Reports from the previous 12 months for comparison. Please contact Nick Roberts with any comments, queries or records, 07850 467443 or 01327 844188, or email at email@example.com
Photos shown below have been provided by Sue Ebbage, unless stated.
Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake
Elephant Seal amongst the Sea-lions
Magallenic Penguin colony
Perito Moreno glasier
- (If you have just looked at the photos and have seen some penguins, you’re not going mad. I have been in the U.S.A. Argentina and Chile, in the last couple of months, and thought I’d give you a taster.)
- 30th November 2013, I am at Cotton End Park with the 1st Long Buckby Cubs when I hear a KESTRAL alarm call. We look up and see a PEREGRINE fly over with a STARLING as prey, and the KESTRAL escorting it out of the air space.
- 19th November 2013, Brian Laney reports ANNUAL MERCURY and CAPER SPURGE
- 7th November 2013, My eyes and ears on East Street, Kath Shep’ reports a long tailed raptor going over. From her description it may be MERLIN. Sue and Chris Ebbage are out and about with cameras and note RED CAMPION in flower, a large flock of FIELDFARE, KESTRAL and GOLDFINCHes, and get some lovely shots of hedgerow fruit.
- 6th November 2013, Peter and Jennifer Spokes report a HUMMING-BIRD HAWK-MOTH from Grange farm. It was around for a couple of days and spent at least one night indoors during its stay.
- 5th November 2013, PEACOCK and RED ADMIRAL about today, and a MISTLE THRUSH has taken up residence in my ROWAN tree. It is load and fearless to the point where I duck for cover going to the garage, and no other bird can safely visit the tree.
- 4th November 2013, Brian Laney sees a buck FALLOW DEER in the middle of the road at Surney Bridges at 0100hrs. He also reports PEPPERED MOTH caterpillars from near the sports field.
- 29th October 2013, Sue Ebbage reports RED ADMIRAL, GOLDFINCH and COAL TIT from her garden.
Red Admiral butterfly
- 17th October 2013, RED ADMIRAL and LARGE WHITE noted and The Pytchley Hunt hounds were in full flight to the North of the village. Our sheep dogs were astounded to be joined by them in the farm yard for a few minutes, and leapt to the safety of pickup cab. At one point as the pack circled the vehicle it looked like Custer’s last stand. Many people are against hunting, but I try to see the bigger picture. The fact is that without the land allocated to hunting, fishing and shooting there would just be wall to wall agriculture, and consequently less biodiversity.
Dog Rose Hips by Nick Roberts
- 15th October 2013, Brian Laney reports from an evening of moth trapping and identification at South Close. The list includes, YELLOW LINED QUAKER, LARGE YELLOW UNDERWING, BEARDED CHESTNUT, ANGLE SHADES, BLAIRS SHOULDER KNOT, and RED LINED QUAKER. Brief mildness gives the flies and butterflies a chance to feast on the IVY flowers. They are hassled by WASP and occasional HORNET.
PaleTussock Moth caterpillar by Nick Roberts
- 12th October 2013, low cloud swirls over CEP and I get glimpses of REDWINGs going over. Small parties of 20 to 40 giving thin ‘seeep’ contact call to keep the flock together. On the gas terminal mast, 17 MISTLE THRUSH sit together then move of as if on migration. They have a high pitched rattle or reel sounding call. Come to think of it 17 might be the most I’ve seen in one flock. 2 REDPOLL go over plus a couple of SKYLARK. At the ponds 20 odd COMMON DARTER are still busy in the late morning sun.
- 11th October 2013, I am sorting out some tree guards and sticks at CEP and I see a small all-red spider. Not seen that before. I take a hasty and predictably poor photo with the phone’ and later sent it to John Showers the Fly expert, thinking that surely he would know a Spider expert, which he does. Tony White knows about all things Arachnid and even though they both despair at the quality of the photo come up with a name. Ostearius Melanopygius. Only 900 records from the UK so not a bad find if you like that sort of thing. REDWINGs going over the village, all heading south.
- 10th October 2013, the beautifully manicured fields are being drilled and sewn and a 1000 BLACK-HEADED and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS are dotted on the brown expanses of Tebbits Over, High Ridges and Long Close. During the afternoon they are joined by nearly 200 JACKDAW and ROOK, 100 MEADOW PIPIT and 50 plus LINNET and dozens of FINCHes. I have three reports of dead BADGERs from two locations. My first Winter migrant bird is REDWING, several call as they fly over The Banks during the evening. I listen later just before bed and more are going over.
Dead or alive by Nick Roberts
- 9th October 2013, the multi-talented wildlife expert Jeff Blincow pays me a visit and with the permission of Peter Spokes, we walk the pastures at Grange Farm. We soon find fungi including STUBBLE ROSEGILL, TROOPING FUNNEL, COWPAT FUNGI and HORSE MUSHROOM. We collect two other specimens growing near each other, which look very similar. Sitting down with the books Jeff points out that one is a CHAMPIGNON which smells lovely and is very edible, the other is so similar I can only just tell the difference. It is IVORY FUNNEL-CAP and is very poisonous. The two species grow together, sometimes in interlocking stands and rings on pasture. About the latter, the ‘net says within half an hour of ingestion there may be vomiting, excessive production of sweat, saliva, and tears. Plus, visual distortion, irregular pulse, decreased blood pressure, and in severe cases death caused by respiratory failure. I can’t wait to show my wife.
Can you tell me what this is?
- 6th October 2013, first thing, I creep up to the ponds at CEP and just when I think there is nothing there (Which is usual) out pops a COMMON SNIPE. It calls once and zig-zags off over the hedge. Of course the use of the prefix ‘common’ is becoming rather inaccurate as I have witnessed many local birds with first name common become rarer over the years. Mr Snipe is an example, he needs wet flushes, marshes and undisturbed mud to spend the winter on and also breed. Most of this habitat has been agriculturally ‘improved’ so we get less Snipe. Common Snipe were once indeed a common regular wintering and breeding bird within the county. It hasn’t bred for years, probably a decade and has drastically declined as a winter visitor. Who cares? I do. That is why I have created exactly the habitat it wants and five years later I am rewarded with a two second view.
- 5th October 2013, repairing a fence at the farm and I disturb a SMALL COPPER. My wife spots a circling bird that turns out to be CORMORANT. Julie Spring shows Brian Laney a photo’ of a PRIVET HAWKMOTH. My SILVER BIRCH is producing millions of minute winged seeds that on close inspection look like angels. COMMA, RED ADMIRAL and SMALL WHITE reported. The untouched hedges are bursting with colourful fruits.
- 4th October 2013, I am working with John Turner at Church Farm and note the incredible mass of BEACH mast falling from his trees. It may be literally tons. Apples, plums and other fruit are reported as being ‘the best for years’. HARLEQUIN LADYBIRD and BROWN LACEWING noted. RED KITE reported.
- 1st October 2013, Brian Laney reports PRIVET HAWK-MOTH caterpillar from someone at Pytchley Drive. Rick Bunnage reports a strange occurrence involving some dead flies. I do a quick visit and am astounded to see 20 odd flies hanging upside down from their front legs and mouth-parts, under a suspended bird feeder tray. They are all the same species and assuming exactly the same position. Rick takes some photos that I forward on to my friend John Showers of the Northants Diptera Group. They specialize in recording and monitoring all fly species and he replied as follows. The flies have died of a fungal infection known as an entomophagus fungus. This infects invertebrates and modifies their behaviour so they act in a way which once they die will most effectively spread the spores from the mature fungus growing in them (!).
Fly victim of Entomophagus Fungus by Rick Bunnage
- 29th September 2013, at CEP I can see the blades of 17 wind turbines! There were none when I first set eyes on that wonderful view back 2008. There are CHIFFCHAFF and GOLDGREST in with the BLUE and LONG-TAILED TIT flock in the hedge, and a male TUFTED DUCK in eclipse plumage is on the pond. Billy and I find 2 Dragonflies resting near each other at Hanglands. One is a male MIGRANT HAWKER, incredible blue eyes and blue black chequered abdomen, the other a female SOUTHERN HAWKER, twice the size, pea-green and brown. We manage to creep up to them and for a few precious moments, lay inches from these incredible creatures. Our luck continues as a huge HORNET appears, gold and chestnut brown, no creeping this time just a respectful step backwards. More Blackberries, we should carry a bag.
- 27th September 2013, GREY WAGTAIL, male BRIMSTONE and SHAGGY INK-CAP are noted. The ink-cap is edible and popping up in my neighbour’s lawn, it’s not really big enough to pluck yet, but if I wait he’ll mow the lawn and....
- 25th September 2013, I find a bush-cricket, a big green female. I think its OAK BUSH-CRICKET and remember there is now a SOUTHERN OAK BUSH-CRICKET, I can’t remember what the difference is and wish I had an Iphone so I could go to www.wildlifeobserver.co.uk a fab new site, created by Jeff Blincow, where even the most inexperienced wildlife finder to see what they are looking at! During the evening, when locking up, I disturb another big green cricket. This time I know it’s a female SPECKLED BUSH-CRICKET and remember to look up the one from earlier which is Southern Oak Bush-cricket.
Female Speckled Bush-Cricket by Nick Roberts
- 23rd September 2013, whilst shepherding I am amazed at the number of Daddy Long-legs that are being disturbed from the pasture. Literally thousands, but what eats them? Fungi are becoming apparent with HORSE MUSHROOM and GLISTENING INK-CAP noted. Donna sends me a photo from her neighbour John of 3 SIX-SPOT BURNET moths on a thistle-head. ROESEL’S BUSH-CRICKET still reeling away on road sides at Murcott.
Speckled Wood by Angela Roberts
- 22nd September 2013, ok, I admit it, I have a secret edible mushroom site that is now bursting with fruit. My Friend and expert, Jeff Blincow suggests this year is shaping up to be good for fungi. I get the pan out. Sun and warmth bring out numbers of SPECKLED WOOD, SMALL and LARGE WHITE, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, PEACOCK, COMMA and RED ADMIRAL. The latter likes my over-ripe plums. At Hanglands a male SOUTHERN HAWKER and dozens of COMMON DARTER act as if summer never went away. 2 RAVEN soar over rolling land between Cotton End and Brington Road, HORNET and BUZZARD reported.
- 20th September 2013, Sue Ebbage’s feeding station has families of GOLDFINCH, and she photographs several birds including juveniles. This years young are in various stages of acquiring the distinctive red face marking of the adult and some appear to be just pale all over other than the black and gold on the wings. Like most young they can be mistaken for a different species, as the ‘adult’ plumage takes most of the year to develop. If you get a chance, look at the flocks of Gulls on the ploughed fields. No two birds are alike, Lesser Black-backed Gulls have 4 plumage age groups containing 9 distinct sex/age/season related plumages. Hours of fun. Brian finds ‘Apple-of Peru’ at Mill Park, don’t ask me!
- 18th September 2013, Billy and I walk Poppy and find a field with a HARE sitting. Ears back, eyes shut, sort of on-guard snoozing? Billy decides to try and see how near he can get, and before I can stop him he’s off, half stooped in a straight line tip-toeing towards the sleeping creature. The dog and I exchange a glance, and hold our breath. Billy slows and gets within 10feet and then jumps with a start as the Hare explodes into a sprint for cover. He ambles back, wide-eyed and smiling, that’s my boy. On the way back we see SWALLOWs on the wires and eat black-berries.
- 15th September 2013, MEADOW PIPITs over in small numbers all day. Also SWALLOWs. I find a raptor pellet in an old barn. It is too small for Barn Owl, but could be Kestrel or Little Owl, it has one whole vole skull within. Richard Brennecker reports a Sandpiper type from Evans’ Ponds, which on description could be Common Sandpiper. RED KITE reported from A5. I see 14 MAGPIEs together, unlucky for some.
Red Underwing by Angela Roberts
- 12th September 2013, the sun shineth, and 10 BUZZARDS are up together over Lime Avenue/East Street. My wife is surprised by a ‘red flash of wings’ in the sheep pens, and finds a resting RED UNDERWING moth on a fence post. In the evening 150 SWALLOWs and MARTINs gather on the power lines over Armley field.
Comma by Nick Roberts
- 10th September 2013, three people report a partially albino HOUSE SPARROW from Holyoake Terrace, it is then seen in a garden off The Leys. Alan Webb reports another road-kill POLECAT from the A5, and 2 GREEN WOODPECKERS from near Lock 9 at The Wharf. Brian Laney reports HEDGEHOG and COMMA from his garden at South Close. His garden is like a miniature nature reserve, just ask his neighbours. Dead BADGER near the A428 turn.
- 7th September 2013, a walk above St Lawrence’s, perhaps my favourite area and there is a distinctive Autumnal feel. Handfuls of SKYLARK, YELLOWHAMMER, LINNET, and GOLDFINCH on the weedy field edges, GREENFINCH and TREE SPARROW mix with migrating CHIFFCHAFF and WHITETHROAT in the fruit-laden hedges. Small parties of SWALLOW heading south-west skim over the scene and the sky holds other birds dispersing and generally getting on with seasonal adjustment. BRAMBLE is fruiting and Wasps and Flies are accompanied by SPECKLED WOOD butterfly and MIGRANT HAWKER dragonfly. A session at CEP and we see YELLOWHAMMER, ROBIN and a female REDSTART fly-catching around the black-berries. I hear the first of this seasons MEADOW PIPITs go over and there is a REED BUNTING singing near the ponds. On an evening walk this time with Poppy the sheep-dog, I meet Gilly and we see 2 HARE.
- 5th September 2013, an evening walk along the canal at the wharf and we hear then see a KINGFISHER near Lock 8. Further on there are two chaps that appear to be fishing. One is traditionally seated with a small rod and line and has caught quite a few BREAM and ROACH of perhaps a pound or two in weight. We have a chat about his luck and what other species he has come across, then with a look of distain, he draws my attention to the other chap who is walking up and down the bank near New Bridge. As we approach this chap I am rather puzzled as to what species he is fishing for as his method is somewhat unfamiliar. He has a huge, blue nylon, towing-rope with a massive steel hook, some two feet of inch thick steel, knotted to the end. With considerable effort, and a huge splash, he is casting the hook into the centre of the water, dragging it along for a few yards then pulling it out and repeating. I wonder whether he has some insider knowledge of record-breaking crayfish, or challenging, grand-daddy Pike. One thing was for certain, there not a single fish or any other living thing, for two hundred yards either side of him. We watched this for a minute or two but were getting well splashed, so I approached him. “CAUGHT MUCH?” I shouted. The man, sodden and panting, replied he hadn’t. There was a pause, as he realized I needed further explanation. Rather sheepishly he started. “Was comin’ home last night, on tow path, on me bike... I was fairly p.ss.d” he paused for breath, “We fell in” (We, I gathered, being his bicycle and himself).. “I swam out, now I’m trying for me bike” ... I suppressed a smile “Good luck!”.
- 2nd September 2013, a male BRIMSTONE butterfly, and a BRIMSTONE moth reported on the same day. Both are yellow but the moth is much smaller and has a couple of brown markings on the wings. Plus of course the moth was at half ten at night.
- 1st September 2013, Donna and I see 4 BUZZARDs showing interest in the harvesting of a wheat field off East Street. YELLOW WAGTAIL flies over and a family of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS drifts by. David Evans reports RED KITE and I glimpse a HOBBY.
- 31st August 2013, At Trevor Moore’s park and lakes, whilst setting up for a wedding reception, we see BLACK-TAILED SKIMMER, SPECKLED WOOD, MOORHEN, COMMON BLUE butterfly, RAVEN and a family party of SWALLOW. Then, later I see Farmers and Fairies. What a marvellous piece of English countryside.
- 27th August 2013, OAK BUSH CRICKET, HOBBY, RAVEN, SPECKLED WOOD, and Bats are all reported from the village. Moths and Daddy Long-legs are building in numbers, and I get sent a photograph of a massive Spider. Billy’s Birthday camp-out is a great night out. Firstly, after tea and tent erecting, we awaken the old tree swing. I test it first just in case. Then a session on the tree platform where we watch a PIPISTELLE BAT swoop within inches of us. The chattering friends are silenced by a hoot from a TAWNY OWL. They try to mimic the call and as dusk falls the Owl can’t resist seeing what is making that awful din, glides into the tree above their tents, and stares down at them. It was the quietest 10 seconds of the evening. Another Owl started up (2100hrs) and along with noisy motorbike (2200hrs) the shooting star (2300hrs), the satellite (2350hrs), and the chap spotlighting and shooting (0130hrs), the BADGER sniffing around outside the tents (0230hrs), and dog barking (0530hrs) We all needed a good night’s sleep by 0800hrs.
- 26th August 2013, The Buckby Feast was brilliant! I am with people, my neighbours, friends, fellow villagers. When it comes down to it, it’s all about us, who we are, and what we do for each other. Hard work, dedication, pride.
- 25th August 2013, ORANGE SWIFT moth reported, also SOUTHERN and MIGRANT HAWKERS seen and reported from gardens. The boys and I walk the dog along Armley and beyond. We notice that the Elephant grass fields are full of Thistles and Ragwort and these are attracting dozens of butterflies including SMALL COPPER, BROWN ARGUS, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, and WHITES. We also note that 2 of the elephant grass fields have been ploughed under and a new crop sewn in. I am curious as to what is going on with this stuff. It is grown as a bio-fuel yet the majority of each year’s crop is baled and sits there in the fields rotting away. The stacks of bales are huge and attract unwanted attention. The crop itself grows quickly but not densely so over 50% of the ground is bare and grows a fab’ set of arable weeds that are untreatable due to the structure and growth of the grass.
- 21st August 2013, Jenny Spokes sees a CLOUDED YELLOW butterfly. An irregular migrant from southern Europe. The next day my wife sees another, heading north-west. At Armley Close, a small brown shape flitting around the flower bed turns out to be BROWN ARGUS butterfly. I’ll say it again, what a year for butterflies! 24 species in the parish to date. Trevor Moore reports and records (brilliantly) REED WARBLER from his lakes. A sniff of Autumn in the damp, dewy mornings, and a family of BLACKBIRDs are in the back garden acquiring breakfast. ‘Mum’ and the two juveniles first space themselves across the lawn and within seconds all three have dragged a hefty worm from the turf and go about scissoring them up for consumption. Then she leads them to the table under the YEW and leaps up, grabs a berry and returns to eat it. The young have a go at this half jumping, half flying only to miss the berries and end up in a feathery heap on the floor. It takes them a few goes, but eventually they are successful and complete their healthy start to the day.
- 20th August 2013, an immature WOODCHAT SHRIKE is found at Harrington Airfield by a lucky birder. This is the first county record since 1869 and I feel I should have a look. I meet the County Bird Recorder and many old birding friends from the far reaches of Northants. During lots of catching up and chatting, the County man informs me my Pallid Harrier record from last spring will be rejected by the British Birds Rarity Committee because of insufficient evidence, and similarly my recent Black Kite record from Buckby will not get through. They are not saying I didn’t see those birds, but the evidence and descriptions are not up to the standard required. I think it’s a tad unfair but rules are rules, and after 40 years of observation and experience, I know what I saw.
- 18th August 2013, Adam Webb, Daniel Tabor and I see SMALL COPPER, BROWN HAWKER, 15 plus COMMON DARTER, and a dozen SILVER Y at Cotton End Park, whilst preparing for a visit from the Big Tree Plant assessors. David Walden and I see a huge female HORNET at the display shelter whilst he and Nick Hudson build the stone foundation wall. Fellow birder Richard Brennecker reports LAPWING being at the field where we thought they were nesting up until a couple of weeks ago, suggesting they might have been successful. He had also seen BEATUIFUL DEMOISELLE at the stream near Picnic Spinney. At Hanglands I see a male COMMON BLUE butterfly which was a pleasant surprise.
- 15th August 2013, Brian Laney reports GREEN FIELD SPEEDWELL, and caterpillars of SMALL RANUNCULUS moth on GREAT LETTUCE. (I have no idea what the three species mentioned look like, but had a bit of fun looking them up)
Red Tailed Bumble Bee
- 10th August 2013, Hundreds of butterflies about and local Buddleias are well populated. At Grange Farm dozens of PEACOCK, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, RED ADMIRAL, WHITES, and a couple of newly arrived PAINTED LADY are noted. I see one plant in the village that has 60 butterflies on it and 2 HORNETs are hunting for them and the TREE BUMBLEBEES and MARMALADE HOVERFLIES that are also present. Billy and Angela Roberts report HUMMING-BIRD HAWK-MOTH, the first of the summer.
- 8th August 2013, Lots of RAGWORT growing on the verges and rough ground. This species is much hated by farmers and horse owners. The trouble is it is getting increasingly common and tens of thousands of plants can be seen on a trip around the local area. Insects love them and I have recently seen ESSEX SKIPPER, SMALL COPPER and CINNABAR moth adult and caterpillars on them
- 6th August 2013, a report of a smashed WASPs nest near a hedge could be the work of BADGERS hungry for juicy grubs. HOLLY BLUE butterfly and IVY BROOMRAPE reported by Brian. I see a large female SPARROWHAWK go over East Street, reminding me of some records a few years ago of a ‘GOSHAWK’ sized raptor at that end of the village.
Common Green Grasshopper
- 4th August 2013, Sue Ebbage out and about sees a good cross section of Buckby wildlife including BUZZARD, GREEN-VEINED WHITE, GATEKEEPER, RUDDY DARTER, SILVER-Y, and COMMON GREEN GRASSHOPPER.
Silver Y Moth
- 3rd August 2013, at Cotton End Park the grass is alive with grasshoppers and crickets. Someone bought me a CD for my birthday to help identify the species via their distinctive chirpings and rasping. They said they were fed up with me spending hours bent down in the grass trying to see what was doing what. I am rather pleased to say that there are six species there, including ROESELS BUSH-CRICKET and LONG-WINGED CONEHEAD. Needless to say my CD collection is somewhat varied.
- 1st August 2013, Brian Laney finds GREATER BURDOCK which may be new for the parish, and also sees 2 (now quite rare) COMMON BLUE butterflies. I am seeing young birds about the village. Scruffy, uncertain less than perfect versions. I watched a juvenile ROBIN on Station Road, spotty with just odd red breast feathers, loafing next to the path pecking at a cigarette butt, and a tatty DUNNOCK issuing a poor version of the song of his father, to the point that I thought it had something stuck in its throat. We were once all juvenile, blundering, insensitive, selfish, clumsy, and a sometimes a nuisance. But wish them luck and give them a chance, as they have a harder journey to make than we had. Sorry, I turned 50 a couple of days ago, and it makes you think.
- 31st July 2013, it’s the time of year when the sky is a battle-ground for certain species. Young, inexperienced HOUSE MARTINs and SWALLOWs are the target of the HOBBY, a fast agile falcon. Numbers help and the family flocks of Martins over Holyoake are always on their guard and issue a warning call whenever winged danger approaches. The trouble is learning what is a threat and what isn’t, and keen young Martins ‘cry wolf’ even if a harmless Dove or Gull comes into view. Is this making them more vulnerable? Do they get fed-up hearing yet another false alarm? At 1530hrs a HOBBY dropped like a stone out of the low cloud-base and the flock of small birds over Holyoake and The Leys were taken by surprise, within seconds the Falcon had taken a Martin and was powering away.
- 28th July 2013, Brian Laney reports HEDGEHOG on East Street, and a male BRIMSTONE near the A428.
- 26th July 2013, Sue Ebbage does a ‘garden safari’ and comes up with a dozen wonderful photos of insects including OAK BUSH-CRICKET, and egg-laying SMALL WHITE butterfly.
- 24th July 2013, at Hanglands, I am chin-high in vegetation and must do something about it. Hundreds of PEACOCK butterfly caterpillars are on the COMMON NETTLE and I get badly stung trying to pass through without disturbing them. My lunch-time half hour turns into an hour, and I see 9 species of Butterfly including SMALL SKIPPER, GATEKEEPER, COMMA, PEACOCK, and GREEN-VEINED WHITE. And also see 7 species of Dragons/Damsels including BROWN HAWKER, FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER, and EMERALD DAMSELFLY.
- 22nd July 2013, Bill Jordan reports TREE BUMBLEBEE from a bird nest-box in his garden, These Bees are now the most reported insect and many villagers have colonies in structures around their properties. The Bees form fairly small colonies, and activity is usually first noticed in June but then has lessened by the end of July. They are not interested in Humans and cause no harm, and in the face of reported declines in all Bee species we should perhaps just let them Bee!
- 20th July 2013, Brian Laney reports HEDGEHOG and the nymph of OAK BUSH-CRICKET from South Close.
- 18th July 2013, SOUTHERN HAWKER and DARTER sp reported. The first of this year’s GATEKEEPER noted, and SPARROWHAWK with STARLING prey seen over Watson Road.
- 17th July 2013, At CEP several Dragonflies are about the ponds, 3 EMPEROR including egg-laying, 8 BROAD-BODIED CHASER, also egg-laying, and 1 male BROWN HAWKER. These insects are a prey item of the HOBBY when it is not chasing Martins. A GRASS SNAKE noted at Hanglands, also fly-over YELLOW WAGTAIL, and a pair of RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE at Grange Farm.
Grass Snake by Nick Roberts
Marbled White by Alan Webb
- 12th July 2013, Alan Webb reports and photographs 3 dead POLECAT together from the A5 near The Wharf. He says they look freshly killed and as if it happened within a short time frame. Is it a family group killed at the same time whilst crossing the road? Or 3 dumped from a moving car? They are noted for their poor road sense, but three together? On a positive note he also sees and photographs a MARBLED WHITE butterfly. Are they having a good year?
Dead Polecat by Alan Webb
- 11th July 2013, Cotton End Park is full of Butterflies, including MEADOW BROWN, RINGLET, SPECKLED WOOD and SMALL COPPER. Whilst strimming around the saplings I see a MARBLED WHITE which I have not seen in the parish for years. Terry Laney reports SCARLET TIGER moth from South Close. During the first 2 weeks of the month Brian Laney has been noting plants including, MANY-SEEDED GOOSEFOOT, SMALL NETTLE, BLACK BINDWEED, FALSE OAT-GRASS, SUN SPURGE, FIELD PANSEY, FOOLS PARSLEY, CUT-LEAVED CRANESBILL, PRICKLY LETTUCE, REDSHANK, HAIRY SEDGE, SWINECRESS, COMMON FUMITORY, ROUGH CHERVIL, LADYS BEDSTRAW, KNAPWEED, BIRDSFOOT TREFOIL, COMMON HEMP-NETTLE, THYME LEAVED SPEEDWELL, SWEET VERNAL GRASS, YELLOW JUICED POPPY and GERMANDER SPEEDWELL.
Scarlet Tiger by Nick Roberts
- 8th July 2013, I take some time to check out sites in the parish I haven’t been to for ages and start with the stream at Surney. The stingers are as tall as me but I manage to see 30+ BEAUTIFUL and 4 BANDED DEMOISELLEs plus 1 WHITE-LEGGED DAMSELFLY at the bridge. In the afternoon I am joined by Sue Ebbage and we see 9 species of Dragons/Damsels, 3 HAREs, and lots of other local wildlife at sites including off the Brington Road. I end up at the BEE ORCHID site and manage to find 1 flowering plant and an EMERALD DAMSELFLY. 12 species of Odonata in the parish in 1 day. That’s a record.
- 5th July 2013, My wife, the in-laws and I, park at The Wharf and walk along the canal to The New Inn for some lunch. I feel a tad guilty as I see Alan Webb working hard maintaining the wildlife reserve at Pound Lock 8 for The Whilton & Buckby Locks Association, but soon get over it and am pleased show my party a beautiful COMMON TERN, WHITE-LEGGED DAMSELFLY, MOORHEN, and a CARP.
- 4th July 2013, another report of TREE BUMBLBEEs in a loft. I am asked if they can be removed, or destroyed by pest control. Steve Joynson sends me some great shots of COMMON BUZZARD, and David Stoddart a photo’ of a sloughed grass snake skin, perfectly shed and intact, and maybe over 3ft long. Sue Ebbage sends me a great set of WHITE-TAILED BUMBLBEE photo’s and Sophie Goddard reports GREAT-CRESTED and COMMON NEWT from her pond.
- 1st July 2013, Pete Spokes reports ROE DEER crossing the West Haddon Road, RED ADMIRAL, LARGE SKIPPER, a queen HORNET, REED BUNTING, GOLDCREST, and a long-horned beetle also reported.
- 29th June 2013, looking for Bee Orchids draws a blank, loads last year none this. I do find a colony of cup fungi, Tarzetta Cupularis, which initially resemble half an empty Hazelnut shell. I catch Hanglands with a few precious minutes of sunshine, the flowers are fab’, and I see 2 LARGE SKIPPERs and 1 SPECKLED WOOD, and 5 BROAD-BODIED CHASERs, including an egg-laying female hovering and repeatedly dipping her tail into the water. A dapper male REED BUNTING is displaying all the signs of a nervous parent and I withdraw to cover and watch him taking food into the Iris bed. The Warblers seem to have arrived late and not done much singing this spring, but BLACKCAP and CHIFFCHAFF are now having a go. My family assist me to mend the zip wire at CEP and we see 1 MEADOW BROWN on a walk about.
