Sunday, 22 July 2018

Hornet Robber Fly

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

The Hornet Robber Fly is one of the UK’s largest flies.it looks quite ferocious but is harmless to humans.

It is a predator of a lot of other insects including Wasps, Grasshoppers and Beetles etc.

There are a few sites in Cholsey for these flies but never guaranteed.


Photo taken today in the east of Cholsey (courtesy Alan Dawson)
Photo taken last year in the west of Cholsey

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Butterflies

Mainly cloudy, 22°, light W.

We had some rain last night on a narrow front that passed over, not enough to make a difference but enough to ease the situation for a short time.

a few recent photos by local photographers.

Common Blue (courtesy Gerry Sexton)
Brimstone (courtesy Alan Dawson)
2 contrasting photos of Lollingdon Hill. Above taken during early spring and the lower taken on Friday.

Friday, 20 July 2018

No rain yet!

Mainly cloudy with a few sunny spells, 24°, light SSE.

Another quiet day out at Lollingdon. According to several weather forecasts there is rain on the way, however so far none has materialised, even the weather radar app on my phone showed rain nearby but as usual it seems to bypass this part of the Thames Valley!

2 Raven around for a couple of hours but too distant for any photos and a flock of 21 very mobile Mistle Thrush nearby.

A few Swallow overhead moving south and a single House Martin.

A Yellow Wagtail flew over and several young Chiffchaff present.

2 Green Woodpecker, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Jay and a Kestrel around the cattle field.

A Grey Heron flew from the brook near the Bullshole.

The only species still singing today were Yellowhammer.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Emperor Dragonfly.

Butterflies: Whites still the most numerous: Small Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Brown Argus, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.

Yellowhammer
Brimstone

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Sunbathing

Sunny spells, 24°, light S.


A Stock Dove sunbathing in the garden today.


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Where can we order some rain from

Sunny periods, 24°, light SSW.

Very quiet around the hill at the moment and very parched. A local farmer has started feeding hay to his cattle as the fresh grass is not growing in this weather.

30+ Swift wheeling around over Marymead this morning and around 6 House Martin, 22 Swallow feeding out at Lollingdon, a mix of adults and young.

A Hobby flew over the hill and headed off south west (very few seen locally this year). A Raven flew south and a Little Owl seen and heard.

A couple of Grey Heron seen along one of the brooks.

Mammals: A Muntjac Deer with a youngster, a Stoat and a Brown Hare.

Reptiles: several Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle and Southern Hawker.

Butterflies: far fewer numbers again: Small Skipper, Large White, Small White, Small Blue, Brown Argus (per TR), Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Silver-washed Fritillary (per TR), Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

Southern Hawker (f) (courtesy Alan Dawson)
 Great-spotted Woodpecker
Peacock

Monday, 16 July 2018

Quiet times

Sunny intervals and clouding up early afternoon, 26°, light SW.

A rather quiet time out there today and not a lot seen.

A few young Common Whitethroat on the hill today presumably from the breeding pair on the west of the hill. Little else around there.

2 Grey Heron in the area. 

A Treecreeper, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch in the garden today.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker and Emperor.

Butterflies: fewer in number today: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Holly Blue, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown & Ringlet.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth (courtesy Alan Dawson)
Treecreeper (courtesy Loren)
 Old Lady
 Unidentified?
 Treecreeper

Sunday, 15 July 2018

A few from the week end

Sunny spells, 27°, light SSW.

A few bits from the weekend.

Painted Lady (courtesy Alan Dawson)
Banded Demoiselle (female)
Marbled White on a Potato plant
Painted Lady (courtesy Alan Dawson)
Common Pufball

Friday, 13 July 2018

Amorous Hares

Sunny periods, 24°, light SSE.

A male Peregrine Falcon seen on the way out to Lollingdon this morning and flew towards Aston Tirrold.

Looks as though some of the Corn Bunting around the hill have fledged some young as there were around a dozen present which included several young birds.

7 Lesser Blackback Gull and 2 Black-headed Gull drifted over heading north and a Kestrel briefly overhead.

At least 1 Goldcrest on the north side of the hill with a small Tit flock.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Weasel.

Reptiles: Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly & Common Darter.

Butterflies: Small SkipperEssex Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown & Ringlet.

4 Brown Hare in an amorous mood.




Thursday, 12 July 2018

Ruddy Darter

Sunny, 24°, light NE.

A steady walk out to the Lees and beyond this afternoon and another warm day. The dyke and several ditches out there have dried up which does not bode well for aquatic life that resides there.

Several Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting present and a few Sedge and Reed Warbler.

2 Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and 2 Grey Heron seen and Swift and Swallow feeding overhead.

Nuthatch heard nearby from the garden and a Blackbird pinching gooseberries from our garden bush, Great-spotted Woodpecker still visiting.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker, Emperor, Common Darter & a Ruddy Darter (first for the year).

