29.5.16.

Sunday….Mostly sunny with partial cloud at dinner time. 20ºC.

Visited Highgate Common twice today. Both visits only for a small amount of time. The first visit was to check out for Moths at The Wardens. This Common Swift was the only moth there. But it is the first of the year…

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The second visit was in the middle of the afternoon. I spotted my first Grass Wave of the year…

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Small Heath posed nicely on a branch…

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The main reason for the short visits to HC today, was that myself and Ken decided to check out Cannock Chase (Smartphone Photo)…

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We visited three well known sites, but for birds, it proved a very quiet day. This distant Kestrel was the only photo I managed by The Broken Silver Birch. We did see Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Cuckoo and three Stonechat. But all either to distant or looking into the sun…

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Walking back up to the Katyn Memorial we saw the most Green Hairstreaks I have ever seen in such a small amount of time. They were even landing on the path/pebbles in front of us…

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Over at the pool near the Glacial Boulder, we saw 4 Four-spotted Chasers. Earlier I had found a Nymph Cast, and we both wondered what had emerged from it. Not being an expert on Nymph Casts…I would guess it was probably one of the 4 Four-spotted Chasers that just would not land…

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The Glacial Boulder…This Granite Boulder got here in the last Ice-Age, and came from the mountains in Upland Scotland. It supposed to have taken ten thousand years to get here. Traveling on a very slow Glacial wave. Now it’s been cemented into pebbles, I don’t think it will move much in the next ten thousand years…

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I know this isn’t Wildlife, but I have always wanted to look and take a few photos of The German Military Cemetery on Cannock Chase. The place is absolutely immaculate. So it should be, after all they were someones Sons/Husbands etc. Had to look this up…There are 4,929 burials from WW1 and WW2…

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At the WW2 Rifle Range Ken spotted this Two-banded Longhorn Beetle. This is only the third time I’ve seen one of these…

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Close to The Rifle Range I got only my second bird photo of a very long walk. This Whitethroat continued to sing for ages….

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Lovely Weather…Lovely Walk!!!

 

 

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27.5.16.

Friday…Hazy sun…18ºC.

Pretty good Invertebrate day, with quite a few firsts of the year for me. Started off at Wardens, where I saw my 1st Cockchafer of the year. This Cockchafer photo, also got photobombed by a very small Unidentified Spider…

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Also my first of the year was this Common Blue Damselfly…

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This was just something you don’t see very often. A Large Red Damselfly with a bent abdomen. It seemed to fly about without any problem, but just looked strange…

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Yet another first was the emergence of plenty of Click Beetles…

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Green-veined White…

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The new Heathland Corridor turned a bit of wildlife up today. Including this large Common Frog…

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Also at the bottom of the corridor on the sandy bare ground, was this Small Copper…

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Good numbers of Sawfly are now on the wing…

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Also in good numbers, were the Hoverflies, like this Volucella Bombylans (Bumblebee Mimic)….

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This is a new Hoverfly for me. It’s called Myathropa florea. (Wasp Mimic)…

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A bit of a fresher looking Green Carpet, only problem it landed in the middle of a Gorse bush…

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Common Heath…

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This was my 1st Garden Chafer this year…

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Probably the highlight of the day, was my first Small Heath this year…

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26.5.16.

Thursday..Overcast and 10ºC.

Checked out the Wardens Office for Moths. My 1st Green Carpet of the year. Also met Highgate Commons new SWT’s Warden…Hayley. Welcome to HC Hayley!

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This was a shock, I opened my car door to put my boots on, and noticed a Glow Worm walking across the Car Park. I saw Pat and Sue 2 of HC’s brilliant volunteers, and asked if they had ever seen a Glow Worm on HC and during the day. Both answered no, so they came to enjoy the spectacle. This is only the 3rd time I have ever seen a Glow Worm during the day. Worrying about it getting run over or trampled on…Sue encouraged it onto a leaf, and put it out of harms way. Well Done Sue!!