White Tailed Bee
- 28th June 2013, Mrs N Ryan shows me the entrance to a colony of TREE BUMBLEBEEs on her house. They are keeping Mr P Ryan awake at night, but I can’t really help. My wife reports a MOLE crossing the road at the wharf and we conclude that travelling East to West must be rather a challenge for a Mole with the canal, motorway, railway and A5 to get contend with.
- 26th June 2013, Alan Webb (Our man at The Wharf) reports a juvenile SISKIN on his seed feeder, which suggests breeding locally, even though they are not known to do so, and then ‘phones me later in the evening with another extraordinary report of a WATER VOLE at the canal. He thinks it’s at least twenty years since he last saw them there, and these animals are now quite rare in the county. Sandra Cooper reports 2 adult SLOW WORMs from off Brington Road and Peter Clifton shows me a photo of a Wagtail that could be a continental ‘White’ Wagtail, which our Pied Wagtail is a form of.
Female House Sparrow
- 24th June 2013, a dead TAWNY OWL found near Vanderplanks could have been a road-kill. Gill Duckworth reports SPARROWHAWK taking young SWALLOWs from the stables, and noisy Owls. 2 RAVEN over the village. A fine display of FIELD POPPY amongst the flowering Rape prompting several villagers to reach for the camera.
Water Shrew by Nick Robert
- 22nd June 2013, a movement catches my eye as I am gardening and a small black thing scuttles past. I initially think young Mole but it is not quite right. I look for it and find it digging in the hard soil under a Dock leaf and it is showing a white under-side. It stops and looks and I carefully cup it my hands. It is a WATER SHREW, the first I’ve ever seen. I think back to what I know about these creatures other than they are rarely seen, and remember that they have venom in their saliva! I fumble for my out-of-date useless mobile ‘phone and get one poor photo’ as I set the creature down.
- 21st June 2013, I am going shopping with my wife at lunchtime, when we spot a big raptor over the village, and in a repeat of before I find myself in a panic as it is clearly not a Buzzard or a Red kite. It is all dark, initially similar to the Marsh Harrier we saw at CEP, but no, the tail is shorter, a sharp edged, square cut triangle, and it is angling it from side to side like a Kite. We follow the bird as it soars casually over the village in big circles, and heads towards Daventry. It is fairly low and is set upon by Jackdaws, but barely flicks a wing as it maintains its slow circular soaring. I ring a couple of birders but unsurprisingly know one is near. It drifts out of range and I am faced with the probability that we have just seen a BLACK KITE. A rare European migrant to the UK. The following day I use the internet and trawl though dozens of pictures of soaring Kites, Harriers and Buzzards, and eventually feel sure that’s what it was. There is some irony in this as the first ever Northamptonshire record was from Long Buckby in May 1995, of a bird going in the opposite direction. What a month for raptors! I am on 8 species.
- 16th June 2013, Billy, Pop and I walk along the canal at the wharf and visit the small but perfectly formed nature reserve at Lock Pound 8. Billy explores the trail and we see a juvenile ROBIN and a party of LONG-TAILED TIT. On the water are ducklings, and the ‘cute ball of black fluff’ that is a young MOORHEN. GREY and PIED WAGTAIL are busy and SWALLOWs swoop down to break the surface water. Later in the day I check the streams near Murcott looking for Demoiselles but fail to find any. I do see 2 TROUT though.
- 15th June 2013, a RED ADMIRAL reported and ORANGE-TIP still about. Terry Laney reports an unfamiliar large raptor from the Brington Road. I do a quick visit to Hanglands and see another immature RED-EYED DAMSELFLY (like the one last week). This is new for the site and is the 19th species of odonata recorded there.
- 14th June 2013, I find a small bumblebee which is not a bumblebee. It is a hoverfly dressed like a bumblebee. Volucella bombylans is a mimic, but why? RED KITE over the allotments and an adult RAVEN with a youngster in tow. The youth begs to be fed and is bored with flying and lands on a pylon, calling to its disinterested parent.
- 9th June 2013, a work-party at CEP, and in automatic response to hearing a crow mobbing something, I glance up to see a large raptor which is not a Buzzard. I run like hell up the hill to the truck to retrieve the bins’ and see a MARSH HARRIER go over. The park being high up with extensive views enabled me to follow it down into the elephant grass fields, where started its low hunting flight. I would normally only see this behaviour over the vast reed-beds of Norfolk. Thank you those of you present for your kind remarks on my lack of speed and fitness. The HAWTHORN blossom is outstanding at the moment. HOBBY reported. (Amazing some years I only see 1 all year!) CINNABAR MOTH reported.
Pale Tussock by Nick Hudson
- 7th June 2013, REED BUNTING noted singing from rape field behind Murcott. One also singing from the rape off West Haddon Road. SKYLARKs may be doing well because of the gaps in the cultivated fields, as reports and numbers seem up. A pristine, blue male BROAD-BODIED CHASER holds territory at Hanglands with a new FOUR-SPOTTTED CHASER. They hassle each other, like a dog-fight over the water but return to their respective perches after a few seconds. Small pale day flying moths coming up from the pasture are SILVER-GROUND CARPETs and at CEP Nick Hudson spots a mating pair of PALE TUSSOCK moths. I have a quick look at the LAPWINGs on the bare top field above St Lawrence’s. There are 4 but perhaps only 1 sitting. Fingers crossed. On the way past Evans Ponds I see an unfamiliar damselfly which I realise is WHITE-LEGGED DAMSELFLY. I usually only see these on the canal at The Wharf. Whilst I look amongst the other damsels I find an immature RED-EYED DAMSELFLY, again not that common.
Young Tawny Owl by Nick Roberts
- 5th June 2013, a TAWNY OWL chick noted. A big ball of fluff with two dark eyes. The wings are quite developed and it flies well. It starts its begging call at 2015hrs, a sharp shriek every 3 seconds, yes, 3 seconds!, and keeps this up with the odd interruption whilst it swallows a rodent brought by a parent, until 0330hrs, when a singing BLACKBIRD and cooing STOCK DOVEs take over. Needless to say, my first night in the caravan is short.
- 3rd June 2013, A young RAVEN with an accompanying adult was noted north of the village. The youth continued to call, begging to be fed. BATs reported this evening. Sue Ebbage reports HOBBY, CHIFFCHAFF, LAPWING, and LARGE RED DAMSELFLY.
- 2nd June 2013, At Evans Ponds, the 1st YELLOW FLAG IRIS in flower, plus RAGGED ROBIN, and SELF-HEAL. A SMALL COPPER at CEP and a HOBBY over The Leys.
Female Green-veined White by Nick Robert
- 1st June 2013, at the bottom of the hill on the back road to West Haddon, I look up to see the ROOKs mobbing two soaring birds, one was a BUZZARD and there was another bird. I raced to the truck for my bins’ and looked up to see a PEREGRINE casually soaring amongst the deafening throng of Rooks. A quick look at Hanglands produced a SCORPION FLY, BRIMSTONE, ORANGE-TIP, PEACOCK, GREEN-VEINED WHITE, and SMALL TORTOISESHELL.
- 30th May 2013, Brian Laney reports a new site for GREAT-CRESTED NEWT in a pond off East Street. A KESTREL stops outside our bedroom window to hover at the edge of our garden. Elspeth Small reports her 4 large dogs being chased by 6 rather annoyed black and white birds in the newly sewn field above St Lawrences. I conclude these could be LAPWING and after work pop up, with the ‘scope and have a look. Amazingly I see LAPWING, careful scanning reveals at least one sitting as if on a nest and when a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL comes over it is targeted and chased by the frantic birds until it is a fields width away. This happens again when CARRION CROW comes over, the Lapwing get up and chase the Crow off. I can only conclude that they are attempting to breed. It is late for them to start, but it also the fact that the field of crop is so late it looks nearly bare, which suits the Lapwing. The big trouble is dogs being allowed to run all over the field because their owners think the field is fallow. The lesser threat will be the management of the field via tractor etc. Do I put signs up informing the dog walkers? Do I inform the farmer? Does anyone care?
- 29th May 2013, The Seymour brothers report a pair of LAPWING with 2 young. I have never been able to prove breeding in parish and this is a first in my time here, great news. They also report a RED KITE perched being mobbed by MISTLE THRUSHES. Pete Spokes reports BARN OWL from the West Haddon Road, and also MISTLE TRUSHES from the sports fields where he observed them feeding.
Broad-Bodied Chaser(photo by Nick Robert)
- 27th May 2013, Cotton End Park, official opening. A bit of blur for me. 700plus visitors. Fun in the sun. I went to Hanglands first thing and caught a yearling GRASS SNAKE, which proved a great attraction alongside Brian Laney’s newts. An incredible day surrounded by my fellow villagers and friends, everyone worked so hard. We Buckby folk are something special and we live somewhere special, and on days like this we appreciate just how good it is.
- 26th May 2013, I shut my eyes and cannot leave CEP. I see every last inch of the whole ten acres in my mind as I wake up. The park is again is a hive of activity and the sun shineth. Richard Brennecker reports a pair of LAPWING displaying at the bottom of Lodge Lane, and 2 pairs of TUFTED DUCK at Evans’ Ponds. Brian Laney reports SMOOTH and GREAT-CRESTED NEWTs from drains at Berryfields, and Dotted Loosestrife, Common Hempnettle, Hairy Sedge, and (native) Bluebell also from Lodge Lane.
- 25th May 2013, I pop down to Hanglands with Billy and we find ‘red matchsticks’ aka LARGE RED DAMSELFLY, and then find a massive immature BROAD-BODIED CHASER, ‘like a Hornet, but much, much bigger!’ and we both flinch when it takes off. I would suggest that they are the biggest insect on the wing in the parish at the moment.
- 24th May 2013, flat out at CEP, getting soaked as we work, but the storm clouds part and again the HOBBY appears, scything through the low cloud and racing across the sky. A YELLOW WAGTAIL also noted.
- 19th May 2013, 10 SWIFTs now over the village, 30 ish HOUSE MARTIN, but only 2 SWALLOW. HORNET reported. Steve Joynson sends me a frame-filling photo’ of a male GREY WAGTAIL from the canal-side at The Wharf. Sue Ebbage is also busy with camera and reports lots of good stuff including SMALL COPPER. The young of STARLING, HOUSE SPARROW, and BLACKBIRD are reported.
Grey Wagtail (photo by Steve Joynson)
- 16th May 2013, I have been neglecting Hanglands, and go in the sunshine to find 6 PEACOCKs on the nettles, singing WHITETHROAT and YELLOWHAMMER, and RED CAMPION plants just ready to burst into flower.
- 12th May 2013, I travel to Silverstone early in the morning and whilst returning up the A5 find myself driving alongside 15 Racing Pigeons. I slow down to match their speed which is exactly 48mph. I pick them up just after Towcester and they stick to the fields alongside me at a constant speed and direction. I lose them now and then, but they suddenly re-appear either one side of me or the other. I stick to the speed all the way to the Weedon cross-roads and then I lose them as they ignore the red lights and I remember not to. I speed away and manage to catch up with them at the Whilton turn only to say goodbye as I head down to the Wharf.
- 11th May 2013, dozens of beautiful LADY’S SMOCK flowering at CEP, to the point where working with the mower and tractor risks knocking them down. I am rewarded for another evenings work by the sight of a HOBBY teasing the JACKDAWs. Brian Laney reports the following flower species from his ongoing survey of plant-life within the parish. Hemlock Water Dropwort, Wall Rue, Lesser Sea Spurrey, Meadow Cranesbill, Danish Scurvy Grass, Shining Cranesbill, Fox&Cubs, Jap’Knotweed, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Hoary Plantain, Bucks Horn Plantain, Green Alkanet, Narrow-leaved Pepperwort, Greater Celandine, and Field Scabious.
- 10th May 2013, dead HEDGEHOG on East Street, (Sorry, but sometimes the only way we know we have such species about is when they are reported as road-kill) Anyway a HOBBY is seen over Willow Mill which is a great record as they can be quite elusive, and a good handful of HOUSE MARTINs are busy re-building at Bridge House Farm.
- 8th May 2013, I am in the co-op car-park, waiting in classic husband style. But no! I get out and wonder about, which, in a car-park is not that sensible. 6 SWIFTs, a handful of HOUSE MARTINs and singing GOLDFINCH are noted. I spend 5 minutes staring up at the JACKDAWs. They really give the impression they are enjoying life. The calls and chatter, the acrobatics, chasing, twisting and diving, such fun and antics, all going on above the oblivious shoppers. There is a HOLLY BLUE and several Bees on the IVY, and a PIED WAGTAIL amongst the parked cars. Never a dull moment.
- 6th May 2013, CUCKOO FLOWER or LADY’S SMOCK are coming out at CEP, and I hear GREY PARTRIDGE off Lodge Lane. ORANGE-TIP and HOLLY BLUE are about and at last, 4 SWIFT appear over the village. Alan Webb reports 3 COMMON TERN from The Wharf plus 2 GREYLAG GEESE. I take a cup of tea into the garden and can hear the Guinea Fowl calling from Lodge Park Farm and then a parrot goes over screeching loudly. Not Lusaka, but Long Buckby!
- 5th May 2013, I am up so early thinking about the park opening. I go for a walk, to fill my head with bird-song, and work the fields. I surprise a few RABBITs and a FOX. I check out the field on the top near Oak Tree Farm where I had Wheatear last month but no luck. I then scan the pasture below the farm and spot a small dot in the distance. I am quite good a small dots and even though it was against the sun, and a way off, I suspect this dot was worth checking out. How to move through countryside into a better position, get the sun behind you, and not disturb the dot! Ah they say birdwatching is a bit sedentary, 10minutes later, wet through, breathing heavily, trousers in tatters, I find myself looking at not one but 11 WHEATEARS. 5 male and 6 female. I wait until 0700hrs and text Sue Ebbage and Pete Spokes who turn up and get good views and a photo or two. David Evans appears and a happy half hour is spent leaning on the fence in the morning sun, chatting and generally enjoying being Buckby folk.
- 2nd May 2013, the Long Buckby Green Spaces committee and volunteers from the village are spending all the hours God sends to prepare the site for the opening on the 27th. At 2015hrs Nick Hudson and I are hanging a gate and hear a CUCKOO from the Sandy Lane area. A SONG THRUSH is seen coming out at dusk when all is quiet. Trevor Moore reports WATER VOLE from Foxhills, and Brian Laney sees a live HEDGEHOG near Station Road.
- 28th April 2013, SWALLOW, LESSER WHITETHROAT, and BLACKTHORN blossom noted and Eileen reports CUCKOO! A shot fox left in a gateway on Jackson’s track assumedly to deter walkers is a shame.
- 27th April 2013, at last I get a decent walk, at 0600hrs I set off from Armley east to the slopes of the heights, then north and west, back over Dead Moor, and around the parish boundary to Murcott. A cut Elephant grass field held a pair of MUNTJAC, HARE, and 2 male REED BUNTINGs, a nesting colony of about 3 pairs of LINNET were found, a RAVEN came over mobbed by ROOKs, a JAY was seen mobbed by JACKDAWs, and the first BUZZARD to set flight was mobbed by CARRION CROWs. 2 CORMORANT, 1 GREYLAG GOOSE, and 2 HERON also went over. A pair of nervous TUFTED DUCK plus the usual CANADA GEESE were at Evans’ Ponds, also a singing SEDGE WARBLER, and there were at least 3 yaffling GREEN WOODPECKERs noted. A pair of BULLFINCH, and a GOLDCREST in Angela’s Wood, and my target was soon realized with 4 WHEATEARS on the highest part of the field up towards the covert.
- 24th April 2013, David Evans sees WHEATEAR whilst shepherding, and a report of a probable BARN OWL over a South Close garden. Brain Laney reports a BADGER near Evans’ Ponds deep into the evening.
- 21st April 2013, working at CEP was rewarded by watching 2 BUZZARDs displaying and ‘talon-locking’. This is where 2 birds, possibly male, play a game of dare by flying at each other and locking talons. They then spiral down in free-fall and one must then release as the nerves give out! It is a spectacular show and amazing to watch. HARE again spotted there and WILLOW WARBLER, CHIFFCHAFF, WHITETHROAT, and BLACKCAP singing. Brain Laney out at night dealing with toads reports TAWNY OWL from Vanderplanks Covert. MUTE SWAN is reported from Bridge House Farm lake, and Cassie catches, and describes perfectly over the ’phone, a BEE FLY. 2 people photograph and report SLOW WORM, one being off Brington Road. (see photos on Longbuckby.net) SKYLARKs in full song at Surney, off Brington Road, off West Haddon Road, and off Lodge lane, YELLOW WAGTAIL, HOUSE MARTIN, MEADOW PIPIT, and probably the last of the winter visitors, a FIELDFARE also there. 20th April 2013 The British Trust of Ornithology and Defra report a general failure in native plant seed production due to last year’s poor summer and the prolonged winter. The consequence being less natural food for wildlife during this period. Prolonged Bunting and Finch activity in gardens could be a sign of this locally. A brief early morning walk with the sunshine soon clearing the frost, was rewarded by a flock of 5 REDPOLL at roost, 3 MUTE SWAN flying over, a YELLOW WAGTAIL also going over high, 1 SWALLOW, 2 pairs of TREE SPARROW in their usual aged Ash, and 2 vocal GREEN WOODPECKERs. As the day warmed up butterflies noted were PEACOCK, COMMA, BRIMSTONE, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, and a fresh soft winged GREEN-VEINED WHITE. 2-SPOT LADYBIRD reported.
Buff Tailed Bumble Bee
- 14th April 2013, sunny and warm! COMMA, BRIMSTONE, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, WASP and BEE FLY noted and reported, and at 1300hrs Alan Webb sees a SWALLOW at The Wharf! I spot a beautiful pair of GREY WAGTAILs at Lodge Park Farm, and get quite close as I am in my van and they take no notice of it. A CHIFFCHAFF singing in Mill Park, also a basking SLOW WORM, Cherry-plum blossom, the smell of wild garlic, and of course bright warm sun, is dare I say the ‘tipping point’, as if all of a sudden it is spring!
- 13th April 2013, Alan Webb reports JAY at The Wharf, and after I thought they had gone, I bump into handfuls of FIELDFARE and REDWING on a short walk.
- 12th April 2013, my neighbour and I have 4 YELLOWHAMMER and 3 REED BUNTING, plus several CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH in our gardens, which is odd for this time of year, and just as I thought that no summer migrants were coming, I spot a WILLOW WARBLER hopping about the garden. This is a tree loving bird and I have never seen one on the ground before. It must be desperate for food. It is an insect eater but I guess insect activity is delayed this year. Brian Laney starts his Amphibian rescue programme and reports the first movements of TOADs around the village with 36 female and 4 male noted off the West Haddon road alone. Terry Laney hears CHIFFCHAFF singing along the Brington Road, which is the second summer migrant this year.
- 9th April 2013, more reports of BARN OWL near A5 first thing and PIPISTRELLE BAT reported from 3 locations this evening. A pair of GREY PARTRIDGE at Hanglands is encouraging. Three villagers report that there are still plenty of birds coming to feeders.
- 7th April 2013, Peter Spokes reports BARN OWL near the A5, and Kevin Spokes reports LITTLE OWL sitting on a tractor. David Price has REED BUNTING, REDPOLL and SISKIN around his feeders at Harbidges Lane. I have YELLOWHAMMER in the garden which is a rare occurrence.
- 6th April 2013, a sunny day but still large patches of snow around the hedges. SKYLARKs and MEADOW PIPITs going over the village and 2 SISKIN over Holyoake Terrace is a subtle sign of the change. Jo Pogson reports BRIMSTONE.
- 4th April 2013, Frogspawn reported from several sights. A SONG THRUSH in song at 0510hrs. Mike Ivens reports the footprints of OTTER, ROE and MUNTJAC DEER at The Burges, plus 2 JAY and GOLDCREST at Mill Park. A RED KITE over Grange Farm may have been after shed lambs tails or after-birth as it spent a long time at low level, cruising the fields.
- 31st March 2013, Bill Jordan now has 2 male BLACKCAPs in his garden, and Sue Ebbage photographs a pair of TEAL on puddles off the Brington Road. A ROBIN picks moss from my lawn and nips up into the wood store. It sits for a while, waiting for me to stop looking. Alan Webb comes up trumps with a PEREGRINE at CEP landing on a pylon. They and Raven, are quite happy to do this, very few other species are. The last one I saw up there did the same thing. Are there records of them nesting on pylons? Anyway, Where are the migrants?
- 30th March 2013, A HARE at CEP is a nice surprise for Trevor Moore and I as we put in fence posts. A male KESTREL is a regular and quite confiding. Bill Jordan reports a BLACKCAP from Grove Farm Close. I suspect this is still a wintering bird, i.e. a central or eastern European bird as opposed to ‘our’ soon-to-be arriving Blackcaps from Africa. Sue Ebbage gets some great shots of YELLOWHAMMER, the yellow on these birds is becoming brighter, and brown is decreasing as the spring progresses. The ducks and geese are at it again first thing, quacking and honking, which is stretching my concept of the joyous dawn chorus.
- 28th March 2013, I check the Portland Bird Obs’ web site and see that 100’s of Wheatears and Chiffchaffs are making land-fall on the south coast. The extended winter weather has held back much the usual summer migrant bird movement. In fact there is rarely a March goes by without me seeing or hearing at least one Chiffchaff in the parish, before the end of the month. (This time last year it was 21c and I was being pestered by wasps!)
- 26th March 2013, Alan Webb spots a BARN OWL feeding in broad daylight at 0710hrs this morning. We guess that snow cover makes feeding difficult thus extending the time taken beyond the night. The MALLARDs quacking at 0530hrs did not amuse my wife, and to top it all a flight of CANADA GEESE seem to circle the house honking through the bedroom window, just as the crow scaring guns started up. Ah the peace and quiet of country life.
- 24th March 2013, The Buckby Ladies and supporters of the ‘Plant-a-tree- in 63’ gather at Cotton End Park (CEP) to plant this year’s tree. This 50th year is celebrated by a scene reminiscent of a summer fete, with tea and cakes and other fabulous refreshments all consumed whilst wearing thick winter woollies, and though chattering teeth. The Ladies tell me the event must happen on Palm Sunday each year come-what may, and a small snow storm and minus something wind chill was not going the stop them! Robert Falcon Scott would have been proud.
- 23rd March 2013, drifting snow makes shepherding even more difficult. Frozen water troughs, buried feed troughs and newly born lambs all needing attention. I see a flock of 50 SKYLARKs come over with a few MEADOW PIPITs. I stand for while by the hay bale in the 22acre and survey the village, all is white and still. As the day goes on bands of migrating FIELDFARE drop out of the snow clouds to feed amongst the sheep and a the ever-happy PIED WAGTAIL manages to sing from the barn roof as we call it a day.
- 22nd March 2013, Alan Webb reports 2 SAND MARTINs over the Daventry Road, these are the first summer migrants noted though with regular snow showers it will be a challenge for them to feed. I think I’ve had 5 Reed Bunting records from the village, and wonder if these are parish birds that have run out of food, or have not been able to feed due to the weather, and have come to the gardens, or migrating birds passing through.
- 16th March 2013, Alan Webb reports SISKIN and male BULLFINCH from the Wharf, and Dan Tabor reports a REED BUNTING with a metal leg-ring from High Stack. BUMBLEBEE noted. Jo Pogson also has a male REED BUNTING in her garden at Syers Green, and I can hear 2 SKYLARK singing from fields around Murcott. A RAVEN noted near Bridge House Farm.
- 14th March 2013, drying conditions promote a burst of ploughing and cultivating, and it isn’t long before the Gulls spot this and move in. 120 noted, of 3 species, in a field off the Brington Road. Many of the BLACK-HEADED GULLs now sporting the dark chocolate-brown hood of breeding plumage. I am pleased to see TREE SPARROW and REED BUNTING along with YELLOWHAMMER and CHAFFINCH on a brief walk today. GREENFINCHs too present and perhaps more numerous this winter than last.
- 11th March 2013, Mosquito reported. REED BUNTING reported from High Stack. Small flocks of STARLING, REDWING and FIELDFARE noted going over. The county birders report a Bittern at Ravensthorpe Res’ which is worth a look.
- 9th March 2013, the community orchard planting at Cotton End Park is in full swing when someone points out a pair of CANADA GOOSE on the wildlife ponds. Others are impressed by the regular BUZZARDs overhead. LADYBIRD reported from Cooks Way. RED KITE again reported.
- 8th March 2013, BLACKBIRD and WOODPIGOEN noted with nest material and the ROOKs at Vanderplanks are also busy repairing nest and displaying. Jo Pogson reports a STARLING roost in the ivy-bound tree near the Co-op entrance. Dan Tabor reports male BLACKBIRDs fighting in his garden, and describes perfectly a REDPOLL feeding on seed.
- 5th March 2013, a spring-like day produces 2 male BRIMSTONE and a BUMBLEBEE and Sara Morley reports Frogs spawn in her pond at Rockhill. Gulls and FIELDFARE starting to move north over the village in small numbers. 30+ GOLDFINCH roosting in a cherry tree at Murcott is a great sight and sound, squabbling and chivvying each other loudly.
- 4th March 2013, 2 male and 1 female MALLARD arrive at next-doors pond. One male is further advanced into breeding plumage that the other but they seem to tolerate each other’s company when it comes to competition for the female. Arthur Broughton reports a RED KITE low over Stenhouse Close and a male SPARROWHAWK is displaying over East Street.
- 2nd March 2013, at Cotton End park, 5 BUZZARDs displaying with further reports of similar activity over the village by David Stoddart. MUNTJAC and GREEN WOODPECKER reported from Lodge Lane.
- 28th February 2013, the junior school ring to ask about identifying the animal that has been digging in the school grounds. The mound of soil and tracks suggest Mr BADGER as the earth-mover but later tracks suggest Mr FOX has been having a look. What goes on in this village when we are all abed? On Market place I see a JACKDAW with a white wing feather equally in each wing and it actually looks quite smart. A GOLDFINCH sits on the roof of costcutter and sings above the sound of the traffic, and spring marches on!
- 27th February 2013, Norman How reports REDPOLLs and a male BLACKCAP from his garden. And Sue Ebbage’s Garden is a hive of activity with MARSH TIT and COMMON GULL making an appearance. I note at 0645hrs that a barrage of crow/bird scaring artillery opens up in the fields beyond the garden fence. There are still big flocks of WOODPIGEON about and wonder why we don’t eat more of them? Cary Hart describes two birds (and shows a photo’ of one) from Murcott Mill. The photo’ is of a GREEN SANPIPER, and description is of a Snipe possibly a JACK SNIPE. Another report of RED KITE, they or it may be looking for new territory.
- 23rd February 2013, Alan Webb reports GOLDCREST bathing in a newly constructed bird-bath, a SPARROWHAWK on a BLACKBIRD kill, and a large flock of STARLINGs on pre-roost flights. RAVEN and a pair of PEREGRINE FALCON noted over the West Haddon Road. The Falcons were calling and perhaps displaying or playing, and defiantly upsetting the colony of nearby ROOKs.
- 19th February 2013, a SMALL TORTOISESHELL butterfly is a surprise. And a RED KITE on a sunny day is always a pleasure. Ian Mawby reports a flight of 30odd GOLDEN PLOVER. Trevor Moore reports a RED KITE with falconers jesses attached at Foxhill.
- 17th February 2013, what no rain? A GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER is drumming at Cotton End and another one is at it in St Lawrence’s churchyard. Singing YELLOWHAMMER and CHAFFINCH more or less complete the list of common birds I have heard singing so far. My son Billy finds a pure white half egg shell from a hatched COLLARED DOVE. A COAL TIT is reported from High Stack, and reports of REDPOLL on nyger seed feeders confirm that these once elusive Birch woodland birds are now becoming garden regulars.
- 14th February 2013, Some sunshine prompts much singing and a bit of tentative displaying from the GREENFINCHs and BLUE TITs in my garden. And the DUNNOCK and COLLARED DOVEs make up the beginnings of what soon will be the dawn chorus. 4 BUZZARDS are displaying, way overhead, a fantastic ‘roller-coaster’ flight where the wind can be heard rushing through the feathers alongside the mewing calls. The floods at Surney are vast, and a drake SHOVELER is spotted amongst the gulls and PIED WAGTAILs. This duck has a large spatulate bill, a green head and a chestnut flank panel.
- 12th February 2013, the snow is no barrier to most of the wildlife or the sheep in the fields and I watch the latter scraping the snow to get to the grass, even though they have a huge hay bale and feed. My Wife is busy lambing, never a dull moment with lambs about, and I see two perched atop their mums broad back as she sits chewing. Amongst the ewes are dozens of COMMON GULLs, ROOKs and a few FIELDFAREs and STARLINGs, finding food in the scrapings or around the bale.
