30.4.15. Last Day of April.

Nice sunny late afternoon, with slight breeze.

Had the pleasure today, of having a walk with Scott Petrek. Scott is the Monitoring Officer at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. I must say..its always nice having someone very knowledgeable, and who also cares for Wildlife sharing a walk. Turned out to be a good couple of hours too, which always helps.

First thing we found was a Wolf Spider (Trochosa terricola), which actually ran for cover under Scotts boot…

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Last time I saw a Bloody-nosed Beetle Larva, it had a Blue Shieldbug feasting on it. This one was moving quite fast (for a Bloody-nosed Beetle Larva) across the path…

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Only got a few photos of this Nomada Bee, before it took cover in the Bilberry. Good news for me though, its one I have not seen before. When I looked at its length and thorax it looked different to the other Nomada Bees. So although I did not manage a great photo, I’m pretty happy at finding this Nomada Ruficornis. I will now keep my eyes peeled for a better photo opportunity…

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With me working mornings this week, by the time I get to the SWT Wardens Office, most of the moths have flew off. So it was a nice bonus finding this Beautiful Yellow Underwing on the Bilberry….

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This is a real highlight for me. Firstly I would like to thank Gary Pascoe, who ran after me and Scott, to tip us off about a Wood Warbler in the woodland, near the Heathland Corridor. So with Gary’s instructions of where it was, we set off in search of the bird. First time up the woodland path it was quite dull, so the bird was not singing. But we did spot a Woodcock flying towards the bottom end of the Corridor. So feeling a bit disappointed, we carried on with our walk. After doing a circuit of the Island Pool and discussing how to monitor Dragonflies this year, we decided to have a go at the Wood Warbler again. I was just kneeling down to photograph a Longhorn Moth (first of the year) which I missed. When Scott pointed to the air. He had heard the Wood Warbler singing. Must say with me being slightly deaf, I did not hear it at first. But when we got closer, I did have the pleasure of hearing that beautiful spinning coin song. Being high up in the trees, this is not a great photo, but for me its a Cracking Record Photo…My first for HC. This also takes my Highgate Common Bird Year List to:- 61…

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Scott spotted this Common Frog, and at the Bottom pool, we saw Tadpoles. Amazingly a few weeks ago the Frog Spawn was going down the footpath, where the pool was overflowing. So we decided to have a look in the puddles left on the path. There were even Tadpoles that had hatched in them…Nature at its best….

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Close to the bottom pool, there was this Male Cuckoo. I have really started to love the afternoon light, and I’ve always quite liked dappled light…

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On the way back to the Wardens Office we spotted a few Green Tiger Beetles take off, from one of the Scrapes which the SWT create. Scott called me back, he had spotted this one, in a life or death situation with a Black Ground Beetle (yet unidentified). The Green Tiger Beetle seemed to have a tight grip on its prey, with those powerful looking white mandibles. Took loads of photos, but I think with the struggle there was way to much movement. Eat your Hearts Out…Pacquiao v Mayweather..this is a real fight.  P.S. when we left the Black Ground Beetle had managed to break free. So perhaps the Green Tiger Beetle went hungry…

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Oops! Missed one…Sent this Bee off to BWARS for ID…

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28.4.15.

Quite a nice afternoon, although windy again.

Went back to see if I could find the small moth on the Heather I photographed yesterday. I did manage to find one. I also managed a better photo today. Also although yesterday’s photo wasn’t great, Dave Grundy who is a moth expert identified it for me. Todays photo although better, it was still in the dappled light in amongst the Heather. The moth itself is called a Neofaculta ericetella…

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Whilst I was checking the Heather for above moth, I found this male Common Heath…

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Also on the Heather was this Tawny Mining Bee, heavily laden with pollen…

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Spotted this Bee-fly (Bombylius major), watched it ages flicking its eggs everywhere in the grass, and close to the Mining bee holes….

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Song Thrush…

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Had close encounters with 2 Tree Pipits up the New Heathland Corridor. They were obviously catching loads of small invertebrates on the bare earth…

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Unidentified Small Bee. I will put this on BWARS and iSpot, see if I can get identification…

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27.4.15.

Only had 1 hour at HC this afternoon. In the Cold and Grey conditions.

White Lipped Banded Snail…

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Found theses delicate Spring Starflowers by the Wardens Office…

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The Ribwort Plantain is almost ready to flower…

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Started checking the Nettles out now. Today I found this Sawfly – Aglaostigma aucupariae in them…

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First time I’ve ever seen a Spotted Cranefly. Obviously looking at these two, I might be seeing more in the future…

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Only problem with macro photography, is when the wind picks up. I now need to find this Unidentified Macro Moth again to see if I can get a sharper photo….

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26.4.15.

Cool early morning. But by dinner time it was nice and warm. Added to the Highgate Common Bird List today.  Saw 2 Whitethroats. This makes it 60 for the year… IMG_6624 IMG_6626 There was only a Hebrew Character at the Wardens Office today. Not surprised after last nights heavy rain… IMG_6597 Had 2 male Cuckoo’s flying round today. Always distant, but gave good views out in the open… IMG_6609 IMG_6610 IMG_6614 IMG_6616 IMG_6619 IMG_6620 IMG_6621 Butterfly numbers seemed to be up, but none of the rarer species. Also for how warm it was by dinner time, I would have expected a lot more.

