Please contact Nick Roberts with any comments, queries or records, 07850 467443 or 01327 844188, or email at [email protected]
Photos shown below have been provided by Sue Ebbage, unless stated.
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Actually no. Our British LBBG are the race Graellsii, and are sort of slate grey on the back. This bird was the race Intermediate/fuscus which breed in Scandinavia and winter in West Africa, and this bird circled twice to look at the new pond at Cotton End Park.
27th February, in the cold clear morning air I can just pick out the disjointed song of a male Reed Bunting somewhere from the wildlife area at the park. I scan for a while then spot him on a plump mace of Bull-rush. His dark head, white collar and streaked back are the colours and shapes or the reed bed around him. He is cousin to the Yellowhammer also a Bunting, but the song of the Yellowhammer, which is now just starting to sing is the sweet classic ‘little bit of bread and no cheese’. The song of the Reed bunting however is a short, uncertain stutter of single and double syllables rather like counting numbers out of order ‘one – two – seven – ten – thirteen’. I am pleased that for the third year now this rare parish bird has chosen to attempt to breed at Cotton End Park.
Forgive me for I am going to have my annual moan about the flaying of hedges. I can’t work it out. The hedges are recognised as being the last bastion of wildlife in the greater arable landscape yet no law stops them being totally abused to a point where they become useless for wildlife. I see miles of splintered stumps, many have rabbit guards on them which is laughable, and were no doubt part of a subsidised scheme. This may be the reason why I can walk miles through the countryside I call home and see no birds smaller than a Wood Pigeon.
31st December, Peter reports Nuthatch, Song Thrush and Chaffinch. Jane reports Kingfisher from Mill Park and 2 Barn Owls together from the West Haddon Road. Fireworks at Midnight. Thanks for all of your support during the last year.
Happy New Year!
I call Sue Ebbage and she appears with Chris and they photograph the Owl as it carries on hunting the fields. Several people appear, dog-walkers and families out for a ramble, and a good dozen of us watch the bird in action. It seems unconcerned by people and we all get good views without the need for optics.
It is a beautiful day and the afternoon sun shines through the stained windows of St Peter and St Paul at Watford as we say goodbye to Joy Evans. I have never seen a church so full and no better reason for it. God bless.
At Hanglands there is enough sun to keep the 2 male Southern Hawkers patrolling their patch of the big pond. They clash now and then, the wings clattering and sparkling. Speckled Wood and a male Brimstone are now the only Butterflies, but there are young Linnets and Goldfinch on the Teasel heads where once there were Bumblebees..
At Hanglands after work and I see a ‘brand new’ Southern Hawker Dragonfly hanging from its larval case (Exuvie) it must have only just emerged from the water, and was still forming its abdomen and wings. Two years in a dark cold pond and now it’s only a few minutes away from its first flight into the summer air. There are several fresh Comma, Peacock, and Small Tortoiseshell amongst the washed out Meadow Browns and Ringlets. I see Small skipper and then try and remember how to tell Essex Skipper from Small Skipper...
A big thanks to the contributors to this page including the photographers. I have included some photos this time that have been previously unavailable or will relate to recent records. So included is a male Ring Ouzel by Liz Peachy (which we saw in April). Scarlet Tiger (moth) by Emily O’Hagan, a young Grass Snake and a Morrel mushroom by Lily Walden, a fledgling Blue Tit by Tony Peploe, and a mating pair of Privet Hawk-moths via Sam Tank. Sam also took the Hummingbird Hawk-moth. I include a Speckled Wood butterfly, a Common Spotted Orchid, Beautiful Demoiselle, and the purple and gold moth mentioned last month which I thought was Pyrausta Purpuralis but now think It’s P. Aurata, although I not sure who cares. Also thanks to Stuart Barrow for the photo of the Blackbirds nest and nestlings in the engine of his horse trailer, and my son Thomas for the one of me gripping the Grass Snake, and David Walden for the Mullein caterpillar.