22.3.15.

Mixed day weather wise. Early morning grey and cool. By dinner time it was sunny and warm.

Bird Count:- 2- Robin, 3- Carrion Crow, 2- Pheasant, 2- Blue Tit, 3- Great Tit, 4- Chaffinch, 1- Marsh Tit, 2- Blackbird, 4- Jackdaw, 10+ Wood Pigeon, 1- Curlew (heard but not seen), 2- Buzzard, 1- Raven, 1- Goldcrest, 1- Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1- Green Woodpecker, 3- Magpie, 1- Dunnock, 2- Long-tailed Tits, 1- Wren, 1- Treecreeper, 1- Kestrel, 2- Jay.

Other Wildlife:- 1- March Tubic (moth), Bristly Haircap, 1- Flat Backed Millipede, 1- Red Dead-Nettle, 1- Possible Buff-tailed Bumblebee, 1- Possible Tawny Mining Bee, 1- Unidentified Gall/Seed, Plus loads of Honeysuckle.

Found quite a lot of Wildlife today. But most of it only came out towards dinner time, when the sun broke through. I spent 6 hours there today. I decided to go over early, and see if I could see any Rabbits out and about. No Luck there. The only thing I did see as it got lighter was this Great Spotted Woodpecker. Just thought it looked good in silhouette…

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At the moment, this next moth is the reason i’m finding identifying moths a real challenge. I can’t believe this is the same moth I took on the tree by the pool thursday. Its another March Tubic. The light and height of this moth by the Wardens Office, made this quite a tricky photo to get.

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This is now my third species of Haircap. This one being in flower gets the prize for the most attractive one so far. This one is called the Bristly Haircap…

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I was asked if I could Identify this Ant on the Heath. The answer is…as yet NO! But I will update, it is now on iSpot…

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This is a first for me… I have never seen a Flat-backed Millipede before. Can’t understand how it was on top of this sticky sap type liquid, on the trunk of a cut down tree. But for me, I was glad it was. I really think this looks like a creature thats been round for thousands of years. Also very impressive looking…

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This is the first Red Dead-Nettle I’ve seen this year…

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Four bird photos now, none of them that good. But thats life….Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit, and two Buzzard photos..

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Still mystified by this next item of wildlife. Not sure if its a Gall or some sought of Seed. Whatever it is I will update when I find out. It was about 25mm diameter, really hard to the touch, and fixed well to the cut down log. Yet again I loved the beauty of it, whatever it turns out to be….

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Now bare in mind, I’m one of the guys who is supposed to do the Bee Survey this year on HC. With the next two species of Bee, I’ve come to realise, I’m going to need some help! Luckily there are plenty of people out there who will help me. But also I’m now looking for a really good Bee Identification Book.

So here goes with my hopefully correct identifications. On the plus side…I was so happy to get the chance to get photos of both….

I would say this next one is a Buff-tailed Bumblebee…

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Loved this next experience..This guy just sat there and posed for me. I’m going for a male Tawny Mining Bee. But I guess I will be corrected if I’m wrong on both. I really don’t mind being corrected. Its the only way to learn..

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It looks like its going to be a great year for Honeysuckle…

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20.3.15.

Another nice sunny afternoon today! Only had a short visit. We had a breakdown at work, and I had to work through my break. So my stomach was telling me..go home and get something to eat!

Can I ask the two people (husband and wife) who I met today with Hannah the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Warden to please message me here. Another thing I noticed about the man, is that you were wearing a Wolves badge. Just need to explain something!

A Tawny Owl was flying in the little wooded area by the Wardens Office. Also saw three butterflies fly through, but to quick for ID. I suspect they may have been Comma’s.

Saw this new Bark Beetle today! Thanks to Keith Lugg from the Staffordshire Invertebrate Group (SIG) for this identification. Its called a Trypodendron domesticum. Being only 3mm long, it wasn’t till I saw the photos at home, that I appreciated how impressive this tiny beetle was. Should of gone to Specsavers…comes to mind…

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Some more nice flowers had been placed in the Island Pool today…

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19.3.15.

I loved my walk this afternoon. Nice and sunny, it almost felt like T-Shirt weather.

Since my friend Ken saw the Early Flat-body moth, I’ve been searching round the Island Pool looking for another one. Today I thought I had struck gold, when I noticed a very similar looking moth on a tree near the pond. Luckily this was a new moth for me. Unluckily it wasn’t the much rarer Early Flat-body which Ken had seen.  Mine was a March Tubic (Diurnea fagella)… Still always a pleasure though seeing a new moth. Just glad it was not on a Silver Birch, I would not have spotted it…

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As I turned round from taking the moth photo above, and started to head off on my normal route. I noticed this male Bullfinch taking a bath in the smaller pond…

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The Marsh Tits are still coming to the feeding area…

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A Sparrowhawk flew through the North Eastern field, and put most of the birds up. These Wood Pigeons in flight didn’t want to take any chances. Mind you when I looked at the photo when I got home, I did notice two didn’t take to the air…

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 Had a bit of Luck with the next photo, I saw a young Rabbit moving down a hedge just above the meadow, and not having one Rabbit photo from HC, I decided turn completely round and walk back about 300 yards to see if I could finally get a rabbit photo. As I leant on a fence post and scanned down the hedge, I heard the Chu Chu Chu Kaaa calls of these Red-Legged Partridge in front of the hedge directly opposite me. Never did see the young rabbit though. But this was my first photo of Red-Legged Partridge at HC. So it was well worth while, turning round and searching for Bugs Bunny…

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After my longest afternoon visit this year, and with the light fading, seeing two Greylag Geese fly into the setting sun, from the Birch Coppice car park, finished off a perfect afternoon walk…

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17/18.3.15.

Two days covered on this post.

