Wildlife Diary for August 2020

Redstart in flight

30th August, photographers turn up for the Redstart and thankfully it’s still there. Brown Hawker and Speckled Wood are seen. Meadow Pipit and Grey Wagtail fly over. Roesels Bush-crickets are still singing.

29th August, cold and cloudy. I stand and study a long stretch of decent hedge at CEP and see some movement. A Lesser Whitethroat and a Chiffchaff. Then there’s Robin and a ginger headed young Blackbird. And then the flash of brick orange/red of the tail of a Redstart. It has the faint markings of an immature male and the other birds keep taking a look at this stranger. He may have hatched in Scandinavia and is on his way, for the first time, to Africa. I am pleased he has stopped off at Cotton End Park.

28th August, cold and wet but a Willow Warbler sings at Heathview.

27th August, a three quarters grown Hedgehog squashed at the bottom of The Banks.

26th August, Hedgehog reported half way down The Banks.

24th August, Allison sees a three quarters grown Hedgehog at the top of The Banks.

Common Darter
Male Banded Demoiselle

22nd August, Southern and the smaller Migrant Hawker reported from gardens around the village. Yellow Wagtail goes over. Family parties of Lesser Black-backed Gull are on the first of the plough with Black-headed Gulls of various ages and plumage.

19th August, Chris and Sue report Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and Red Kite from over the village. I find a huge snake skin on the heap at CEP. It has to be an adult female.

18th August, You may know Trevor Moore as owner of the Costcutter supermarket in the village, but did you know that for many years he has been a committed champion of the Barn Owl? He and other local landowners and farmers participate in specific nest box schemes and have now improved the population, returning this enigmatic bird to our local countryside. Trevor has worked hard on understanding the requirements of the Owl and this afternoon we have a look at some of his new nest box designs that are already proving successful. Of course you can’t just erect a nest box you need the habitat and ecosystem in place and again Trevor has worked tirelessly to provide this. It’s inspiring to see real, local conservation in action.

Common Blue
on willow
Small Red-eyed Damse

17th August, a mid-morning dog-walk takes me to my favourite ‘chat’ fence. It is between two huge exposed open fields and over the years regularly attracts Stonechat, Whinchat and Wheatear on passage in spring and late summer. And there, right on time was a male Whinchat. At lunchtime I head to CEP to catch up with the Dragons and Damsels and am not disappointed. Southern, Brown and Migrant Hawkers, Common and Ruddy Darters, and a male Willow Emerald being hassled by a male Common Emerald. Then a new find. On a floating algal mat sits a Small Red-eyed Damsel. I scan and see 5 other males. What a year for Odonata.

11th August, CEP is alive with young birds, and I also see a Ruddy Darter, Roesel’s Bush-cricket, Hummingbird Hawk-moth, and a Speckled Wood. Bats are reported from three places in the village.
10th August, Graham and Jane report Hummingbird Hawk-moth. The passage of Lesser Black-backed Gulls continues over the parish. The last Swift is seen by Terry.

9th August, at the Old Kings Head quiz the punters are having a laugh at the temperamental quiz-masters microphone, which clicks, buzzes, goes off then on again. A team at the back complain about a noise from the speakers. I get up and have a listen and there chirping away from behind a speaker is a (probable) House Cricket. I ask around and discover that like me nobody had heard a cricket for years. It turns out that as kids we may have heard the now very rare Field Cricket, and now we tend to be hearing the more common and urban House Cricket. What’s more this species is a non-native and studies suggests it may have arrived in the UK with returning Crusaders in the 13th Century. Anyway back to the quiz.

Roesel’s Bush Cricket
Painted Lady

8th August, a dog-walk along the farm track reminds me how much the crops the ripening. The cereal heads are susceptible to mould and about now they are sprayed with a fungicide. Hope the weather settles down for harvest. I see Small Copper and Common Blue butterfly.

7th August, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth visits CEP. The Swifts are about to go south so I walk the village in the still evening air and see only 8 over the roof-tops. A sight and sound of summer.

5th August, Sue sees a Painted Lady, the first I’ve heard about this year.

2nd August, a young Hobby has lost its element of surprize and as the tables turn, is chased by furious Swallows. There are numerous reports on social media of a Parakeet about the village. There are noisy young Little Owls at the back of Lime Avenue and Stenhouse Close.