Black Headed Gull
- 7th February 2013, Several people have reported an increase in GULLs in the village with BLACK-HEADED and COMMON GULLs being reported from the smallest of gardens taking food. A roost of gulls occurs most winters on the main pitch at the Rugby Club, and there are always tell-tale signs, as the area is littered with white feathers after preening.
- 5th February 2013, SNOWDROPS and ACONITES reported and noted from several places in the village and there’s always a great showing along the roadside at The Wharf.
- 2nd February 2013, Terry Laney reports 2 TAWNY OWLS from the Brington Road, a RAVEN and MEADOW PIPITS are reported. At Cotton End Park, a GREEN SANDPIPER is noted over several days, hugging the edge of the ponds as it searches the mud for food. If disturbed it would fly showing black and white plumage.
- 30th January 2013, Brian Chaplin sends me a photo’ of what is possibly a REDWING from his garden and Phil Davis has also noted them. A BUZZARD noted sitting atop the hedge on the way to the Wharf. A FIELDFARE killed by a cat in a garden was sadly inevitable. Reports of more FIELDFARE and FOX sightings, including 3 foxes together off PARKFIELD ROAD and JUBILEE CLOSE.
- 28th January 2013, Kath Shep’ reports 5 ROBINs together, also GREEN and GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKERS, a pair of BULLFINCH, 4/5 TREE SPARROW and ‘the usuals’ from her garden off East Street. Sue Ebbage’s garden seems alive with birds including her regular flock of LONG-TAILED TITs.
Long Tailed Tits
- 25th January 2013, GREENFINCH numbers have increased in my garden so far this winter and one was singing today from the top of my ever-growing SILVER BIRCH. Joan Laney reports RED KITE from A428 junction, commenting on the lightness of the undersides. Mark Osborne reports 4 FIELDFARE from his garden and gets a good photo’ of one.
- 19th January 2013, Jenny Spokes reports 5/6 WRENs roosting communally in the soffit of the porch at Grange Farm. This is interesting and well-documented behaviour for a bird that is normally very territorial. RED KITE seen over the A428, the snow on the ground making birds in flight look entirely different being lit from underneath. I noticed some LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLs going over and against a white sky virtually all that could be seen were the dark wing tips.
- 14th January 2013, Snow sees birds appearing in gardens with more regularity, Sue Ebbage, Lindsay Barker, Duncan Timbs, Mark Osborne, all report FIELDFARE coming into their gardens. JAY and GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER are also being reported.
- 12th January 2013, BARN OWL reported crossing Station Road during the late afternoon. NUTHATCH reported from gardens in East Haddon. Flocks of 50 -200 WOODPIGEON are roaming the parish doing damage to oil seed. The plants have not been able to get established and are still vulnerable. A fly-over CORMORANT reported.
- 9th January 2013, Hover-Fly/Bee type species reported, also MUNTJAC deer seen off Brington Road. A FOX screaming reported by two people, one described it as ‘a murder taking place in the back garden!’ The waste grain tipping site north of the village has dozens of birds on it including YELLOWHAMMER, REED BUNTING, CHAFFINCH, TREE SPARROW and many COLLARED DOVEs.
- 7th January 2013, Adam Webb sees a bird at Cotton End Park which by the description was a WOODCOCK. David Price reports REDPOLL for the third year running on niger seed feeders in his garden at Harbidges Lane. Niger seed is very small and also a favourite of GOLDFINCH. More BEE species reported, one with full pollen sacks. Mosquito’s reported. Juvenile GREAT-CRESTED NEWT rescued from a drain on East Street by Brian Laney is an odd record, adding to the file regarding Berryfield’s fields.
- 5th January 2013, Where are all the RABBITs? Several people have noted the lack of Rabbits over the past year and the game-keepers I know have said that they are not being asked to deal with them this winter as with last. It has been suggested that this year’s poor wet weather has affected breeding and this may be coinciding with a high incidence of ‘Mixy’. There also a relatively new disease known as RVHD (rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease) which first noted in 1992 in the south has been spreading to all areas since. This is less obvious that ‘mixy’ so harder to detect and prove.
- 4th January 2013, Incredible! A BAT probably a Pipistrelle flying about at 1615hrs over The Leys. That and the mating COLLARED DOVES and reports of Bee’s, anyone would think it was spring!
Thank you all of your records over the past year and to Sue Ebbage for the incredible photographs that make this page worth looking at. Thanks also to Brian Porter for getting it to you, and Happy New Year to you all.
- 31st December 2012, Cotton End Park has a huge rolling flock of FIELDFARE and REDWING numbering 600+. A female KESTREL seen sitting patiently. Joan Laney spots a RED KITE over the Brington Road and an early Lamb at Grange Farm is not much of a surprise. David Stoddart reports singing BLACKBIRD from Market Place, another is reported from High Stack. GREAT TIT, ROBIN and MISTLE THRUSH also reported singing.
- 27th December 2012, Sue Ebbage reports a charm of 12 to 15 GOLDFINCH in her garden, and a volery of LONG-TAILED TITs numbering 15. Whilst we are on collective nouns my wife has, with a slight shout, drawn my attention to a mischief of BROWN RATs (a light brown adult and 3 greyish young) that have appeared under the bird feeder ‘eating the nuts if you please’. I change the subject by pointing out the flower of a LESSER PEREWINKLE but is does not work.
- 22nd December 2012, we are blessed with six Border Collie puppies in the house at the moment. When I say blessed I am of course gritting my teeth, as there is only just more pleasure than pain. They as a pack have devastated my garden, turning it into a mud-bath, chewed through the telephone cables, my slippers, the Christmas Tree Lights cable, and they have also started on some of the Christmas presents. What they receive they also give and regularly leave their own little presents around the place to be discovered by the un-slippered foot. I include this rant only because they found me a BANK VOLE which I rescued from them just before it was too late.
- 21st December 2012, the weather is nice, the sun is out, some birds are singing, so it must be the middle of winter! (This happened last year!)
- 20th December 2012, I see a BARN OWL near Foxhill, evidence that Trevor Moore’s extensive conservation work for them in that area is making progress. The Gentlemen of the Shoot report WOODCOCK and several JAY. I am working in a mains cup’d at a local farm trying to fix a fault when out of the corner of my eye I see a moth. I look up and see a dozen HERALD moths hibernating on the ceiling. They are quite smart, being thickset with pink and reddish-orange patches on a grey ‘cloak’ with white trimming. It’s odd how little things can make all the difference to a day.
- 19th December 2012, the pond and hedgerows in the fields behind Berryfield and Lime Avenue is one of only a handful of sites within the parish that has GREAT-CRESTED NEWTs. Since the recent works to the area (describes by various villagers as excessive, unnecessary and obstructive) The County Amphibian & Reptile Recorder has made a series of visits to see if he can find any survivors from the small population there. The good news is that he found two or three in the pond itself, the bad news is that they may have returned to the pond prematurely due to disturbance and may suffer if the winter turns too cold. (The Newts would normally spend the winter in the hedgerows that have been ‘managed’).
- 16th December 2012, COLLARED DOVE, ROBIN, and COAL TIT all noted singing today, as milder conditions prevail. I notice an intact spider’s web on the outside of the kitchen window frame, and within seconds a fly duly lands and is nabbed by the constructor. At lunchtime a mosquito is active in my office, but not for long. Gay Gardner reports 2 KINGFISHER from Lodge Park Farm and also reports the death of a handful of COMMON CARP in the lake there. He describes the damage to the fish bodies and after some research concludes that the culprit is an OTTER. There have been records for Otter in recent years from Whilton, Pitsford Reservoir, and the River Nene.
Great spotted Woodpecker
- 13th December 2012, an incredible hoar-frost combined with pink dawn skies made shepherding a treat. MEADOW PIPIT, SKYLARK and PIED WAGTAIL about the fields in small flocks. A BUZZARD sits on the top of a hedge and I can see the vapour from his breath as he ‘mews’. Calls come in regarding an increase in birds within villagers gardens, with JAY, GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER, COAL TIT and GOLDCREST included.
- 12th December 2012, minus 6 this morning, and dozens of FIELDFAREs noted at the farm on the scattering of un-frozen patches created overnight by sleeping sheep. Two or three birds concentrating on each area. Cassie reports REDWINGs feeding on a HOLLY tree on Brington Road. I am told by my county birdwatching friends that there have been sightings of Waxwings recently. An invasion of thousands from Scandinavia over the last month or so has seen small flocks found on any bushes or trees with berries. Reports have been from mainly built-up areas on the outskirts of the towns in the county, but also villages. There have been some reported from Daventry, Sixfields and Hunsbury in Northampton, Brixworth, Kettering etc. We had some in the village during the winter of 2010/11, so keep an eye out for them.
- 10th December 2012, 4 GREY PARTRIDGE noted. Lots of reports of birds coming into the gardens of the village. 5 TIT species, 4 FINCH species and 4 THRUSH species included.
- 8th December 2012, at Cotton End Park, the work party, busy trying to resurrect ditches and drainage untouched for decades, see a female SPARROWHAWK with a prey item go over. Dozens of REDWING also noted on the un-cut sections of the hedges and a BANK VOLE spotted going under a sheep trough.
- 4th December 2012, 1 LAPWING over Grange Farm, as it goes over I scan the sky for others but no, just the one. The pair of CARRION CROW that hang about the West Haddon Road have been known for many years as the ‘The Take-away Two’. Peter spokes named them as on countless occasions, first thing in the morning, he has watched them have at the discarded burger, pizza and chip wrappers that some kind soul tosses out of their window on the way home. Peter has also named another pair of crows from the farm, and if illness or death is amongst his flock, he can rely on the pair known as ‘The Undertakers’ to alert him as he sees them patiently walking around the stricken ovine ‘as if measuring it up for a coffin’.
- 30th November 2012, the odd REDPOLL noted plus BULLFINCHs and SONG THRUSHs. I am not sure if the Song Thrushes are new birds ‘in’ or are our resident birds that are just easier to see in the winter! Working in St Lawrence’s I note the leafless trees in the churchyard hold old bird’s nests. I think that at least 2 are Finch nests, possibly Goldfinch, and 1 could be Long-tailed tit. Terry Laney reports a BRAMBLING from the bottom of Lodge Lane, which is an incoming winter migrant from northern Europe.
- 24th November 2012, Sue Ebbage reports many birds moving into her garden including MARSH and COAL TIT, and sends me a lovely photo of a BLUE TIT. RAVEN are becoming regular this month over and around the parish, and 1 is reported sitting on a pylon. Listen out for that deep ‘croak’.
- 23rd November 2012, the sun shines and a male BRIMSTONE is flying about with spring-like vigour. There is a lot of washed-out fungi still about and a great circular stand of IVORY CLITOCYBE is found on a front lawn in Brington Road. (They are noted as very poisonous and occasionally deadly so look but don’t touch!) CANDLE-SNUFF and EAR fungi also noted.
- 21st November 2012, ROE DEER ‘slots’ i.e. footprints and RED KITE reported by Terry Laney. More rain and more floods. Rev. Clive Evans reports TAWNY OWL from Lakeside, and GREY HERON on flood-water. I am pleased to see a flock of 50 LAPWING on fields by the A5, no doubt sent by Natural England!
- 15th November 2012, a WEASEL reported in a garden at Lime Avenue may be a result of the recent works behind there. JAYs and WOODCOCKs reported from the gentlemen of the shoot, also a single HARE.
I am invited to a meeting to discuss parish wildlife with the regional rep’ from Natural England, who is, as he explains working in partnership with FWAG, NFU, CLA, LEAF, AIC, GWCT, AICC, CAAW, Defra, the Environment agency, and the RSPB. He shows me a list of birds and wildlife that all of these hard-working bodies are ‘concerned’ about. For our area there is Grey Partridge, Lapwing, Turtle Dove, Skylark, Yellow Wagtail, Tree Sparrow, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, and Corn Bunting. I listen for ages then point out that it is too late for half of the list as they are no longer with us, and the other half are so uncommon and in general decline that nothing short of throwing farming back a century would fix it. How actually concerned are they? The declines in farmland bird populations have been known about for decades, and are still going on unabated. So what have they all been doing while I have watched the birds around me disappear and the empty words fall out of their ‘concerned’ faces? Very little has been achieved apart from probably wasting millions of tax payer’s money. Anyway we get on well, the rep’ and I, and the hand-outs are nice, lots of frame-filling, over-coloured pictures of British birds and fluffy wildlife on a painting of an imaginary farm, labelled for ‘illustrative purposes’’.
- 11th November 2012, a beautiful Remembrance Sunday. A walk through St Lawrence’s churchyard, the allotments, Church and Park Farmland, reminding me how good it is to be in Buckby. My joy is soon dampened by reports from a villager of ‘devastation’ to hedge-rows and pasture at the fields (formerly Les Hales) behind Berryfield and Lime Avenue. This area has (had?) some of the highest bio-diversity for its size in the village, including wintering habitat for the Great-crested Newt population from the pond there. But what to do?
- 10th November 2012, Trevor Moore reports 11 JAY from under one OAK tree with the assumption that they had found some acorns.
- 7th November 2012, at Surney on Three Bridges Road, the previously mentioned pale (Leucism - look it up!) HOUSE SPARROW is with a flock of 20 others taking spilt grain from the roadside. Cassie reports and describes beautifully, a JAY from her garden in Brington Road.
- 6th November 2012, Gulls move in to feast on drowned worms around the flooded fields and a MOLE is spotted heading up-hill at Cotton End Park. Numbers of thrushes are on the up, with a FIELDFARE flock numbering c350 reported. Several MISTLE THRUSHES are also reported, one seen vigorously defending a YEW tree from numerous BLACKBIRDs.
- 4th November 2012, a neighbour gives me the bedraggled corpse of a MIGRANT HAWKER, and I can’t help associating it with the disappearance of the sun. Flooded land gives new aspects to the countryside, seeing MALLARD and a MOORHEN floating mid-field. A first for the county in the shape of a Bonaparte’s Gull is seen at Boddington Reservoir. This North American rarity may be a gift from the recent states-side hurricane Sandy.
- 30th October 2012, a 200 strong flock of FIELDFARE, REDWING, LINNET, SKYLARK and YELLOWHAMMER noted north of St Lawrence’s. JAY reported again. Pete Spokes reports a flock of ‘small waders’ possibly DUNLIN flying over north-east to south-west. This is an interesting example of migration, as Dunlin are lovers of mud-flats, and a few sometimes visit local reservoirs when the water is low. This time of year however, they are on the move generally southwards and these birds will have probably come from The Wash, and be heading for the Severn Estuary.
- 28th October 2012, at Hanglands a single, perfect WHITE WATER-LILY flower is the only sign of summer left on the pond, but odd RED CAMPION, OX-EYE DAISEY, and MARSH THISTLE are also out. In nearby pasture, SNOWY and PARROT WAX-CAP fungi poke up through the grass. There are more GOLDCRESTs and COAL TITs about, and LONG-TAILED TITs are regularly reported from village gardens. A family walk along the Grand Union at Long Buckby Wharf is becoming a favourite, and is usually rewarding from a wildlife aspect. I see GREY HERON, a late RED ADMIRAL, and several CHAFFINCHs and BLACKBIRDs on the tow-path.
- 26th October 2012, a report from the farm of dozens of mushrooms in a single colony of a ‘type’ not seen before, and as proof, I am presented with a fabulous PARASOL MUSHROOM a good 10 inches across the cap. These are good eating but a quick sniff tells me a FOX has recently urinated on it, so we’ll give that one a miss. An ANGLE SHADES moth found at Holyoake Terrace and the first of this winters FIELDFAREs are noted, 30 of them come in from the north-east, with a few REDPOLL in tow.
- 24th October 2012, I go out to study the GLISTENING INK-CAP fungi in my back garden to find a young MOLE fidgeting around the edge of the pond. I can’t resist, and pick it up and show the family. I return it to the garden where it finds a hole and is away. No evidence of the mole is apparent in the garden at this moment so fingers crossed it was just a visit.
- 23rd October 2012, Arthur Broughton reports 60+ STARLING in his garden and the recent arrival of a small flock of TREE SPARROWs. I talk to a local arable farmer about summer and harvest. We talk about the numbers of slugs and he says he has almost given up on pelleting the fields with slug-killer as it has had little effect on the population of the target species, the common grey field slug.
- 21st October 2012, raucous BLACK-HEADED GULLS, bored with the fields have come in to the village to hassle the JACKDAWs and STARLINGs for food. Down-time is spent on the playing fields squabbling and preening, or dozing on the top of street lights and roof ridges. 2 RAVENS reported, heard first of course. The IVY is in flower on my front wall and I look very closely at the exquisite flower heads. They seem to exude a clear liquid that is still attracting WASP, GREEN BOTTLE, and DRONE-FLY. For some reason I lean forward and touch the flower with my tongue. The fluid has a strong, sweet taste.
- 18th October 2012, manage to sort some fire-wood to replenish the store and find a perfect PEACOCK butterfly hibernating. They are right to say fire-wood warms you more than once, with the cutting, splitting and stacking being the first round. The early PIPESTRELLE makes an appearance at 1800hrs, but a SPARROWHAWK launches at it from a neighbours garden. It fails to match the agility of the bat, which twists and turns out of trouble, and remains up at chimney pot height, master of the dusk. At Bridge House Farm 60 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL go over towards the south-west. Many of them are young birds and there is calling and mewing as they go, bringing sounds of the coast to the furthest inlands. GREY WAGTAIL, LINNET and ROBIN also noted. A call from the Junior School reporting a BAT flying around at midday, sees me looking for evidence with Ms Spring after school. Many children saw it during the day but I am not so lucky.
- 16th October 2012, I meet the county SureStart officer at Cotton End Park for an enthusiastic exchange of ideas, interrupted by me pointing out a FOX, 2 KESTREL and a charm of GOLDFINCH. BATs again this evening, quiet early. RED KITE reported from Holdenby and the A428. SHAGGY INK-CAP fungi in the lawn, but the slugs get to it before I do! A party of SKYLARK and REDWING seen over the playing fields.
- 15th October 2012, exquisite pinks and reds glistening in the morning sun from the squished HEDGEHOG on The Banks. I see another on East Street and then later in the day, another on Station Road all equally squished. Nothing for ages then three come along at once. You would have thought that in a 30mph zone and with a hedgehog moving at barely the speed of a human walking, that they would be more avoidable.
- 13th October 2012, I find a Bush-cricket on my neighbours wall as he sorts jumble for the Long Buckby Green Spaces jumble sale on Saturday. Alarm bells ring as I remember Brian Laney telling me to look out for SOUTHERN OAK BUSH-CRICKET which, after a quick search on the internet, and a good look through a magnifying glass, I decide this is.
- 10th October 2012, a RICHARD’S PIPIT seen on Borough Hill is a real rarity. An off-course migrant from Siberia! Found by my birding friend, and ex-Buckby resident, Mark Spirito. Another friend answers my growing interest in the amount of JAYs that are about. Over the last few weeks hundreds have been seen coming in over the East coast. 600+ over Hunstanton, and 300+ over Yarmouth were quoted.
- 6th October 2012, a male SOUTHERN HAWKER and 8 male COMMON DARTERs are still at ponds on Hanglands NR. COMMA, RED ADMIRAL, and SMALL TORTOISESHELL are also about. Ian Tress reports a SPECKLED WOOD from his garden, and Sue Cross and her grand-daughter reports BATs from King Street. Terry Laney reports STOAT from Murcott and says the STARLING flock over South Close is 50 strong.
- 2nd October 2012, a RED KITE is reported entering the parish from the north, then over the built village at Berryfields and moving over East Street. PIPISTRELLE bats reported from the village. JAY again noted. Look for a Jackdaw sized bird with an odd, slow, weak flight on very rounded wings, and with pale almost pinkish under-parts. A closer perched view will reveal a white rump and blue wing panel. They are attractive birds of deciduous woodland, usually.
- 1st October 2012, a HOBBY going at the remaining dozen or so HOUSE MARTINs over Holyoake Terrace. At 0208hrs I’m awoken by a clang of metal, I leap out with the assumption that someone is stealing the catalytic converter from the truck (PCSO Sarah Gray has given me an security kit, so it is on my mind) I find nothing amiss and go back to bed only to hear the same thing again ten minutes later. Up again, I race out, with nothing on but a frown, and wielding my big maglite. The adult HEDGEHOG stares up at me from the dogs bowl, rudely interrupted. I am stared down, I apologize, and it carries on munching surrounded by half-eaten biscuits and bits of slug.
- 30th September 2012, a big surprise at 0730hrs in the form of a ROCK/WATER PIPIT flying over Armley Close, calling. It took me a second or two just to realize what I was hearing. These birds are usually coastal or migrants from Europe, and there are only a handful of records each year in the county. JAY, RAVEN and SISKIN also over the parish. HORNETs noted at Cotton End Park by Thomas and Joe as they paint the Sheep shed. Alan Webb notes an increase in GOLDCRESTs around Long Buckby Wharf, and reports that the BEE ORCHID plant moved from Greenhill Court in the spring is still alive.
- 27th September 2012, a LITTLE OWL reported from near the A5, and a handful of SISKIN calling as they pass over The Banks. GREEN SANDPIPER at Bridge House Farm.
- 25th September 2012, the shepherds are away to Skipton to buy fell sheep, so Poppy the sheep dog has no work. Take pity and walk her around the fields of elephant grass North-East of the village. The wind through the silvery-green blades reminds me of the reed-beds of the Norfolk coast, and to add to the effect, a STONECHAT, lover of reed-beds in winter appears in front of me. A NUTHATCH calling on Station Road in West Haddon is note-worthy.
- 23rd September 2012, Shepherding on Dead Moor, and about a hundred SWALLOWs turn up out of the blue and dive and swoop about the flock as we bring them across the field. It is an extraordinary sight, as they weave amongst the ewes taking disturbed insects, but they disappear as quickly as they came, the urge to migrate is strong.
- 22nd September 2012, Sue Ebbage sees BLACKCAP, WILLOW WARBLER and successfully photographs the GREEN SANDPIPER at Cotton End Park.(Thanks Sue!)
- 20th September 2012, 2 JAYS over the A428 are a sign. And a male COMMON BLUE butterfly at Evans’ Ponds is a surprise as I don’t think I saw any in the spring, and this is the 2nd generation this year as laid by the spring population.
- 17th September 2012, I am asked to talk wildlife to the massed ranks of the West Haddon and Long Buckby Guides this evening. Mill Park is the venue but the weather is dull and temperature low. During my lunch break I am thinking about what to show them. So here we are at 1940hrs, and in front of an assembled horse-shoe of smiling faces I produce a snake. There is a mixed reaction, some step back and decide not go near me at all, some not to touch but just look, a few decide to touch. The GRASS SNAKE, caught gently whilst basking in the sun at my best parish snake site, it cool enough not to be too concerned. The addition of a young SLOW WORM adds to the fun and is ‘cute’. Eventually nearly all, including leaders and parents at least touch, and both reptiles are released without harm. Great fun, dispelled some myths, educated and hopefully enlightened.
- 16th September 2012, At Mill Park, a gang of SISKIN on the SILVER BIRCH cones are a first for me this autumn. At Bridge House Farm, a pair of GREY WAGTAILS and 2 TREE SPARROWS noted. Most of the resident SWALLOWs and HOUSE MARTINs have gone from the village, but a few are still being seen and others are passing through to all points south through west. David Evans reports 9 GREY PARTRIDGE from Greenhill Farm.
- 14th September 2012, at Hanglands NR, observed MIGRANT and SOUTHERN HAWKER females egg-laying. The Southern laying in detritus well above the water level and in several places, the Migrant laying in one place at and below the water level. Assume the development needs of the larval stage of these two similar species is subtly different. I guess in the former, that there is an allowance for the water level to rise in winter? They are the first of the large Hawkers to emerge and fly, the latter is the last, so laying below the water line allows for the level to lower in the summer? Need to do some research!
- 10th September 2012, GREEN SANDPIPER and female SPARROWHAWK at CEP. At Surneys Bridges, YELLOWHAMMER, REED BUNTING, TREE SPARROW and JAY noted.
- 8th September 2012, John Seymour reports RED KITE on freshly ploughed fields also RAVEN, off Lodge Lane. Daddy Long-legs and Mossies about! A flock of 21 CANADA GOOSE over the village at lunch-time. More GOLDCREST about. A GREEN SANDPIPER enjoying the mud at the ponds at Cotton End park, SMALL COPPER and SPECKLED WOOD butterflies, and ‘whirring’ ROESELS BUSH-CRICKETs everywhere. At Hanglands NR, 7 GREY PARTRIDGE and a JAY seen.
- 6th September 2012, GREY PARTRIDGE (6?) 4 RAVEN, 1 SKYLARK, 8 MEADOW PIPITs, 2 GREY WAGTAILS, and a GREY HERON was a good tally for a hour or so North of the village. At Hanglands NR, still 4 species of Dragonfly busy with territory and reproduction.
- 5th September 2012, after a day of office work, a fine evening prompted a walkabout. 2 STONECHATs, 1 male WHEATEAR, GREEN WOODPECKER seen well with MEADOW PIPIT, and 100 SWALLOWs going over.
- 2nd September 2012, a HOBBY over home (at last!) They have been few and far between this year. The luck continues with a HARE and good views of RAVEN noted.
- 31st August 2012, a fine early morning, and prior to my day job a have a quick look for migrants on the West Haddon (back) Road. I am not surprised that there are no birds about as the night was clear and they would have kept moving through. Just as I am about to go for breakfast, I spot a bird on top of a fence post which sits there just long enough for me to work out its a WHEATEAR. I try to approach but it’s off, up and away, next stop Africa. Several people mention how many PEACOCK butterflies there are. Also RED ADMIRAL, COMMA, LARGE WHITE, and 1 PAINTED LADY are reported. At Work in a local grain store reconnecting a motor, I am suddenly aware of the roar of an engine. Popping my head out I get a full frontal view of a Lancaster and duck as it blasts by at tree top height. Ah the summer in England!
- 30th August 2012, the HOUSE MARTINs and SWALLOWs number over one hundred on a half-hearted count as I pass through the village at lunchtime. A HOBBY also showed interest as it cruised across East Street later in the day. SMALL COPPER and SPECKLED WOOD noted at Berryfields. Large GULL species are about searching for ploughed fields, and RED KITE is reported low over newly harvested fields presumably looking for carrion. RAVENs reported from over the village.
- 28th August 2012, a HOLLY BLUE noted laying eggs on IVY. Sam Tank describes an unusually large fly which she later identifies as a HORNET HOVER-FLY. A singing WILLOW WARBLER reported and young WHITETHROATs noted in my garden, fly-catching around the old plum tree (No plums this year!?) .
- 27th August 2012, spent the afternoon on the Long Buckby Green Spaces stand at The Feast. As well as plenty of interest in Cotton End Park, I also had a few records given to me. Rebecca Thomas reports a pale plumaged Sparrow from South Close/Wright Road. Avril reports a KINGFISHER from Jubilee Park. Someone reported HOUSE MARTIN nesting on their house for the first time in twenty years.
- 26th August 2012, Reports of dragonflies in the village, with descriptions that would suggest mainly SOUTHERN HAWKER, with a few BROWN and MIGRANT HAWKERs also. Rick Bunnage suggests that HOUSE SPARROWS have had a good year, and I tend to agree. A quick count of The Leys flock suggests 40+ birds, as opposed to the usual twenty plus for this time of year.
- 23rd August 2012, Sue Ebbage hard at work with her camera, gets shots of SILVER Y moth, BUFF-TAILED BUMBLEBEE, DRONE FLY, and COMMON CARDER BEE.
SILVER Y moth
- 19th August 2012, it’s virtually a tradition, every year the only OAK BUSH-CRICKET I see is dead in a spiders web in my son’s bedroom. How do they do it? One day I hope to see one in the garden the day before it comes into the house and gets nabbed. It is also tradition for me NOT to notice the sudden absence of SWIFTs in the sky, and so it is this year. Peter Spokes reports a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER from his barn.
- 18th August 2012, I lead a Wildlife Walk to raise money for the Buckby Feast. A few of us see a nice male REDSTART at a distance, and BRIMSTONE, RED ADMIRAL, SMALL COPPER, SMALL SKIPPER, MEADOW BROWN, RINGLET, LARGE, GREEN-VEINED and SMALL WHITE, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, GATEKEEPER and a handful of TOADLETS are noted. For the first time in 4 years I see BROWN HAWKER and RUDDY DARTER at HNR.
- 16th August 2012, I am told to pull up any RAGWORT I see because it may get into hay crops and effect sheep. So I am walking at Cotton End Park and spot one small plant growing in the middle of the field. I walk over and am just about the grab it when I notice a beautiful, shining SMALL COPPER butterfly feeding on the flower head. The insect virtually glows a metallic burnished copper. I stop and stare, and smile, and then walk away. BATS reported from Watson Road, and TAWNY OWL seen flying over the rooftops on Pytchley Drive. LARGE WHITE and PEACOCK butterflies reported in numbers.
