SUMMARY OF THE BIRDS AND WILDLIFE SEEN IN THE PARK AND LOCAL AREA IN AUGUST 2012
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PM- I had a walk back through the park after work and encountered several butterflies with the following species seen: Large White (5), Small White (3), Peacock (1), Red Admiral (15), Meadow Brown (3), Holly Blue (2), Speckled Wood (30+ with good numbers along the canal) and Brimstone (2, along Brimstone Alley). Several dragonflies were also seen- Brown Hawker (6+), Migrant Hawker (8+, see below), Southern Hawker (5+), Common Darter (10+) and Ruddy Darter (3). Good numbers of Willow Emerald Damselflies were found with at least 30 counted along with numerous Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies.
AM- Gi Grieco was in the park this morning and saw a Grey Heron on the dead tree above Pond 1 also in this area were four Jays and a Green Woodpecker. Around the Old Bat Roost, Gi located at least two Chiffchaffs and a female Blackcap. Out on the meadow he heard at least two Roesel's Bush Crickets giving their unique call (click this link to hear the call http://www.avisoft.com/sounds/metr_roe.wav). Whilst searching for this insect Gi also found a Wasp Spider on her nest. Several dragonflies were on the wing with Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker and Southern Hawker also seen.
Early AM- A walk through the park this morning had me looking up high into the sky at a wader that had flown over. As it passed over the meadows it began to call and I was sure that it was Spotted Redshank. Checking later at home I was able to confirm the identification and as such add SPOTTED REDSHANK to the park's bird list. This passage migrant breeds high up in northern Europe and winters in Africa. Following breeding the females return to their chosen wintering grounds in late June followed by the males in late July/ August. Juveniles normally pass through the UK in August. This sighting means that the park list now stands at 123 with my own list now at 106 and with 77 species seen this year.
Late PM- A Tawny Owl was calling from the Conservation area.
AM/PM Sarah Kilshaw was in Holywells Park today and noticed two pairs of Willow Emerald Damselflies in tandem. One pair were by the Paddling Pool and the other by the moat pond. Of interest, she also saw a pair of Common Darters copulating on the gate going into the Conservation Area. Sarah also saw Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawkers and Common Blue Damselfly in the Paddling Pool area. A Whitethroat was also seen in this area.
Parrish Colman had a good time exploring Holywells Park today. He recorded several Migrant Hawker and Brown Hawker dragonflies around the Paddling Pool area along with numerous Common Darters. Parrish also found at least a dozen Willow Emerald Damselflies and he recorded them in a variety of areas including the Stable Block green to the orchard and along the canal. The macro photo below of a Common Darter's head shows the frons, which is the most prominent part of a dragonfly's face. Of note are the brownish eyes above, yellowish green below and the single solid black line above the frons. In Ruddy Darter, this solid black line extends across and down the sides of the frons. You can also see the yellowish line on the black legs again identifying it as a Common Darter, Ruddy Darters have entirely black legs.
Several butterflies were also seen including a male Common Blue (below) in the Kissing Gate Lane meadow along with plenty of Speckled Woods and Large Whites.
Late afternoon- I had a quick check of the quieter areas of the park and in the Orchard I found a large tit flock comprising some 30 birds and made up of Long-tailed, Blue, Great and Coal Tits along with at least three Chiffchaffs and two Blackcaps. I followed the flock until it reached the Old Bat Roost compound and then realised that there were more warblers present in this general area. At least two Whitethroats, another three Chiffchaffs and a pair of Willow Warblers were found and a probable Garden Warbler remained very elusive in a dense bramble clump.
Chiffchaff above, Whitethroat below.
Whilst waiting for this warbler to reappear I noticed a small bird flycatching in a small Oak. Watching it through binoculars I noted that it was a small and compact flycatcher, brownish above and buff below. It had blackish wings with a very noticeable white bar. A first-winter plumaged Pied Flycatcher (P 105, Y 76). I was really pleased to see this bird as it is a species that I had long hoped to find in the park. It remained very mobile and generally elusive and it was last seen along the hedge line between the bowling green and the allotments at 1600hrs.
Lunchtime- Matt Berry managed to locate a Wasp Spider (see below) in the park which is a really good find. They are quite common on Landseer Park but very few are seen in Holywells Park.
