Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Sunshine & Butterflies

Sunny, 32°, light SE.

Warmest day of the year so far and a walk along the Bunk line to Winterbrook to see what butterflies were about.

(hottest July day on record with 36.7° recorded at Heathrow).

Meadow Brown were out in abundance along with good numbers of Marbled White and Ringlet.

Other species noted were: Large Skipper, Small Skipper, 1 Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, 1 Red Admiral, possible Small Heath.

Dragonflies: Common Blue Damselfly, Banded Demoiselle.

Moth: 6-spot Burnet plus a few other day flying moths that were not identified.

Common Whitethroat and Yellowhammer frequent also Chiffchaff and Blackcap.

Swift, Swallow and House Martin regular overhead.

Young of Swallow, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Linnet and Goldfinch seen.

 Marbled White & Meadow Brown
 Large Skipper
 Common Blue Damselfly
Ringlet

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Orchid

Sunny, 28°, light S.

At least 2 Nuthatch in the garden this evening along with a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

(Common) Pipistrelle Bats feeding over the meadow tonight.

A Common Spotted Orchid growing wild in the garden again this year.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Monday, 29 June 2015

Venus and Jupiter

Venus and Jupiter will be visible near each other in the western sky Tuesday and Wednesday in a rare conjunction event.

The planets, which are hundreds of millions of kilometres from each other, will for a short period of time seem to be galactic neighbours, passing very close.

It will be the closest conjunction of the two planets until August 2016.


Currently Venus is travelling at 35 kilometres per second whilst Jupiter is travelling at 14 kilometres per second.

Venus is currently 40 million kilometres distance from Earth and Jupiter is 588 million kilometres from Earth.

These shots were taken around 23:00, Venus is the brighter of the two planets.

Back on the Hill

Sunny, 22°, light SSW.

Back to the hill today and all is fairly quiet in the warm and sunny weather.

The usual Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer present.

4 Blackcap in song vying with each other on the north side of the hill and a couple of Whitethroat and Chiffchaff still singing.

A Jay also seen nearby, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Lesser Whitethroat heard again.

Nuthatch in the garden again this morning.

Dragonflies: 3 Emperor Dragonfly, several Azure Damselflies.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown.




Sunday, 28 June 2015

Siege of Wallingford Pt II

Continuing on from yesterday...............some more pics of the re-enactment by the English Civil War Soc:

Thanks to Loren for some of the photos.

















The Royalists eventually surrendered

A few bits from today

Another day in Wallingford for the Siege re-enactment (a few photos to follow).

A few more birds today: Grey Wagtail, Coal Tit, Goldcrest and Nuthatch in the Castle gardens of note, a Cormorant and a few Black-headed Gull and Lesser Blackback Gull following the line of the River Thames nearby.

Back to our own garden and a Sparrowhawk took a small bird in the garden this morning but did not manage to see what it was.

Also a Scarlet Tiger Moth in the garden today.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

And now for something completely different

The Siege of Wallingford

During the English civil war the Siege of Wallingford took place.

Wallingford was a Royalists stronghold whom supported King Charles as was Oxford (the royalist capital) and after Oxford was taken in 1646 it was down to the Parliamentarian forces under Thomas Fairfax to take Wallingford as one of the last Royalist bastions.

Today a re-enactment of that battle took place in the castle meadows in Wallingford on the same ground the original battle took place.

An impressive display by the English Civil War Society of the actual battle and a “living history” display of the times in the castle gardens.

The battle was noisy, smoky and at times appeared chaotic and with several Red Kites soaring over the battle field it felt very atmospheric and authentic. Same again tomorrow!

For more history of Wallingford : Wallingford History

Parliamentarian Musketeers open fire

Royalist Artillery return fire
Parliamentarian Artillery reply
Parliamentarian and Royalist Cavalry clash
Before the charge
 Another artillery barrage
 The Cavalry wait
 Royalist forces advance
 Parliamentarians halt the Royalist advance

 Heavy canon and musket fire
 Royalist Pikemen ward of the enemy cavalry
 Royalist musketeers open fire
 Pikemen clash
 Pikemen battle it out
 Royalist Cavalry Officer
Parliamentarian Cavalry Officer

PS: a lot of Butterflies in the Castle Meadows in Wallingford today, many Meadow Brown and Marbled White, also a Small Skipper and a Clouded Yellow

Friday, 26 June 2015

Sunshine & Showers

Cloudy with a few sunny spells and light rain showers, 20°, more persistent rain later, light SW.

Sunshine and showers on the hill today, up to 40 Swift feeding over the hill and 2 Starling and a House Sparrow making a surprise visit.

An odd looking Buzzard flew over the hill, upper parts were very “gingery” but under parts very typical Buzzard.

A Song Thrush in the garden this evening, first for a while and the Tawny Owls around this week.

Dragonflies: 2 Emperor Dragonflies, Azure Damselflies.

Butterflies: Large White, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell and Meadow Brown.

 Yellowhammer
 Moorhen on its way to the garden
Song Thrush

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Summer stability

Cloudy with a few sunny spells, 22°, light SW.

A warm muggy day with very little noted, very little change happening at this point in the summer. Most have settled down still holding territory, raising young and being fairly unobtrusive.

Maybe over the next few weeks young birds will start to wander, failed breeders may start to move back south before the start of the return migration towards the end of July.

5 to 6 Yellowhammer in song around the hill, 3 Corn Bunting, 5 Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Chiffchaff and apart from a couple of Blackbird no other song noted.

Mammals: 2 Bank Vole scurried past me and a Brown Hare seen distantly.

Dragonflies: Emperor, 4-spot Chaser and a few Azure Damselflies.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Meadow Brown.

Another Hornet seen.