- 12th August 2012, Joe Hedley, with a degree of excitement, sees a young GRASS SNAKE go under the slabs at the front of my house. I banished suggestions from the gang of youth that gathered, to lift the slabs and find it. Much to my amusement, 6 kids, my wife, the dog and next-doors cat stared at the area for several minutes, but the snake did not reappear.In 1951, John F Payne’s sister collected 113 different species of wild flower which won her a competition at the village school. Each plant was verified by teacher Doris Mantle.
- 8th August 2012, Sue Ebbage sees and photographers BROWN HAWKER, EMPEROR, BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLE and EMERALD DAMSELFLY. HOLLY BLUE and COMMA reported.
- 28th July 2012, persons who will remain nameless send me photographs of a slug-like, sparkling blur, in near darkness. They tell me it’s a NEWT and ask which species. Good effort, keep trying and thanks! (Please don’t hesitate to email photos of unknown critters, I will do my best to identify them for you) A handful of LARGE WHITE butterflies seen today, Mike York also reports them. Immature COMMON DARTER and MARMALADE HOVERFLY also noted.
- 26th July 2012, working on the tractor (a puncture this time!) in the baking heat and plagued by horse flies, I noticed LARGE SKIPPER and GREEN-VEINED WHITE on nearby CLOVER, and feel slightly better. PIPISTRELLE BAT reported from High Stack and The Leys. HEDGEHOG noted at South Close.
- 24th July 2012, Pete Spring reports GRASS SNAKE from Bridge House Farm. My hairdresser reports KINGFISHER from Surney Bridge stream. BATs reported. I watch the HOUSE MARTINs at Holyoake Terrace. They are non-stop, busy, back and forth, always working, so alive! Come rain or shine they just get on with it.
- 22nd July 2012, fresh smart male GATEKEEPERs and SMALL SKIPPERs, also new SMALL TORTOISESHELL butterflies joining the LARGE SKIPPERs, MEADOW BROWNs and RINGLETs at Hanglands. Whilst crouching by the pond I found laying in a small area, 80plus wings of COMMON DARTER dragonfly. These insects must have been predated as they were drying their wings after emergence and prior to first flight. With four wings per insect that’s at least twenty individuals, which would be a good record for that pond! During the afternoon I lead a ‘wildlife walk’ from Mill Park as a celebration of them being awarded the ‘Green Flag’ for conservation. My colleague Brian Laney enlightened us by naming the flowers and plants, and I pointed out birds, butterflies and dragonflies. A dozen people came along and we walked for a couple of hours in the sunshine seeing lots of parish wildlife, including 18 BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLEs many displaying, COMMA (and we actually see the silver comma mark on the underwing!), several BUZZARD, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, GRASS SNAKE skin and a male SLOW WORM.
- 21st July 2012, At Cotton End Park (henceforth known as CEP), Keith Youngs and I install water troughs in the sheep paddock and find a TOAD, and a VIOLET GROUND-BEETLE. The ponds now hold 3 male EMPEROR, BROAD-BODIED CHASER, and BLACK-TAILED SKIMMER. Sue Ebbage finds and photographs 3 LITTLE OWL, WHITE-LEGGED DAMSELFLY, LARGE SKIPPER plus lots more, off Brington Road.
White Legged Damselfly
- 15th July 2012, I find some ORANGE PEEL fungi plus a perfect HORSE MUSHROOM. 20+ SWIFT and a similar number of HOUSE MARTIN counted over the village. A fresh new COMMA and RED ADMIRAL noted. A mass of black spiky caterpillars reported on STINGING NETTLE are probably PEACOCK butterfly. A FIVE-SPOTTED BURNET reported from a garden in Rockhill Road. RAVEN reported from Cotton End.
- 13th July 2012, at Cotton End Park, 2 RAVEN, a WEASEL, and a COCKCHAFER noted. Someone reports the sun is out and it has stopped raining (Really, are you sure?) Elsewhere, YELLOWHAMMER and BLACKCAP noted carrying food, a RUBY-TAILED WASP and NOON FLY noted and an unidentified large raptor reported by two people from over the village mid-afternoon.
- 12th July 2012, at Hanglands, at lunchtime foray was halted by a warbler singing from a dense nettle patch next to the ponds. I am stumped for a moment as to what species it is but suspect with all the mimicry it may be a Marsh Warbler. I do not see the bird even after trying to do so for an hour. Some you win etc.. Jo from Syers Green Lane reports CINNABAR and SKIPPER from her garden. HARE noted off Brington Road
- 10th July 2012, a PEREGRINE drifts across the village and lands on a pylon just long enough for me to grab the binoculars and have a look, could be a young female. Brain Laney reports OAK BUSH CRICKET from South Close. Quite a few species of fungi about, warm damp conditions promote this.
- 7th July 2012, a GREEN SANDPIPER enjoying the mud a Cotton End Park. 10 SWALLOWs reported from near Benbow Farm on Brington Road. PIED WAGTAIL seen around Market Place. HOUSE MARTINs nest for the first time on a house in The Leys. A compliant is received about the number of Jackdaws in the village. GREEN WOODPECKER reported from Murcott, and also being heard around Lakeside. Peter Spokes and my wife see a HARE at Grange Farm.
- 4th July 2012, SILVER Y and CINNABAR moths reported. Lots of HEDGHOG droppings in a garden at Armley Close. I am handed a massive wasp nest, thankfully deserted. It is 3ft around and 4ft long! and came out of a loft. The internal structure is amazing with six levels of comb or cells and several hidden passageways.
- 1st July 2012, my wife disturbs a bright red medium-sized dragonfly from near Hanglands, whilst shepherding. This may be RED-VEINED DARTER (a migrant) as no other darter species are out yet, and is a first for the parish.
(Long Buckby Green Space might have to be renamed the ‘brown’ space due to all the mud. We have lost a good 10weeks through bad weather and I for one am extremely frustrated. I then look up and see a fine male KESTREL. Hunting between the showers, trying to survive and raise a family. I am slightly humbled and in a way inspired, keep at it, don’t give up.... )
- 30th June 2012, a walk near the railway at points off the Brington Road produced a site with 5 stands of COMMON SPOTTED ORCHID, each stand having at least 3 flower spikes. MARBLED WHITE, and RINGLET butterflies noted plus day-flying moths, FIVE-SPOTTED BURNET, BURNET COMPANION, and one I didn’t know and can’t find in my books.
- 28th June 2012, a rather worn-out HOLLY BLUE reported. Queen HORNET and RAVEN noted over the village. On a private site 14 BEE ORCHIDs were discovered in flower which is great news. And on the same subject, Alan Webb reports that a resident of Greenhill Court noticed a BEE ORCHID plant on the lawns there and knowing the contractors would probably mow it, promptly dug it up and passed it on to Alan who replanted it at lock-side pound 8, the nature area maintained by The Whilton & Buckby Locks Association. The contractors turned up as predicted. Well done to all involved! MEADOW BROWN, RINGLET, LARGE SKIPPER, and RED ADMIRAL seen. HORSE MUSHROOM reported, (generally yummy but mind the maggots!)
- 25th June 2012, at Hanglands, a GRASS SNAKE and TOAD under one of the old metal corrugated roofing sheets. (Why do I have these on a nature reserve? I here you ask. Well it is because the rusty metal heats up in the morning sun before the surrounding ground does and reptiles love to kick start their day with some added heat, enabling them to be active earlier) Dragonflies make a good show with EMPEROR, SOUTHERN HAWKER, FOUR-SPOT and BROAD-BODIED CHASERs. A surprise came in the form of a WHITE-LEGGED DAMSEL, these are normally seen on slow, deep rivers and canals, and they can be seen at the canal at The Wharf at present. (The 3 wagtail chicks from the nest in the sheep trailer have successfully fledged and are about the farm today)
- 24th June 2012, HOBBY over The Leys, reacting to alarm calls from HOUSE SPARROW and STARLING, I looked up to see the speeding falcon shoot through. Don Bird reports RED KITE over the village. Some residents have mentioned a large hawk in the gardens and have been told it may be a Goshawk. This is very unlikely and is far more likely to be a SPARROWHAWK. The thing is a male Sparrowhawk is at least 20% smaller than a female and has slightly different plumage. The female Sparrowhawk can appear as large as a male Goshawk, but the habits and habitat of both species differ. ‘Hawks’ in the garden are invariably Sparrowhawks.
- 22nd June 2012, Kath Shep’ reports a flock of about 30 SWIFT travelling east over East Street, as if leaving the area. It is rather odd that they should do this as most Swifts are in the middle of breeding at the moment, and are generally in the skies above the village. Are they moving to somewhere else to feed in response to local weather conditions? Brian Laney reports LONG-HEADED (Yellow-juiced) POPPY from The Banks area. LARGE SKIPPER and PEACOCK butterflies noted elsewhere.
- 20th June 2012, brief sun today giving the dragonflies a chance. At Hanglands, BROAD-BODIED and FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER noted as well as emerging SOUTHERN HAWKER. 2 pairs of LINNET are nesting in the hedge along with WHITETHROAT and DUNNOCK. YELLOW WAGTAIL, GREY PARTRIDGE and HARE noted from the West Haddon Road.
- 17th June 2012, next-door’s pond has been home to 3 MALLARD (2 males and a Female) for the last month or so. The female disappeared a couple of weeks ago, but reappeared today with 14, day-old ducklings in our garden. We think that she must have nested somewhere in one of the ‘untidy’ corners as the garden is well fenced. Anyhow, it took half an hour and several pecks to shepherd them out of the back gate.
CHAFFINCH AND YELLOWHAMMER
- 16th June 2012, Sue Ebbage and I visit Perkins Lodge Farm (with kind permission of Jim and Judith Jelley) for a walk. We see several HARE, YELLOWHAMMER, and SKYLARK, and at the ponds see a freshly emerged FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER dragonfly along with AZURE, LARGE RED and BLUE-TAILED DAMSELs. Brain Laney reports PIG-NUT from Oak Tree Farm.
BLUE TAILED DAMSELFLY
- 12th June 2012, Mrs Barker and her daughter from Greenhill Road have 2 HEDGEHOG in their garden, as well as lots of birds. They feed all year round and one of the hedgehogs has taken up residence in a fabulous home they have built for it. A flock of 40 STARLINGs including juveniles reported. The JACKDAWs have done well also, dozens of young birds about the village, with one being rescued from a chimney in West Street. Young ROOKs and MAGPIEs also noted of Brington Road.
- 10th June 2012, at Grange Farm, a pair of PIED WAGTAILs have nested in the sheep trailer. We think that, prior to the discovery of the nest, the trailer was loaded up and taken to market and back whilst the bird was still sitting on eggs. The trailer is now parked and not disturbed and 3 feathered juveniles have been seen. A LARGE RED DAMSEL is reported from a garden pond on Holyoake Terrace.
- 8th June 2012, at Hanglands NR, YELLOW FLAG IRIS, OX-EYE DAISY, RED CAMPION, RED CLOVER, BIRDSFOOT TREFOIL, and BUSH VETCH are flowering. Whilst shepherding we noticed how the SWALLOWs fly with us as we cross the fields in the truck. We realized that they were feeding on insects disturbed from the grass. During the poor weather this has become a regular event and they even swoop back and forth in front of the sheep-dog as she works the flock. We saw a HARE on the farm today for the first time in years.
- 5th June 2012, Terry Laney reports HOBBY from over South Close. ORANGE TIP is reported.
- 28th May 2012, At 1815hrs today I saw a male PALLID HARRIER go over Cotton End. The bird is rather Buzzard-like but all white, with distinctive black ‘wedges’ at the ends of the wings. I only saw it for about 10 seconds and it was flying North. If anyone has seen anything like this recently can they please contact me.
- 27th May 2012, another glorious day, such a change in such a short time. Hanglands NR ponds held a good dozen BROAD-BODIED CHASER, mainly immature, but with 1 mature blue male defending a pond. LARGE RED and AZURE DAMSELs also. 2 GREY PARTRIDGE seen plus WHITETHROAT, BULLFINCH, CHIFFCHAFF, YELLOWHAMMER and LONG-TAILED TIT. Butterflies noted – ORANGE-TIP, HOLLY BLUE, PEACOCK, BRIMSTONE and SMALL TORTOISESHELL. SILVER Y moth noted. David Stoddart reports RED KITE low over the village centre for several minutes. It is possibly 3 centuries since Red Kites were seen this regularly in the parish. At Cotton End Park, all 3 wildlife ponds are now full. 5 SWALLOW were seen repeatedly swooping in for bathing/drinking.
- 25th May 2012, At Cotton End Park, 6 species of butterfly plus SILVER Y, MOTHER SHIPTON and SMALL YELLOWUNDERWING moths, seen. 10 SWIFTs over Market Place, and 8 HOUSE MARTINs near The Banks. BATS reported from The Leys, Lakeside, Grange Farm, High Stack, William Road and The Banks. The air is heavy with scent of May blossom (Hawthorn flowers) and Oilseed rape.
- 21st May 2012, Carol Tyers reports HOBBY over West Street, and Peter Clifton shows me the masonry bees in his bug box. A large Bat seen by Nick Hudson, Daniel Tabor and myself over High Stack at 1920hrs in good light looked rather like a NOCTULE.
- 20th May 2012, Peter Clifton and my wife both report RED KITE near the A5, this afternoon.
- 19th May 2012, in a similar way that NASA tracks Father Christmas across the world on Christmas eve, I was able to track a CUCKOO through the parish this morning. At 0420hrs I was counting singing BLACKBIRDs and having got to 8 audible from the comfort of my bed I thus went back to sleep. I was then awoken by some strong cuckooing at 0710hrs. Kath Shep rang me just after to say she had heard it on and off from 0640hrs. The bird was somewhere in the paddocks behind Lime Avenue/Berryfield. Arthur Broughton heard from that area at 0830hrs and by 0845hrs it had moved to the allotments below the church being heard by Carol Tyers at 0845hrs. David Evans then heard it up near Vanderplanks at 0900hrs and I being at the farm feeding sheep heard it again over towards Foxhill Manor at 0930hrs. Such excitement!
- 16th May 2012, RED KITE reported by Kath Shep over Lodge lane and by Jo Pogson over Murcott. At Hanglands NR the first dragonfly of the year, a newly emerged BROAD-BODIED CHASER, starts a life on the wing following 2 years in the darkness of a cold pond. Several LARGE RED DAMSELs also.
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER
- 13th May 2012, Billy and I find a metallic green beetle which turned out to be NEETLE WEAVIL (Phyllobus pomaceus) we also see SPECKLED WOOD and HOLLY BLUE. Sue Cross reports GREEN WOODPECKER from her garden patio, searching in the cracks for ants. (The woodpecker, not Sue) The Ebbages see 6 species of butterfly and photograph HARE and FOX. A family walk along the canal at The Wharf gave us views of MOORHEN, singing GREY WAGTAIL, 2 GREY HERONs and a PIED WAGTAIL. SPECKLED WOOD reported from Holyoake Terrace.
- 10th May 2012, Jim Jelley reports a probable COMMON CRANE from Perkins Lodge Farm. His description leads me to suggest he was correct in his identification. Lucky chap!
- 8th May 2012, several HOUSE MARTIN and SWIFT over the village. Terry Laney reports BLUE-TAILED DAMSEL and SPECKLED WOOD. David Price reports GREEN WOODPECKER, and Mike York sees HOLLY BLUE at Watts Way. 8 fledgling STARLINGS noted.
- 6th May 2012, RED CAMPION, BLUEBELL and HERB ROBERT noted in flower. Dozens of ST MARKS FLY on the wing. NEWTS reported from 3 sites in the village. Some Fungi popping up still, FAIRY RING CHAMPIGNON and COMMON INK-CAP noted.
- 5th May 2012, 0700hrs saw 12 villagers set out on the Mill Park Bird Walk. We experienced 45 species, highlights being singing WILLOW WARBLER, a male WHEATEAR, 2 pairs of TUFTED DUCK, CANADA GOOSE with 7, 1 day old goslings, and BUZZARD carrying nesting material. 4 YELLOW WAGTAILs and 2 MUTE SWANs were also seen. We plan to have another walk again soon, maybe including Butterflies and Dragonflies.
CANADA GOOSE with 7, 1 day old goslings
- 30th April 2012, Sun at last. GREEN-VEINED WHITE, PEACOCK and SMALL TORTOISESHELL dare to venture out. Whilst at Perkins Lodge farm I see a fine male GREENLAND WHEATEAR, and return after work to find 2 more amongst the grazing calves. Inspired, I turned into Lodge lane and found 2 more in the big flat sheep field. I checked the pastures further up near The Old Coopers, where I would expect to see them but no. Undeterred I went up to Oak Tree Farm and there amongst the contented sheep were 3 more. 8 in total, have I ever had more in one session? I’ll look back over my records and let you know. 1 lonely LAPWING and 3 GOLDEN PLOVER reported.
- 29th April 2012, the flooded road and meadow below us was providing a morning’s entertainment for the RAC man who glared in disbelieve at the idiots who were trying to make it through the torrent by putting their foot down. A couple of SWALLOW sat on the fence nearby and looked as if they wished they were back in Africa. An adult LESSER-BLACKED GULL, several MALLARD and a few STARLING were enjoying the worm feast on the flooded pasture. A report of LITTLE EGRET there as well. We attempted to do the rounds at the farm, we battled on field by field, but eventually decided it was better to leave the sheep and lambs sheltering in the hedges than to call them to the troughs. Got a good soaking for our efforts, and enjoyed seeing a neat PIED WAGTAIL on the hay feeder.
- 28th April 2012, at Cotton End Park, WILLOW WARBLER, and ROBIN sang in the rain, and a good show of CUCKOO FLOWER or LADIES SMOCK at the bottom end. A RED KITE and JAY noted at Lodge Lane. Flowers making an effort included BLUEBELL, WHITE DEAD NETTLE, GROUND IVY, GARLIC MUSTARD and RED CLOVER.
- 25th April 2012, Peter Clifton reports BARN OWL from Station Road near the Church. I find a SNAKE FLY (Xanthostigma xanthostigma) in the garden. (I dare you to look it up!)
- 24th April 2012, 1 HARE and 4 TREE SPARROW on Bridge House Farmland.
- 20th April 2012, Sue Ebbage sees HARE and ORANGE-TIP butterfly (the one and only this month!) An immature male REED BUNTING, CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP are all singing near Vanderplanks Covert. I am repairing sheep fence when a male REDSTART pops out in front of me followed by a female. The pair moved along the fence flycatching, hoping down to the ground, quivering their brick-red tails.
The underside of an Orange tip butterfly
- 19th April 2012, Alan Webb reports GREY WAGTAIL probably breeding at The Wharf. 2 HARE and a RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE noted on Perkins Lodge Farmland. LADIES SMOCK in flower at Cotton End Park.
- 17th April 2012, 2 SWALLOW at Bridge House Farm. Alan Webb and Mick Hill report with dismay many mature trees being felled on the canal. The suggestion is that an incident occurred somewhere in the country where a tree fell and hit a canal-boat/boater. What does this mean for the millions of canal-side trees in the UK? Sue from Hammas Leys reports BADGERs sleeping in her garden in the open. She says that building work behind 4 East Street has dislodged a family of BADGERs. The question is why is there building work going on if BADGERs are present? Why did planning get approved without a survey being done? And if a survey was done and did find BADGERs why was it not a condition to allow for them? Someone somewhere is not doing their job!
- 15th April 2012. 3 people report RED KITE including Robin Thompson. Rebecca Thomas reports BATs from South Close. 2 SWALLOWs arrive at Grange Farm.
- 13th April 2012, Brian Laney reports BARN OWL and a BADGER is reported, seen in the daytime at the back of East Street. MUNTJAC DEER noted at Hanglands NR.
- 8th April 2012, Sue Ebbage reports and photographs WILLOW WARBLER.
- 6th April 2012, damp weather brings out JEWS EAR and COMMON INK-CAP fungi.
- 2nd April 2012, Chrissy Gamble reports RED KITE from over High Street/Skinyard Lane, and several dead RED-TAILED BUMBLEBEEs.
- 29th March 2012, Terry Laney reports BEE-FLY, Sally Walden reports HAIRY-FOOTED FLOWER BEE from her chimney. These were discovered last year and appear to be back. They are small harmless insects. I have given up on counting butterflies and bees they are now so abundant. A lady shouts to me from East Street “21 degrees and pestered by Wasps, more like August than March!”. A handful of FIELDFARE heading north just after dusk, and 2 PIPISTRELLE BATs in the afterglow. A fully grown adult BROWN RAT in my neighbour’s garden (Can’t wait to tell him)
- 26th March 2012, John Groves reports RED KITE from Lodge Lane and from towards Norton parish. HARE, and a very bright male YELLOWHAMMER seen at Perkins Lodge Farm. Sue and Chris Ebbage note numbers of BUZZARDs soaring together, Geoff Seymour reports 5 together as does David Stoddart. The Ebbage’s also see 5 species of butterfly adding COMMA to this year’s list, and take some great photos of SKYLARK. I hear a singing BLACKCAP from a garden at the end of Holyoake Terrace. (3rd summer migrant, although some do winter here) not bad for a Monday!
- 25th March 2012, an early morning trip to check on a lambing ewe was rewarded by the sight of a WHEATEAR on the West Haddon Road. (the 2nd summer migrant to be noted) CHIFFCHAFF noted near Vanderplanks Covert. 2 MUTE SWAN in flight passing a flock of COMMON GULL was an odd moment of ‘whiteness’. GREEN-VEINED WHITE seen at Cotton End Park, also singing TREECREEPER there. Dave Green reports BATs from High Stack and from by the lake. 3 CORMORANT over.
- 23rd March 2012, 4 BRIMSTONEs reported/noted. David Price reports seeing REDPOLL on his feeder in Harbidges Lane most of the winter. 2 CHIFFCHAFF singing. These are traditionally the 1st of the summer migrants to appear, so no exception this year.
- 22nd March 2012, on the flowers of GOAT WILLOW at the wonderful wild area at the end of Stenhouse Close, dozens of mainly Bumblebees, but also 2 SMALL TORTOISESHELL, and 1 PEACOCK butterflies. The tree was audibly humming!
- 21st March 2012, CORMORANT flying over, GREENFINCH in song-flight, and SMALL TORTOISESHELL seen.
- 20th March 2012, 2 BATs reported, also RAVEN being mobbed by CARRION CROWs. MEADOW PIPIT and PEACOCK butterfly noted.
- 19th March 2012, at Lodge lane in the sheep paddocks, SONG and MISTLE THRUSH, along with, FIELDFARE, BLACKBIRD, JACKDAW, ROOK, and STOCK DOVE feeding together. Many BEES and LADYBIRDS about. Have managed to see MUNTJAC, FOX, 2 POLECAT, RABBIT, HEDGEHOG and 4 BADGER all dead on the road in the last few days.
- 15th March 2012, several GOLDCREST noted on Lakeside, Grange Farm and Brington Road would suggest a few moving through. MARSH and LONG-TAILED TIT also seen. (The bird observatory on The Isle of Portland, reports Chiffchaff on the 3rd, Wheatear on the 7th and Swallow today, so it won’t be long before the summer migrants are with us!)
- 13th March 2012, in the fog at Perkins Lodge Farm, a RAVEN calls overhead. Two people report seeing dead road-kill BADGER, and I note a road-kill POLECAT near the bridge on Long Lane. More FROG and TOAD activity reported. MEADOW PIPITS now almost daily, (although it could just be one bird circling around the parish lost in the fog!)
- 11th March 2012, sunny and warm, and as I listen to other people in the close mowing their lawns a BRIMSTONE flies by. MEADOW PIPIT and REDPOLL fly over calling. Christopher Spokes (senior) reports RED KITE, 2 TREECREEPERS and frogspawn from his afternoon walk. At Hanglands NR, SHORT-TAILED FIELD VOLE, and SMOOTH NEWT are noted, and DANDELION and COLTSFOOT are in flower.
- 10th March 2012, Amazing numbers of SEVEN-SPOTTED LADYBIRDS emerging from hibernation. WHITE-TAILED and RED-TAILED BUMBLBEEs noted and a queen COMMON WASP. Croaking frogs wake me at 0400hrs, ah Spring!
- 9th March 2012, Neil MacKay reports FROGs and spawn from his pond on Berryfield, also REED BUNTING. Brian Laney reports TOAD movement and has asked people to be aware of and avoid frogs and toads on the roads at night, and also thanks villagers for their efforts last year when ‘hundreds’ were saved.
- 8th March 2012, David Green reports RED KITE from fields behind High Stack and also sees REED BUNTING in his garden. There are several excited FROGs at the pond in Hanglands NR, and two clumps of spawn.
- 3rd March 2012, At Cotton End Park, at midday-ish, my arm is deep inside the tractor bulkhead trying to attach a link on the accelerator, when a tight flock of JACKDAW fly rapidly past calling alarmingly. Now there are not many birds in the UK that can upset a Jackdaw, so I jumped up and scanned the sky in hope, and within seconds a large female PEREGRINE came into view, all hell let loose as the local WOODPIGEONS, STOCK DOVES, CARRION CROWS, and JACKDAWS became potential targets for this the ultimate raptor. Twenty seconds and it was all over, and there wasn’t a bird dare take to the air for at least half an hour.
- 1st March 2012, Mike and Beth York report BRIMSTONE butterfly from Lakeside. Rob McNally reports the LITTLE EGRET again from Bridge House Farm lake area. I assume this bird has wintered here but it is always secretive and rarely seen, which is odd for a big white bird.
- 29th February 2012, RED KITE (at least the 6th sighting this month) over Grange Farm, reported by my wife whilst shepherding. I see a BUMBLEBEE, and find a big female FROG on the doorstep. BUZZARD soaring, some thermals at last!
26th February 2012, Sheep work in the cold sunshine accompanied by singing PIED WAGTAIL on the barn, HOUSE SPARROW, CHAFFINCH and GREAT TIT in the hedges. Good show of CROCUS and SNOWDROP about the village.
BUZZARDS AND RED KITES
- 25th February 2012, A dozen villagers helping at Cotton End Park were treated to good views of 2 RED KITE going over towards the village. Sue and Chris Ebbage photographed them with 2 BUZZARD over Murcott half an hour later. Other birds noted at the park were TREE SPARROW, BULLFINCH, RAVEN, YELLOWHAMMER, GOLDCREST, and a WOODCOCK was disturbed whilst Trevor Moore and Adam Webb were erecting the second Barn Owl Nest Box. The Ebbage’s also saw 4 TREECREEPERs during the day, and a BUMBLBEE was reported.
- 24th February 2012, a ROBIN is building a nest near my front door, and 2 COLLARED DOVE egg shells were found in the garden suggesting a recent hatching.
- 23rd February 2012, a RED ADMIRAL flies by, and 2 REDPOLL are seen on the seed feeder. They are barely bigger than a BLUE TIT and don’t last long against the GREENFINCH. REED BUNTING is reported from 2 gardens, one is David Green who also has had female BLACKCAP, and MARSH TIT, and has seen a RED KITE near High Stack. Some poorly seeded rape fields are still attracting WOODPIGEON, is note a flock of about 200 towards Foxhill.
- 17th February 2012, a pair of RAVEN reported. I note lose, high flocks of FIELDFARE and REDWING generally heading north. Kevin and Geoff Spokes have made a fantastic job of laying a hedge at Grange Farm. SKYLARKs singing over fields off Brington Road and over West Haddon Road.
- 16th February 2012, Chris and Sue Ebbage note singing SKYLARK, soaring BUZZARD and RED KITE during their walk. Drumming WOODPECKER reported.
- 14th February 2012, Jo Pogson reports RED KITE, Mrs Rogers reports 5 REDWING in her garden at South Close and there are MOSQUITOS about at night!
- 11th February 2012, COMMON and BLACK-HEADED GULL noted and reported from gardens over the last few days. We can hear singing STARLING and sometimes SONG THRUSH, as the sounds comes down the chimney into the living room. A dead CANADA GOOSE on the road-side looked to have been shot. The local BUZZARD sits on the gate posts looking rather bored, and longing for some thermals to soar on.
- 7th February 2012, Trevor Moore reports RED KITE. TREE SPARROW and MARSH, COAL, GREAT, BLUE and LONG-TAILED TITs, and FIELDFAREs reported from gardens in the village. Many birds also now singing.
- 31st January 2012, Singing BLUE TIT, GOLDCREST and MISTLE THRUSH in gardens of West Street.
GREAT TIT AND BLUE TIT
- 28th January 2012, a Dead BADGER reported from the Northampton Road, also SONG THRUSH and REDWING seen there. The prints of a MUNTJAC deer reported from Armley Field, and a RAVEN heard over Foxhill.