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18 Certificate Wildlife…Ashy/Grey Mining Bee, being eaten from inside by Red Ants…

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What a Roller-Coaster of a week these Long-tailed Tits have given me…

Monday…Noticed damage to nest and Egg on a Gorse Branch…reported nest had been predated with no sign of adults.

Tuesday…walked past nest again, and noticed both adults with larvae going in and out of nest…took photos of adults, and presumed they had young chicks.

Wednesday…being on one of my main routes, walked past nest again. this time the nest looked totally destroyed, feathers everywhere from inside nest. No sign of adults, photographed Jay feather in the middle of gorse…reported this time it was the end of the road for nest and young.

Today…walked passed nest site again. Yet again I noticed adults with Larvae again. Then I noticed one of their young trying to balance just to the side of nest on a gorse branch. I was really happy that at least one chick seemed to have somehow managed to survive the attack. I moved in a bit closer to avoid some branches in my cameras line of sight. Then noticed another chick emerge from the side of the damaged nest..Then another…then another. Within the matter of 5 minutes I saw 4 chicks come out of nest. But watching Mum and Dad feed chicks I actually counted 6 chicks, but I honestly think there was more. Keeping my distance I think I got photos of most of the 6 nearby.

I’ve been thinking today, about the events of this nest over the past 4 days. I think the egg was probably addled, and thrown out of nest by adults. With Long-tailed Tits having clutch sizes between 8-12, a Jay may have coursed damage to the nest, and indeed took a few young out. But the feather may have just blown there. I did say..I just could not imagine a Jay getting into such tight woven Gorse. The damage to the nest could have been due to an overcrowded nest. I’m sure I have read..The adults also make other holes in the nest to encourage fledglings out.

Either way, this weeks events concluded with an Happy ending, and these Very Very Cute photos….

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I think this one heard my Camera clicking, so I got spotted…

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Just loved watching all these chicks fledge. It doesn’t have to be a rare bird, to be special!

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25.5.16.

Wednesday…Dull and Grey. Who turned the heating off? 9ºC.

What a difference a day makes, with it only reaching 9ºC by mid morning, it was back to having to really try hard to look for the wildlife. On the plus side, there was a lovely fresh looking Poplar Hawk-moth at the Wardens Office. I didn’t have to look that hard for this moth…

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This photo isn’t that great. But with it being my 1st Agonopterix (not sure which one) I thought I would post this record photo…

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After yesterdays good news about the Long-tailed Tits nest surviving predation. I’m afraid this time, the nest and its young have lost the battle.  Also the culprit left a Calling Card (Feather). Oh Well! I guess there are some well fed Jay chicks in their nest. It amazed me how such a big bird got into the middle of the Gorse, to get to this nest…

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24.5.16.

Tuesday..Lovely and Sunny Morning. 17ºC at 10am.

The best day by far this year. Just hoping it’s the start of the better weather.

Two moths today at The Wardens Office. This Brown Silver-line flew off the wall and landed in the car park…

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This Common Pug stayed under the light, and made it a bit easier to take a photo…

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Dock Leaf Beetle enjoying the early morning sun…

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I actually made a mistake yesterday. I reported on a Long-tailed Tits nest, that had been predated on. It had definitely been got at, because I found the egg underneath the nest. Not seeing any sign of the adult birds yesterday, I took it that the nest had been abandoned. Turns out they must have young in the nest, and both adults were busy finding food to feed them…

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This is the 1st Red Tipped Flower Beetle i’ve seen this year…

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I said yesterday I was hoping for the first Dragonflies to turn up. So I was really happy to see this Four-spotted Chaser at the Island Pool today….

