More Crake and a Hen Harrier

Saturday 24th - Sunday 25th September 2016
I was back at WWT on Saturday planning to go on the morning safari. With that cancelled due to the wind, I decided to get another fill of the friendly neighbourhood Spotted Crake still performing along the South Finger Walkway on the small dragonfly pond.
I had tried at Frampton earlier for the Hen Harrier without joy, so I made a quick return visit on Sunday morning to Splatt Bridge. This visit was more productive with good views of the ring-tail Hen hunting over the 100 acre and foreshore, and even managed to get a distant record shot.


Spotted Crake at WWT

Thursday 22nd September 2016
A Spotted Crake has been showing well on the small dragonfly pond overlooked by the Van de Bovenkamp hide.
It is best viewed from the hide itself rather than the path where space is limited.


Shiny-vented Sharp-tail Bee

Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th September 2016
I managed to identify an unusual bee in the garden at the weekend as a female Shiny-vented Sharp-tail Bee, Coelioxys inermis, after careful study and taking photographs at different angles. Using Falk and Lewington's 'Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland', and Rowson and Pavett's 'A Visual Guide for the Identification of British Coelioxys Bees' I was able to get the ID to species level. Sharp-tail Bees are host parasites, the female using its sharp 'tail' to pierce the cells of Megachile Leaf-cutter Bees to lay its eggs in them.
The shape of the female abdomen tip, viewed from underneath, was a clincher
I also studied the facial setae characteristics
And some recent spiders, first a Zebra Spider, Salticus scenicus, on the outside of the house:
And then inside the house, this Noble False Widow Spider, Steadota nobilis, a native of the Canary Islands and Madeira, has set up home in the utility room:


Baird's Sandpiper at Upton Warren

Sunday 11th September 2016
Juvenile Baird's Sandpiper, Upton Warren, Worcs.
Sunday morning saw an impromptu trip to Upton Warren with Andy and Mark. Following early news that a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was still present from yesterday, the straightforward 45 minute trip up the M5 and an obliging bird meant that it wasn't long before we had successfully twitched this smart Yankee wader. Other interest included a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper and a Ruff.
We were looking into the sun, but occasionally it did wander in front of a darker background
Not complaining about the light though
It was a gloriously sunny morning
Baird's with Ruff
Almost always in view - I do like a cooperative rarity
Green Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper


Shags at Sharpness

Saturday 3rd September 2016
A juvenile Shag was still present at the SARA pool, Sharpness, first thing this morning. Found by Andy Jordan, it was joined on the pool by another Shag just as I was about to leave. Six Cormorants were also noted in the area.


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