- 27th January 2012, a RED KITE followed by 3 BUZZARDS in the sunshine coming over Cotton End was a great sight.
- 25th January 2012, Brian Laney reports 2 male GREAT-CRESTED NEWTs in the pond at Applegarth. A BARN OWL seen hunting on the verge of the A428. 3 reports of LITTLE EGRET from the allotments/Co-op fields area. I couldn’t resist a look and during lunch break, saw it perched on a bush in the middle of the field just below the old slaughter house off The Banks. It may stay in the area.
- 23rd January 2012, at Hanglands NR, 9 GREY PARTRIDGE flushed. On Three Bridges Road it was nice to see some hedge-laying in action and at The Wharf, the SNOWDROPS were well up and mostly out in flower.
- 22nd January 2012, at Cotton End Park, members of Long Buckby Green Spaces Volunteers and the committee were hedge-laying in the sunshine, looking up occasionally to see BUZZARD and KESTREL.
- 21st January 2012, 2 hibernating queen WASPs were found by 1st Long Buckby Cubs plus adult helpers at Cotton End Park, whilst planting trees, putting up nest boxes, grass sledging and of course, getting wet and muddy.. A PIED WAGTAIL in song at Grange Farm, and the odd lamb appearing as well.
- 18th January 2012, Rob McNally reports LITTLE EGRET from Bridge House Farm Lake as does David Price. At Perkins Lodge Farm, a WILLOW TIT heard also dozens of FIELDFARE seen on cattle pasture. A PEREGRINE chasing feral pigeons reported. Terry Laney reports LAPWINGs flying over the village.
- 15th January 2012, Kath Shep’ reports 6 LONG-TAILED TITs and GREENFINCH from her garden feeders. A dead BADGER reported, and a large squashed BROWN RAT in the Co-op car park was noted. 19 GOLDEN PLOVER seen flying over, and drumming GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER heard. Trevor Moore and several villagers helping to lay the hedges at Cotton End Park.
- 12th January 2012, one or two REDPOLL about, I keep hearing them whenever I am out, ROOKs displaying over Oak Tree Farm and the covert. The clear night shows the heavens and I use my field scope to view Jupiter. 4 pin-prick dots are probably the Galilean Moons, Callisto, Ganymeade, Io, and Europa.
- 11th January 2012, I catch a view of a Gull flying over the village and note that the wings show no dark feathers. From the size and shape this bird could be a MEDITERRANEAN GULL. Brian Laney reports a male TOAD and GREAT-CRESTED NEWT from ponds off the Brington Road, and I catch a SMOOTH NEWT eying up the cats dinner near the back door. A report of SNOWDROPs in flower.
- 1st January 2012, as the new year starts, Arthur Broughton reports a BAT flying around after mid-night during the brief burst of firework activity. Sue Ebbage reports LITTLE OWL.
- 31st December 2011, David Evans reports singing SONG THRUSH from Oak Tree Farm.
- 30th December 2011, I think the number of GREENFINCH feeding in my garden are up on the last couple of winters. I assume the deadly Trichomonosis virus has been attacking local populations for the last few years, and the numbers reported to me by villagers have been lower. It is also known to affect HOUSE SPARROWS. I note PRIMROSE in flower on the road side along West Street and a singing BLUE TIT and ROBIN.
(Note, A late Christmas present came in the form of a record of an unusual spider. I was at a friend’s house and noticed his laptop scrolling through photos as a sort of screen saver. Amongst the family and holiday shots was one of a big black and yellow spider I immediately recognised as WASP SPIDER (Argiope bruennichi). It is a southern species and I had seen it before in Dorset, and wondered where he had photographed it. In the garden came the reply. He lives on Holyoake Terrace! When was it taken? August 2008. I need to check but I think this could be the 1st county record of this species! Happy Christmas.
- 24th December 2011, Dumped crud from a clean-out at the local grain store is providing some excellent pickings for about a 100 YELLOWHAMMER, 20 TREE SPARROW, 60 CHAFFINCH and an assortment of other birds including 1 REED BUNTING. I take a long walk, the first for many weeks, out to the northern boundary, then west back to Murcott and east to home. MARSH and LONG-TAILED TITs, GOLDCREST and 2 GREEN WOODPECKERS are the highlights plus 3 REDPOLL on SILVER BIRCH. On some wet, old, bark-less logs I note a sprinkling of bright orange CORAL SPOT fungi, and on another the equally bright yellow spikes of SMALL STAGSHORN fungi. Small multi-barred fans protruding from another turn out to be MANY-ZONED POLYPORE, alongside some equally small and almost unnoticeable, CANDLE-SNUFF. Strange life-forms but rather beautiful.
- 23rd December 2011, the rain returneth. But both ROBIN and COLLARED DOVE can’t resist singing. A flock of about 60 WOODPIGEON are roosting, heads tucked in, feathers fluffed out, in a leaf-less POPLAR in a nearby plantation, and from where I am looking they do seem rather like festive baubles hung evenly around a Christmas Tree. This observation proves I need a holiday.
- 22nd December 2011, the shortest day, the winter solstice for the northern hemisphere. Of deep but long forgotten significance to our ancient selves. What a paradox that it is also the warmest, sunniest day for quite a while. At Perkins Lodge Farm, a PEACOCK butterfly is zipping about and there is a BLUE TIT singing.
- 15th December 2011, Alan Webb reports 30 odd LAPWINGs, and 100s of REDWINGs from The Wharf. 2 male BULLFINCHs appear in my garden and we hold our breath whilst they feed in the old plum tree. A COAL TIT nips to the feeder and takes away a sunflower seed.
- 14th December 2011, 2 vehicles become victims to the early morning frost. A big white van on its side in our sheep field was a nice surprise. The tangled mess of broken fence posts and wire, adding to my pre-Christmas jobs list. Whilst viewing a small blue car nose down in a ditch opposite, a BARN OWL flew by, landed on an upright fence post to observe the mayhem.
- 10th December 2011, BARN OWL again reported from West Haddon Road. I see a flock of 25 or so LAPWING fly east over the village. As I get home from work, a gang of 30 ROOKs drift over, returning to roost in Vanderplanks Covert. They are croaking gently to each other as if discussing the day’s work. My wife reports seeing a STOAT.
- 3rd December 2011, Richard Brennecker reports a RED KITE with a yellow wing tag. Dependant on which wing this tag was in, it could indicate that the bird is a visitor from the Chilterns, the original re-introduction site for this species in England.
- 30th November 2011, 2 reports, one from Peter Spokes, of a BARN OWL about on the West Haddon Road. Another report of one on the Brington Road. A flock of GOLDEN PLOVER noted at the Wharf near the A5.
- 29th November 2011, Keith Thompson reports a GREEN SANDPIPER from the slurry pit at Bridge House Farm. WOODCOCK flushed near Murcott. 2 ROBINs sing in the dark at Lakeside during the evening.
- 26th/ 27th November 2011, Dozens of people visit Cotton End Park for the introductory open days. The Sun shining both days definitely helped. Several fungi were up including HORSE MUSHROOM, SNOWY and PARROT WAXCAP, SULPHUR TUFT and SHAGGY and COMMON INKCAP. A RED ADMIRAL, several HORNET, WASP and a single BUMBLEBEE were also noted. Birds included an ever present BUZZARD, 2 KESTREL, GREEN and GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER, BULL, GOLD and CHAFFINCH. A party of LONG-TAILED, BLUE and GREAT TITs, had a GOLDCREST accompanying. COAL TIT and MISTLE TRUSH also noted.
- 25th November 2011, David Green reports KINGFISHER at Lakeside twice, and once at David Evans Ponds. Small parties of REDWING, FIELDFARE, GULLS and WOODPIGEON about. I see a distant flock of 30odd LAPWING going over east.
- 23rd November 2011, an impressive stand of SHAGGY INKCAP in a garden at Tebbitt Close. RAVEN, SISKIN and CORMORANT seen flying over.
- 16th November 2011, whilst working in a loft on Station Road I disturbed a queen HORNET from her hibernation. She and I crawled towards exit hatch at a similar speed, but I just pipped her to the top of the ladder. BUMBLEBEE reported.
- 13th November 2011, Sue Ebbage is always out with her camera and has sent me photos of Fungi and a POPPY (in flower!). The fungi are hard to identify, but I love a challenge and I will have a go on some cold winter evening when there’s not much on.
- 10th November 2011, David Evans reports mushrooms on the sheep pasture. This recent damp but warmish weather has brought out the fungi at last.
- 8th November 2011, 2 RAVEN, 1 GREEN SANDPIPER, 1 GREY & 4 PIED WAGTAILs, and 2 MEADOW PIPITs at Bridge House Farm.
- 3rd November 2011, Mike Ivens reports KINGFISHER, TAWNY OWL, FIELD MUSHROOM, and a ROMAN SNAIL, from Mill Park and Murcott. (The Roman Snail is Britain’s largest snail, and may have been brought here by the Romans as a food source as no fossil evidence exists from before that time. Actually the common garden snail is also perfectly edible but you would need twice as many. The Roman Snails in Mill Park were introduced there many years ago)
- 2nd November 2011, The GREY PARTRIDGE seem to have gone. This happens most years, and I am not sure if they are native birds or introduced for shooting, or if they even breed regularly in the parish. The Grey is our only native lowland ‘game’ bird but it is estimated that 6.6million Red-legged Partridge and 37million Pheasants are released each year for the guns, each bird in direct competition for resources with the beleaguered Grey. Small wonder that the UK population is down by over 80% in the last 50 years.
- 1st November 2011, 2 REDPOLL over Armley at 0700hrs.
- 30th October 2011, my sons call me out to the front of the house and point at a beautiful HUMMINGBIRD HAWK-MOTH zipping amongst the Lavender. We knelt down within inches of it, wings a blur but perfectly silent and a proboscis easily longer than its body searching the flower heads, as it hovered in front. RAVENs go over.
- 29th October 2011, 50 FIELDFARE, 20 REDWING, 4 MISTLE TRUSH, 10 BLACKBIRD, 10 CHAFFINCH, 6 GOLDFINCH and 1 GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER! all feeding in one flock on pasture at Grange Farm. About 50 COLLARED DOVE on the lines, which is a big count for me.
- 26th October 2011, Sue sends me a photo of a wagtail which I think is probably an immature PIED WAGTAIL. CORMORANT over. (In the last few days many winter migrants have arrived in the county, off note are Short-eared Owl, Great Grey Shrike, Merlin, and Rock Pipit so keep your eyes open for something different!)
- 23rd October 2011, Sue Ebbage photographs a female KESTREL in flight, COMMON DARTER (also photographed in flight, which is quite a feat!) and TREECREEPER.
- 21st October 2011, Geoff and Peter Spokes report 2 coveys of GREY PARTRIDGE (11 & 6), and 40plus FIELDFARE, from Grange Farm. A RED ADMIRAL noted at 4degrees C, and a LESSER STAG BEETLE found sitting on my garage door. GREEN WOODPECKER heard.
- 16th October 2011, Sue Ebbage photographs GOLDCREST, GOLDFINCH and SKYLARK. I note that many miles of hedges have been flailed in the parish. Removing all the fruit seams such a waste, depriving the wildlife of a valuable resource during the winter. I know I go on about this but surely for that reason alone, it could be done late winter, like it always used to be. It is just another factor adding to the massive declines in farmland birds.
- 15th October 2011, at 0300hrs a LITTLE OWL decided to start calling from my garden which was nice (for several seconds then it wasn’t). 1 JAY, 10 REDWING and 20 FIELDFARE (the other Scandinavian winter visiting thrush) seen flying over. LESSER BLACK-BACKED, COMMON and BLACK-HEADED GULLs moving through, and a party of LINNET, perhaps 10. This flock, which is generally around Armley Field, Springe Field, and Penny Way (off West Haddon Road), grows as the winter sets in and last year got to nearly 100 birds. An all dark COMMON DARTER was a first for me in the parish. Most Dragonflies of this family turn dark, almost black when old, due to sunlight, though most don’t live long enough for this to happen.
- 10th October 2011, Brian Laney finds ANNUAL MERCURY, perhaps recorded at a dozen other sites in the county, so quite special. Whilst working at Murcott, a GREEN SANDPIPER and a CORMORANT flew over.
- 9th October 2011, a general walk-about producing two groups (3 & 4) of TREE SPARROW. Singing SKYLARK plus others flying over calling. Odd ones of GREEN, GOLD, CHAFF and BULL – FINCHES, a family of 4 MISTLE THRUSH, SISKIN, and the first of the winter migrants, 1 REDWING! I also found the remains of a dead female/immature KESTREL but no sign of what it died of. There are flowers in bloom, a gap in the arable process giving MAYWEED, RED CAMPION and SOW THISTLE a short window of life. MARSH TIT noted calling from Vanderplanks Covert.
- 6th October 2011, Kath Shepperson reports WHEATEAR and SMALL COPPER.
- 4th October 2011, David Evans reports 2 WHEATEAR from his farm and I find a hibernating PEACOCK butterfly in the wood store.
- 2nd October 2011, 30 CANADA GOOSE over the village at 0715hrs, the largest flock I’ve seen locally. SMALL COPPER, and RED ADMIRAL noted. Pete Spokes reports CLOUDED YELLOW. Dragonflies included a patrolling male SOUTHERN HAWKER and 14 COMMON DARTER at Hanglands NR.
- 1st October 2011, Sue Ebbage out with her camera sees SPECKLED WOOD, SMALL COPPER, and RED ADMIRAL butterflies, plus RED-TAILED BUMBLEBEE and WATER BOATMAN.
- 30th September 2011, 32 CORMORANT flying over north-east (What’s going on with all this Cormorant movement? Is it just between local water bodies like reservoirs or are they coast to coast?) . Natalie Ryan reports a small HEDGEHOG in her garden. I had a look and it does seem rather small. The hot dry weather may be stopping them feeding (They like worms and snails). Hedgehogs need to be at least 400grams to have a chance of surviving winter in hibernation. Donna Cresswell-Saunderson also reports a small HEDGEHOG, as do my son and his friends, from The Banks area. PAINTED LADY, RED ADMIRAL, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, COMMA and SMALL COPPER all noted from a garden further up The Banks. 1 SWALLOW today, the last of summer birds?
- 27th September 2011, ANGLE SHADES moth noted and David Evans reports a HUMMING-BIRD HAWK-MOTH. 2 CORMORANT flying over west at 0730hrs. Several queen Bumblebees about. There are one or two HOUSE MOUSE in the my kitchen, they have found my wife’s store of chocolate and she is not assumed.
- 26th September 2011, 20 CORMORANT over the village flying in ‘v’ formation, north-west at 0730hrs. (The last time I saw this I was in the Himalayas and we were at 13,500ft!) I also saw 12 over Creaton later that morning doing the same thing. My wife describes perfectly CLOUDED YELLOW to me, but alas she saw it near West Haddon.
- 24th September 2011, at 1700hrs a female SOUTHERN HAWKER noted egg-laying on several areas of mud 6 inches up from the water’s edge of a local pond. I wonder whether she assumes the water will rise in the winter, or unlike other hawkers, the eggs and larvae are adapted to a dry life to start with? A niche with less competition? They are always found in the water in the latter parts of their life and emerge from it when they are about the break-out and fly.
- 23rd September 2011, David Stoddart noted 3 BUZZARD over Market Place going north. Joe Hedley found a SILVER Y MOTH. A CORMORANT/SHAG flying north-east.
- 21st September 2011, 3 CORMORANT flying south-west. The last nest of SWALLOW fledged at Grange Farm, with 5 leaving the nest. COMMON INK-CAP mushroom noted.
- 17th September 2011, TREE SPARROW, YELLOWHAMMER and BLACKCAP seen at the three fields at the back of Berryfield/Lime Avenue. 12 SKYLARK at Egden Hill. Standing on the high ground there looking east for raptors along the ridge I noted a familiar shape heading towards me, a Lancaster bomber. It gave me a personal fly by, a one man, one plane air show, a fantastic sight and sound. I could still here it five minutes after it was gone. Back to business, a HARE, COMMON CARDER BEE, HORNET and COMMON WASP noted. MARSH TIT, TREECREEPER and GREEN WOODPECKER all heard. Works to help drain boggy bits in nearby arable fields would presumably make these areas better for production but less attractive to previously recorded wintering snipe, golden plover and lapwing. MEADOW PIPITs almost constantly over in ones or twos.
- 15th September 2011, RED KITE drifting over the A428 and a PAINTED LADY at Armley Close were notable. Peter Spokes reports 2 MARSH TIT and SMALL COPPER from Grange Farm. I note the huge CEDAR from Hall Drive has gone, which is rather sad. Lots of CRANEFLY about and ORB WEB SPIDER to suit. I note that the recently common ‘daddy-long-legs spider’ pholcus phalangioides is in every room in my house and has managed to kill several cranefly and even the big hairy house spider tegenaria gigantean.
- 11th September 2011, some birds start to sing again in the late summer. ROBIN and STARLING sing at any time of the year, but summer migrants like the two similar warblers, CHIFFCHAFF and WILLOW WARBLER also have a brief period of song before they set off south. Oddly both birds look very similar almost to the point where they are hard to separate in the field but their songs are different thus helping in identification. Are the singing birds this year’s young practicing? 15 SISKIN over, HOBBY, WHEATEAR, LESSER WHITETHROAT and COAL TIT noted. A NUTHATCH heard calling from the depths of Vanderplanks Covert, was a good record. They are resident in Watford near the Church, also around Winwick Warren. They may also be resident at Foxhill Hall and grounds.
- 10th September 2011, A bit of fence maintenance at the farm came to a halt while a family of 4 SPOTTED FLYCATCHER’s and a LESSER WHITETHROAT were busy feeding on the insects nearby. More MEADOW PIPIT’s, perhaps 15 over in about an hour. The fields are now being prepared. Muck-spreaders, disc harrows and rollers out in force. 300 gulls adorned the fields of the West Haddon Road this morning. LESSER BLACK-BACKED made up the majority with the others being BLACK-HEADED in winter plumage. A flock of about 100 LINNET with GREENFINCH, CHAFFINCH and GOLDFINCH, seen on the decreasing stubble. A fly-over SISKN seen at Clifton Close.
- 9th September 2011, a lunchtime foray, whilst the sun shone, produced several white butterflies mainly GREEN-VEINED WHITE. Also RED ADMIRAL, COMMA, and SPECKLED WOOD. I am sure the latter are more abundant this year, and may be generally increasing year by year. A HOBBY seen chasing what looked like a GREENFINCH. The finch went low into a hedge and the pursuer pulled up at the last second. At Hanglands NR, dragonflies were active, A patrolling male SOUTHERN HAWKER, with the female nearby egg-laying. A pair of EMERALD DAMSEL’s in copulation also egg-laying below the surface of the water. A count of 27 COMMON DARTER most of which were orange/red males holding territory was a good count for the site. A fly-over MEADOW PIPIT a reminder that autumn migration is well under way. BATS noted again.
- 8th September 2011, Chris Spokes reports a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER from Grange Farm. I’m not sure whether these birds breed in the parish anymore. They used to be reported regularly from at least five sites in the village but not recently. This bird may be moving through on migration. 3 dead BADGERS reported in the last week or so. A small bat reported may be a PIPESTRELLE.
- 7th September 2011, Brian Laney notes a first for the parish and general county rarity in the form of ORANGE FOXTAIL (Alopecurus aequalis), a grass that favours drying mud on banks of ponds and reservoirs.
- 4th September 2011, at Cotton End Park, blustery and cloudy weather did not deter a queen HORNET, SPECKLED WOOD and RED ADMIRAL from being about. SONG THRUSH and WILLOW WARBLER both heard but not seen.
- 1st September 2011, Terry Laney Reports a WHEATEAR at the bottom of Lodge Lane, son Brian reports POPLAR and ELEPHANT HAWK-MOTH during a night’s ‘Mothing’ session.
- 29th August Richard Brennecker reports 2 WHEATEAR from early yesterday morning, from a place I had been looking. (I don’t see all of the birds all of the time you know!) Lots of GULLs about seeking plough.
- 28th August, my usual Sunday morning walk, always a pleasure. Greeted by a fly-by flock of 10 CANADA GEESE, with 2 GREYLAG accompanying. Playful young KESTRELS and a very pale juvenile BUZZARD noted. 2 SAND MARTIN passing through and dozens of SWALLOW feeding low over sheep pasture. As I watched them I saw adults feeding juveniles on the wing, they flew towards each other, flew up, stalled for the briefest moment, met breast to breast, the adult passing the food over rather like a kiss. A female REDSTART fly-catching on a berry-laden hedge in a shaft of sunlight, as the church bells rang out, was special for me. This England, this parish life! Time for breakfast.
As the evening weather was reasonable I walked north-east to the edges of the ridge of the A428. From the flat arable to the slopes of grass and sheep. I saw a HARE asleep in its form and the on top of some round straw bales were 1 female/immature WHEATEAR and 1 WHINCHAT. It is extraordinary for me to see the 3 main passerine passage migrants in one day, so I am quite pleased. Redstart, Wheatear and Whinchat breed somewhere north of this county/country and are on their way south to winter in Africa.
- 27th August, at Hanglands NR, 2 MIGRANT and 1 SOUTHERN HAWKER, a female LONG-WINGED CONE-HEAD (an all green grasshopper with a thick dark line along the back and a spike like ovipositor), a juvenile ROBIN (no red just cream spots and marks) noted. I love the delicate lilac and purple of WATER MINT flower heads, they always have insects on whatever the weather, and the smell... A SWIFT over Armley, must surely be the last.
- 25th August, Brian Laney reports CORN MARIGOLD (only 16 sites in the county since 1984) and CORN SPURREY (only 10 reports since 1986) from fields off Sandy Lane. Recent works to the fields must have exposed this possibly decades old seed bank.
- 22nd August, SWALLOW (60+) HOUSE MARTIN (about 100) and a surprise of 1 SAND MARTIN on the power lines near Berryfield/Lime Avenue, gave a good chance to study these mainly aerial birds whilst they sat and preened. Many large Gulls over, mainly LESSER BLACK-BACKED, including the Scandinavian form, and the usual BLACK-HEADED, now in winter plumage. Juvenile REED BUNTING and MIGRANT HAWKER (dragonfly) noted. The latter seen heading up East Street at 30mph! Trevor Moore reports 9 juv’ GREY PARTRIDGE with 2 adults which this time of year is a success story. David Evans reports a small red car running over a female MALLARD and 2 young at Willow Mill. A assumes the driver was not paying attention. Neil Farmer reports 4 ELEPHANT HAWK-MOTH caterpillars from his garden.
- 20th August, I spoke too soon as Brian Laney reports a SWIFT over South Close. A HOBBY seen doing the usual, i.e. trying to catch either SWALLOW or HOUSE MARTINS. An OAK BUSH-CRICKET found bound up in a spider’s web was an odd find in my son’s bedroom.
- 18th August, Richard Brennecker reports a WOOD WARBLER from Lodge Lane. This is a rare but regular passage migrant through the county in spring and autumn, and perhaps the 2nd parish record. I have been away for a week but notice that all the SWIFT have gone.
- 14th August, a good long walk encompassing the allotments, churchyard and fields up to Vanderplanks Covert, the ponds, parts of Grange Farm (With the kind permission of Peter Spokes). Lots of movement and mix-up this time of year as the young of all sorts of species get together and hunt for food. Insects on rotting fruit and BLACKBERRY bushes providing for warblers including, LESSER & COMMON WHITETHROAT, BLACKCAP, CHIFF-CHAFF and WILLOW WARBLER. Spilt oil-seed food for 60+ LINNET with GREENFINCH, CHAFFINCH and GOLDFINCH mixed in and TREE SPARROW noted. 3 RAVEN, 4 BUZZARD and 2 KESTREL in the air. Fly-over record of YELLOW WAGTAIL (records of this species are nearly all fly-over, and the flight call is the key to identification, without that call I would miss them) Butterflies include SMALL and GREEN-VEINED WHITE, GATEKEEPER, SMALL COPPER, SPECKLED WOOD and COMMON BLUE. A BROWN HAWKER was a first this year for me and COMMON DARTER and COMMON BLUE DAMSEL were also noted near the ponds at the covert.
- 6th August, sitting by the small pond at Hanglands NR, 6 male EMERALD DAMSEL, 5 COMMON DARTER and 2 BLUE-TAILED DAMSEL.
- 5th August, a ten minute look at Stenhouse Close, 5 male COMMON BLUE and 4 SMALL COPPER butterflies, also MEADOW BROWN and SPECKLED WOOD. At Cotton End Park, a young KESTREL and FOREST SHIELDBUG noted.
- 1st August, Brian Laney reports Moths from an over-night session including, RIBAND WAVE, LARGE YELLOW UNDERWING, BURNISHED BRASS, DARK ARCHES, COPPER UNDERWING, HEART AND DART, MAGPIE, and FLAME SHOULDER. A Cotton End Park on the stripped area that is going to be the wildlife area, a PURPLE HAIRSTREAK butterfly on the damp ground, was a good record.
- 31st July, a family walk along the canal to Whilton produced several BANDED DEMOISELLE, a large, metallic blue/green damsel with a black smudge on the wings. A GREEN SANDPIPER fly-over, and a MOORHEN with 4 black, fluffy balls – chicks less than a week old. The children enjoyed standing under the rail bridge when the trains go over, helping passing boaters with the locks and of course the promised ice-cream at the end.
- 30th July, good weather prompted visits to three areas today. Birds included 5 species of warbler including a REED WARBLER (not known to breed in the parish). A close encounter with a young TREECREEPER. Several BUZZARD and a KESTREL. A Lone GREY PARTRIDGE escaping the harvest. Butterflies totals included 10 SMALL COPPER, 2 BROWN ARGUS, 2 HOLLY and 1 COMMON BLUE, dozens of GATEKEEPER, and 7 other species in good numbers. Dragons/Damsels included egg-laying, apple-green SOUTHERN HAWKER, a beautiful metallic green and powder blue, male EMERALD DAMSEL and reddish and pale green COMMON DARTERs. A GREEN CRAB SPIDER noted with a large moth as prey and SEVEN-SPOT LADYBIRDs everywhere. Ah the summer!
- 29th July, 21 CANADA GOOSE in a flock feeding near Evans’ pond. BRIMSTONE, HOLLY BLUE, PEACOCK, RED ADMIRAL, SMALL and LARGE WHITEs, GATEKEEPER, SMALL SKIPPER, MEADOW BROWN and SMALL TORTOISESHELL butterflies noted at Cotton End Park site.
- 28th July, at the site of COTTON END PARK, 3 fly-over CORMORANTs, 2 KESTREL (Adult and juvenile) hassling a BUZZARD, and GREAT-SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKER noted. 30 plus SWALLOWs and HOUSE MARTINs gathering on power lines reported. Mike York reports HOLLY BLUE and PEACOCK from his garden on Lakeside. Peter Stanlick of Leys Close reports SWIFTs chasing a model aircraft over The Banks area.
- 23rd July, a cycle ride with my sons along ’Jacksons track’ off of West Haddon Road produced singing YELLOWHAMMER, and several LINNETs. Also two or three family parties of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLs passing over already on passage back to their wintering grounds. BROWN ARGUS butterfly and SHADED BROAD-BAR Moth seen later.
- 20th July, a HOBBY again over Armley field – ever watchful for a young, inexperienced HOUSE MARTIN, the scythe-like wings and shorter tail distinguishing this small falcon from its commoner cousin the kestrel.
- 16th July, at Hanglands NR, a newly emerged (teneral) COMMON DARTER dragonfly drying its wings prior to its maiden flight. Young SMOOTH NEWTs and fish fry noted. (Fish have not been introduced to the pond on the reserve – but nature finds a way!) Grasshoppers abound including LONG-WINGED CONE-HEAD (What a name!), ROESELS BUSH-CRICKET, MEADOW and COMMON GREEN GRASSHOPPER, and COMMON GROUND-HOPPER.
- 14th July, Terry Laney reports 4 RAVEN, probably a family party, over South Close. Peter Spokes reports HUMMINGBIRD HAWK-MOTH and HORNET along PEACOCK and RED ADMIRAL butterflies on his buddleia at Grange Farm. 5 young PHEASANTS with mother noted and adult RABBIT with ‘mixy’ reported.
- 11th July, a lunchtime foray, finding a huge BUFF-TAILED BUMBLEBEE and an equally large hoverfly species, volucellus pellucens, both relatively unusual, on BRAMBLE flowers at Stenhouse Close. I note that housing development is planned for this area.
- 10th July, EMERALD DAMSELFLY noted. A party of 25 screaming SWIFTs over Market Place reported. An Adult and juvenile RAVEN wheeling high above the houses, croaking away at each other. HEART & DART moth found by my neighbour. Evening air full of insect life.
