Showing posts from July, 2014

Mostly Insects

Saturday 26th July 2014
In the garden, Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachile sp.) have been very active lately, making good use of the 'solitary bee hive' I have provided. These are fascinating insects, cutting neat holes in the leaves of plants (I haven't actually witnessed them doing this) and carrying them back to the nest. Pollen is collected on a mass of hairs on the lower abdomen, and they seem to favour my Dahlias for this.
A Common Darter in the garden was very fresh-looking and allowed close study.

At WWT Slimbridge in the afternoon, the highlights were a female Marsh Harrier and two Redstarts from Holden Tower. I also saw 3+ flyover Yellow Wagtails and a juvenile on the sea wall, and 11 Green Sandpipers and four Avocets were at Robbie Garnett hide. I watched the the Marsh Harrier on The Dumbles for around 15 minutes before it took to the air, eventually heading towards the canal, and being mobbed by a Buzzard and an Avocet along the way.

A couple of garden hoverfly photos:

Night Heron at Cheltenham and Graylings on Brean Down

Sunday 6th - Monday 7th July 2014
After dipping it on back in June, I was pleased to catch up with the NIGHT HERON at Pittville Park this evening after it was re-found yesterday. It showed very well at times as it fished the lake edge.
I spent the afternoon at Brean yesterday with family and was chuffed to find two Graylings on Brean Down, towards the fort. It was quite breezy up there but the Graylings seem to manage to get back to the stony path whenever they flew up after appearing to be caught up in the breeze for a while, giving the impression they were about to be blown off the down never to be seen again!
There were also at least four Stonechats, the males sometimes launching into song-flight before dropping back down to a perch.

Large Blues, Orchids, and other Midsummer Things

Since my last post I've spent two weeks on holiday in the Canaries and apart from that I've not done a lot of birding really. The holiday, on La Gomera, was great, wonderful scenery, and plenty of wildlife interest - I will get round to doing a trip report some time. Bird life-ticks included Bulwer's Petrel and Little Shearwater (now regarded as a split to North Atlantic or Macronesian Shearwater), and TrumpeterFinch, the latter being quite numerous around the apartment site we were on. I can only offer a photo of the latter here:
Also one of two friendly neighborhood Hoopoes which I saw daily in the vicinity.
The top photo is one of three Large Blues I saw at Daneway Banks on 29th June, and talking of butterflies, I made a trip to Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon, on 22nd June with Mark H. where we eventually, and I mean eventually, saw a single Black Hairstreak. It was a bit on the shy side, but still nice to life-tick this rare species.
Before we set off, Mark showed me one…