away from me, flying up to a high tree on my approach!

I noticed the first Bramble flowers were out, always a good butterfly attractant, and I encountered Small and Large White, Comma, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, and Orange Tip on or around them. However, I was absolutely thrilled to bits when i saw my first patch Green Hairstreak come flitting by ( a lifer butterfly in fact!) I have been seeking one of these little gems for years, and at last I have found one :-)

Above and below - Green Hairstreak, not the best photo's, but I was so excited I didn't care!

These Brown Argus ( or are they Common Blue females Greenie? I forgot to check the underwing ! ) were seen later as I walked home across the Tree Nursery. Edit, Greenie reckons the one below s a probable Female Common Blue, I though as much ;-)

Below is another Azure Damselfly

I found this young Grass snake in the scrubby woods, you can see how small it was by comparing it to the rabbit droppings nearby - I say 'was' because unfortunately it was dead!!

Lastly, a distant, and into the sun view of the Barnacle Goose. It might be a feral bird, but it keeps my monthly list ticking over, only 9 behind the best May tally now!


ShySongbird said...

Well done on both the Barnacle Goose and the Green Hairstreak Warren! You are not the only one who has been looking for them ;) I think they are such a lovely and unusual colour.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Shame about the snake Warren but are you sure it was dead and not just bluffing?
Great one with GH couldn't find any the other day but was v.v.v. windy



Warren Baker said...

Thanks Songbird, they are much better in real life than in my photo :-)

Warren Baker said...


It was upside down with a wound on its abdomen when I found it. Do they play dead then ?

Anonymous said...

I`ll stick to saying well done on the Green Hairstreak and not the Barnie, Warren ;-)

Marc Heath said...

Lovely Grass Snake shot, well done and always good to get a Green Hairstreak.

Derek Faulkner said...

I had a Broad-bodied Chaser in my garden this afternoon.
Do you add feral pigeons and the like to your lists as well.

Warren Baker said...

As the Grass snake was dead, I was able to choose the pose, light and distance of the shot :-)

Warren Baker said...

No I don't count feral Pigeons. I have the likes of Egyptian Goose and ring neck parrakeet though

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Well done with the GH , at last , you'll probably see a hatful of them now you've broken the duck .
You know my views on THAT Goose !
Re.your two BA/CBs , the top one is a male BA , the one below I would say was a female CB .
Re. your Grass Snake and your comment , yes they do sometimes 'play possum' then move off once you've gone , but not if they have a puncture wound in the abdomen !

Derek Faulkner said...

We don't include feral pigeons on our lists, or the feral farmyard geese, and nobody bothers to record pheasant or Red-legs either because they're only from released stock.

Mike said...

Nice collection as always Warren.

Jason K said...

Congrats on the Green Hairstreak Warren...an absolutely top drawer addition to your patch!

Alan Pavey said...

So that's where the Barnacle has gone :-) I am Green with envy, would like to find one of those little beauties at Sissinghurst!