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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.