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White (in abundance), Small White, Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell (far fewer), Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown & Ringlet.

Ruddy Darter
Blackbird and Gooseberry
 Ruddy Darter
Corn Bunting
This dyke usually full of water is now dry!

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Rain needed

A sunny day, 26°, light NE.

Birdwise rather a quiet day. The usual stuff out around the Hill.

Harvest is a little earlier this year due to the weather with a few combines out cutting the crops and subsequently one field had 12 Red Kite and 4 Buzzard circling overhead looking for scraps.

One farmer has said they last harvested this early back in the summer of ’76 for those who remember. We need rain and lots of it!

10 Mistle Thrush out at Lollingdon, a Kingfisher, 2 Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and a Little Owl all seen in the area and 4 Black-headed Gull (2ad & 2yng) on the playing fields.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker, Emperor and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady (a couple recently, per TW), Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown & Ringlet.

 Common Darter
Little Owl
Common Darter

Friday, 6 July 2018

Swallows & Crossbills

Have a guess………………….sunny again, 28°, light NNW.

6 Crossbill were a surprise today out at Lollingdon seen and heard flying south west just prior to midday.

Crossbills are an irruptive species that can turn up anywhere at this time of year and usually breed and feed in coniferous woodland.

In excess of 50 Swallow out at Lollingdon today feeding around the dwellings and fields and often perching up on wires or trees. The majority were young birds.

A young Chiffchaff on the hill for a time working the hedgerow and getting chased off by a Whitethroat.

A Reed Bunting still on the hill and singing and several Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer present.

A Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Little Owl seen.

A Kingfisher regular out there also. Per TW.

“RB has been working in the crops around Manor Farm this week. There are nesting Yellow Wagtail, Skylark and Corn Bunting.

There are 3 broods of “Mallards” on the Brook – a wild female has fledged 3, the (*”Molly”) type still has 7 (feathered but flightless), and one of her sisters (looks like a wild type but darker/smaller) has 4 of the same age.

A Kingfisher around this week occasionally fly along the brook in the meadow.”

*A “Molly” type duck is an all dark duck with a white breast. The name was coined by Loren a couple of years back for a female duck that spent a lot of time in the garden and made a nest and raised young in the car park at Marymead. There are several offspring with the same or similar plumage in the vicinity still.

Reptiles: a couple of Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Azure Damselfly, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker and Emperor.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown & Ringlet.

 Swallows
Swallows
 Chiffchaff
 Corn Bunting
Corn Buntings
 Meadow Brown
Peacock
Meadow Grasshopper (courtesy Alan Dawson)

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Water & Bits

Sunny, 28°, maybe 31°, light NNW.

A few bits and pieces today.

Don’t forget to put water out for birds and other creatures if safe to do so especially in this current heat wave. They need it as much as we do.

A Yellow Wagtail seen towards Silly Bridge. Per MA.

6 House Martin, 20’ish Swallow and 14 Swift feeding over the garden on and off today. And a recently fledged Blackbird in the garden.

Essex Skipper Butterfly (courtesy Alan Dawson)
4 water features in the garden. Even an old dustbin lid will do.
White Plume Moth (courtesy Alan Dawson)
Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar (courtesy Alan Dawson)
possibly a Buff Ermine Moth?

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Butterfly day

Sunny….again, 25°, light SE.

Another warm one and a trek up to the Hill and plenty of butterflies around.

An unusual sighting of a singing Sedge Warbler on the hill today in one of the hedgerows. Not the usual habitat for a Sedge Warbler, maybe a bird on the way back?

Several Jay still being seen and heard with a couple in the meadow and a couple more the other side of the Bullshole.

More young Swallow on the wing with a flock of around 20 out at Lollingdon today, probably 3 family groups.

Apart from that all the usual stuff around.

A Barn Owl seen recently out at Lollingdon. Per TW.

Reptiles: several Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Azure Damselfly, Southern Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly and Black-tailed Skimmer. Also Common Darter recently. Per GS.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Silver-washed Fritillary (per TW, first for a few years), Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown & Ringlet.

Moths: Scarlet Tiger.

Silver-washed Fritillary (library Pic)
Comma

Monday, 2 July 2018

Heat still on

Another warm one, 29°, breezy ENE.

A warm walk out to Lollingdon today with the prospect of this weather lasting for another couple of weeks.

First Gatekeeper butterflies of the year today and another colony of Common Lizard found.

The usual around the Hill with Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Corn Bunting still in song and Blackcap, Common Whitethroat and Chiffchaff singing.

Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron, Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail and a distant Peregrine noted.

Reptiles: Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Azure Damselfly, Southern Hawker & Emperor Dragonfly.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown & Ringlet.

Southern Hawker
 Gatekeeper (courtesy Alan Dawson)
These might seem like fun but are a major danger to wildlife and the environment. (found and photographed by Alan Dawson)