In addition, Matt found several Willow Emerald Damselflies and a variety of the Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis conspicua) as seen below.
Late this afternoon Parrish Colman alerted me to the fact that he had located a male Banded Demoiselle (below top-Parrish Colman, below bottom, me) along the Moat edge and as I was already in the park I joined him. We managed to find a second male and together enjoyed these stunning but rare park damselflies. Other odonata recorded were Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Willow-emerald Damselfly and Common Blue Damselfly. A few butterflies were also seen- Large White, Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Comma and Peacock.
At lunchtime, Matt Berry also recorded Brown Hawker and Common Darter and this pair of Willow Emerald Damselflies in tandem.
Late PM- A Tawny Owl was calling from the Conservation Area on Cliff Lane at 2300hrs.
PM- I had a quick hour in Holywells Park this evening and unfortunately my first encounter with nature was the finding of yet another dead Little Egret along the Canal Path. I'm not sure what had led to it's demise but there were feathers scattered everywhere. Along the canal were seven Mandarins and on the Canal Pond a Grey Heron was noted. Around the Paddling Pool was a single Brown Hawker dragonfly and several damselflies (Willow Emerald 5, Blue-tailed 10, and Common Blue 20). Another Brown Hawker was over the Moat Pond and out over the meadows were at least five Migrant Hawkers. Checking for butterflies revealed- Large White (3), Red Admiral (2), Speckled Wood (2) and Meadow Brown (10). I had a look around the usual places for migrant birds and found at least three Chiffchaffs in the Old Bat Roost area and a Common Whitethroat along the allotment fence line. Several House Martins and Swallows were seen overhead and a single Greenshank passed over calling.
Parrish Colman was in the park today during the early afternoon and recorded both Brown Hawker dragonflies and Willow Emerald Damselflies. He also photographed the male Common Darter below.
A walk around Holywells Park this morning proved very successful for dragonflies. Up to eight Brown Hawkers were seen, including four that were seen fighting with each other in the Walled Garden and then amongst the Cherry Trees. Common Darters (see below)were everywhere with perhaps 50+ seen. Many of these were in their teneral stage so perhaps the recent warm spell has caused a fairly large emergence. A lone male Migrant Hawker was also seen and three Ruddy Darters were noted along the Canal Path. A dozen Willow Emerald Damselflies were in amongst the vegetation surrounding the Paddling Pool and both Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies wers also recorded here.
Butterflies seen: Large White (10), Small White (5), Green-veined White (10), Holly Blue (5) see below, Speckled Wood (10), Red Admiral (1), Peacock (2), Brimstone (1), Comma (5), Meadow Brown (5) and Gatekeeper (5). Both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were seen over the park along with a small gathering (20+) of House Martins and Swallows.
I had a nice walk around Landseer Park for a couple of hours today and enjoyed several close encounters with Brown Hawkers and Migrant Hawkers. Common Darters (m+f) were also seen amongst the Rosebay Willowherb.
Butterflies seen were: Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Large Skipper, Comma, Speckled Wood (see above), Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Peacock (see below top) and Brimstone (see below bottom).
Along the lower path on the Landseer Road side I found a 1st year Willow Warbler and a trio of Chiffchaffs.
Holywells Park- Parrish Colman visited the park today and captured some great images of damselflies- Common Blue above, Willow Emerald below.
PM update- A late afternoon visit to Holywells Park added two species of butterfly- Purple Hairstreak and Red Admiral (see below) making 14 for the day (add a Brimstone in my garden and that's 15 species!) I had a look for migrant birds too and was pleased to find at least five Chiffchaffs and three Blackcaps in and around the Old Bat Roost area. In addition, I also found a 1st year Willow Warbler (Yr 74) which was a great record and my first in the park this year and I also heard and saw my first Greenshank (Yr 75)of the Autumn.
AM- A quick blitz around Holywells this morning before heading to work. A Little Egret was hunting the margins of Pond 3 before flying to the Moat. A second Little Egret flew west over the park. A Common Tern was heard calling and was then seen cutting across the Orchard presumably heading to the Wet Dock. Nine Goldfinches were in the tree tops around the Stable Block and a Green Woodpeckker was feeding in the long meadow grass. Butterflies were already on the wing with the following seen before 0930: Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Small Copper (see below), Holly Blue and Comma.