Small Copper
possibly Mesembrina Meridiana

1st August, I head to CEP to open up and check ‘round. I walk and see very little in the burgeoning hedges and Willow stands. I get all the way to the bottom of the park and think of heading home to catch up on office work and then I hear a fluty call from above me. Finding a calling bird in a tree or bush is fairly straightforward, but getting a sound from above means I need to see the entire sky quickly as this bird is flying over, now. I run into the open, I stare into the blue, and I pray to hear it again to give me at least some direction to look. And so it does. I think it’s a Curlew. I naked-eye scan, I see it! In the bins’ a Curlew is leaving the CEP airspace, and it calls again. I grin from ear to ear as it dawns on me that this bird maybe the 100th recorded at Cotton End Park since we started in 2010 ish. I carry on a see Sedge and Willow Warbler, a family of Whitethroats and Linnets.

Brian Laney was at Orchard Rise on the 25/07/2020 and recorded the following in the mown verges, gaps in kerb edges, shrub borders, recorded between grid references SP63591 67752 to SP63556 67809. Common birds foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) Procumbent pearlwort (Sagina procumbens) Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) Common ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris) Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) Dandelion (Taraxacum species) Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Lesser trefoil (Trifolium dubium) Common mouse ear (Cerastium fontanum) Knotgrass (Polygonum species) Greater plantain (Plantago major) Great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) Perennial rye grass (Lolium perenne) Yorkshire fog (Holcus lanatus) Orange hawkweed Pilosella aurantiaca) Wood avens (Geum urbanum) Thyme leaved speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia) Cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata) White clover (Trifolium repens) Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) Oxalis corniculata var atropurpurea Bramble (Rubus species) Wall speedwell (Veronica arvensis) Annual meadow grass (Poa annua) Herb robert (Geranium robertianum) Goats beard (Tragopogon pratensis) Prickly sow thistle ( Sonchus asper) Nipplewort (Lapsana communis) Bristly ox tongue (Helminthotheca echioides) Soft brome (Bromus hordeaceus) Cotoneaster horizontalis, (birdsown at base of ivy covered wooden fence at SP63568 67805) Stinking iris ( Iris foetidissima), (birdsown at base of ivy covered wooden fence at SP63568 67805) Flattened meadow grass (poa compressa), (on edge of mown lawn of property/ brick edge to lawn at SP63560 67810) NEW FOR THE VILLAGE OF LONG BUCKBY.

Wildlife Diary for July 2020

Gatekeeper by Sue
Small Skipper by Sue
Comma Butterfly

30th July, my birthday, no strimming this year because I want to watch Butterflies. It’s my birthday so there. I see Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Common Blue, Small Skipper, Small Copper, Small White and Large White. Dragonflies at CEP pond area include Emperor, Southern Hawker, Common Darter Ruddy Darter, Four-spotted Chaser, Emerald Damsel, Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Azure Damsels, and in the evening Migrant Hawker appears.

26th July. Ok. I might be going mad but I’m pretty sure I see and hear a Merlin over the back of St Lawrence’s. Merlin are rare winter visitors. I don’t tell anyone. Apart from you.


Four-spotted Chaser

25th July, I am at CEP early to unlock, check ‘round and pick litter. I see not much in the way of birds only Lesser Black-backed Gulls going over, and a Yellowhammer. As I get to the hide a large green Damselfly lands in front of me. Straight away I know it’s too large/long for Common Emerald Damselfly and notice white pterostigmas and anal appendages. This and the spur on the thorax makes it a Willow Emerald Damselfly. This is new for the park and for the general area, as the nearest appear to be in the east of the county. I get a ‘phone shot, then it floats off up amongst the Willows.

22nd July. Working by the canal at the Wharf is distracting on such a lovely day. There are Greenfinches and Goldfinches singing with their youngsters about the gardens. We see Swallow, Grey and Pied Wagtail, Moorhen and hear Green Woodpecker.

Marbled White by Sue

Hoverfly by Sue

20th July. I can see about 20 House Martins from my garden on Armley and maybe a similar number of Swifts. There is a report of one or more Peregrine near Patford Bridge.
19th July. Froglets, Toadlets, and Newtlets reported from various places. The Sedge Warbler is still singing at CEP, and we see Common Blue Butterfly and Six-spotted Burnet. The Swallows over head start alarm calling and I instinctively look up to see Hobby streak over. Brown Hawker arrives at the pond and is hassled by Four-spotted Chasers. David sees 5 Buzzards over the Village and Malcolm sends me a photo of Little Owl from his garden fence off the Bovis estate. Hanglands needs mowing and I see a small Grass Snake and Speckled Wood Butterfly.

