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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.