Wildlife Diary for September 2020

Red Admiral
Speckled Bush-cricket

30th September 2020, so I’ve been a bit busier than usual and have produced a book on birds called unsurprisingly ‘The Birds of Long Buckby’. It cost £15 and will hopefully raise money for Long Buckby Green Spaces. It is available at The Peephole or on line at longbuckbygreenspaces.com. 8 Redpoll and a Grey wagtail go over.

29th September, some midday warmth tempts me to Cotton End Park. I watch the last of the Common Darters egg-laying in the pond and grassland still has the odd Grasshopper/cricket whirring away. One or two Thistles and Knapweed are still in flower and as I scan the heads I see a rather old (probable) Brown Argus butterfly.

Speckled Wood
Desiccated Long-eared Bat

27th September, cold northerly and at the park winter is announced by the sight of 6 Redwings, the first of the incoming winter migrants. 3 Snipe are at the pond. A sunny afternoon is accompanied by the constant sound of a hedge flayer. It is a great shame that this job is now done at this time of year because the hedgerows are full of fruit and berries; tons of Hips, Haws, Sloes and Crab-apples that would go a long way to feed birds and mammals through the winter are being destroyed and wasted.

25th September, Mrs Spokes brings me a desiccated Long-eared Bat found in an outbuilding at Grange Farm.

23rd September, I am about to take the recycling bin down the drive to the place it gets emptied and realise there is distinct whiff of alcohol being emitted from it. This is quite normal but as I stand there a Hummingbird Hawk-moth appears and whizzes around the lid a few times. It then flies off erratically and crash lands on the gate presumably intoxicated. To mark to equinox our Robin sings us his winter song.

Apple of Peru
Birch Shieldbug

22nd September, at CEP 15 Redpoll, several Siskin, 5 Reed Buntings, a Jay, a Song Thrush, and 2 Stonechats are in the wildlife area. There are Blackcaps, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, with Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits, and to top off a good mornings birding a Snipe pops up, and a handful of the passing Meadow Pipits come down on the meadow so I can have a look at them.

16th September, I find a male Speckled Bush-cricket in my garden, and there seems to be a hatching of Crane flies. Swallows and Pipits flying south. Brian finds Birch Shieldbug on The Banks and the wonderful garden escapee, Apple of Peru or Shoo fly Plant off Bakers Lane.

15th September, Cath reports a Hedgehog from her garden off Wright Road. Gangs of juvenile Jackdaws are flying about hassling other birds. Half a dozen fly up from Market Place and mob a Red Kite. They were also seen doing the same thing to a Buzzard above Lime Avenue. A lunchtime trip to the pond at CEP is rewarded by a male Small Red-eyed Damsel plus the usual Common Darters egg-laying in tandem.

Migrant Hawker

14th September, Alan reports roadkill Polecat and Muntjac from the Wharf, and Brian sees a Willow Emerald Damselfly at CEP.

9th September, Barn Owl and Small Copper seen. A flock of 7 Siskin disturbed from an Alder Stand at Hanglands, and there is still a passage of Meadow Pipits overhead.

8th September, a couple of people report that the stream through Mill Park and Park Field is heavily polluted with effluent. One traces it back to an outlet below some farm buildings nearby.

Little Grebe with young
Great-spotted Woodpecker

7th September, Little Egret reported, also singing Chiffchaff, and Mrs Barker has 2 Hedgehogs regularly off Greenhill. Sue and Chris visit Evans’ Ponds and see Chiffchaff, House Martin, and a Dabchick with juvenile. Comma, Speckled Wood, and Small Copper represent the butterflies and they also see a Cinnamon Bug.

6th September, 2 Willow Warblers are calling from the pollarded Limes in St Lawrence’s churchyard. At CEP there is plenty of bird activity prior to the first visitors, with an adult and juvenile Green Woodpecker on the meadow. Great-spotted Woodpecker is calling and there are juvenile Bullfinches, with Goldfinches and a Chaffinch in the Nettle bed. Overhead there is a constant stream of Meadow Pipits, with the odd Siskin, Grey and Yellow Wagtails. An adult and juvenile Spotted Flycatcher sat atop the Willows in the wildlife area. Red Admiral and Large White were about and Southern and Migrant Hawker, along with Common and Ruddy Darter were also noted.

4th September, a Jay moving along hedges off Foxhill Road is the first I’ve seen for ages.

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.