18th July. 3 Redpoll over are the first for many months, perhaps post breeding dispersal. I see 2 Yellow Wagtails flying with the families of Skylark on Foxhill Road.
17th July. There is the distinctive sound of a Sedge Warbler coming from the depths of the Reed-mace and Sedge behind the pond at CEP. I’m guessing it’s a failed breeder from elsewhere or a very late arrival. The song is a fast, excited series of repeated grating notes interspersed with whistles and calls that mimic other species.

Red Admiral and guest by Sue

Ringlet by Sue

14th July. Hobby low and fast, attacks the Holyoake House Martins. CEP has an immature Common Darter, and dozens of juvenile birds. This year’s young of several species generally exploring the Willows, hedges and Bramble bushes together. Brian lures Sallow Clearwing Moth, and sees 20 odd Small and Green-veined White Butterflies on a wet puddle, presumably taking in fluid and minerals. This behaviour is common in the tropics but unusual here.

13th July. 3 large birds reported over the village. I get 5 reports over a two hour period. Rick sees them fly in over Pytchley Drive at 0900. Cate, Geri and Terry see them low over the village trying to gain height circling over South Close, William Road and Spencer Road, before drifting off West at 0910 ish. Cate manage to get photos which suggest they are White Storks.

Hornet Clearwing by Brian

Green-veined White by Sue

12th July. Southern Hawker, egg-laying Emperor and 12 species of Butterfly seen at CEP. Holly Blue reported from Market Place and Ashmore. 6 Ravens soaring over the village could be one family. Marbled White on Knapweed at Hanglands.

11th July. A Mistle Thrush is chasing a Sparrowhawk over the village, scalding it with its rattling call. There are 30 home-grown Swallows over the pond at CEP. A Brown Hawker dragonfly is seen plus a female Demoiselle. Large White butterflies are coming in from the south, and 6 Swift come through from the north. Red Kite and Raven are reported.

Willow Sawfly by Geri
Hobby by Lucy

10th July. Sue and Chris see Small Copper, Essex Skipper, Marbled Whire, Six-spotted Burnet, and Soldier Beetles at CEP. Terry sees Purple Hairstreak on Brington Road.

7th July. Geri finds a Willow Sawfly caterpillar, and Dan reports Meadow Grasshopper.

1st July. Alan sees a Common Tern on the canal at The Wharf. Brian is out with pheromones lures and attracts Hornet and Orange-tailed Clearwing Moths. Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Small tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper and Marbled White reported.

Wildlife Diary for June 2020

Red Campion
The Scarlet Tiger

30th June, Holly Blue in the garden, and later a gathering on Scarlet Tiger Moths. We stand and watch as a handful of these red and black winged beauties fly in and circle around until alighting in a group under some Ivy leafs. There are a couple of females and a handful of males, and as we leave them to it, more fly in. At dusk a constant clicking sound suggests we’ve got a fault with the outside light. I look a bit harder and there is a tiny but elongated beetle sitting on the grass below, flexing its body and producing a relatively loud ‘click’. No doubt this will be called a click Beetle, and there will be hundreds of species, and I’ll need a microscope to truly identify it.

28th June, a perfect Buff-tip Moth is amongst the Birch plantation at CEP. Other moths include Cinnabar and Yellow Shell. I hear a Greenfinch off Lime Avenue. Roe Deer with the sheep again at Grange Farm.
27th June, Grey Wagtail calls as it flies over Church Street, and a Greenfinch is reported from Rockhill. An odd raptor appears but is soon named as Red Kite. Its oddness is due to the partial moult of its tail and primary flight feathers. It is doing remarkably well considering over half of its flight-essential feathers are missing of not fully regrown.

Juvenile Starling

Death by window

26th June, Swifts and a second generation Holly Blue noted off Pytchley Drive. Several people report froglets swarming across Foxhill Road, and I get a handful of reports of sightings of Scarlet Tiger Moth. Comma, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood seen.

23rd June, my sons 21st birthday makes me consider my life so far. He wants the day off, fair enough. We have a special family breakfast, and are thankful. Common Darter is a mid-sized Dragonfly which in recent years has appeared increasingly earlier in the year and today a freshly emerged one sits on an Iris leaf awaiting life above water to start.