Firstly the highlight of both days… I would like to thank Ken Ball for this photo of an Early Flat-body moth. I wish I had been on afternoons, so I could have seen this quite rare moth on the morning.

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Its looking more like we may have a problem with Heather Beetles. Below are the photos of the Beetles, and what I suspect is damaged Heather. Reading about the damage it mentions the Heather turning red, and also stripped looking plants..

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I got my first photos in the new Heathland Corridor. The tyre tracks from the workforce vehicles, provided a nice shallow bath for this female  Blackbird…

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While looking through the Heather for the Heather beetles, I came across this Unidentified spider…

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This I really enjoyed, watching this Great Tit Anting. This is done by rubbing ants on their feathers and skin. As in this case this Great Tits is picking ants up and rubbing them all over. The ants secrete a chemical such as formic acid. which acts as an Insecticide, Miticide, Fungicide and a Bactericide. It also acts as a supplement to the birds own Preen Oil. I have seen Jays do this, but they just sit in an ants nest, and let the ants spray the formic acid on them. This episode with the Great Tit must have lasted 5 minutes. If you want to see what I witnessed look up Great Tit Anting on Youtube…

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Unidentified Fly…

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And finally, on what was two quiet afternoons, this Juvenile Buzzard. This was sitting opposite the Wardens office in Mere Lane. Love the branch its sitting on…

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Beetle Update!!

Just had this Beetle Identified for me. Its called a Heather Beetle, which makes sense.  Although I spotted it on a sandy path, the path on the hill has heather either side of it. More worryingly its a real threat to Heather.

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15.3.15.

Grey but not a really cold day! Spent from 6:15am till 1pm on HC. Getting there just before sunrise today really paid off. On the way down the lane to HC, I got to see a Badger, who soon ran off for cover. A Tawny Owl also flew across the road just yards away from the car park. Then not to far into my walk a Woodcock flew up in front of me. All 3 only fleeting glimpses (with no photos), but for a Wildlife Nut like me…Very Special Glimpses. Then later putting feed out by the wardens office, I got my 3rd new bird for the year list, with a pair of Tufted Duck flying over from Mere Hall Pool. Also got to see a new Invertebrate in the shape of a Birch Catkin Bug.

Bird Count:-1- Tawny Owl (+), 2- Magpie, 1- Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2- Buzzard, 1- Woodcock (+), 2- Long-tailed Tit, 1- Grey Heron, 1- Marsh Tit, 1- Blackbird, 6- Jackdaw, 2- Wren, 1- Dunnock, 3- Great Tit, 4- Blue Tit, 3- Chaffinch, 2- Carrion Crow, 4- Redwing, 10+ Wood Pigeon, 1- Pheasant, 2- Tufted Duck (+).

Thats takes my count to 52 bird species for the year.

Other Flora and Fauna noted:- 1- Badger, 1- Birch Catkin Bug, Unidentified Cocoon (on heather). Nettles, Ivy (Hedera helix) now in Berry.

A photo I did manage, was this new Invertebrate for myself. Its called a Birch Catkin Bug, its only about 6mm long, and never stayed still. Hence the poor photo…

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Earthworm, supposed to be the most important animal on Earth. So it deserves a photo.

It looks like its got into the groove!!!! Disco Joke!!

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The Ivy is now in Berry…

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Also seeing the first sign of Nettles. Look forward to searching the nettles this year, in search of the beautiful Dead Nettle Leaf Beetle again…

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One of my favourite plants on Highgate Common has to be the Heather it seems to attract so much wildlife. Like the Cocoon in the bottom photo. The Cocoon as yet is Unidentified. I will update as soon as I get ID…

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Centipede…

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Got to admit, I could not resist the opportunity to take some more photos of the Yellow Horned moth. There were two Yellow Horned moths on the Wardens Office wall. The first moth (darker) played ball, and just sat there and posed for me. Even looked deep into its eyes. Is it me or does the face look a bit Owl Like?

The Second moth (lighter) was a bit above me, I had no sooner put my lens underneath, when it plummeted to the ground. It must have been a bit camera shy. Feeling a bit guilty I decided to pick it up (very carefully) on my finger and place it back on the wall. Unfortunately I could not twist my finger enough to encourage it back on the wall. Luckily I managed to get it back on the Wardens Office sign. Not wanting to miss a photo opportunity, I took the bottom three photos. Note the difference in colour between the two Yellow Horned moths.

One thing I would also like to say is….I never harm a living thing in search of a Photo. I do believe in The Nature Photographer’s Code of Practice! Plus I love all Wildlife so much…

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This is a slightly different angle of the new corridor. I’m sure its already looking more natural…

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14.3.15.

Not such a bad day as was forecast. Some sunshine, but mainly grey.

Bird Count:- 1- Great-spotted Woodpecker, 3- Greylag Geese, 1- Green Woodpecker, 1- Nuthatch, 2- Lapwing, 1- Grey Heron, 1- Wren, 2- Robin, 3- Great Tit, 2- Blue Tit, 1- Chaffich, 1- Buzzard.

Also got to see a Wood Mouse, Cucumber Spider, and 3 Larvae..

This Grey Heron got its wing stuck on the branches of a tree. it did try for a few minutes to pull it free, before giving up and flying off….

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This was a really small Cucumber Spider…

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Did manage to get one of the two Lapwings flying over today! It is a Lapwing trust me…

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Put a new nut feeder up, the first bird I saw use it was a Nuthatch…

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Saw three Larvae. Two possibly identified. The last photo of the reddish one, no ID yet. This reddish one was a slightly bigger stage, of the Larva I took the other day…

Number 1 (possible) Angle Shades…

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Number 2 (possible) True Lover’s Knot…

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Lastly the Unidentified Larva….

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You always seem to see nice tributes on HC…

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