- 9th July, a mixed flock of small birds included a family party of LONG-TAILED TITs, young BLUE and GREAT TITs, WHITETHROAT and WREN, feeding and interacting along a hedge near St Lawrence’s. BLACKBIRD, BULLFINCH and CHAFFINCH were also noted along with singing SKYLARK. A juvenile BUZZARD pleading with its parent for a share of a road-kill rabbit, and 9 species of butterfly all seen on a morning walk. Emerging SOUTHERN HAWKER noted again. I am always amazed that the dragonfly lays its eggs on vegetation in small ponds, the larvae taking 2 years to grow in the cold and dark, and then one morning they crawl out onto a stem, burst out of their skin and become the most incredible flying predator. It has been happening like that for 300 million years.
- 5th July, Becky Steele, (locally raised but now with the BBC Wildlife unit at Bristol) noted a HONEY BEE swarm of several hundred attached to a sycamore tree near Vanderplanks Covert. My bee-keeper friend tells me that ‘wild’ honey bees are quite scarce so these are likely to be from a hive (and worth over £100!). Apparently new queens are usually deterred by the hive manager, but occasionally one gets to mature and then rallies most of the existing swarm and moves out to pastures new.
- 3rd July, my first HOBBY this year over The Leys, chasing a rather surprised flock of 24 HOUSE MARTINS. The martins are nesting on houses at The Banks and Holyoake Terrace and often combine to mob any passing aerial predators. GRASS SNAKE (about 2ft) and a LESSER STAG BEETLE noted.
- 1st July, the slaughter in the suburbs continues. Pet cats relentlessly killing young birds, with MAGPIE and SPARROWHAWK also at it (Although at least they are a natural part of the food chain). Then there are the accidents, I have had three reports of fledglings drowning in open water-butts, and farm water troughs. Then there are the collisions with windows and conservatories, entrapments in chimneys and green-houses, hung up in fruit bush netting and gutters, or just sitting there and getting run over! The odds are certainly stacked against our garden birds getting to maturity, no so much ‘natural selection’ as pure luck! The price they pay for the proximity of humanity.
- 27th June, Penny O’Shea sent a photo of SCARLET TIGER moth from her kitchen. This may be the first parish record of this colourful and well patterned species.
- 24th June, at Hanglands NR, dragonflies include 2 SOUTHERN HAWKER recently emerged, drying their wings next to their exuvia. 1 female BROAD-BODIED CHASER, and a male FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER. Damsels include LARGE RED, BLUE-TAILED and AZURE. 9 butterfly species including a perfectly fresh COMMA.
- 19th June, BLOOD-VEIN moth, and SMALL SKIPPER and RINGLET butterflies noted, Brian Laney reports SMALL TEASEL and CORN MARIGOLD. A black burying beetle nicrophorus humator found so infested with mites that it could not fly.
- 15th June, Geoff Seymour reports yearling ROE doe and GREEN and GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKERS. BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLE damselfly, CLOUDED BORDER and BEE moths noted. 1 LAPWING fly-over NE to SW.
- 13th June, Terry Laney reports MARBLED WHITE and MEADOW BROWN butterflies and CINNABAR moth.
- 12th June, at Cotton End Park site, MEADOW BROWN butterfly and COMMON SWIFT moth noted, with flowering WOODY NIGHTSHADE and BIRDS-FOOT TREFOIL.
- 8th June, 5 species of dragon/damselfly reported from David Evans Ponds at Oak Tree Farm. Daniel Tabor reports CUCKOO! from near High Stack.
- 5th June, HARLEQUIN LADYBIRD and WASP BEETLE reported.
- 4th June, 30plus HOUSE MARTIN and 2 WHITETHROAT noted. Beautiful RAGGED ROBIN and YELLOW FLAG IRIS flowering near ponds at Oak Tree Farm. SCORPION FLY, ROESELS BUSH-CRICKET noted along with COMMON BLUE, RED ADMIRAL, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, BRIMSTONE and LARGE SKIPPER butterflies.
- 28th May, LARGE SKIPPER and SPECKLED WOOD butterflies noted. 10 SWIFT from the village.
- 25th May, David Evans reports ROE DEER from north of the village. Peter Spokes reports HARE.
- 20th May, BURNET COMPANION (moth), RED_EYED DAMSELFLY, and a Long-horned Beetle sp at Oak Tree Farm ponds. TUFTED DUCK, COOT and CANADA GOOSE with young also there. Alan Webb reports TREE SPARROW from Rye Hill.
- 19th May, at Cotton End Park site, 7 MOTHER SHIPTON, 1 SMALL YELLOW UNDERWING and 3 SILVER GROUND CARPET (all day flying moths) plus 7 male COMMON BLUE, BRIMSTONE, ORANGE-TIP and 1 SMALL COPPER butterflies. Nesting TREECREEPER and GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER noted, and TREE BUMBLE-BEE (Bombus Hypnorum) noted.
- 15th May, 4 species of Odonata (Dragon/Damselfly) noted, along with several LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL passing over.
- 14th May, Chris Myers reports 2 parakeet types near East Street.
- 11th May, a pair of LESSER WHITETHROAT, singing CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP and YELLOWHAMMER noted on an evening walk. Female BROAD-BODIED CHASER and AZURE DAMSELFLY amongst the OX-EYE DAISIES and RED CAMPION at Hanglands NR. Kath Shep’ reports HORNET. Trevor Moore reports 5 Barn Owl eggs abandoned in a nest near the village.
- 10th May, Simon Shardlow reports SPARROWHAWK on kill and GREEN WOODPECKER from his garden. During a police operation just outside our back garden at midnight, several BATs were noted in the light of the helicopter search light.(Mark Jelley reports a pair of GREY PARTRIDGE and 10pairs of SKYLARK from Perkins Lodge Farm. Also records of Wheatear from earlier in the month)
- 9th May, Mrs Angela Roberts reports CUCKOO calling from the back of Stenhouse Close/Cotton End/East Street area, at 1952hrs.
- 8th May, hanging around Surney Bridges (not to be recommended) noted a KINGFISHER, 1 SWIFT and 3 HOUSE MARTINs. Simon Shardlow reports GREEN WOODPECKER and SPARROWHAWK from his Garden.
- 7th May, 2 SWIFT over The Leys (a week later than last year, just to buck the trend!)
- 6th May, at Hanglands NR 1 male COMMON BLUE and 1 SMALL COPPER with 5 other butterfly species, 1 male BROAD-BODIED CHASER, 8 LARGE RED DAMSELS and an immature AZURE DAMSEL.
- 4th May, SONG THRUSH collecting food noted. No SWIFT reports yet.
- 2nd May, fledgling ROBIN and STARLING noted, also LARGE WHITE and PEACOCK butterflies.
- 29th April, HOUSE MARTIN and SWALLOW numbers are lower so far this year. A fly-over YELLOW WAGTAIL and fledgling BLACKBIRD noted.
- 28th April, I followed a RED KITE from Great Brington church across the moors to the parish.
- 23rd April, a few hours of work at Cotton End Park included enjoying singing SEDGE WARBLER, BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF, COMMON and LESSER WHITETHROAT, and drumming GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER. Butterflies included PEACOCK, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, SMALL and GREEN-VEINED WHITE, BRIMSTONE, SPECKLED WOOD, ORANGE-TIP and HOLLY BLUE. several CUCKOO FLOWER were noted and an amazing show of ST MARKS FLY. At Hanglands NR an immature LARGE RED DAMSELFLY and flowering RED CAMPIAN plus a dozen SMOOTH NEWTS noted.
- 22nd April, an evening walk saw me entering a small plantation where almost immediately a female MUNTJAC came onto the track infront of me. I froze as usual and she stared hard at me raising her fore limb and stamping the ground. This is normally a threat or warning which I have noticed ewes do if they are with their lambs. After a minute she still seamed to be holding her ground and not moving as would be expected. And out from behind, very slowly a small rabbit sized fawn appeared and tucked in under her. It was dark chestnut brown with a few white spots. After another few seconds they moved off together, and I could finally breath! 2 or 3 WHITETHROATS about, and in a cattle field known as Gossell Hill 6 YELLOW WAGTAILs fly-catching amongst the feet of the beast. At Berryfields a SPECKLED WOOD. Alan Webb reports more WATER VOLE activity at The Wharf, plus GREY WAGTAIL feeding young. Many Bats about including COMMON PIPISTRELLE via bat detector.
- 19th April, the latter of yesterdays WHEATEARS still there. Alan and Adam Webb report WATER VOLE from The Wharf, BATs and a FOX there. SMALL WHITE noted today.5 HOUSE MARTINS over HolyOake/Leys area.
18th April, 5 WHEATEARs today! 1 near Home Farm, 3 off Sandy Lane, 1 on edge of fields towards Gale House. 2 WHITETHROATs near Mill Park, and a male REED BUNTING at Evans Ponds.
- 17th April, 1 male WHEATEAR on stripped fields off Sandy Lane. 3 LAPWING, KESTREL and singing LINNET at Murcott. Dozens of ORANGE-TIP and HOLLY BLUE about. HOUSE MARTIN over Holyoake Terrace.
- 15th April, hundreds of CUCKOO FLOWERs on the last big field at the bottom of Lodge Lane.
11th April, The heads of ST GEORGES and COMMON INKCAP MUSHROOM noted. BATS in the village and at Grange farm.
- 10th April,0445hrs singing BLACKBIRD and ROBIN. 1 lonely FIELDFARE heading north over allotments. BEE-FLY in several places including the recreation ground. BHF lake has 14 CANADA GEESE (smaller duck species gone, sadly). Mill Park, looking glorious, has SLOW WORM, SMOOTH NEWT, CUCKOO FLOWER, MARSH MARIGOLD, and a pair of BLACKCAP.(A dog walker with two dogs off the lead creating mayhem and seperating several ducklings from their mother was rather upsetting). St Georges Mushroom just emerging from pasture land was a late find.
- 9th April, Mike York reports HOLLY BLUE, Terry Laney BEE-FLY and I see 2 MUTE SWAN and 5 GREYLAG GEESE over ther village.
- 7th April, 0900hrs,I saw a SWALLOW over Bridge House Farm lake, also SWALLOW at Grange/Oak Tree farms, and Trevor Moore and I have SWALLOW over the Brington Road. ORANGE-TIP, PEACOCK, COMMA, GREEN-VEINED WHITE, and SMALL TORTOISESHELL all noted today. Beth York notes dozens of the latter on NETTLES near Benbow Farm, egg-laying?
- 4th April, Terry Lanet reports 1 SWALLOW from The Banks area. Jim Jelley reports 15 MALLARD ducklings apparently with the same duck. Sally of Murcott has a colony of HAIRY-FOOTED FLOWER BEE in her chimney, and Mrs Haisman has TAWNY MINING BEE at Station Road.
- 3rd April, Terry Laney reports 1 WILLOW WARBLER.
- 2nd April, large flocks of FIELDFARE (
600) and STARLING (200) still on pasture north of village. Small flocks of LINNET, MEADOW PIPIT and SKYLARK also. 2 LAPWING, one displaying in fields not far from Foxhill. Water black with tadpoles of FROG in small pponds at Hanglands NR, TOAD calling, SHORT-TAILED FIELD VOLE, COMMON SHREW and BANK VOLE noted. Roaming flock of 4 CANADA GOOSE about.
- 1st April, RED KITE over Grange Farm reported by Angela whilst lambing.
- 28th March, more CHIFFCHAFF, also COAL TIT and singing BLACKCAP and REED BUNTING in area behind Lime Avenue and Stenhouse Close. Nice ginger dog FOX noted elsewhere.
- 27th March, RED KITE mid-afternoon very low over The Leys and East Street, circled with 2 BUZZARD at one stage. Also seen by Debby and Matthew.
- 26th March, a pair of RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE at top of Lodge Lane.
- 25th March, 5 CHIFFCHAFF noted or reported.
- 24th March, Singing CHIFFCHAFF (2) GOLDCREST, GOLDFINCH, REED BUNTING, SKYLARK noted, also JAY, several BUZZARD and MEADOW PIPITS seen. Insects and blossom abound!
- 23rd March, Mel King reports Frogs spawn from her pond in East Street.(She also has fine photos of 3male and 1 female BULLFINCH from her garden in the winter).
- 21st and 22nd March, Brian Laney reports 112male and 67female COMMON TOAD rescued from West Haddon Road over the two nights with 25roadkill.(Terry Laney reports COMMA and SMALL TORTOISESHELL from South Close last week).
- 20th March, PEACOCK and SMALL TORTOISESHELL butterflies noted at Cotton End Park site. Drumming Woodpeckers reported from 2 sites.
- 19th March, a proper spring day! 3 BRIMSTONE butterflies noted plus Bees and Ladybirds. Alan webb reports a probable female POCHARD from the canal at the Wharf.
- 17th March, at Hanglands Reserve, a pair of GREY PARTRIDGE and a pair of MALLARD. Geoff Spokes reports two or three other pairs of Partridge in the area. Frogs spawn reported from 6 localities.
- 14th March, Lodge lane – a mixed flock of FIELDFARE, REDWING and STARLING on the sheep pasture numbering about 400. Lots of common birds in theis area as well, and 12 fly-over GOLDEN PLOVER was a welcome record.
- 12/13th March, flyover GREY HERON, CORMORANT, SISKIN, REDPOLL, MEADOW PIPIT, MUTE SWAN, MALLARD and 6 BUZZARDS and 7 singing SKYLARKS also in the air would suggest some spring movement amongst the birds. A fine male STONECHAT was noted at Oak Tree farm. FROG croaking reported from 3 garden ponds, DANDELION and RED DEAD-NETTLE noted in flower. EARLY BUMBLEBEE and SEVEN-SPOTTED LADYBIRD about. Singing COAL TIT and BLACKBIRD noted at dawn.Sunday lunchtime at BHF lake saw the LITTLE EGRET, 2 SHOVELER, 4 TEAL, 4 MALLARD and 2 MOORHEN. At Hanglands NR, 20 FROGS with 12 clumps of spawn.
- 11th March, 500+ FIELDFARE,YELLOWHAMMER, and singing SKYLARK reported. A lone LAPWING displaying in fields between Brington Road and Hannah Hill. STOCK DOVES noted in display flight, and REED BUNTING reported from village garden.
- 7th March, a BUMBLEBEE and LADYBIRD reported.
- 25th February, LITTLE EGRET still at either Bridge House Farm lake or on stream near Murcott Mill. Frog-spawn and Curlew reported from nearby parishes.
- 18th February, Tony and Max report GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER drumming from trees in St Lawrences Churchyard. Odd flyover REDPOLL and SISKIN noted. Many SNOWDROPS and ACONITES out.
- 14th February, LITTLE EGRET, 14 TEAL and SHOVELER at BHF lake. Many stands of SNOWDROP,and CROCUS about. MISTLE THRUSH, ROBIN and COLLARED DOVE singing.
- 11th February, 2pairs of SHOVELER, TEAL, MOORHEN, and GREY HERON at BHF lake.
- 31st January, Keith Thompson reports a LITTLE EGRET at Bridge House Farm (BHF) lake, Murcott, also RED KITE from near Brington.
- 30th January, I noticed SNOW DROPS in flower near The Banks and several garden birds attempting song, including GREAT and BLUE TIT, CHAFFINCH and ROBIN.
- 27th January, hundreds of Gulls and winter Thrushes on fields at The Wharf.
- 23rd January, Susan Plant reports an adult RED KITE over Harbidges Lane at midday.
- 21st January, a TREE SPARROW in my garden! Quite amazing as I hadn’t seen these birds for quite a while. They lost breeding sites as barns and farm buildings have been converted and they have basically disappeared over the past two or three years.
- 18th January, a GREAT-CRESTED NEWT reported by Brian Laney from a drain at Berryfield.
- 14th January, a GOLDCREST was reported in a South Close Garden.
- 9th January, 8 GREY PARTRIDGE and 17 fly-over LAPWING noted this morning. During the afternoon a dead bird was reported from the West Haddon Road. On investigation the bird was a freshly shot JAY. It had had its wings cut off presumably for the feathers. Jays are a park/woodland bird so this was not a road-kill. This bares all the hall-marks of a certain local land owner and ‘countryman’ who has before shot Coot and Moorhen and dumped them on the road on his way through to give the appearance of a road-kill. Jays are scarce in the parish, it’s a real shame that this bird was shot for its plumage. Have we not moved on since the 1800’s ? The RSPB was set up back then to stop this kind of thing, and I am saddened that this is still happening to our wildlife in our parish in the 21st century.
- 4th January, Simon Shardlow reports 8 WAXWING from the same bush at the entrance of Hammas Leys. See excellent photographs on welcome page and gallery.
- 2nd January, WILLOW TIT noted along hedge from Picnic Spinney to the West Haddon Road bridge.
- 31st December, RAVEN again, almost weekly sightings now.
- 29th December,Alan Webb reports REED BUNTING, BULLFINCH, GOLDFINCH, COAL TIT and LONG-TAILED TIT plus his usuals from his garden at The Wharf.
- 28th December, JAY, 5 GREY PARTRIDGE and WOODCOCK seen. A fresh BARN OWL pellet found.(sorry, but cannot mention the site)2 WAXWING reported from High Stack/Hammas Leys via Simon.
- 25th December, RAVEN and MARSH TIT noted.
PLEASE FEED AND GIVE WATER TO WILDLIFE IN YOUR GARDENS DURING HARSH WEATHER THANKYOU.
- 23rd December, CORMORANT and RAVEN reported. REED BUNTING and PIED WAGTAIL in my garden today.Incredible amount of animal tracks in the snow including MUNTJAC DEER.
- 20th December, WOODCOCK, FOX, HARE and SNIPE reported, suggested disturbance from shooting meetings.Several villagers report GULL species coming into gardens.
- 17th December, Arthur Broughton reports 6 or more WAXWING from his garden at The Chase.
- 16th December, 2 WAXWING over Armley Close!
- 14th December,At 0950hrs I was working at a property on High Stack when I heard an unfamiliar call. The last time I heard this call I was in Norway! It was WAXWING. 7 of them were feeding on a bush with pink berries at the junction of Hammas Leys. I raced home for my binoculars and returned to confirm identification. I called on Daniel Tabor who along with Terry Laney had good views until the birds were disturbed. Several people looked for them in the High Stack/Ashmore area where there are plenty of berry-laden bushes but they were not refound. Terry Laney reports a dead LITTLE EGRET in the bottom of a ditch off the Brington Road.
- 3rd December, JACK SNIPE reported from stream near Picnic Spinney. KINGFISHER and 3 GREY HERON on stream at Murcott. 500+ thrushes at fields below Church and allotments. Alan webb reports GOLDCREST from his garden at The Wharf.
- 2nd December, Whilst standing on The Banks a CURLEW flew over calling, and a flock of LONG-TAILED TIT were seen in the gardens, with one GOLCREST.
- 30th November, a WOODCOCK noted at dusk near the West Haddon Rd. A frozen WOOD BLEWIT found at Cotton End Park site.
- 29th November, 4 RAVEN going south.
- 28th November, with overnight temperature of -7.5, a walk through the churchyard up to Vanderplanks over Grange Farm and up to Lime avenue produced hundreds of FIELDFARE, REDWING and BLACKBIRD on uncut hedges. Sadly the majority of hedges have been flayed and have no food or shelter to offer. GREATER and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were moving through as well as BLACK-HEADED and COMMON GULL. 19 LAPWING flying west were noted, though few smaller birds were about. Bird of the day was JACK SNIPE, a first for me in the parish.
- 21st November, MARSH TIT, COAL TIT, and JAY reported from gardens in the village.
- 16th November, 2 SISKIN, and COAL TIT reported.
- 14th Novenber, 5 CORMORANT over village.
- 13th November, 2 HORNET reported
- 7th November, a COMMA, a WASP, HORNET and a BUMBLEBEE all seen today.
- 4th Week, FIELDFARE, REDWING and BLACKBIRD recorded in dozens. 2 GREEN SANDPIPERS over Bridge House Farm. GOLDEN PLOVER reported from fields near A5. A flock of 500+ WOODPIGEON noted. COMMON TOAD seen at night crossing road towards Evans’ Ponds. Mike Ivens reports SNIPE from near Mill Park. A small flock of REDPOLL noted feeding on SILVER BIRCH seed.
- 17th October, 5 FIELDFARE over,
- 16th October, a few more REDWING about, more reports of COAL TIT from village gardens,a new female STONECHAT seen on Deadmoor.
- 11th October, Phil Davis reports BADGER from his garden.
- 10th October, 3 REDWING and 50+ SKYLARK noted, All dark adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL may have been Scandinavian type. COMMA, RED ADMIRAL, LARGE WHITE and SPECKLED WOOD seen, also male COMMON DARTER and ROSOELS BUSH-CRICKET. STONECHAT and new WHINCHAT noted.
- 9th October,first REDWING of the winter noted, still 2 male STONECHAT about, GREY PARTRIDGE, TREECREEPER, and GOLDCREST also seen. At Picnic Spinney, a mixed flock of small birds included 2 MARSH TIT, 4 other TIT species and CHIFFCHAFF. Numbers of BLACKBIRD (14 where I usually see 2)and SONG THRUSH (3!)increasing.
- 6th October, GREY WAGTAIL, COAL TIT and SKYLARK reported, these birds increase in number in the parish during winter.
- 4th October, BATS noted over The Leys at 1912hrs.
- 3rd October, flocking in evidence with LINNET, GOLDFINCH, STARLING, WOOD PIGEON in small flocks. 11 MALLARD noted flying over with a smaller duck with them. May have been SHOVELER. 2 STONECHAT and 1 WHINCHAT together on their favourite fence. CHIFFCHAFF singing.
2nd October, A morning walk produced 2 RAVEN, 30+ SKYLARK and 50+ MEADOW PIPIT as flyovers. KESTEL, BUZZARD and SPARROWHAWK were about. An unfamiliar call turned out to be NUTHATCH which called from a tree-top then flew off high to the South-west. Vanderplanks Covert had TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, BLACKCAP, WILLOW WARBLER, CHIFFCHAFF and 4 TIT species in one feeding flock. 20 TREE SPARROW and a covey of 12 GREY PARTRIDGE noted. A male WHINCHAT and c20 REED BUNTINGS noted near Elephant grass fields. 2male STONECHAT and another WHINCHAT found near Jacksons Track. At Mill Park, 10 REDPOLL flying over.
- 4th Week, noticable influx of BLACKBIRDS and COAL TIT. Kath Shep’ repots TAWNY OWL from back of Stenhouse Close. HUMMINGBIRD HAWK-MOTH noted on Lavender. MEADOW PIPITS seen daily in small numbers moving South.
- 3rd Week, Alan Webb reports 50odd LAPWING from the A5. MIGRANT and SOUTHERN HAWKER noted. RAVENS about and BUZZARDS (upto 7 together). Smaller birds flocking, about 30 LINNETS noted. Several reports of GOLDFINCH flocks.
- 2nd Week, a beautiful mushroom under an OAK was indentified as Russula brunneoviolacea. Several huge PARASOL MUSHROOM found. A male and female REDSTART noted on Church Farm, and a WHINCHAT on a fence towards the A428. Much bird activity noticable this week.
- 1st Week, a fly-over TREE PIPIT noted. A nice male WHINCHAT seen near Cotton End. Migrating flocks of SWALLOW and HOUSE MARTIN included a SAND MARTIN on the 2nd. 3 SWIFT (1 seen to enter a nest hole) is unusually late. A DEVILS COACH HORSE beetle reported along with 5 species of grasshopper, 4 species of butterfly and 4 species of dragonfly.
- 4th Week, REDSTART and SNIPE at Hanglands Reserve. GREEN SANDPIPER calling over the village. 1 SWIFT reported from Station Road. A lone LAPWING with 1 SKYLARK seen together. A WHEATEAR seen at Oak Tree Farm also YELLOW WAGTAIL. HOBBY reported and PAINTED LADY. A white possibly albino probable SPOTTED FLYCATCHER seen by Pete Spokes and Terry Laney is an unusual record.
- 3rd Week,still 4 SWIFT over the village. A HOBBY noted. HOLLY BLUES noted from graden all around the village. High numbers of species of BEES and HOVERFLIES reported.Bob Harrison reports LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER from his garden at High Stack.Ian Jelley reports the same from Perkins Lodge Farm.
- 2nd Week, a covey of 12 GREY PARTRIDGE noted twice during the week by Geoff Spokes. Many young birds about, with BLACKCAP, WHITETHROAT and WILLOW WARBLERS starting to move south. YELLOW WAGTAIL, SKYLARK, KINGFISHER and MARSH TIT were also noted. Mike York reports a fresh PAINTED LADY.Lots of COMMON BLUE butterflies reported this week.
- 1st Week, Several more soightings of RAVEN with upto 4 being seen. This may suggest a family party.Large parties of GULL noted on ploughed fields, with mainly BLACK-HEADED, and LESSER BLACK-BACKED. Adam Webb reports seeing a FOX with cubs several times. A GREY PLOVER heard and seen over Oak Tree Farm was a surprise. This may be the first parish record.
- 3rd Week, SMALL COPPER and HOLLY BLUE seen at The Banks. 5 BUZZARDS together over West Street. 2 RAVENS reported. A colony of BUFF TIP moth caterpillers found on a BIRCH tree in Armley Close. A species of TERN seen flying over the village. At Hanglands Reserve, butterflies included 20 PEACOCK, 2 RED ADMIRAL, 30 SMALL TORTOISESHELL, 12 COMMA, 20 MEADOW BROWN, 10 RINGLET, 10 SMALL SKIPPER, 2 COMMON BLUE, 1 BROWN ARGUS, 1 SMALL COPPER, 1 SPECKLED WOOD, GREEN-VEINED and LARGE WHITE.
- 2nd Week, a further 13 SOUTHERN HAWKER exuvia found (total 23) at my garden pond. 27 SWIFT noted over village. At Cotton End Park LONG-WINGED CONEHEAD and ROSOELS BUSH-CRICKET along with PEACOCK and RED ADMIRAL noted. EMERALD DAMSELFLY and emergent COMMON DARTER reported plus 11 species of butterfly noted at Hanglands Reserve.
- 1st Week, 10 exuvia of SOUTHERN HAWKER found around my garden pond with 2 emergent adults seen. BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLE seen crossing West Haddon Rd (Away from water suggests dispersal from nearby colony). HOBBY takes a small bird at Bridge House Farm amongst a cloud a alarmed HOUSE MARTINs.
- 27th June, HOBBY over village. MUNTJAC DEER reported from The Wharf by Alan Webb. Helen Reeve reports a Bee colony from Brington Rd.
- 25th June, BEE ORCHID with three flower heads noted. 2 exuvia of SOUTHERN HAWKER found with one recently emerged, but with damaged wings. Jim Jelley reports 7 HARE at Perkins Lodge Farm.
- 22nd June, Birds include HOBBY, LESSER WHITETHROAT, BULLFINCH and 12 SWIFT. Butterflies include MEADOW BROWN, SPECKLED WOOD, RINGLET, LARGE SKIPPER, COMMA and COMMON BLUE. Dragonflies include BROAD-BODIED CHASER, FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER and EMPEROR, Damselflies include LARGE RED, AZURE, COMMON BLUE, RED-EYED and BLUE-TAILED.
- 17th June, Brian Laney reports BEE ORCHID, PYRAMIDAL ORCHID and COMMON TWAYBLADE from the parish.
- 16th June, Alan Webb reports 2 ROE DEER and a GRASS SNAKE from The Wharf. PAINTED LADY noted.
- 12th June, Trevor Moore reports COMMON SPOTTED ORCHID and BARN OWL.
- 6th June, a HOBBY seen hunting over the village, attempting to outmanoeuvre HOUSE MARTINs. LARGE SKIPPER reported.
- 4th June, 2 beautiful male BROAD-BODIED CHASER and a FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER plus 3 species of Damselfly. Butterflies included COMMON BLUE, BROWN ARGUS, RED ADMIRAL, ORANGE-TIP, BRIMSTONE, SMALL TORTOISESHELL and PEACOCK, at Hanglands NR. 40+ RED-EYED DAMSELFLY at Evans Ponds, and a Hoverfly, Volucella Bombylans, which mimics a species of Bumblebee.
- 2nd June, Terry Laney reports CUCKOO at Evans Pond area.
- 27th May, 1 BROWN ARGUS butterfly noted, also 3 species of Dragonfly.
- 25th May,4 MOTHER SHIPTON moth at the Long Buckby Green Space site now known as Cotton End Park. 30+ AZURE DAMSELFLY there and a GREAT_SPOTTED WOODPECKER. Pat and Peter Kingham reorts a MUNTJAC DEER from the Brington Rd.
- 23rd May, GREAT DIVING BEETLE and WATER MEASURER noted along with newly emerged FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER, male COMMON BLUE and SMALL COPPER butterflies.
- 22nd May, CUCKOO! 0650hrs, in fields at eand of Lime Avenue. Singing REED BUNTING and GOLDCREST noted. A small brown, black and white bumble-bee nesting in a porch roof in Armley close was indentified as TREE BUMBLE-BEE new to the parish (and the county?) A HORNET reported also.
