Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Gropper Gets the Nod

On Tuesday we made our only visit of the year to Noddle Hill, a nature reserve on the edge of the largest council estate in Europe.  It was gloriously sunny, but at times there was quite a strong chilly northerly wind.  Despite the wind we enjoyed a good selection of wildlife.   
Grasshopper Warbler (c) 2016 Maggie Bruce
We were standing in the car park when Steve spotted a buck Roe Deer on the playing field behind us.  
 Roe Deer (buck)
We were following the path round when someone, perhaps it was  Gill, spotted some caterpillar cocoons.   On closer examination these proved to be Lackey caterpillars.  The caterpillars began to throw their heads back and forth violently, which may have been a defence mechanism 
Lackey Moth Caterpillars 
Other insects we saw included: a Brimstone, Orange-Tips, Green-Veined White, Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell butterflies. 
Male Orange-Tip
As we reached the dyke there were more sightings of Linnets and Whitethroats.  One male Linnet  was particularly red on his breast.  
Male Linnet 
Another bird in evidence near the dyke was a Sedge Warbler, but a Reed Warbler remained hidden.   
Sedge Warbler
As we reached the highest point the faint reeling of a Grasshopper Warbler could be heard.  We climbed a flood bank and were lucky enough to catch sight of one in a bramble patch.  David noticed the long tail in flight, but was disappointed in the tail visible in Maggie's photo at the head of this post.  Is he any happier with the tail on the Grasshopper warbler shown below?
Grasshopper Warbler
We reached the massive Holderness drain at the back of the site.  The Kingfisher was noticeable by its absence, but we did see a Tree Sparrow, Blackcap and Whitethroat.  A strange dark insect was seen fluttering around a hawthorn bush on the opposite bank, and another was seen apparently happily swimming and eating near some lily pads! 
 Caddis Fly [ID Barry Warrington]

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