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Last nights weather was awful- But what’s that?…

Last night in Low Moor the weather was awful, a strong wind and lashing down rain.  And Clare and Rich Stonehouse were walking home from work on Cleakheaton road just by the barbers at the opposite side of the road to the station.  Suddenly their attention was drawn to a moth feeding on some pink flowers….but what was it.  A closer look revealed only a stunning Hummingbird moth!

Now interestingly this moth is mainly an immigrant moth coming in from southern Europe and this sighting coincides nicely with the strong southerly gales we experienced in the last few days.  I have submitted this important sighting to Yorkshire moths on their behalf.

So folks keep a lookout for one of these beauties in our recording area and if you see one please let me know…Thank you

Meadow pipits and Sand Martins…

An excellent day at the vis-mig point today.  After a slow start there was an excellent southerly movement of Meadow Pipits.  A total of 1,119 was recorded a record count for me.

I have also noticed that there has been a significant increase of Sand Martins passing through our area.  It’s fair to say the Sand Martin is not a common passage bird here at Caldene fields.

To illustrate the point in 2015: 4 birds recorded.  2016: 0.  2017: 24.  2018: 71 to date, which is a large increase suggesting the species may have had a good breeding season…

Swallow roost…

Some local people may have noticed an increase in Swallows flying around the Raw Nook area between around 19.00 -20.00 during the last few days.  I counted 800+ on the 3/9 and on the 4/9 I saw a distance view of around 2 thousand feeding before roosting.  Then on the 5/9 when I was away I received a report of possibly 5 thousands flying over the fields adjacent to Raw Nook NR.

My question is does anyone have any idea on seen where these Swallow roosted as they roost in reeds at ponds and lakes.  I check TH Beck with no luck.  The only other area of local water with reeds are Bierely ponds and the pond off Mill Carr Hill.

Did anyone see these Swallows or have any idea where they roosted?  If so would you kindly let me know please…many thanks

Exciting news…

Last night at Caldene fields I noticed a large gathering of Swallows overhead.  At this time of year Swallow gather at dusk in swarms and roost together in reeds etc.  Over 30 years ago this was a regular event in our area and the birds roosted in Toad Holes Beck but the species has declined since then.

I estimated the gathering to be around 800+ which strongly suggests the species may have had a very good breeding season .  I then went to TH Beck to see if the birds were going to roost there but they didn’t.  However, they roosted somewhere nearby possibly at the pond off Mill Carr Hill but that’s only a guess.

Whilst watching the Swallow I noticed in good light a large bat flying over the tree tops…it was a Noctule bat.  I have not record the species at the site before my only previous record was of a single in day light at Caldene fields

Heath Rustic moth turns up again…

Last night I caught a Heath Rustic moth at Caldene fields my fifth record to date.  The Yorkshire status of this moth is: Scarce and thinly distributed or restricted resident.

All my records of the species are from late August to early September when the moth emerges.  It’s main food plant is Heather and I suspect the species may breed in nearby Raw nook Nr which is a lowland heather habitat where the moth is more likely to be found.

First signs of autumn…

This morning I did an hours visible migration watching from the watch point.

Whilst it was a nice sunny morning a single passage Sand Martin south and 4 Meadow pipits also south reminded me that autumn is just around the corner.  Also of interest was two parties of Cormorants totaling 17 flew north.

An Emperor Dragonfly was at Toad Holes Beck and 2 Hairy and one Green Shieldbug was at Raw Nook Nr.

 

Red Kite alert…

Received some information from Stuart Tordoff from the Woodlands cricket club at Oakenshaw that a single Red Kite circled Toad Holes Beck yesterday at 12.40.  It came in from the S/W and drifted N/E.

Stuart also stated that  there was a recent report of a pair in the nearby area but no further sightings as yet.

All good news…If anyone does see one of these jewels of the sky please let me know…thank you

Feeling Blue at Caldene fields…

Had a nice surprise this morning at the top end of Caldene fields by the heather patch.  Firstly I disturbed a newly emerged male Common Blue butterfly.  Sadly the Common Blue has not been as common in our area for the last few years.

And I have no records from Raw Nook NR this year so to find this male was very welcome.  But then as I walked a bit further a female Common Blue again freshly emerged was enjoying the sun.

So brilliant news…lets hope nature takes it’s course and the pair find each other…

Butterfly survey and moth news…

On Saturday the 4th of August I did a butterfly survey at Raw Nook NR and Caldene fields.  Only 6 species were recorded which is worryingly poor.

  1. Small White at RN=16.  CFs =4
  2. Large White at RN= 3.
  3. Speckled Wood at RN= 11.  CFs =3
  4. Holly Blue at RN= 2.  Cfs=1
  5. Gatekeeper at RN=1.  Cfs=4
  6. Ringlet at RN=2

The only good news was the increase of the Holly Blue numbers with one noted egg laging on Holly at CFs.  In addition the numbers of Small White’s have increased but very low numbers of Gatekeeper and Ringlet and no sightings of the once common Peacock or Small Tortoiseshell.

Holly Blue feeding on heather at RN nr

Moths on the other hand ‘ appear ‘ to be fairing better as I am regularly recording new species like the The Campion Sideridis rivularis 6/8/2018 at CFs.

The Campion Sideridis rivularis 

One interesting point is 3 recent new moths are predominantly southern species and unusual in the northern parts of Britain.  They are now moving north probably accelerated by the recent southerly wind from southern Europe and the heatwave.

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