30.3.16.

WednesdaySunny 8ºC

Only had a short visit this morning. But there was a Yellow Horned moth at The Wardens Office. You can just make out the yellow antenna/horn over the eye in the 2nd photo…

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29.3.16.

TuesdayMainly sunny, with a few broken clouds. 10ºC.

No Moths at the Wardens Office.

Me and Ken checked out the trees on the hill of the main Common. It always seems to attract the first migrating Warblers. Only 100 yards into our walk, a Chiffchaff gave us our first photographs of a Chiffchaff this year…

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The Siskin flock was also feeding on the main Common. Although they were still high in the Silver Birches, at least this time the light conditions were more favourable for photos…

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This was a nice spot by Ken. Also it’s been exactly 1 year today since we saw the first Gorse Shielbug last year…

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I quite like dappled light when taking photos. The song of the Dunnock is what i’ve been waking up too the last few weeks….

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The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Volunteers (which I joined for a couple of hours) were digging out Bee Beaches. I also heard that the work party had been joined by the local MP/Councillor. Not sure if he is in this photo, but it shows the nice conditions we had. This photo also only shows about a third of the Volunteers…

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Just to prove the Bee Beaches work…A Grey Mining Bee joined us, maybe to see if we had done a good job with it’s new area to live in. Glad I got a photo of this one, I had earlier seen my first Mining Bee (Possible Grey) on Whitehouse Heath…

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I’ve seen a Wren display a few times, but never actually photographed it. Not all the photographs are that good, mainly because of the speed it all happens at. But with all the wing lifting and the very loud song of the Wren, it really is a spectacular display…

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I would just like to thank Wendy (one of the volunteers) for showing me this new Lichen for me. Its called Peltigera hymenina. It’s common name being Dog Lichen…

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I have now seen 3 types of Bumblebee on HC this year so far, with this Buff-tailed Bumblebee being the first of this species this year…

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Myself and the Volunteers got to see some Oil Beetles (My count 5). But Gary spotted the Oil Beetle highlight of the day (Thanks Gary). With two Oil Beetles mating (Bottom photo)….

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Great way to end my short break.

 

 

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28.3.16.

MondayWhere do I start about todays weather? Well it all started off this morning. I looked out of window, and could not believe my eyes…We had Snow overnight, cars and grass where white over. Stourbridge and the overnight snow, even got a mention on the main BBC News. By the time I got downstairs, most of the snow had gone, with the heavy rain. I had told myself to forget a trip to HC, but after about another hour the rained stopped, and the sun broke through…9ºC. The lanes leading to Highgate Common were totally flooded. I even noticed that Enville Golf Course was closed, mainly because some of the greens were totally under-water.

It was that bad overnight, that Highgate Common now have a new pool opposite the Golf Course, on Mere Lane.

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No Moths at Wardens Office.

I had a tip off yesterday from Hannah-The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Warden, about good numbers of Oil Beetles being seen. With the sun shining brightly, me and Ken headed to the location. We had only been there a few minutes, when I spotted a beetle, It wasn’t an Oil Beetle, but this female Minotaur Beetle, rolling a real fresh looking Rabbit dropping threw the grass….

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The day soon got even better, within a small area we saw 6 Oil Beetles, plus the Minotaur above. Like last year, I can see possible reasons for either Black or Violet Oil Beetles. So I’ve sent the following images off to John Walters…

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Nice to see the Cladonia floerkeana (Devils Matchstick Lichen) doing so well in between the Heather…

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On the White House Heath side, it resembled a bog not a Lowland Heath. Where the actual Bog is, one of the Reptile mats was lucky not to be under water. Under instructions I never lift these mats, but it just got me curious with the wet bog like conditions. With nowhere to go, this lovely little Wood Mouse had no choice but to stay and have a few photos taken. We soon left him in peace to settle….

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27.3.16.

Happy Easter Everyone….Have you put the Clocks Forward one hour?

Sunday…After looking at the weather forecast for today, I was quite surprised it was sunny. The forecast last night said we would have rain.  9ºC.

It’s been exactly a month since I saw my last moth at The Wardens Office. So I was quite pleased to find this Twin-spotted Quaker this morning. Lets hope this is the start of a great year for all invertebrates….

