Friday, 26 May 2017

26th May

A walk along the river today in glorious sunshine. Migration has virtually ceased but I saw four Yellow Wagtail, four singing Corn Buntings, a pair of Red-legged Partridges, a single Common Sandpiper…


20 Greylags..


And Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel…


I also saw eight species of butterfly (including my first Speckled Wood this year) and four species of damselfly with my first Banded Demoiselles…


And Azure Damsels of the year…

Plus Blue-tailed and Large Red damselfly…



Sunday, 21 May 2017

21st May

This Reed Bunting which we caught in the Magic Garden last week was already carrying a ring...


John assumed it was one of his own but when he entered the details it had actually been ringed at Silt Fen Farm in Norfolk, 230 kms away. A good movement for this species. Perhaps one or two of Norfolk’s rarities can make the same journey?!
Otherwise it has been a very quiet week for birds so fortunately insects have stepped in to the breach. These included my first damselflies of the year, a single Large Red on Wednesday and around 20 of these Blue-tailed damselflies yesterday…


Three or four Common Carpet moths were in the Magic Garden today…


Along with this Red-headed Cardinal Beetle…


and this striking hoverfly Heliophilus pendulus (also known as The Footballer because of its stripy thorax)…


Sunday, 14 May 2017

14th May

Over the last week the highlight has been Reed Warbler in the Magic Garden. This is the fourth year in succession there has been a singing bird here and it was still present at the time of writing. Surely breeding must be on the cards soon?
Down Potter Lane in Morton I saw seven Yellow Wagtails…



And more surprisingly a Sedge Warbler singing from a hedge here in the middle of arable fields.
Nice too to have a shot of Linnet at eye level rather than a silhouette against a bright sky..


Insect interest is rapidly growing. I thought this was a solitary wasp when I first saw it patrolling the edge of a half-dug rabbit hole but it’s actually a nomad bee, I think either a Panzer Nomad(!) or a Fork-jawed Nomad…


this is a fresh Green Carpet moth…

And this is the earliest Wall I’ve recorded in the parish (seen today)


And this was the scene over the Magic Garden lake on Tuesday evening . There was surprisingly little coming to feed on this vast feast…




Friday, 12 May 2017

12th May

I met John for some bird ringing in the Magic Garden this morning. It was cold again despite the overnight cloud and there was little sign of movement. Nonetheless a reasonable catch. The most interesting bird was this female Blackcap which was carrying a French ring…


It will be interesting to get the details of where and when this bird was ringed.

We also caught two Sedge Warblers…


A bird has been singing consistently from the Bog Area all this week so there must be a chance of breeding this year.
Other summer migrants included just a single Willow Warbler, four Blackcaps and two Whitethroats…


And also five Chiffchaffs including this one showing why you shouldn’t rely on leg colour in identifying them..



Sunday, 7 May 2017

7th May

A Garden Warbler, appropriately enough in the Magic Garden, along with a singing Sedge Warbler were new birds for the year and the first Swifts were also reported in the village yesterday. This only leaves Spotted Flycatcher as a  ‘guaranteed’ summer migrant yet to make an appearance. Things are still slow though and the Swallows that breed in the village hall have only returned this week…


On the river this Grey Wagtail was carrying nesting material, the first potential breeding record for some years…


It's also noticeable that every hedgerow seems to have a pair of Long-tailed Tits this year, including this gravity-defying one…


Presumably this is an effect of the mild winter. And talking of commoner than usual this seems to be the case with Lords and Ladies…


I’ve always been interested in this faintly exotic plant, not least because of Rosemary & Clifford Ellis’s brilliant New Naturalist dustwrapper…


The even commoner name is of course Cuckoo Pint although I’m sure it should be pronounced Cuckoo ‘Pinnt’ rather than ‘pynt’  given what it refers to! Certainly in the Magic Garden it is definitely more widespread than I have ever seen it. This is one of the plants in front of a rather fine collection of Dryad’s Saddle fungi.


Despite the sunny weather the winds have kept the temperature down this week but there were occasional warmer spells and this led to double figure counts of Green-veined White and Orange Tip butterflies in the garden, plus Red Admiral, Brimstone and my first Holly Blue of the year. This individual was particularly compliant as I took this on my phone (which doesn’t have a zoom).


I also photographed this moth which I think is a Silver-ground Carpet, although this seems quite early for the species..



Tuesday, 2 May 2017

2nd May

It’s been a bit of a tradition of mine to take the day off after the May day bank holiday and have a good walk around the patch, often turning up a goodie or two. This year however, a combination of a dodgy Achilles tendon and a cold, foggy morning meant it wasn’t exactly a classic! Nonetheless, I notched up 58 species including my first Yellow Wagtail of the year..   


Together with Little Egret, two Kingfishers, a late Snipe and at least five singing Corn Buntings…


As well as this Grey Heron standing ten feet up the bank, not sure what it was after!


And in the odd moment when the sun broke through I snapped these Sand Martin at one of their nesting sites…


This colony held over 100 nests last year but only around 20 now because of bank erosion. This means the largest numbers have shifted downstream of Morton bridge. They are a very adaptable species and I even heard of them nesting in a pile of wet sawdust in a Masham saw-mill some years ago. Not always sensible though with this group of nests looking a little vulnerable being low down and well back from the river.



Monday, 1 May 2017

1st May

Summer migrants are still making their slow way in. The first Whitethroat was in the Bottom Fields on 26th April and quite widespread by the following day…


The first Lesser White was also in the Bottom field hedgerows yesterday and I heard three singing birds today. These latter individuals were all in Warbler Hedge, a lovely mature hedgerow to the north of the village which usually holds all six common species of warblers…


Talking of warblers Blackcaps seem to be present in really good numbers this spring although this is the best shot I have managed so far…


Otherwise it remains distinctly quiet with very little to excite the local birders. But plenty of time yet…


Year List to end of April – 93 species