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.

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