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Forget-me-nots…

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There have already been sightings of Oil Beetles and Bloody-nosed Beetles this year. But today is my first sighting of Bloody-nosed Beetles. I saw two on my walk, the first one vanished into the long grass. But this one kindly walked across a fallen Oak leaf…

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Chiffchaffs have now made it to HC, with sightings yesterday and today. I took a photo last year of a dead Pygmy Shrew. I’m 100% sure I saw my first live one today. I just got focused in on it, when it vanished into the grass.

Update:- The Gull I saw the other day at Upton Warren, was in fact a hybrid. I’m still glad I picked it out though, means my spotting skills are still sharp.

Mediterranean Gull x Black-headed Gull…

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25.3.16.

Friday..Mainly Sunny, with Occasional Clouds…11ºC

For Good Friday Me and Ken visited my mate Rob, and his Lovely wife Joan (Thanks for the Teas and Lovely Cakes Joan), who live on the edge of the Yorkshire/Derbyshire border in Sheffield.

Rob had planned a day of wildlife walks at the following sites:- Redmire Conduit, Calver & Shillito Wood and Bog. Each place delivered great views of wildlife, which really made it a Good Friday…

Male and Female Red Grouse, Kindly sitting on a typical stone wall in this area…

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Distant Golden Plover, most of these stayed distant, and hidden in the heather…

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The Dippers were very busy flying up and down the river as usual. It was a pity here that it went overcast..But we still enjoyed the spectacle of these great birds, diving in and out of the strong currents, and occasionally giving one or two photo opportunities. Plus my 3rd species itching photo…

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Grey Wagtail…

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We spotted this Male Stonechat sitting on Gorse, as we were driving down a lane…

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Also got to see really good numbers of Yellowhammer, at least six birds in the same area..

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Really pleased with the next event. Yet again as we were driving down one of the many lanes, we happened to notice a guy taking photos on a rather small bank, from close range. Knowing my lenses I could see he was using a white Canon 100-400mm lens. We pulled over briefly, and not seeing any birdlife,we presumed he may have been photographing Invertebrates or Flowers. With other possibilities of our own on Rob’s Wildlife Tour, we decided to carry on up the lane. Luckily about an hour later we had to drive back down the same lane. This time there was a different man photographing the same bank close up, but this time using a black Nikon zoom lens. We all agreed this deserved investigation. As we got to the site of the bank 100 yards off the lane, we were told that there had been 9 Adders seen in this smallish area. The guys there were taking facial photos of the Adders for recognition later. We got to see four individuals, which were all basking in probably the warmest sun of the year.  I could really kick myself….I had decided to leave my other camera with 100mm Macro Lens back home..So I had to stand quite a distance away with my big lens to get these photos….What A Numpty!!!  Like the Grey Seal at Titchwell…these Adders help finish off a great day….

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Also seen:- 32 Species of Bird, also 4 Red Deer and 1 very tasty Homemade Pie and Chips in Hathersage Outside Shop/Restaurant.

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24.3.16.

Thursday…Cloudy with Rain.

Upton Warren Trip.

Me and Ken started the day at HC. We checked out the Wardens Office for moths, with still a noticeable absence, to this time last year. With rain forecast for mid morning, we decided on a trip to Upton Warren and the shelter of the hides there.

We had only just settled down in the hide, when we noticed 3 distant Otters swimming and playing. The one looked half the size of the other two, so I would guess it was a younger Otter….

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We counted 12 Common Snipe…

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Two Little Grebe were calling to each other. It’s a call I will never tire of hearing…

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Little Egret was busy fishing. On the second photo, I just missed it flicking a small fish into its beak…

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With a large number of Black-headed Gulls on The Flashes, I was really pleased to find a 2nd Summer Mediterranean Gull…

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Talking about Black-headed Gulls, it’s that time of year…

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Nice to see the Avocets doing so well…

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Things were also looking up for this Lapwing…

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20.3.16

Sunday, The morning was mainly cloudy. 8ºC

The highlight of the morning was seeing the biggest flock of Siskin I have ever seen. Me and Ken estimated at least 200 Siskin, to the south of the Forestry Commissions land. It was a great spectacle, but unfortunately they were all very high, and against a dull grey sky. So it was hard even getting these photos…

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Later on in the year, I’m doing a course on Leaf Mining Moths, so I will be keeping my eyes open for evidence of these Micro Moths. I spotted this one today, can’t wait to learn how to ID these mines. This one in a Bramble Leaf….

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Robin…

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Song Thrush…

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Obviously some one was very loved, with another floral memorial by the Island Pool.Image

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year today, that me and Hannah (Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Warden) saw the Barn Owl on HC….

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