Mainly Insects

22nd - 31st July 2016
Roesel's Bush-cricket, Lower Rea, 29/7/16
A post of largely insects from the last couple of weeks starts with this Roesel's Bush-cricket above, found at Lower Rea, Quedgeley, on 29th July whilst looking in vain for Andy's Grasshopper Warbler. Also locally, the highlights of a Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey on 24th at Hardwicke included several Essex Skippers.
Essex Skipper, Hardwicke, 24/7/16
Some recent garden hoverflies include those below, including several sightings of the big one, Volucella zonaria, which I have also seen recently along the canal tow-path.
Volucella zonaria, garden, 22/7/16
Syritta pipiens, garden, 30/7/16
Eristalis arbustorum, garden, 3/8/16
Myathropa florea, garden, 3/8/16
Other recent Hoverfly sightings include Leucozona glaucia at Edge Common, another distinctive species.
Leucozona glaucia, Edge Common, 30/7/16
Helophilus hybridus, NT Lacock Abbey, 31/7/16
Dasysyrphus albostriatus, NT Snowshill Manor, 30/7/16
Also at Edge Common last Saturday, butterflies included a single Dark Green Fritillary, 10+ Chalkhill Blues, Small and Essex Skippers and many Marbled Whites. A Spotted Flycatcher was along the woodland edge.
Dark Green Fritillary, Edge Common, 30/7/16
Chalkhill Blue, Edge Common, 30/7/16
Chalkhill Blue, Edge Common, 30/7/16
Essex Skipper, Edge Common, 30/7/16
Marbled White, Edge Common, 30/7/16
And some more from Edge Common below.
Shaded Broad-bar, Edge Common, 30/7/16
Six-spot Burnet, Edge Common, 30/7/16
Nemophora metallica, Edge Common, 30/7/16
Meadow Grasshopper, Edge Common, 30/7/016
Oedemera nobilis, Edge Common, 30/7/16
Broad-leaved Helleborine, Edge Common, 30/7/16
Green-flowered Helleborine, Edge Common, 30/7/16
 The night before I found two Glowworms on the southern side of Robinswood Hill, the first I have seen in a long time. Also here were two Tawny Owls calling, one seen too in flight.
Glowworm, Robinswood Hill, 29/7/16
A slightly disappointing visit to Oversley Wood with Andy and Mark in perfect conditions this year with no Purple Emperors and just two White Admirals but a reasonable number, 12, of Silver-washed Fritillaries and eight Purple Hairstreaks. Also seen were a two Brown Hawkers and two Marsh Tits.
White Admiral, Oversley Wood, Warks., 23/7/16
Silver-washed Fritillary, Oversley Wood, Warks., 23/7/16


East Coast Excursions

Saturday 2nd - Sunday 10th July 2016
Puffin with puffling, Bempton Cliffs
On Sunday (10th) I went on another West Midland Bird Club field trip with 'Team Kestrel', this time to East Yorkshire. First stop was RSPB Bempton Cliffs, and what a treat. This was my first visit here, and I can't remember how long I have wanted to go. The impressive hard chalk cliffs here are home to nesting Puffins, Gannets (only mainland breeding colony in England I believe), Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Fulmars. It was also nice seeing c10 Tree Sparrows around the visitor centre feeders - they seem to have disappeared from Gloucestershire. I heard a Grasshopper Warbler reeling briefly from long grass near one of the cliff viewpoints, the first of the year for me.
Puffin, Bempton
Puffin, Bempton
Puffin, Bempton
Puffin, Bempton
Gannets, Bempton
Gannet, Bempton
Gannet chick, Bempton
Guillemots, Bempton
Guillemots, Bempton
Fulmars, Bempton
Kittiwake with young, Bempton
Razorbills, Bempton
Tree Sparrow, Bempton
Tree Sparrow, Bempton
Part of one of the Gannet colonies, Bempton
Bempton Cliffs
Bempton Cliffs
Bempton Cliffs
Bempton Cliffs
The second port of call was another new site for me, RSPB Blacktoft Sands. This reserve of tidal reedbed fringes the River Ouse just before it is joined by the Trent to form the Humber.The highlights included 2+ Bearded Tits seen from Marshland Hide, with one bird, a juvenile, spending around 10 minutes in view picking on the mud in front of the reedbed. The other highlights on the reserve were two adult moulting Spotted Redshanks, a Hobby, 4+ Marsh Harriers (at least one male and one female and two juveniles), five Green Sandpipers and more Tree Sparrows. A excellent day out, and thanks to Paul F, Matt, Amanda, Steve and Andy for the company.
Juvenile Bearded Tit (I think a male), Blacktoft Sands
Spotted Redshanks, Blacktoft Sands
View from Xerox Hide, Blacktoft Sands
The Saturday before (2nd) I went with Richard and Mike on a twitch to the north Norfolk coast. We checked out Holme for the target bird without success, just a few Sanderling and Dunlin.  So on to RSPB Titchwell Marsh. On arrival, positive news on the pager, and before long we were in the Parrinder Hide watching the GREAT KNOT. This adult bird in breeding plumage is a superb-looking bird, with colours reminiscent of Turnstone; noticeably bigger than the accompanying 1,500 Red Knot and with a proportionately small head. An adult Mediterranean Gull, Marsh Harrier and an immature Spoonbill added to a great trip. At least one Chinese Water Deer was to the west of the main path. I can recommend Thornham Deli where we had a delicious breakfast. Thanks Richard and Mike - super driving Richard, and back home in time for afternoon tea.
Great Knot, Titchwell
Great Knot, Titchwell
Nope, it's not here at Holme Dunes
View towards the Knot flock on Fresh Marsh from Parrinder Hide, Titchwell

A few other recent natural observations below nearer to home of the Odonata kind including a first for me, Small Red-eyed Damselfly:
Small Red-eyed Damselfy, Highnam Court
Small Red-eyed Damselfies, Highnam Court
Four-spotted Chaser, Highnam Court
Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Woorgreens
Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Woorgreens