Meadow Brown

That’s my boy

20th June, smashed bottles and dozens of cans and bottles litter the park. The longest day has not started well. I hear Nuthatch which helps and as the sun warms the herbage, a fresh Ringlet appears. Meadow Brown, Large and Small Skippers, and a couple of Marbled Whites grace the meadow.

15th June, at CEP a morning walk is rewarded by a good 100 Meadow Brown, Large and Small Skipper, 3 Marbled Whites and an unidentified Burnet Moth. On the water a Beautiful Demoiselle is chased by the Emperor. At Lunch, I show Daniel the Bee Orchids and a White-legged Damsel, we are then treated to the Red Arrows overhead. The Sedge Warbler still sings at David’s ponds.

Bee Orchid

Elephant Hawkmoth

14th June, a Hobby over Armley is sussing out the Martins. In my gardens there have been two pairs of Robin, four nests and they are on their third brood. After work a dog-walk to the paddocks off Berryfield/Stenhouse. After abuse by horses they have recovered well with a good selection of wild plants. We see Common Blue Butterfly and Cinnabar Moth. Last thing and Tom finds an Elephant Hawkmoth on my Tomato plants.

13th June, at CEP Meadow Browns are popping up from the grasses, as are Large Skipper. Cinnabar, Yellow Shell, and Common Carpet moths are also seen. Kirsty and her family show me a potted Smooth Newt. At EP on Lunch-break and I am greeted by a singing Sedge Warbler. Not seen one in the parish for ages. To add to the fun a Small Heath butterfly appears, plus Brimstone, Common Blue and Burnet Companion.

Peacocks in Waiting

Hanglands Snake

8th June, a walk to Hanglands NR and we find 12 Bee Orchids in flower, and a Grass Snake. We see 2 Speckled Wood, and there must be 60 Small Tortoiseshells on the Ox-eyes. In the Nettle bed, hundreds of spiky black Peacock caterpillars are spread as far as the eye can see. EP has a male Tufted Duck, and again a Yellow Wagtail is on a fence post on Foxhill Road.

7th June, Sue, Graham and Jane see Scarlet Tiger Moth, and Jennifer sees a Roe in with the sheep flock at Grange Farm. On fresh soil at Bakers Lane, Brian finds, One plant of Green nightshade (Solanum physalifolium) at SP62368 66909, Two plants of Green nightshade (Solanum physalifolium) at SP62370 66876, One plant of Night Flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora) at SP62366 66899, (The Night flowering catchfly is a Northamptonshire Rare Plant Register species and will be added to it). Cut leaved dead nettle (Lamium hybridum) at SP62374 66920, Henbit dead nettle (Lamium amplexicaule) at SP62374 66920, One plant of Sticky groundsel (Senecio viscosus) at SP62365 66890, One plant of Indian balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) at SP62382 66874.
6th June, Brian Laney is looking out for White-letter Hairstreak caterpillar damage to Elm leafs around the parish. This rare Butterfly has not been seen locally for a few years but there’s always hope, and Brian brings hope. He is a serious asset on many levels to the wildlife of the county and beyond. I dodge the showers and see Moorhen and Pied Wagtail at Lodge Farm Lake.

Roe by Adam

Mother Shipton by Sue

5th June, the drought has broken and rain tentatively returns. At Hanglands a chance bright spell bounces glaring white from the sea of Ox-eyes, and a sprinkling Yellow Rattle show their modest yellow flowers, amongst the waving stems. A distant song is not distant but just a sub-song, a practice for the real thing. A Reed Warbler, not in the Reeds but in my monster Bramble patch, is singing away in anticipation of perhaps moving to the Reed-beds at Foxhill Lake. The best is yet to come as we count 9 Bee Orchid plants in flower.
3rd June, at EP a Burnet Companion Moth, and a host of Dragons. Over the village a Family of 4 Raven soar together. Kestrel, both male and female reported from CEP.

1st June, I am dipping my bucket in the dam for the umpteenth time. We have a dozen saplings that are suffering from lack of rain. I see a movement and find Horse-hair Worm. Never seen them before a couple of weeks ago and then find another. Alan is seeing the Roe at the wharf again, grazing the lawns and swimming the cut. Sue sends a fab’ photo’ of Mother Shipton’s Moth, and Cath reports Little Owl and Reed Bunting from Floyers.