Green-veined White… IMG_6611 IMG_6627 Small Tortoiseshell… IMG_6622 I always enjoy seeing a Female Orange-Tip… IMG_6605 IMG_6607 Found this Garlic Mustard, which can be used in cooking. By all accounts its one of the oldest spices known to man…

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On the Garlic Mustard was this small Hoverfly:- Melanostoma scalare…

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Never noticed before that Forget-me-nots have different colour middles. In this case…yellow and white…

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Never took a Gorse Shieldbug from this angle before. But I did like how it held onto the grass. What my photo doesn’t show was how it also spun round on the blade of grass…

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Watched this Grey Mining Bee for a while. I liked how it seemed to gather the Dandelion stamens together, then rubbed them all over its body and legs…

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Nursery Web Spider…

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Jay…

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Green Woodpecker…

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25.4.15.

Firstly I would just like to wish Jeff Sim all the best in the London Marathon tomorrow! Jeff works for the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, and he’s running to raise money for The Roaches.   GOOD LUCK JEFF!!

Today started off lovely, and with it being 11ºC it was also the warmest early start. Unfortunately those dreaded April showers finally arrived.

As usual checked out the SWT Wardens Office Lights. Unlike yesterday it turned up 2 Moths. 1 of them being a new moth to my ever expanding moth list.

This was the new Moth for me, its called a Lunar Marbled Brown, a very nice looking moth if you ask me…

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Now I have a story about this next photo. Luckily when I arrived Ken Ball was already at The Wardens Office. We both found the 2 moths. So not having my camera ready I told Ken to carry on taking his photos. Where the Luck came in, was that Ken had finished photographing this beautiful Pebble Hook-tip, and was moving round to photograph the above Lunar Marbled Brown. I had no sooner got my lens in position, when the Moth took off. Also luckily it was a moth I had seen and photographed before… So I would like to thank Ken for this photo of a real beauty…

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After checking the SWT Wardens Office out, we decided to walk round the wooded area to the east today. See if we could see or hear some of the rarer migrants. Like Wood Warbler, Whinchat, Pied Flycatcher etc. But with the rain and clouds moving in, it went deadly quiet. We did see a male and female Blackcap. I did manage a photo of the female Blackcap. After that with the rain getting heavier, we decided to call it a day!

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24.4.15.

Lovely Sunny Morning. 10ºC by 10am.

Not sure what Fungi this is…

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The Broom is now in flower…

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I do believe I now know the difference between male and female Grey Mining Bees. The female is obviously a lot bigger, with a shiny black/blue abdomen…

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Nomad lathburiniana…

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Buff-tailed Bumblebee…

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How to catch an Earthworm by this female Blackbird…

Look and Listen…

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Stab at ground with eyes closed…

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Pull on Earthworm…

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Fight Earthworm…

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Swallow Earthworm…

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Yellowhammer singing…

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Male Green Woodpecker…

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Had a similar photo last year with a Nuthatch. This time its a Willow Warbler going down…

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Jay in the Heathland Corridor, with nesting material…

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Wren…

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One day I hope to get a Kestrel hovering with light behind me, and head on. Unlike this one…

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Pink Campion…

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With no moths at all by the Wardens Office today. I guess the Highlights of the day were both at the Island Pool. Firstly got a better photo of a Pond Skater…

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Secondly…While taking the above photo of the Pond Skater I noticed a movement on the edge of the pond. I first thought it was some sought of Dragonfly Nymph. But as soon as I looked through my lens, I knew I had a different type of Grasshopper. Strange place for a Grasshopper I thought.  Although a common species, this is the first ever Slender Groundhopper I have ever seen…

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23.4.15.

The Weather Forecasters got the early morning totally wrong. No Fog/Mist.. No Freezing Conditions. When I arrived on HC early morning It was 6ºC and Sunny! The temperature being the best start of the week.

Got to see another new moth under the Wardens Office Lights. I actually passed this by twice, thinking it was a small (10-12mm) leaf. This moth is called a Scalloped Hook-Tip…

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In the nearby Gorse found this very small Spider (2-3mm). Its not a great photo, but being so small and on the move, I’m glad to at least have this photo. As yet Unidentified…

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Greylag Geese flying to the Mere Lane Pool…

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Part of my walk today, involved going over the Bumblebee Survey Route. No Problem with the route. But being new myself to Bumblebees, I now know how much harder it will be, compared to the Butterfly survey. Some of them Buzz right by, without a chance of an ID. Also I do have plenty to learn…take this photo for example. I think its a Carder Bee. But I now know there are other species of Carder Bee which look very similar. Also need to learn more about Bumblebee anatomy. For example..I have not got a clue what all those things are hanging down low are…As it got 3 tongues (proboscis)?

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Plenty of flowering White Nettle now…

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The Bluebells are also coming into flower now…

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Magpie…

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Great Tit…

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Sorry! But I can’t resist a singing Tree Pipit photo…

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First Common Heath Moth of the year. This one being a male, and deep in the grass…

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Hoverfly (Syrphus)… On a Dandelion…

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Seemed more Butterflies today. All of which were the commoner species including this Small Tortoiseshell and Green-veined White…

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In the meadow, I found this very small delicate Field Pansy (Viola arvensis)…

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Also in the meadow, found this Sawfly that I have not seen before. Like the spider above, I can’t find the identification. But I will update as soon as I do. Been looking quite a while now. i thought with those red markings, it would be easy to find….

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On my usual drive home, I was a bit disappointed last week, after seeing two possible Skylark nests, and also a possible Lapwing nest site below Enville Golf Club, the farmers decided to plough the field. But today it did get a bit of bird life back, in the shape of this Red-legged Partridge…

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