- 21st May, Terry Laney has LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER and COMMON BLUE at Picnic Spinney. BROAD-BODIED CHASER, and 2 DAMSELFLY species at local ponds.
- 20th May, male WHEATEAR reported.
- 17th May, 18 SWIFT in screaming party over village.
- 1st and 2nd week, SPECKLED WOOD, GREEN-VEINED WHITE, nesting WREN, CORMORANT, LESSER WHITETHROAT, WHEATEAR, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, HOUSE MARTIN, 10 SWIFT, BROWN ARGUS, BROAD-BODIED CHASER, LARGE RED DAMSELFLY, SPECKLED WOOD, 2 HEDGEHOG and RED-TAILED BUMBLE-BEE.
- 3rd and 4th Week, pair of TEAL, more SWALLOWs, 7 TUFTED DUCK, JAY, 6 HARE, FOX, ORANGE TIP, HOLLY BLUE, nesting CANADA GOOSE, RED-LEGGED and GREY PARTRIDGE, GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, sing LITTLE OWL, PIPISTRELLE BAT, BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF, WILLOW WARBLER, WHITETHROAT, COMMA, BRIMSTONE, PEACOCK, BEE FLY, 4 GREENLAND WHEATEARS, TREECREEPER, BLUEBELLS, CUCKOO FLOWER, TADPOLES, live HEDGEHOGS, YELLOW WAGTAIL, HOUSE MARTIN, COAL TIT, fledged BLACKBIRDS, HOLLY BLUE, 4 LAPWING, 2 MUNTJAC, and GREY WAGTAIL.
- 15th April, about 7 MEADOW PIPIT noted and 2 JAY again. GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER stil drumming in Vanderplanks Covert. SMALL TORTOISESHELL reported. 3 RAVEN over village, 2 chasing 1, which may be territorial.
- 9th April, 2 JAY noted in private woodland. Tadpoles reported from 2 sites. WILLOW WARBLER reported from Brington Road area.
- 8th April, Several sightings of PEACOCK, BRIMSTONE, and SMALL TORTOISESHELL butterflies, dozens of 7-SPOT LADYBIRDS, and BUMBLEBEES.
- 6th April, GREEN SANDPIPER on Bridge House Farm Lake. Mike York reports COMMA. Alan Webb reports a good set of garden birds at his feeders including REED BUNTING, LONG-TAILED TIT, and GOLDFINCH.
- 5th April, SWALLOW! one low over West Haddon Road, 1540hrs. Brian Laney reports GREAT-CRESTED and SMOOTH NEWT in numbers at local ponds, and is reminding people to be aware of TOAD and FROG on roads at night.
- 2nd April, Richard Brennecker reports REED BUNTING from his garden. (Within the last month they have been occuring regularly at at least 5 village gardens, including my own). A pair of GREYLAG GOOSE at Bridge House Farm lake, MOORHEN and MALLARD also resident. Male PHEASENT noted sparring and displaying. Many birds now nest-building. Up to 5 CHIFFCHAFF within the parish.
- 31st March, a pair of RED KITE reported from Home Farm by Mr Seymour, feeding on a dead pigeon. (There has been a pair of Kites at Althorpe regularly recently as reported by Kath Shepperson and others)
- 30th March, a pair of JAY, a pair of SONG THRUSH and a pair of LONG-TAILED TIT all near Vanderplanks Covert. CHIFFCHAFF, flowering Celandine and Coltsfoot noted at Picnic Spinney by Terry Laney.
- 28th March, Mill Park looking and feeling very spring like. Kevin Spokes reports 6 GREY PARTRIDGE, the 3 common raptors noted.
- 27th March, 1 CHIFFCHAFF, and 1 lonely LAPWING noted. SMOOTH NEWT in my garden pond.
- 25th March, 2 BRAMBLING (outgoing winter migrant) feeding in my garden. Several TOAD noted at night.
- 24th March, CHIFFCHAFF (1st spring migrant warbler) singing at Murcott, 2-4 BRIMSTONE and 1 SMALL TORTOISESHELL noted. 1 male REED BUNTING feeding in my garden. Several ‘BOMBUS’ (Bumblebee) about.
- 23rd March, I found 2 male WHEATEAR (1st spring passage migrant) on sheep pasture at Oak Tree Farm at 0645hrs. Neil Chancer of The Banks reports a pair of LITTLE OWL, 2 GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER and COAL TIT from the field near the allotments and churchyard. STOAT and COAL TIT at Grange Farm. Hundreds of FIELDFARE, REDWING and STARLING in flocks at Home Farm.
- 21st March, 6 BUZZARD together above the village. A record (in my garden this winter) 12 GREENFINCH feeding. REED BUNTING also appeared. Mike Ivens reports frog spawn from Mill Park and I had 30 clumps at Hanglands Nature Reserve (Grange Farm). A road-kill TOAD noted, but a live one also seen. WHITE-TAILED BUMBLEBEE noted p.m. Thomas Roberts reports BRIMSTONE from the village.
- 19th March, a pair of COAL TIT noted in Armley Close gardens, singing, dueting and displaying. BLACKBIRD and BLUE TIT noted gathering nest material.
- 17th March, Terry Laney reports COMMA at South Close. Phil Davis reports male REED BUNTING in his garden, as does Richard Sainsbury. There are more birds and different species on feeders in gardens now than in the middle of winter due to the ‘hunger gap’. This is the critcal period where last years natural food supplies have completely gone and new one have not yet materialized. Continuing to feed birds at this time of year is essential.
- 16th March, ‘First of the year award’ goes to Mike York of Lakeside with BRIMSTONE butterfly. 2 SMALL TORTOISESHELL also noted, many TWO-SPOT and SEVEN-SPOTTED LADYBIRD noted and a steady passage of MEADOW PIPITs going over. Phil Davis reports having GREEN WOODPECKER on his lawn at the same time as GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER on the bird feeder. The TAWNY OWL hooting at Syers Green is being answered by another bird possibly a female.
- 10th March, MEADOW PIPIT and SNIPE in the field that we hope will become the Long Buckby Green Space.
- 9th March, David Price reports a LITTLE EGRET at the stream below Church Farm. This appears to be a favourite place for these birds as 1 has been recorded there several times during winters past.
- 8th March, several Drone Fly types and Ladybirds were active today, 30to50 GOLDEN PLOVER alighted in free-range hen fields at Bridge House Farm and fed amongst them with parties of FIELDFARE.
- 7th March, the Mill Park Reserve held a Lichen indentification workshop as part of a nationwide survey on air quality. Several villagers learned how to spot different species or families of Lichen and 6 were found on the reserve which were mainly nitrogen loving. BUZZARD and BULLFINCH were noted there also.
- 5th March, hundreds of mainly COMMON and BLACK-HEADED GULL of various ages and plumage within the parish, and winter thrushes noted moving north.
- 2nd March, Norman Crutchley reports pre-roost display of STARLING still over Hall Drive/High Stack.
- 1st March, Angela Roberts reports 7 LAPWING at rest in pasture at Grange Farm.
- 27th February, a TAWNY OWL calling from Vanderplanks Covert.
- 26th February, Jo Pogson reports a TAWNY OWL hooting over several nights near Syres Green Close.
- 24th February, David Evans reports a BLACKCAP from East Street.
- 20th February, GOLDFINCH, TREE SPARROW, REED BUNTING, YELLOWHAMMER noted on morning walk, and a LITTLE OWL found roosting in an ASH tree.
- 18th February, 2 HARE and GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER at Perkins Lodge Farm. BULLFINCH and LONG-TAILED TIT reported from village gardens.
- 17th February, 80+ FIELDFARE, 30+ BLACK-HEADED GULL on fields at Perkins Lodge Farm.
- 16th February, Helen Sitch has sent me photos of a male BLACKCAP from the Syers Green area.
- 1st Week, 400+ STARLING in a roost back off Lakeside. 31 COMMON GULL on pastureland. Many SNOWDROP out. Regular RAVEN reported, usually 2 birds together. WOODPECKER sp, drumming almost daily in Vanderplanks Covert. A dozen bird species have been noted singing so far.
- 31st January, RSPB Garden Birdwatch carried out.
- 28th January, about 38 LONG-TAILED TIT in one flock noted.
- 24th January, 3/4 SNIPE on damp patches in right-hand cereal field going up West Haddon Road, 2 RAVEN over as well. WREN, BLACKBIRD, CHAFFINCH and YELLOWHAMMER noted singing. Majority of winter THRUSHES have moved on. BUZZARDS displaying and KESTREL noted.
- 20th January, 2 CRANE (!) reported flying over Hannah Hill. (unfortunately report received on the 24th)
- 17th January, cold but clear weather for an extended walk produced a good range of bird species hightlights being STONECHAT, MEADOW PIPIT, SKYLARK, LINNET, TREE SPARROW, GREEN & GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKERS, 2 fly-over MUTE SWAN, several FINCH and TIT species, TREECREEPER, REED BUNTING, lots of THRUSHES (5 species) 2 RAVEN and close views of GULLS on the flooded fields. A sign of spring was the emergent leaves of BEE ORCHID noted on reserved land.
- 16th January, a KINGFISHER checking out garden ponds on The Leys.
- 15th January, Reports of small coveys of GREY and RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE there is a suggestion that these may have released by local shooters. MUNTJAC and FOX reported, also more SNIPE. A flock of 8 GOLDEN PLOVER over Grange Farm.
- 11th January, Mike Ivens reports 3 SNIPE, 2 along the flush outside Mill Park, 1 within the garden at Willow Mill. Also a GREY HERON was spotted by Eliot Chapman in the stream at the park, caught up in bramble and looking emaciated. Mike rescued it but even after feeding and warming it, it died. A SNIPE at Oak Tree Farm, and a PEACOCK butterfly noted flying in the church during a service.
- 10th January, invited by Mr and Mrs Bristow of Pittams Close to look at a fine FIELDFARE which they were feeding in their garden, a pair of BULLFINCH there as well. BULLFINCH also noted at a garden at The Mounts.
- 8th January, 3 FIELDFARE noted in gardens off Pytchley Drive and 1 at Rockhill Road.
- 7th January, GOLDCREST and COAL TIT noted in gardens, BUZZARD again noted low over village being mobbed by 2 CROW.
- 1st January, a Possible LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER at Grange Farm. BUZZARD noted low over village. REDWING reported from several gardens.
- 31st December, continental BLACKBIRD and ROBIN doubling the numbers of local birds. MISTLE THRUSH and PIED WAGTAIL noted singing today. A WOODPECKER heard drumming in Vanderplanks Covert may have been LESSER SPOTTED. 7 RAVEN reported flying over West Street.
- 20th December, Shooters report WOODCOCK in small numbers, a RAVEN also seen.
- 13th December, The flock of SWANS again reported. My morning walk produced 1 HARE, 2 male REED BUNTING, 1 MEADOW PIPIT, 1 male STONECHAT, many THRUSHES, and ROBINS plus a few FINCHES and YELLOWHAMMER. I visited a small game cover for the first time in 3 years and found a roosting TAWNY OWL in the same spot as my previous visit. A MOSQUITO noted and several MOTHS.
- 11th December, 7/8 SWANS reported at Evans’ Ponds.
- 9th December, at Mill Park, a CHIFFCHAFF feeding in an ALDER, 11 species of Fungi noted and 8 MUTE SWAN seen flying over. 2 HERRING GULL noted in fields, and about 30 BLACK-HEADED GULL noted on the rugby pitches.
- 7th December, SMALL TORTOISESHELL and a BUMBLEBEE noted today.
- 3rd December, at the Long Buckby Green Space (LBGS) a male STONECHAT, MISTLE THRUSH, KESTREL and a singing BLACKBIRD. Alan Webb reports several REDWING at the Wharf and numerous HARLEQUIN LADYBIRD hibernating, (have also been noted elsewhere).
- 30th November, 2 more reports of BARN OWL around the village. Several plants including CLOVER and PRIMROSE flowering, plus several garden plants in flower.
- 29th November, a RED KITE over Oak Tree Farm mid-morning, 35+ SKYLARK in a flock with a dozen LINNET. 25+ YELLOWHAMMER a few TREE SPARROW and CHAFFINCH noted in game cover. 3 or 4 vocal BUZZARD in same area. Report from a dog walker of decapitated and skinnned mammal corpses probably BADGER, fairly fresh so perhaps Friday (27th) or Saturday (28th) night, also a sharp knife found at the scene.
- 28th November, GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH, BULLFINCH, and GREENFINCH noted in lower numbers than usual. Dozens of winter thrushes including continental BLACKBIRD noted. A SMALL TORTOISESHELL butterfly seen, probably disturbed from hibernation.
- 27th November, a pair of STONECHAT at the same site as a month ago.
- 3rd week, Mike Ivens reports GRASS SNAKE still present at Mill Park.
- 25th November, BARN OWL over near bridges at The Wharf.
- 22nd November, several species of GULL in the parish, REDWING and FIELDFARE on berry-laden Hawthorns. Framers still trimming the hedges, wasting all those autumnal fruits.
- 19th November, 200+ LAPWING on fields near the A5. Reports of fewer or no GREENFINCH in gardens, compared to last year.
- 17th November, Geoff Spokes reports FOX and MUNTJAC from game game rearing areas.
- 16th November, a KINGFISHER on my garden fence, looking into next-doors pond.
- 10th November, Terry Laney reports a CURLEW and FIELDFARES around Picnic Spinney.
- 24th October, a pair of STONECHAT noted in the fog, also high numbers of BLACKBIRD.
- 22nd October, Mark Jelley reports WATER SHREW from the stream at Perkins Lodge Farm, REDPOLL also seen there.
- 18th October, a PEREGRINE, GOLDCREST and CHIFFCHAFF seen whilst surveying the site of the LONG BUCKBY GREEN SPACE.
- 16th October, at Perkins Lodge Farm, a single LAPWING heading south. Flowering IVY still attracting insects.
- 14th October, more REDWING, becoming daily, plus 2 SISKIN over gardens in West Street.
- 11th October, truly Autumnal, with more REDWING, a flock of 120+ LINNET, CHAFFINCH, BULLFINCH, YELLOWHAMMER and SKYLARK noted. The 3 common raptors noted as well. A flock of 12 SWALLOW may be the last we’ll see this year.
- 10th October, 7 REDWING (The first our winter migrants from Scandinavia) over the village at 0740hrs. SKYLARK, MEADOW PIPIT and a late CHIFFCHAFF noted, also 2 species of GRASSHOPPER and 3 species of BUTTERFLY, including 2 SMALL COPPER.
- 8th October, at Bridge House Farm, a CURLEW and 4 RAVEN flying over, GREY and PIED WAGTAIL, and a huge queen HORNET also there.
- 1st Week, odd SWALLOW and HOUSE MARTIN going south, Still RED-TAILED BUMBLBEE, LADYBIRDS, WASPS, the odd HORNET, and butterflies including COMMA, RED ADMIRAL, PEACOCK, and PAINTED LADY.
- 28th September, a description of a raptor that may well have been MARSH HARRIER heading souh-west in the morning. 2 RED KITE reported from West Haddon and a ROE DEER reported from The Wharf. Lots of SPIDERS being noticed.
- 27th September, 4 HORNET, SPECKLED WOOD, COMMA butterflies noted, and COMMON DARTER and SOUTHERN HAWKER dragonflies noted.
- 26th September, 2 RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE and 2 JAY noted. ‘Tiny’ reports a strange caterpillar which turns out to be PALE TUSSOCK moth.
- 20th September, MEADOW PIPITS constantly going over, joined by several SKYLARK. A family of GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (2 ad, 3 juvs) over. 1 WHEATEAR noted perched on big, round straw bales and a RAVEN calling from top of a pylon.
- 19th September, 100 plus LINNET flock on recently rolled fields, with STARLING and STOCK DOVE flocks. 7 species of butterfly today.
- 18th September, p.m. walk produced SNIPE on dried out pond, REED BUNTING and LINNET nearby, 1 immature MIGRANT HAWKER, a fresh COMMA and SMALL TORTOISESHELL. Many ROESELS BUSH-CRICKET, COMMON GREEN and MEADOW GRASSHOPPER, plus SLENDER GROUND-HOPPER amongst the grass.
- 11th September, SPECKLED WOOD butterfly, 2 male SOUTHERN HAWKER, 15 male COMMON DARTER dragonflies seen p.m.
- 10th September, SNIPE noted off Brington Rd by T Laney, 3 RAVEN also. 60 plus SWALLOW and 50 plus HOUSE MARTIN moving south. RED ADMIRAL and BRIMSTONE noted.
- 8th September, warm evening produced BATS including PIPISTRELLE. RAVEN noted over village. Very high numbers of WASP on IVY flowers at Co-op car-park and recreation ground hedges .
- 1st week, lots of young warblers in the hedges, including WHITETHROAT, BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF, WILLOW WARBLER and SEDGE WARBLER. SOUTHERN HAWKER dragonfly reported from 2 village gardens, and RED UNDERWING moth (huge, grey with black, white and scarlet, noted.
- 30th August, a covey of 9 GREY PARTRIDGE, 2 WHEATEAR, several MEADOW PIPIT, and 2 GREEN WOODPECKER (Ad &juv) today.
- 29th August, YELLOW WAGTAIL over village, WHITETHROAT, BULLFINCH and SPARROWHAWK seen today.
- 27th August, 3 RAVEN over South Close reported by Terry Laney.
- 23rd August, Hundreds of GULL on the tilled fields of the parish, a GREEN SANDPIPER at Bridge House Farm pond. Enjoyed the Open Gardens of the village.
- 22nd August, Kevin and Peter Spokes found 2 young WHEATEAR on pasture at Grange Farm. 2 road-kill MOORHEN in the space of a week reported.
- 21st August, disc harrowing attracted 200plus GULL to nearby fields, mainly BLACK-HEADED and LESSER BLACK-BACKED. 30 odd HOUSE SPARROW on spilt grain reported.
- 20th August, Derick and Sandra Cooper, also found an ELEPHANT HAWKMOTH caterpillar which they let me photograph before returning safely to a quiet corner of their wonderful garden. Derick reports an abundance of BLUE butterflies on his hay crop this year.
- 19th August, Peter Clifton called me in to look at an unusual caterpillar, which turned out to be ELEPHANT HAWKMOTH. A long finger sized grey thing with large false eyes which from a certain angle makes it look like a snake!
- 18th August, over 50 TREE SPARROW with LINNET and YELLOWHAMMER found in a field corner feeding on wind blown wheat, and a young SEDGE WARBLER feeding off insects on a BRAMBLE. 2-3 RAVENS about. The Harvest has come and the ‘country’ chaps have been out with their guns, with 2 young FOX shot and left on dog-walkers routes for all to see. Thanks to George Whitworth who found a CREAM-SPOTTED LADYBIRD for me, which was nice. When did you last see a SWIFT?
- 16th August, a long walk to the North, lots of YELLOWHAMMER and TREE SPARROW, a TREE PIPIT was a surprize, and the only county record this autumn so far. COAL TIT and TREECREEPER together with other TIT and WARBLER juveniles in the hedges and copses. A male HORNET noted on BRAMBLE. Still many COMMON BLUE butterflies about and a MIGRANT HAWKER also seen. At home during a rare moment of gardening I found a SPECKLED BUSH-CRICKET, which may be a first for the parish.
- 15th August, 2 RAVEN soaring (large circular movements rather like a BUZZARD)
- 12th August, HOBBY again over village.
- 9th August, a HOBBY seen a.m. While chatting to my neighbours, Natalie and Paul Ryan, Natalie looked up and said “Thats not a Buzzard is it?” The bird was a female PEREGRINE soaring over us in wide circles at no real height. Her husband Paul reported it doing a similar thing the following day. I have noted PEREGRINES in Northampton town centre 3 or 4 times in the last few months. The family walk this evening produced a covey of 10 GREY PARTRIDGE. Brian Laney reports GREY FIELD SPEEDWELL from the parish, (a first)
- 8th August, a sunny morning prompted a early walk-about, rewarded by a fine male REDSTART fly-catching from a hedge near Vanderplanks Covert, with a juvenile ROBIN and LESSER WHITETHROAT looking on. On my reserve pond 2 GREEN SANDPIPERS were a surprising find, along with an inquisitive male SOUTHERN HAWKER and many COMMON BLUE butterflies nearby. Managed to get my wife and sons good views of a FOX during a family walk.
- 5th August, LITTLE OWL noted, and young BUZZARDS seen sitting about calling/begging to be fed.
- 3rd August, a RED KITE over the allotments showing a white wing tag suggesting it being part of a release programme. 30+ PAINTED LADY on my garden Buddleia during the day and 30+ moths mainly SILVER-Y during the evening. Lots of mixed flocks of juvenile birds in the hedgerows, mainly TIT and WARBLER species.
- 2nd August, a HOBBY noted having just killed a SWALLOW, soaring while plucking the feathers. 15 species of butterfly today and nine species of dragonfly including RED-EYED & SMALL RED-EYED DAMSELFLY, RUDDY & COMMON DARTER, SOUTHERN & BROWN HAWKER.
- 1st August, a REED WARBLER singing from the elephant grass. (Well it does look like a huge bed of Norfolk Reed!)
- 30/31st July, So many butterflies! 12 species recorded including HOLLY BLUE. 7 species of dragonfly including BROWN HAWKER. 27 species of birds recorded including Dabchick with young, MEADOW PIPIT, TREE SPARROW, GOLD & BULLFINCH and YELLOW WAGTAIL.
- 27th July, Terry Laney reports HUMMINGBIRD HAWKMOTH and HEDGEHOG from South Close.
- 25th July, a walk along the canal, seeing a couple of COMMON TERN, MOORHEN with day old chicks, BROWN and SOUTHERN HAWKER,and BANDED DEMOISELLE.
- 22nd July, Brian Laney has been about the village surveying plants and records the following, BRISTLEY OXTONGUE, FOX&CUBS, DWARF MALLOW, COMMON CATSEAR, AUTUMN HAWKSBIT, MAIDENHEAD SPLEENWORT, and PURPLE TOADFLAX. SMALL-FLOWERED, CUT-LEAVED, and DOVESFOOT CRANESBILL. HOARY WILLOWHERB, YELLOW CORDYALIS, BIRDSFOOT TREFOIL and KNOTTED HEDGE PARSLEY.
- 20th July, autumnal weather accompanied by sightings of LESSER BLACK-BACKED and BLACK-HEADED GULL flocks, including juveniles, in their usual NE/SW passage. HARLEQUIN LADYBIRD noted eating PEACOCK butterfly caterpllars on STINGING NETTLE.
- 18th July, Alan Webb reports MUNTJAC, which his son photographed in his garden at the Wharf, he also reports a GREEN WOODPECKER noted on the towpath. 3 reports of SOUTHERN HAWKER within last few days. SIX-SPOTTED BURNET reported/noted.
- 12th July, caterpillars of PUSSMOTH and VAPOURER discovered on WILLOW. ROESELS BUSH-CRICKET heard and seen, MEADOW and FIELD GRASSHOPPERS also noted.
- 10th July, Bob Gill (county moth expert) set up two moth light traps north of the village and between 2130 and 0030 attracted over 50 macro species including 9 new records fro the parish including SCARCE SILVER-LINES, WHITE SATIN MOTH, JULY HIGH-FLYER and SMALL PHOENIX.
- 9th July, 15 species of butterflies including SMALL COPPER and GATEKEEPER. The dragonflies included several freshly emerged COMMON DARTER, 3 BROWN HAWKER and an EMERALD DAMSELFLY. Dozens of TOADLETS and FROGLETS about.
- 4th July, This fine weather has made this year very good for insects generally, Moths are having a bumper year, as are Hoverflies with FOUR-BARRED MAJOR being noted (first time for the parish).
- 1st July, Filming with local film maker Becky Steele at Evans’ Ponds. 6 EMPEROR, 10 FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER, 2 BLACK-TAILED SKIMMER, 1 BANDED DEMOISELLE, and 4 species of Damselfly. PEACOCK and RED ADMIRAL were additional Butterflies. Have not been mentioning BUZZARD of late because they are now a daily site, but a particularly close one was filmed soaring and displaying today.
- 28th June, Butterflies (generally in higher numbers than last year) include COMMA, SMALL SKIPPER, COMMON BLUE and SMALL TORTOISESHELL. Moths reported include ELEPHANT HAWKMOTH, DRINKER and GREEN PUG. Dragonflies include BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLE which is popping up any where, presumably dispersing to find new potential breeding sites.
- 26th June, a flock of 12 SWIFT together over the village, HARLEQUIN and SEVEN-SPOTTED LADYBIRD noted.
- 25th June, Brian Laney reports 4 flower spikes of PYRIMIDAL ORCHID, plus COMMON TWAYBLADE and BEE ORCHID at a private site in the village.
- 23rd June, 2m EMPEROR dragonfly in addition to others at Ponds, a KINGFISHER also there. BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLE noted at 4 sites with 16 being counted along one stream (via Terry Laney). HARLEQUIN Ladybird noted. 2 young LITTLE OWL in a nest hole in a big ASH tree near Coton End. COMMON SPOTTED ORCHID, MARBLED WHITE butterfly, FIVE-SPOTTED BURNET and CINNABAR Moths noted along Brington Road.
- 22nd June, at The Banks, the last 2 houses have approx’ 5 occupied HOUSE MARTIN nests, Holyoake Terrace has a similar number. A huge CRANE FLY, tipular Maxima, found near allotments, LITTLE OWL and GRASS SNAKE reported from there as well.
- 19th June, COOT with 2 sets of young, DABCHICK, CANADA GOOSE, and HERON noted at Evans’ Ponds, several small TROUT, and BULLHEAD noted in stream, CHIFFCHAFF, young GREAT TIT, WHITETHROAT, and GREY HERON noted.
- 16th June, at Mill Park SLOW WORM, GRASS SNAKE, 3f/1m BROAD-BODIED CHASER and 1m FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER. At Vanderplanks Covert, JAY, GREEN and GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER. On the Canal at The Wharf, 2m BEAUTIFUL and 1m BANDED DEMOISELLE and a pair of GREY WAGTAIL. 11 species of butterfly recorded today.
- 2nd week of June, 4 reports of Deer, 1 definate MUNTJAC DEER near Armley Close, 2 other records nearby. BARN OWL and LITTLE OWL reported. Butterflies include MEADOW BROWN, RINGLET, LARGE SKIPPER, BRIMSTONE, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, COMMON BLUE, BROWN ARGUS, PAINTED LADY.
- 2nd June, lunchtime walk at Evans’ Ponds produced 10 FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER, 12+ male COMMON BLUE butterflies, also 1 BROWN ARGUS, a striking beetle, yellow and black, turned out to be WASP BEETLE, and along with RAGGED ROBIN, YELLOW FLAG IRIS, and WATER MINT was a lone FOX & CUBS flowering. The slugs have got to the BEE ORCHIDS (should I put pellets down to protect them?) 2 records of HORNET received.
- 31st May, A good walk North of the village produced BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLE, LARGE SKIPPER and WATER VOLE near Picnic Spinney, 5 species of DAMSELFLY, an adult female GRASS SNAKE, several male COMMON BLUE and 2 SPECKLED WOOD BUTTERFLIES, LITTLE GREBE, COOT, MOORHEN, REED BUNTING, BULLFINCH and WHITETHROAT at Evans’ Ponds, and 1 TOAD, 4 BROAD-BODIED CHASER, 1 FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER and a GREEN WOODPECKER at Grange Farm Reserve. Numbers of PAINTED LADY passing by all day.
- 30th May, MUNTJAC DEER reported crossing sheep pasture. BRIMSTONE and ORANGE-TIP reported.
- 28/29th May, Eileen Evans, Jack Wright and Kath Shep’ all report CUCKOO from Cotton End area, including Mick Hill’s Yard (top of Stenhouse Close) and the Brington Road.
- 27th May, HOBBY seen at Grange and Bridge House farms, 9 SWIFT over the villlage.
- 24th May, J Spokes reports 1 BAT from Grange Farm, Newts and BATS reported from village gardens. Mrs Spokes is interested in any Cuckoo records this year, she can be contacted on 01327 842327.
- 23rd May, at Evans’ Ponds area, 2 pairs of COOT, one pair with 2 young, one on nest. Singing REED BUNTING, WHITETHROAT, and SONG THRUSH, calling LITTLE GREBE. Several small (8’‘) TROUT in stream, eight species of butterfly including SMALL COPPER and regular PAINTED LADY passing through, numbers suggest an invasion year. Damselflies included LARGE RED, RED-EYED, AZURE and BLUE-TAILED. P Spokes reports SPOTTED FLYCATCHER. GARDEN WARBLER and BULLFINCH noted, also 2 small GRASS SNAKE.
- 21st May, my first dragonfly, an immature male BROAD-BODIED CHASER, a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER calling from Vanderplanks covert, a female MUSLIN MOTH noted.
