Yesterday due to the lovely autumn sunshine I thought I would survey the dragonflies at Toad holes Beck. As I was walking opposite the middle pond I noticed a blueish dragonfly. I first thought Oh! an Emperor but it looked a bit small for that species. Anyway it got away from me and I went to the fisherman’s pond. And found another 2 of these dragonflies along with 2 Brown Hawker dragonflies feeding over the pond.
I took a record shot of the dragonfly and realised they were in fact Migrant Hawker dragonflies. I returned to the middle pond and got a better view of the dragonflies I had missed and found a further 2 Migrant dragonflies. Normally I get around one record a year of this species so to have 4 is very good
This morning I had my first ever Dark Chestnut moth in the light box at Caldene fields bringing the total of moth species recorded in our 3 areas to 338.
On the vis-mig front the first Song Thrush of the autumn came in from the N today and flew S/W. There was a small number of Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits on the move but not in great numbers. Three Chiffchaffs were at the watch point.
It was about 20.30 last night and I was driving down Cliff Hollins lane Oakenshaw. I stated to my wife as I was driving slow ‘ Keep a look out for owls ‘ No sooner had I finished the sentence….What’s that in the road?
My first thought was a rabbit. But no it was a juvenile Tawny owl just stood in the road and startled by the headlights. It gave brilliant views for about 3 seconds before flying off into a nearby tree.
Whilst Cliff Hollins lane is just out of our recording area it proves that the species has successfully bred in the local area. And now when I hear a Tawny owl in Raw Nook NR I will wonder is it our young friend from Cliff Hollins lane….
At Raw Nook NR today I found a small caterpillar in the heather.
Further researched revealed the caterpillar to be of a True Lover’s Knot moth. The moth is a moorland and heathland species. So it’s nice to have it breeding in our urban lowland heath habitat.
At the vis-mig point today it was nice to have the first Skylark of the autumn moving north. Meadow Pipits were also moving to the S and S/W but many were very high so a fairly low count was achieved. A Painted lady was also at Caldene fields where a dragonfly Sp flew passed me but sadly I couldn’t ID it…
At the watch-point today House Martins were again moving through our area with 187 to the west noted. Swallow were also passing but in lower numbers with 29 N/W and 6 S. Other than that it was a fairly quiet watch.
In the moth trap 10 species were recorded with a nice fresh Lunar Underwing ( suggesting local breeding ) my 4th record of this autumn moth.
This morning at the watch-point it was very quiet as few birds were observed moving. However, around 08.30 it started to rain and this seemed to have the desired effect of bringing the birds to a lower altitude. The first birds to be seen were a single skein of Pink-footed geese which were moving to the S/W. Sorry but a sign winter is not far away…
Until now I have never ventured into the world of leaf miner moths which are numerous species of moths in which the larval stage lives in, and eats, the leaf tissue of plants. However, yesterday I thought I would have a go and explore this fascinating world…. I stated with a fairly common garden species the Firethorn Leaf MinerPhyllonorycter leucographella which can be found on Firethorn (Pyracantha).
My luck was in as I found not one but nine leaf mines of the Firethorn Leaf Miner.
Well the leaves haven’t changed colour just yet be Goldfinches were certainly getting ready for autumn today at Caldene fields with 102 moving S/W and an additional 50+ feeding in the fields. Also the first movement of Meadow Pipits(south) started today with 58 noted.
Then a couple of Autumn moths a Frosted Orange and an Autumnal Rustic ( both ) fresh appeared in the light box.
Following on from the recent sightings of one and then 2 Kingfishers at gardens in Oakenshaw with one heading towards Toad Holes Beck I spent some time at the site this morning.
At first all was quiet on the ponds then at the middle pond a brief call and a flash of blue and the sun caught the bird in all it’s glory. It only stayed in view for a couple of minutes and flew into the reeds and out of sight..
Also of note were 2 Brown Hawker dragonflies, 4 Common Darter and single Painted Lady and a Small Copper.