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.
Just had an email from David Rhodes at Oakenshaw. Yesterday had a once in a life times experience…
A kingfisher yes a ”Kingfisher” flew into his lounge through the French windows. It arrived in a flurry of noise and speed. He managed to gently ambush it with a towel while his wife Paula tried to photograph it but sadly it was a bit too quick for her and it happily flew off at tremendous speed up the stream bed.
David stated ” What a privilege, we were able to study it while it came round.” Recently it’s been flying up and down the stream and may have nested nearby.
Saturday was our workday at Raw Nook NR and Richard ( our conservation management coordinator for our group ) highlighted that the Bramble was again encroaching into parts of the Heather and had to be cut back.
So whilst the picking team did an excellent job picking up litter the rest of the group got tangled up thinning out Bramble growing over the Heather. From my point of view whilst Bramble is an excellent wildlife plant it has to be managed or the Bramble would simply take over the Heather and our lowland heath habitat.
The day however, started with some bad news and some good news. Sadly I found a dead Field Vole on the path at site. But the good news was I now have a confirmed record that the species is present at the site and it is probably providing a food source for the local Tawny Owls.
Whilst I was getting tangled and cut by the Bramble I noticed a Hawker dragonfly fly past in the warm sunlight, then another one came into view. I first thought they were Emperor’s but they were stunning Southern Hawkers..
So it was a good worthwhile morning’s work and incidentally if you walk through the site just stop for a minute and gaze at the wonderful vibrant Heather full of bees and Hoverflies ….and just think you are you only just 4 miles from Bradford city centre…
It’s been a busy few days…Firstly I attended a meeting on the 8th of August at Dealburn Road with members of YWT and Bradford council to discuss in the main the future of the site. There were some very encouraging comments coming from the council about the prospect of the site remaining a wildlife site and even enhancing the site’s bio-diversity.
My aim was to explain how my biological records have illustrated the ecological importance of this urban site which is only 4 miles from Bradford city centre. To illustrate this point even further Andrew Cutts from Bradford council found some larvae of a possible Alder leaf beetle Agelastica alni as we were walking the site….If confirmed it would be an excellent record of this uncommon Beetle which is expanding it’s range.
The recent influx of Painted lady butterflies into the UK has brought this beautiful butterfly to our area with 3 ( possibly 4 ) at Dealburn Road on the 8/8. Two at Caldene fields and 1 at Raw Nook on the 10/8. So keep an eye out in your gardens…
And some good news on the Dragonfly front with a female Southern Hawker egg laying at Caldene fields on the 10/8….But perhaps the best news is following the recent heavy rain….it’s back
Whilst waiting for the Six-belted Clearwing moths to arrive at Dealdburn road a few days ago I was drawn to a tiny insect on a blade of grass. As I took a couple of photos the insect jumped onto my hand.
I quickly realized the insect was a nymph Cricket Sp but no idea which. Research revealed a Long winged Conehead Bush cricket. I contact Orthoptera UK and they confirmed my sighting and stated that the species has only arrived in Yorkshire during the last few years and Dealburn road is a new site for the species…
Then today I visited the site again to try and attract the Six-belted Clearwing moth but forgot the lure….I wonder if it’s age…However, bizarrely as I am near the bottom of the site a Banded Demoiselle Damselfly landed in front of me and moved off S/W…never recorded the species before in the Low Moor/Oakenshaw area…
The Clearwing moths ( Sesiidae ) are active by day but very elusive. Recently sex pheromones lures have come onto the market where a male (if in the area of the lures ) arrives thinking a female is in the locality, thus giving the observer a chance to record these uncommon/rare moths.
I did my research and found that the Six-Belted Clearwing is found in grassy areas with it’s food plant of Bird’s foot trefoil. DEALBURN ROAD!
So I bought a lure and today at the site I found what I hoped was the best location and as the yellow Trefoil blew in the wind I hung the lure up….
Within about 20 minutes not one but three Six-Belted Clearwings came in. Brilliant news…
I now need to prove that the species is resident at the site as the lure can attract a male from a distance away so further surveys will take place. Yorkshire Moths status for the moth is National Status: Nb. Local Status: Rare and local resident.