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Found a Beetle I need to get Identified. Just wish it had stayed still, longer than it did, before it flew off…

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Really good numbers of Large Red Damselflies round the Island Pool now…

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It was also my best day for Green Hairstreak. I spotted 5 in different areas of The Common. Also a highlight when you manage to get close enough for a few photos…

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One of my life ambitions is to find a snake (any snake) coiled up, and with it facing the camera. I nearly had my chance this morning by the Island Pool. I spotted this large Grass Snake, coiled up and sunning itself. I had to try to get nearer to avoid some undergrowth in the line of the lens. Unfortunately I snagged my boot on some blasted Bramble, and the snake uncoiled to get away. Luckily I managed a few photos, as it slithered off. Being a bit bigger (for a Grass Snake) I was lucky it was a slow slither. I bet you will love this photo Judi….

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My 1st Small Copper photographed this year…

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Drinker moth larva…

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Just Hoping for more Days like Today!!!

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23.5.16.

Monday, mainly sunny and 13ºC at mid-morning.

Having to work really hard at the moment to get any wildlife photos of interest. I have changed to my smaller telephoto lens…in hope of seeing an early Dragonfly.

Checking out that I can still manage a photo with my old lens, and it being so quiet..I tried it out on a Magpie showing its Nictitating Membrane protecting it’s eye….

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Good numbers of Bloody-nosed Beetle larvae about this morning. Counted 6 in one small area….

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Yet another Long-tailed Tits nest got predated this year…

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The Honeysuckle is almost in flower. I always think this means it won’t be long for the White Admirals to appear at HC…

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Answer on a Post Card….

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Black-headed Cardinal Beetle…

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Fantastic spot by Ken, he told me there was a Micro Moth on this Tree Trunk. I then looked for it for at least 5 minutes, and still did not find it. So he had to show me. Spot this Unidentified Micro Moth on the 1st Photo…

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Close up of above Micro Moth…

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I think these maybe Peacock butterfly larvae. That Bramble leaf won’t last that long with that amount of hungry mouths…

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Talking about leaves that won’t last…Holy Moly…

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Male Mallard on the Dog Pool…

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Finally I would like to Thank Hannah Dalton for all her hard work as the main Warden for The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust at Highgate Common. Hannah is leaving us to travel The World.  She always had a smile in the morning, even when there was 2 weird blokes looking at lights outside her office window, for moths.  I really hope the trip to all those countries you will visit, will be even better than you wished for….

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Not sure if Hannah leaving had an affect on visitors today. But I have never been on HC at 8:00am on a lovely sunny morning, and seen the main car park empty…

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Heres hoping for more Butterflies and Dragonflies….Soon!!!!

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22.5.16.

Sunday..Sunny and 15ºC, but very damp after yesterday’s rain.

I visited Dowles Brook-Wyre Forest today with Ken. Mainly to look for Fritillaries, which are now emerging. We wasn’t to hopeful after yesterdays heavy rain.

We arrived early. So to give the area time to dry out, and hopefully get better conditions for butterflies, we decided to check out the Knowles Coppice Nature Reserve and up the Brook itself. After seeing the Grey Wagtails just fledge youngsters at work, I was amazed to see this one just carrying nesting material. But at least this Grey Wagtail had picked a more natural nesting site, and a lot more picturesque than my work…

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Halfway up the Brook, we spotted a Dipper, doing what Dippers naturally do…searching through and under the water looking for a meal…

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Then the same bird flew past us, and landed on a broken tree trunk, overhanging the brook in full sunlight…

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Ken got this photo of a Water Carpet…

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After a couple of hours walking, we decided it seemed warm enough to go search for the Fritillaries. On the way we heard and saw a Pied Flycatcher, but to high for a photo. We had only been in the area where you usually see the Fritillaries, and one landed perfectly for a photo opportunity. This is a Pearl-bordered Fritillary, and it proved to be the only one that did give us a photo opportunity. We did see 5 altogether in the morning, but 4 just flew past…to wet to land I guess. I do love the underside of these beautiful butterflies…

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As usual the Speckled Yellow moths were the most numerous Lepidoptera flying around…

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Unidentified Micro Moth…

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