Friday, 24 May 2019

Sunkissed at Last!

On Tuesday we went ahead with Hatfield Moor on a very fine day.  Unfortunately, all the teeming wildlife we saw at the end of April was too busy breeding to show itself. We did see a few Whitethroats, and Reed Warblers, and a single Garden Warbler.  On the first lake we saw Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Little Grebe and a Great Crested Grebe.  Later, we saw a few Swifts chasing each other and Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were over the heath.
Immature Song Thrush
 Tiger Beetle
 Almost Colourless Spider
 Moth Species
 Forget-Me-Not
On Wednesday winds of 11 mph were forecast but we went ahead with Leven Canal.  In the village Swifts were screeching, and there was plenty of activity from Starlings, and Collared Doves.  We shared cars to the allotments, where the afternoon group had a Greenfinch.  The walk to the bridge resulted in a Song Thrush.  For the first time there were no Mute Swans near the bridge.  The Sedge Warbler no longer lives there either.   We went through the gate and very soon heard a deafening Cetti's Warbler, which was even worse on the return journey.  Hidden Reed Warblers sang to themselves in the thick vegetation, but a Willow Warbler was more obliging.
Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler (c) 2019 Maggie Bruce
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Willow Warbler (c) 2019 Tony Robinson

As the walk continued we heard singing Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers. 
Reed Bunting (c) 2019 Maggie Bruce
Reed Bunting
 Yellowhammer
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Yellowhammer (c) 2019 Maggie Bruce
Beyond the "Cuckoo Tree" we heard some strange squawks on the return journey.  These we tracked down to a nest, from which it was possible to see 2 maws of Carrion Crow nestlings. 
 Baby Crow in Nest
Crow's Bills (c) 2019 Maggie Bruce
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 On the return journey Miles thought he heard the bubbling call of a female Cuckoo, and 2 minutes later one flew past us.  In the afternoon the same bird was seen.
Female Cuckoo (c) 2019 Maggie Bruce
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Female Cuckoo (c) 2019 Tony Robinson
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 Buzzard (c) 2019 Tony Robinson
Buzzard (c) 2019 Maggie Bruce
Roe Deer
 Roe Deer
We also saw a few male Linnets, but the one which posed best was not the one with the pinkest chest.
Male Linnet (c) 2019 Maggie Bruce
 Linnets
 Song Thrush
 House Sparrows [right]
House Sparrow (c) 2019 Maggie Bruce
Male Orange-Tip (c) 2019 Maggie Bruce
 Male Orange-Tip
 Orange-Tip
 Holly Blue
 In the afternoon as we neared the bee hives I spotted a dark shape in a distant hedge, which proved to be a large clump of bees.  On the return journey they had relocated to the first hawthorn bush in the hedgerow.  Previous class member, and beekeeper, told us years ago that such a mini-swarm is actually called a cast.
A cast of Bees
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Back at home a Fox came in the garden. 
Fox
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On Thursday we were able to go to Welwick Saltings as planned.  Unfortunately, the Short-eared Owls, and Whimbrel seemed to have departed for northern areas. There were still Little Egrets, Skylarks, Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits over the saltmarsh.  When we reached the flower-rich grassland there were still over 20 Linnets, plus Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings and Chaffinches.  This time the Sedge Warblers were noisier than previous visits, and its possible there had been a late influx.  
Yellowhammer
 Sedge Warbler
In the reedbed area there were Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Reed Warblers and Whitethroats.  In the afternoon a male Cuckoo was heard first calling distantly from Patrington Haven, but later it arrived at the reedbed and we enjoyed a few fly-pasts.  
Marsh Harrier
In the warm morning sunshine there were several new butterflies in the flower-rich grassland.  We saw Brown Argus, Common Blue and Small Heath as well as prolific Orange-Tips and Peacock butterflies.   
Brown Argus
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 Common Blue
 Underside of Common Blue
Small Heath 
 Speckled Wood
Wasp Mimic Beetle Clytus arietus
 Cranesbill Species 
 Goatsbeard/Jack-Go-to-Bed-by-Noon
 Poppy
 Vetch
On Friday we were able to stay with Welton Waters.  The morning group had a Lesser Whitethroat in the parking area, but the light was terrible.  We negotiated the destructive construction crew and soon came upon a very vocal Blackcap.  This posed very well, but was a little tricker to spot after lunch, although it was still belting out its melodious song.
Blackcap
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 Blackcap (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
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We went down the first lane on the left, and were lucky enough to spot 2 male Yellow Wagtails perched on top of various mainly dead trees.  Yellowhammers were also down the lane.  Last week's skulking Wren decided to put on a better show this week.
Yellow Wagtail
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 Yellow Wagtail (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
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 Wren
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 Wren (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
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 A couple of Common Terns were looking for food over the large lake, and made several plunges into the water which appeared to be unsuccessful.  
Common Tern
 Common Tern! (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
Common Lane resulted in a sunbathing Dunnock, a singing Reed Bunting, a very noisy but elusive Cetti's Warbler with Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers [pm only]  heard at either side.  There were also some interesting butterflies including yet another Brown Argus, plus Orange-Tips, Peacocks a very tatty Small Tortoiseshells and a few Holly Blues.  
Sunbathing Dunnock
 Subathing Dunnock (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Reed Bunting
 Male Kestrel (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Brown Argus
 Brown Argus (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Female Orange-Tip (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Holly Blue (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Hedge Cranesbill? (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
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 Bald Head Above the Barley