- 19th May, at Bridge House Farm yard, a singing GREY WAGTAIL, 20 odd HOUSE MARTIN, 1 HOBBY, a singing BLACKCAP, 2 RAVEN being mobbed by CROWS.
- Jim Jelley reports 6 HARE from PERKINS LODGE FARM (RSPB alliance farmer). 2 dead HEDGEHOG noted from village roads.
- 14th May, 2 TREE SPARROW noted on garden feeders not far from well hedged paddocks of Berryfield/Lime Avenue. A pair of REED BUNTINGS and a pair of YELLOW WAGTAILS noted. SMOOTH NEWT, POND SKATER, and COMMON FROG seen by Joe Hedley and Thomas Roberts in our garden pond.
- 8th May, 5 SWIFT noted over the village, this is a week later than last year. There a generally fewer migrant birds about, SWALLOW and HOUSE MARTIN numbers are the lowest recorded.
- 6th May, CUCKOO reported from Brington Road, RED CAMPION flowering along with HAWTHORN, and a young GRASS SNAKE noted. Alan Webb has had a probable ROE DEER reported to him from the Whilton side of The Wharf. He also reports a pair of TUFTED DUCK on the canal.
- 4th May, ST GEORGES MUSHROOM reported, with a large nearly complete ring noted north of the village.
- 2nd May, one or two LESSER WHITETHROAT and BLACKCAP about, a CORMORANT on Evans’ Pond, CUCKOO FLOWER reported from 5 locations.
- 30th April, nesting MALLARDS causing the usual mayhem around Lakeside, males in pursuit of females reported from various parts of the village.
- 24th April, RAVEN noted carrying food, Alan Webb reports the first SPECKLED WOOD butterfly from the Reserve at Long Buckby Wharf. Terry Laney reports WALL BROWN ( first record for many years). 2 LESSER WHITETHROATS noted. A small GRASS SNAKE seen and 6 butterfly species recorded today.
- 23rd April, Phil Davis sees the first CUCKOO over east Street (same date as last year), and the first HOLLY BLUE butterfly noted.
- 21st April, CUCKOO FLOWER noted in several places, RAVEN soaring over the Buckby turn A428.
- 20th April, at Mill Park, with the French visitors, a SLOW WORM shown to the group, MALLARD ducklings seen, and a WREN nest found. Elsewhere Terry Laney had 2 RAVEN over the village.
- 19th April, 5 species of butterfly noted, a well fledged BLACKBIRD being fed in the garden this evening. Robin Lock reports and photographs BEE-FLY.
- 18th April, 0443hrs a singing BLACKBIRD, same bird sang in the evening until 2057hrs, longer days for some! 2 YELLOW WAGTAIL, 10 SWALLOW, 1 CORMORANT, 2 GREEN WOODPECKER and 5 immature LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL noted.
- 17th April, a WHEATEAR reported, many singing SKYLARK about.
- 15th April, SWALLOWS reported daily now, also another JAY record. Terry Laney has noted the first ORANGE-TIP butterfly and BEE-FLY. GREEN-VEINED WHITE and SMALL TORTOISESHELL also seen. Max Ford reports LONG-EARED BATS from churchyard, Alan Webb reports SIGNAL CRAYFISH from the canal.
- 14th April, GREEN SANDPIPER seen on reserved land at Grange Farm.
- 13th April, RED KITE seen by David and Joy Evans at Oak Tree Farm at 1630hrs flying southwest. JAY reported.
- 12th April, in nearby Norton parish, a GREAT GREY SHRIKE discovered, this rare winter visitor may have been there for some weeks or months. 3 singing WILLOW WARBLERS and a BLACKCAP noted in game covert south of village.
- 11th April, an early morning walk from the allotments up to Oak Tree Farm produces a fine male WHEATEAR, several TREE SPARROWS, a fly-over YELLOW WAGTAIL, 3 YELLOWHAMMER, 2 REED BUNTING and near the ponds 5 CANADA GOOSE with 1 GREYLAG GOOSE. During the afternoon, 20 HOUSE MARTINS over MURCOTT, a singing BLACKCAP in Vanderplanks Covert, 2 RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE, 1 GREEN WOODPECKER, 20+ MEADOW PIPITS flying north and 3 KESTRELS in dispute over an old crows nest.
- 10th april, a walk at Cotton End near Grove Farm, produces JAY, 2 LITTLE OWL in a nest hole, 2 SWALLOW, 1 or more SAND MARTIN, 1 SONG THRUSH, several SKYLARK, 2 CHIFFCHAFF, 2-3 LAPWING and 2 HARE.
- 8th April, Pete Spokes reports a female MARSH HARRIER flying over at 1825hrs. Angela and Thomas Roberts see a SWALLOW.
- 7th April, Tony Peploe sees SWALLOW near Mill Park.
- 4th April, Terry Laney hears WILLOW WARBLER near Picnic Spinney.
- 3rd April, John Groves reports a WHEATEAR form near Patford Bridge.
- 2nd April, Mike Ivens noted a probable GREY WAGTAIL nest site. 80 JACKDAW in display flock over village centre. Many BUZZARD records (daily). Brian Laney reports KNOTTED HEDGE PARSLEY, which is qiute rare. 3 MISTLE THRUSH watched quarreling near The Banks.
- 31st March, after an evening with the cubs at Mill Park, walking from there through to Tebbitts Close noted about 12 bats registering as PIPISTRELLES, and 2 possibly being NATTERERS. 2 male REED BUNTING noted feeding on seed in gardens. 15+ dead (road kill) TOAD noted on one stretch of the West Haddon Rd by Terry Laney.
- 30th March, 2 small BAT reported, could be PIPISTRELLES.
- 28th March, winter weather and winter birds, including 5 REDPOLL, 2 SISKIN, YELLOWHAMMER, FIELDFARE and REDWING. 200+ flock of WOOD PIGEON and 60 LINNET also about.
- 23rd March, Richard Sainsbury reports TREE SPARROW feeding on bird seed in his garden, 3 also noted gardens elsewhere.
- 20th March, RAVEN soaring towards foxhill a.m. CHIFFCHAFF singing near Vanderplanks Covert, with WOODPECKER drumming from within. RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE, GREY WAGTAIL and GREEN WOODPECKER noted. 1pair of TEAL, 4 MALLARD and 4 MOORHEN and a GREEN SANDPIPIER noted at flood pond near Murcott. GREEN-VEINED WHITE and BRIMSTONE reported.
- 19th March, a pair of REED BUNTING at bottom of Lodge Lane, displaying LAPWING nearby, WOODCOCK and GOLDCREST noted at the poors land. SMALL TORTOISESHELL and SISKIN reported.
- 15th March, BRIMSTONE butterfly reported from 3 locations in village including Mike & Beth York on Lakeside. 20+ GOLDEN PLOVER heading north, and double figures of BUZZARD reported soaring and displaying. COMMON SHREW, BANK VOLE, and COMMON TOAD noted. CHIFFCHAFF reported singing at Brington Road near village. Kath Shep’ reports 8 LAPWING from Lodge Lane area.
- 12th March, small flocks of FIELDFARE, REDWING and MEADOW PIPIT noted heading north. Drumming WOODPECKER (probably Great-spotted) noted.
- 11th March, Several BUMBLEBEES and smaller BEES reported, FROG and NEWT reported from village ponds.
- 8th March, 9 clumps of FROG spawn in ponds at Grange Farm Reserve.
- 7th March, small flocks of REDWING and FIELDFARE about, still a flock of 50plus LINNET noted north of the village.
- 2nd March, a dead WEASEL on the road at the wharf. RAVEN reported. COAL and LONG-TAILED TIT recorded at bird feeders in gardens.
- 1st March, female FROG reported in garden pond.
- 28th February, sing SKYLARK reported, MEADOW PIPITS going over, c200 FIELDFARES heading north, BUZZARDS displaying including 7 together over the Wharf reported by Alan Webb.
- 24th February, Brian laney reports SMOOTH and GREAT CRESTED NEWTS in ponds at Mill Park.
- 23rd February, Jo Lock reports BARN OWL north of the village hunting in daylight.
- 22nd February, Peter Spokes noted SKYLARK on fields off West haddon Rd, 8 were later noted including singing birds. 60-100 LINNET also seen. Frank Davis of Highstack noted a pair of BLACKCAP in a garden during the recent cold snap. A RED KITE seen over Grange and Oak Tree farms at 100hrs moving southwest.
- 21st February, 5 BUZZARD and a SPARROWHAWK soaring together in the sunshine. FIELDFARES noted heading north. In the evening surveying local farm ponds, FROG and SMOOTH NEWT were recorded. Graham bates reports a KINGFISHER taking fish from his garden pond in Armley Close at 0700hrs.
- 20th February, a goose flock (9) included, or may have all been PINK-FOOTED GOOSE, seen and heard going over village at 0900.
- 3rd week, Brian laney reports SMOOTH and GREAT CRESTED NEWTS in village ponds due to the mild spell, also a BARN OWL at Surney. Many flowers in bloom from under the snow, including SNOWDROPS, and ACONITES. A BLACKBIRD noted singing at 0420hrs along with ROBIN.
- 16th February, 150+ LAPWING in a flock flying east over the village at 0815.
- 9th February, I spent a few minutes watching a male MERLIN interacting with JACKDAWS and COLLARED DOVES. Pete Spring reports a FIELDFARE in his garden eating berries, Other people have also reported these birds in their gardens.
- 2nd week, Mike Ivens reports a PEREGRINE from Murcott also several SNIPE from damp fields in the area.
- 8th February, a long walk in the snow revealed many animal and bird tracks including BADGER, FOX, RABBIT and MUNTJAC. Birds seen included a flock of 10 REDPOLL, 6 BULLFINCH, 5 TREE SPARROW and 1 SONG THRUSH.
- 3rd February, Anne McGann reports a BLACKCAP feeding in her garden at Holyoake Terrace.
- PLEASE FEED THE BIRDS DURING THIS HARSH WEATHER.
- 28th January, a wonderfully plumaged male MANDARIN DRAKE with the MALLARDS and MOORHEN on the canal at Newbridge.
- 26th January, Billy Roberts and his mum spot a BARN OWL on the way back from Beaver Cubs.
- 24/25th January, the RSPB Garden Birdwatch, the 30th year this has taken place.
- 20th January, 2 RAVEN calling, flying over the parish near Oak Tree Farm.
- 19th January, a flock of about 50 GOLDEN PLOVER flying south west over Sandy Lane during the morning.
- 10th January, a probably LITTLE OWL/TAWNY OWL reported from the back gardens of Holyoake Terrace.
- 7th January, 2 BLACK-HEADED GULL seen to take bird food from garden lawn, without landing, also LONG-TAILED TIT flock reported.
- 6th January, Alan Webb reports two large flocks of STARLING displaying prior to roost, one flock estimated at a thousand birds, can be seen over Long Buckby Wharf from the canal bridge at around 1600hrs.
- 1st Week, Mike Ivens has seen SNIPE on the verges of the stream north of Mill Park.
- 4th January, at the MILL PARK work party, we drank hot chocolate around the bonfire and the children saw a BROWN RAT and a GREENFINCH.
- note, please look out for Waxwing, a rare visitor from Scandinavia. They are starling sized with a flat crest and red and yellow on the wings. A handful have been seen within the county and they prefer berries like Rowan etc. If you see any please let me know.
- 2nd January, MUNTJAC DEER noted, FIELDFARE and REDWINGS back in the parish in small numbers. 2 TREE SPARROWS seen in gardens on edge of village.
- 28th/29th December, had a go at laying some HAWTHORN hedge that may have only ever been layed once in its lifetime. End result was quite neat, fairly stock proof, and far nicer to look at that the flailed version.
- 27th December, Shoot report 5 GREY PARTRIDGE and 1 WOODCOCK.
- 25th December, hundreds of VELVET SHANK mushrooms growing on trunks of standing dead ELM in hedgerows. 2 REED BUNTINGS noted in elephant grass.
- 24th December, COMMON SHREW, SHORT-TAILED FIELD VOLE noted under tin sheets on reserve. REDPOLL heard calling. HERRING GULL seen flying over.
- 17th December, RAVEN again, 2 sitings from north of village probably same pair of birds. WOODCOCK reported from shoot activities.
- 14th December, GOLDFINCH flocks, and LONG-TAILED TIT flocks reported from gardens. COAL TIT also reported.
- 1st/2nd Week, 2 ‘grey waders’ reported by shoot members also WOODCOCK seen. Carrie Hart reports a wader from the stream near Murcott Mill, probably a GREEN SANDPIPER, she has also seen a ROE DEER. Sue Spokes reports a probable KINGFISHER. A pair of RAVEN (always given away by their deep croaking calls) seen about the parish.
- 29th November, a flock of 10 CANADA GOOSE about the village. 2 dead BADGER reported.
- 23rd November, a small peach coloured mushroom on a fallen dead ELM identified as rhodotus/pleurotus palmatis.
- 22nd November, 2 SNIPE seen flying over the village, 4 GREY PARTRIDGE noted on stubble, 2 TREE SPARROW noted on the barn being converted on the path north of the church. ( they breed in the stone walls of this barn every year). 1 WOODCOCK flushed from a nearby plantation along with 12 STOCK DOVE.
- 20th November, another SNIPE noted.
- 18th November, David and Jonathon Evans report a BARN OWL on the West Haddon Road.
- 16th November, a walk in the fog produced a good list of birds including a KINGFISHER at Evans pond, 2 GREEN WOODPECKER, 5 SONG THRUSH and 3 REDPOLL. A MUNTJAC was seen crossing a field of bemused sheep from Picnic Spinney to Vanderplanks Covert and was later seen feeding food put down for game along with a GREY SQUIRREL.
- 6th November, probably the first parish record of a RINGED PLOVER calling as it flew over Bridge House Farm, GREY WAGTAIL and MEADOW PIPIT there as well.
- 5th November, all the wet ground attracted a SNIPE flushed from sheep pasture and the increasingly regular STONECHAT noted.
- 1st Week November, RED ADMIRAL, a BUMBLEBEE and a WASP noted during warmer spells.
- 30/31st October, KINGFISHER spotted by Angela Roberts on fence looking into next-doors goldfish pond. Fungi reported during the month include, Mucilago Crustacea (porridge like substance on grass), EYELASH, SHAGGY INKCAP, YELLOW BRAIN, HORSE MUSHROOM, and Verdisgris Agaris (green mushroom type)
- 28th October, Trevor Moore reports BARN OWL from his nest boxes. More JAY reported.
- 21st & 22nd October, A CORMORANT noted both days flying over village. JAY and COMMON DARTER dragonfly also reported.
- 18th October, 200+ FIELDFARE flying south over village, increased numbers of BLACKBIRD, SONG THRUSH about. GREEN SANDPIPER flushed from a pond, 4 GREY PARTRIDGE, 1 fly over BRAMBLING, 1 SKYLARK and a HARE also noted. Still RED ADMIRAL, COMMA and SMALL TORTOISESHELL about.
- 15th October, Judith and Colin Jackson report GREEN WOODPECKER on lawns at Floyers Farm.
- 8th October, more sun! JAY, GREY HERON and GOLDCREST seen. Insects included SOUTHERN HAWKER and COMMON DARTER Dragonflies and RED ADMIRAL, SMALL TORTOISESHELL, LARGE WHITE and BRIMSTONE. At Bridge House Farm lake 6 TEAL, 10 MALLARD, a family of MOORHEN, and a young MUTE SWAN.
- 5th October, beautiful evening, walk produced STONECHAT (passage migrant) LITTLE OWL (resident) REDWING (winter migrant) and singing CHIFFCHAFF (summer migrant).
- 4th October, 2 RAVEN over the village early morning, several REDWING (the first winter migant) noted.
- 2nd/3rd October, an young STONECHAT at Grange Farm. Thousands of GULL of several species on ploughed and drilled land all over the parish.
- 4th Week, Paul & Sue from LBW report male MANDERIN (an exotic duck species) fron the canal.
- 23rd September, 400 Corvids (ROOK, CROW and JACKDAW) closely gathered in ‘parliament’ pre-roost during the evening on seeded fields off the West Haddon Road, plus over 200 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS visiting the plough.
- 21st September, KINGFISHER and BULLFINCH observed by many at the Mill Park Open Day where the sun shone and it felt like, dare I say it, summer.
- 20th September, 1 or 2 TREE PIPIT (new for the Parish) on reserved land, these are now a scarce summer visitor to the county having bred regularly at several sites up until the last couple of years. 2 JAY and REDPOLL also flying over.
- 19th September, GREY WAGTAIL at Murcott Mill. Mrs C Hart handed me a large black, white and pink moth which turned out to be a PRIVET HAWK-MOTH, (probably the first record for the Parish).
- 16th September, 1 or 2 nice male STONECHAT on fences near elephant grass north of the village. Many sightings of COAL TIT and GOLDCREST within village gardens. These species seem to be part of an influx which also includes SISKIN and MEADOW PIPIT within the last two weeks or so. T laney reports 8 TEAL from ponds.
- 14th September, 55 species of birds recorded on an extensive walk this morning, early fog clearing to fine weather always helps. Alan webb reports female TUFTED DUCK from canal at LBW.
- 13th September, SKYLARK joined the mixed flock of FINCHES and BUNTINGS on fields off the West Haddon Road. Sunshine bringing the first Dragonfly activity for many days including, 4 male SOUTHERN HAWKER holding territory, 1 MIGRANT HAWKER, 20+ COMMON DARTER, 4 RUDDY DARTER, a male EMERALD and a pair of BLUE-TAILED DAMSELFLY at ponds on reserved land. SPECKLED WOOD seems to be having a good year with 18 noted on a long walk around the parish. Other Butterflies noted were SMALL and GREEN-VEINED WHITE, BRIMSTONE, RED ADMIRAL and SMALL TORTOISESHELL. A call-out to an electrical fault revealed a dead BROWN LONG-EARED BAT straddling the live terminals inside a fuse-box. Matt Lynn reported a GRASS SNAKE from the footbridge near Jacksons Track.
- 12th September, MEADOW PIPITS noted again flying over.
- 10th September, 2 HOBBY, adult and young noted high up, calling.
- 7th September, WHEATEAR noted near Oak Tree Farm and another, male, in Armley Field. MEADOW PIPITS noted calling, flying over from North, and 3 SISKIN also calling flying over the village.
- 5th September, Terry Laney reports a KINGFISHER from the stream by Picnic Spinney.
- 4th September, a HOBBY again seen this time near the allotments chasing HOUSE MARTINS. RAVEN, BUZZARD and KESTRAL all seen within 1hour.
- 3rd September, a HOBBY seen in hunting flight at 18.18hrs.
- 1st September, Geoff Spokes reports a pair of GREY PARTRIDGE with 2 young, North of the village.
- 31st August, a foggy start to the day with a few migrant birds grounded around the fields and hedges. At the allotments young of ROBIN, DUNNOCK, BLACKBIRD, SONG THRUSH, GREAT & BLUE TIT noted, hedges to the north produced a mixed flock of LONG-TAILED TIT (20+), WHITETHROAT, CHIFFCHAFF, and BLUE TIT, plus a fine male REDSTART. TREE SPARROW, CHAFFINCH, YELLOWHAMMER & LINNET flocking on cut fields. GOLDCREST, WILLOW WARBLER & GREEN WOODPECKER noted at the covert, and LESSER WHITETHROAT & BULLFINCH also seen.
- 30th August, 2 YELLOW WAGTAILS noted, plus dozens of GOLDFINCH and GREENFINCH feeding on a cut rape field. 2 male SOUTHERN HAWKER dragonflies noted over a garden pond in the village, with reports of MIGRANT HAWKER hunting around houses and gardens. A RUDDY DARTER also seen.
- 29th August, young SWALLOWS still in the nest at Murcott Mill, reported by Mrs C Hart.
- 28th August, RAVEN over the village, 70 plus HOUSE MARTIN over Bridge House Farm with many nests still occupied.
- 25th August, Large GULL movement through parish with LESSER BLACK BACKED (northern and western european forms) plus HERRING GULL.
- 24th August, 2 SWIFT noted.
- 17th August, about 50 COMMON BLUE butterflies, mainly male, (the most ever recorded in one area) from the footpath near Evans’ Ponds. Several SMALL TORTOISESHELL, RED ADMIRAL, PEACOCK, SPECKLED WOOD, BRIMSTONE and GREEN-VEINED WHITE also noted. A pair of DABCHICK with 2 juveniles also there, and BROWN, SOUTHERN and MIGRANT Hawkers noted. EMERALD, COMMON BLUE and BLUE-TAILED damselflies noted. 2 SWIFT over the village, these will be leaving for Africa soon!
- 15th August, 5 GREY PARTRIDGE noted in Wheat fields north of village, also 5 (family?) BUZZARD in the air together.
- 10th August, COMMON BLUE, BROWN ARGUS and SMALL COPPER butterflies noted. SOUTHERN and MIGRANT HAWKER, and COMMON DARTER dragonflies also seen.
- 9th August, 25 CANADA GEESE in sheep pasture grazing with the sheep. A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (my only parish record this year) noted at the allotments with young WILLOW WARBLERS flycatching from the hedge at the bottom. 2 young REED BUNTINGS on Jacksons Track suggesting the may have bred nearby.
- 7th August, 30+ HOUSE MARTINS over village, several larger GULL species about. A HUMMING-BIRD HAWK-MOTH noted in the evening.
- 2nd August, more HARLEQUIN LADYBIRD records with 3 or 4 colour/pattern varieties.
- 30th July, a GRASS SNAKE with its shed skin found. A BROWN ARGUS and PEACOCK butterflies reported, and an OAK BUSHCRICKET found.
- 27th July, a HARLEQUIN LADYBIRD (1st record for the parish) was found. Described by the University of Cambridge as ‘the most invasive ladybird on earth’ this species originates from Japan and has worked its way across the world getting to the UK a couple of years ago. A search on ‘all fours’ on reserve grassland revealed 4 species of grasshopper, ROESELS BUSHCRICKET, LONG-WINGED CONEHEAD, MEADOW and COMMON GREEN GRASSHOPPER.
- 26th July, a CROSSBILL (1st record for the parish) seen and heard flying over the village, these birds are sparodic invaders from the continent and several have been reported within the county. A dozen species of dragonfly noted including BROWN HAWKER, BLACK-TAILED SKIMMER and EMERALD DAMSELFLY. An incredible 14 species of butterfly noted from sites around the village including PAINTED LADY, ESSEX SKIPPER, HOLLY BLUE, COMMA and SMALL COPPER.
- 13th July, several GULL noted moving west. Female EMPEROR noted ovipositing (egg-laying) in a village pond SOUTHERN HAWKER also seen. A LESSER STAG BEETLE found and SPARROWHAWK noted with prey over the village.
- 11th July, SOUTHERN HAWKER found just after emergence from a village pond. Took 2 days to pump up and dry out before flying off.
- 7th July, 2 RAVEN over Lodge Lane.
- 5th July, CUCKOO reported (where are all the cuckoos?) GATEKEEPER, male noted also SMALL TORTOISESHELL, once our commonest butterfly now rare.
- 4th July, froglets and toadlets reported from several localities, COMMON DARTER emergence, 7 teneral (immature) noted.
- 2nd July,a female TUFTED DUCK with 7, day old ducklings at Evans’ Ponds, REED WARBLER, 7 species of Dragon/damselfly and 5 species of Butterfly also there. 17 LAPWING noted flying west over the village p.m.
- 2nd June, A HOBBY over Bridge House Farm also singing GREY and PIED WAGTAILS there.
- 8th June, several BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLE along the stream at and between Mill Park and the West Haddon Road. A HAIRY HAWKER (1st record for the parish) was seen at Evans Ponds plus COMMON BLUE butterfly and a HORNET. A TROUT also seen in the stream and a buck ROE DEER seen near Picnic Spinney.
- 10th June, COCK CHAFER reported by a few people including Sam the (quality) hairdresser. The BEE ORCHID on reserve land blossomed today. A HEDGEHOG noted eating cat food.
- 11th June, Dragonflies noted at local ponds and streams included EMPEROR, BROAD-BODIED CHASER, FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER,HAIRY DRAGONFLY and BLACK-TAILED SKIMMER.
- 20th June, Many people around the village are complaining about an abundance of house flies. Butterflies noted include BRIMSTONE, MEADOW BROWN, LARGE SKIPPER, SPECKLED WOOD and COMMON BLUE.
- 24th June, COMMON TWAYBLADE, BEE and PYRAMIDAL ORCHID in flower. (site details not available), Many RINGLET noted. HOUSE MARTIN occupying several nests at Bridge House Farm.
- 29th June, NATIONAL INSECT WEEK celebrated at Mill Park, Many people from the village and elsewhere came to the event, pond dipping produced dozens of species including young NEWT. Dragonlfies included BANDED & BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLE, Butterflies included RED ADMIRAL and RINGLET, Several SLOW WORM were seen and handled, and Brian Laney brought his STICK INSECT collection. Thanks to Jayne Louise Bassett, Tony Peploe and Brian Laney for assistance on the day.
- 1st week, Several SWIFT, only a few HOUSE MARTIN over village, LAPWING displaying over recently cut grass fields north of village,6 species of summer visiting warblers noted including GARDEN WARBLER and LESSER WHITETHROAT. Butterflies include ORANGE-TIP, HOLLY BLUE (good numbers) GREEN-VEINED WHITE, and SMALL TORTOISESHELL. Lots of BAT activity around the village.
- 8th May, Trevor Moore watched a RED KITE over the village during the morning.
- 10th May, 4 teneral (just emerged) LARGE RED DAMSELFLY at Evans’ Ponds, and SPECKLED WOOD reported. SMOOTH NEWT, FROG, TOAD, and GRASS SNAKE also noted.
- 14th May, a pair of RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE, and 2 emerging BROAD-BODIED CHASERS seen.
- 20th May, The Infant School enjoyed their trip to Mill Park seeing Toad, Damselflies, and a SLOW WORM.
- 23rd May, 3 species of Orchid reported from one site south of the village, also COMMON BLUE BUTTERFLY.
- 24th May, GRASS SNAKE reported from 3 sites, COMMON BLUE, BLUE-TAILED, and LARGE RED DAMSELFLIES, and a male and female BROAD-BODIED CHASER noted around the village.
- 26th May, Poor weather with 10 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL noted moving east.
- 29th May, sunshine brings PEACOCK, LARGE WHITE, SPECKLED WOOD butterflies, and 5 species of dragonfly including FOUR-SPOTTED CHASER.
- 31st May, Thomas Roberts caught a GRASS SNAKE (with skill and care)
- 2nd April, a SWALLOW over Oak Tree Farm, 2 CHIFFCHAFF also noted.
- 3rd April, BRAMBLING and SISKIN reported from garden bird feeders.
- 5th April, RAVEN seen flying over, 2 SNIPE reported, and a party of large GULL flying South-West.
- 2nd Week, many insects including 7SPOT LADYBIRD, SMALL TORTOISESHELL and several BEE species reported.
- 12th April, a walk around Murcott produced a pair each of MALLARD, TEAL, GADWALL,and GREY WAGTAIL, plus GREEN SANDPIPER, TREECREEPER, newly arrived WILLOW WARBLER and BLACKCAP.
- 13th one male BRAMBLING remains at the bird feeder at home, BLACKBIRD and JACKDAW noted with nest material, WOODPIGEON have hatched young.
- 19th April, Harvesting of Elephant grass displaced FOX, HARE, GREY PARTRIDGE and SKYLARK. (it is illegal to disturb nesting birds during the breeding season)
- 20th April, FIELDFARE still about, WHITETHROAT and SWALLOW seen, 120 LINNET noted.
- 21st April, RAVEN over the village calling, SWALLOW seen at The Wharf.
- 22nd April, Geoff Spokes reports 4 pairs of GREY PARTRIDGE, a male RING OUZEL seen at Thrupp Grounds during a survey prior to proposed housing. Mark Kerr reprts a BARN OWL near Sandy Lane, and Trevor Moore reports a TAWNY OWL nesting at Foxhill Park. PIPSTRELLE Bat seen at 2045hrs over Armley Close.
- 23rd April, Kath Shep’ reports a CUCKOO from the fields behind her house early this morning, and HOUSE MARTIN, Butterflies today include BRIMSTONE and PEACOCK.The sun shone warm and the Birds sang at St Lawrences for Frank Cross’ funeral. Frank was a keen observer and contributor to this diary.
- 24th April, Brian Laney reports PIGNUT and FIELD WOODRUSH fro fields near Lakeside.
- 25th April, Terry Laney, reports TROUT in stream near Murcott. Tim Marlow (environmental surveyor) reports 15+ GOLDEN PLOVER heading north over village.
- 26th April, at least 5 LAPWING between Lodge Lane and Brington Road, with hopes they will be able to breed unhindered.
- 27th April, several summer migrants this weekend including WILLOW WARBLER, WHITETHROAT, BLACKCAP, SWALLOW and HOUSE MARTIN.