Several species of Odonata were also recorded: Wilow Emerald Damselfly (see below), Azure Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Darter, Ruddy Darter and Brown Hawker.
Landseer Park- A Grass Snake was seen by Sarah and Tina Kilshaw
Parrish Colman was in Landseer Park this afternoon and spent some time being entertained by a family of Kestrels as they hunted over the meadows. As with the Holywells Sparrowhawk family its great to know that these small raptors have had success at breeding again.
Parrish also managed to spend some time in Holywells Park and captured this female Common Darter brilliantly.
I enjoyed a visit to Landseer Park this afternoon in pursuit of butterflies. Brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures ensured that there were plenty on the wing. On the meadows, I saw lots of Meadow Browns (75+) and Gatekeepers (50+) with a few Ringlets (6+) thrown in for good measure. Several Large Skippers (5+) were found on the Knapweed and at least two pristine Peacocks were also seen in gliding flight. Around the edges and over the nettle beds were numerous Large Whites (15+), Small Whites (5+) and Green-veined whites (10+). Unfortunately, despite looking long and hard I failed to find any Marbled Whites. I get the feeling that it hasnít been a good year for this species in the park. Whilst searching for the Marbles I came across several Brown Argus (5+) see below and these were in fact my first of the year.
Commas (see below) were also seen in good numbers (12+), frequently chasing and bullying any butterfly that came close. Watching the oak trees closely gave me brief views of a few Purple Hairstreaks (5+) although the breeze meant that they kept close to the canopy. Some very shiny Holly Blues (3+) were also seen and they brought the total of butterfly species recorded to 12. Several dragonflies were seen with at least three Brown Hawkers noted patrolling over the nettle beds. Both Southern (2) and Migrant Hawkers (4) were feeding along the oak tree margins and at least two Common Darters were found in amongst the beds of Campion.
I was able to spend a couple of hours in Holywells Park again after finishing work this afternoon. Despite the heavy rain during the day I managed to time my visit with a spell of bright sunshine which led to several butterflies being seen. Lots of Meadow Browns were seen in the grassy areas but the vast majority were very tatty and pale. Around the edges, Gatekeeper, Comma, Small Copper, Green-veined White and Small White were seen. Several Large Whites flew higher in the trees and a lone Red Admiral was found. With the sun warming the tree tops I spent some time watching the Japanese Elms and managed to see White-letter Hairstreaks flitting around the tops with a maximum count of five achieved. A few Purple Hairstreaks were seen high amongst the Oaks along the eastern edge of the park with the ocassional one catching the sun and showing off the beautiful colours on their wings. No large dragonflies were encountered but I was pleased to find Willow Emerald Damselflies (see below) in four locations in the park and I counted 17 individuals.
Good numbers of Blue-tailed Damselflies were present with several Azures and Common Blues also noted. Some good birds were seen too with a Little Egret present in the Moat Pond and 14 Mandarins were counted over three sites. It was interesting to pick through the Mandarins and find several drakes in eclipse plumage. On the Canal Pond I saw two seperate pairs of Coots with yet more youngsters! I've lost count now but we must have seen at least eight broods this year? A small flock of finches calling over the meadows turned out to be eight Lesser Redpolls, an unusual sight for the time of year. The Sparrowhawk family were again seen and were very vocal with the young birds calling constantly to their parents.
A quick visit to Holywells Park late afternoon allowed me to check over the meadows for butterflies and a number were recorded: Comma, Small Copper (below bottom) Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Gatekeeper (below top), Large White, Small White, Green-veined White and Holly Blue. Dragonflies seen were Blue-tailed Damselfly, Willow Emerald Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker and Migrant Hawker.
Wildlife photogrpher Steve Plume (www.ukwildlife.me.uk) visited Holywells Park today and recorded some of the park's dragonflies: Willow Emerald Damselfly (4+), Brown Hawker (2) and Common Darter 1m). He also recorded a number of butterfly species: Red Admiral, Large White, Ringlet, Comma and Gatekeeper. Some of Steve's photograph are shown below:
Willow Emerald Damselfly: