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.

Wildlife Diary for May 2020

Dabchick or Little Grebe
Currant Clearwing Long Buckby Allotments

30th May, Cotton End Park (CEP) is glorious. The air is filled with singing birds, and a few Butterflies are about with 2 Speckled Wood, 6 Large Skipper, 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Common Blue and several Orange-tip. 3 Small Yellow Underwing (Day flying Moth) and a new Dragon – the Emperor patrols the meadow. At the pond all is action with Chasers, Damsels, including Red-eyed, and a passing Beautiful Demoiselle.

27th May, EP has a male Hairy Dragonfly darting amongst the reed stems, and avoiding the reach of the skulking Little Grebe. Foxhill Road has a nervous Yellow Wagtail and a confidant Skylark in song. Privet Hawkmoth and Hornet Hoverfly find Linda and she gets some good images. Brian spends an afternoon at the allotments luring Currant Clearwing Moth.

25th May, so much sunshine! Bank Holiday Monday as if we needed a distinction. From the footpath at Evans’ ponds (EP), Kites, Buzzards, Dabchick, Coot, Mallard, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Goldcrest, Nuthatch and Reed Bunting. And Dragons including Four-spotted Chaser, Broad-bodied Chaser, Beautiful Demoiselle, and 5 Damsels including White-legged, which are definitely emerging from the large pond.

Speckled Wood
Green Shieldbug by Steve

23rd May, CEP has 3 singing Willow Warblers and 2 singing Reed Bunting. Alan reports juvenile Starling and Cockchafer from the wharf. There are double figures of Swift and House Martin over the village.

20th May, CEP has a patrolling male Broad-bodied Chaser, Large Red, Azure, and Blue-tailed Damsels about the pond. Terry reports 3 Willow Warblers from Patford Bridge and from the footpath to Whilton. I get told of a Bee swarm seen over the village. Wasp Beetle seen. Brian notes Fennel, Siberian Wall Flower, Flixweed, Henbit Dead-nettle, Fig-leaved, and Maple-leaved Goosefoot, Corn Spurrey, and Spotted Medick, mainly from disturbed ground by the station building site.

19th May, a quick lunchtime walk past Evans’ Ponds and a Small Copper gets up in front of me. I start to make my way home and a small pale orange butterfly jigs past. It is unfamiliar and I glance at it though the bins’. It’s a Small Heath, first I’ve seen in the parish. (Terry Laney saw one nearby a few years ago). It moves on and disappears. Is there an as yet undiscovered colony hereabouts. Cath reports Peregrine over her house, and Angela shows me a rather disturbing looking Horse-hair Worm, found in the dogs drinking bowl. Lee sees Hedgehog, and photographs Newt and Badger. Hobby over at 2100hrs.

Badger by Lee

18th May, 12 House Martin over The Leys and 2 Swifts over Watson Road. The gardens of the village are awash with young birds, and the cats and Magpies are loving it. Someone reports a ‘big red bird’ some sort of Parrot/Macaw from below the Church. Alan reports 10 cygnets of Mute Swan at the wharf.

17th May, at CEP a male Common Blue Butterfly is about Orchard B. Sue finds Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, a thistle type flower. 2 Swifts over Grange Farm, and 2 over The Leys.

16th May, from the footpath near Evans’ Pond we see a pair of Mutes Swan, but the highlight is a Spotted Flycatcher atop a Spruce tree.

15th May, a bit warmer, 4 Azure Damsels, and still 2 singing Willow Warblers. Fiona reports a swarm of Bees in her neighbour’s garden. They bivouac for the night. The Bee’s I mean.

May Blossom
Broad-bodied Chaser

12th May, cold, windy and grey. Alan sees a hovering Kingfisher at the wharf and 2 Swift near the motorway.

9th May, Hot, sunny, I am clearing some algae from the pond at CEP. There is a teneral Broad-bodied Chaser drying its wings on the platform, 1 Yellow Flag Iris flower head, a recently hatched Cinnabar Moth, and a few Large Red Damsels. At Hanglands the Large Red’s are joined by a Blue-tailed Damsel, and we hear a Garden Warbler.

8th May, VE Day, 75 years since the cessation of war in Europe, David Attenborough is 94 years old today and Peter Spokes is 85. CEP has Mother Shipton’s Moth (named after Ursula Southeil 1488-1561, go on, look her up). Large Red Damsel’s in copulation, and still 2 singing Willow Warblers. At the end of Picnic Spinney (Hinde Barns) a Yellow Wagtail flies up from the track in front of me. Now 7 House Martins over Holyoake. Lee reports (with photo’s) Slow Worms from South Close. Brian reports Hedgerow Cranesbill, Wall Rue, Great Lettuce, Grey Field Speedwell, and Fox&Cubs, amongst others.

Slow Worm by Lee
May-bug by Alan

7th May, Alan has Kingfisher at the wharf, Gina sees Emperor Moth off Station Road, and 4 Swift arrive over The Leys. Hares reported. At home I see an Orange-tip laying eggs on a Garlic Mustard and later find 3 microscopic orange, oval eggs stuck to the underside of one of the leaves. A flower moon, the full moon of May hangs in the afternoon sky. I line up the trusty field scope and get a ‘phone shot of the surface. My mate Steve sees this and amazingly names every crater visible in the image.

6th May, 6 Martins over Holyoake. Alan sees Common Sandpiper at the wharf. Evans’ Pond has 3 Mute Swan, 2 Canada, 2 Greylag, and 2 Dabchick. Dean reports young Slow Worms and Grass Snakes from Mill Park, plus Bullfinch and Hobby.

Bottoms Up
Moon by day

4th May, I find False Turkey-tail fungi on a Eucalyptus off West Street. 2 Swifts head resolutely north over CEP at 1800hrs.

2nd May, St Georges Mushroom reported. 1 House Martin over Holyoake.

1st May, cool and showery. A Whitethroat grabs such a huge beak-full from a fluffy Reed-mace seed head, he surely can’t see where he’s going when he flies back to the nest.