Monday, 23 July 2018

Fairburn Ings

I'm a bit late with this one but other commitments meant I haven't had chance to touch a keyboard (apart from at work!) until now!

On Thursday last week Chris Packham visited Fairburn as part of his UK wide Bioblitz, each place visited has done their own blitz with the results showing wildlife across the country. Fairburn recorded over 600 species on the day, which is pretty impressive. It brought out the crowds and it's certainly the busiest i've seen it! The local news and press turned out, giving it coverage on the evening news, which was good to see.

We had a little wonder and a lovely ten minutes or so watching the dragonflies by one of the ponds including a constantly on the move Southern Hawker, the noise from the wings was amazing, it was joined by a female a couple of times, that one did rest and I managed to get a photo but I didn't do so well with the male! I'm no dragonfly expert but there was attempts at mating but I don't know how successful they were. 

We saw quite a few small red dragonflies, generally staying just ahead of us on the paths, I think they're Ruddy Darters.

The butterflies were out in abundance again, i'm not sure if i'm imagining it but it seems to be a bumper year so far for them, maybe due to the heat?

I saw this tiny little butterfly near the Spoonbill viewing point, at first I thought it was a Common Blue but on closer inspection realised it's a Brown Argus - a new one for me.

Meadow Brown


Small Copper

There were a lot of Gatekeepers around

Speckled Wood

This Barred Yellow Moth was on the visitors centre

A Ruby-tailed Wasp

We took a look at the Spoonbill nest but the Teaspoons have started to move about now and we just saw one of the adults. A couple of Sedge Warblers were in the reeds in front of the viewing point. 

I managed to miss the Green Woodpecker again as it flew across the pickup hide, I was watching a couple of Greenfinch off to the side! Also seen were Tree Sparrows, Chaffinch, a lot of Jackdaws, Lapwings, Little Egret, among others. I also spotted a very yellow warbler too but it was gone before I could get a proper look at it, Willow perhaps?

Tree Sparrow



Young Pheasant


It was lunchtime by now and we went off in search of chip butties, possibly not the wisest things to sit on your lap in this heat but they were good! 

A half hour stop by St Aidan's proved a very good idea as I finally saw a Bittern, in flight across the reeds along Astley Lake, very pleased i've only ever heard them before. It was mobbed by a couple of Herons as it dropped back down into the reeds. Perfect way to end the day!

Grey Heron

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Around the Patch

The weather has been pretty consistent for the whole of June and into July with quite a heatwave - bar a day of strong winds from Storm Hector in June, which brought down many branches and even trees. We could really do with some heavy rain, my pond is not looking too great at the moment! Although many plants are flourishing, a lot aren't and grass everywhere has a beige rather than green hue, the rain would definitely be welcome. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anything expected anytime soon!

I've been constantly cleaning and refilling the watering holes for the birds/mammals around the garden, they are all well used. At our feeders, the noisy young Starling's are still around and they've been joined by lots of newly fledged House Sparrows too, they're giving the Starlings a run for their money.

Small flocks of Great and Blue Tit fledglings chirp their way through the gardens regularly, stopping at the feeder, they figured that out pretty quickly. For the first time we've had young Long-tailed Tits in the garden too, beautiful little birds, they're one of my favourites so I was really pleased to see those. A Thrush made a brief appearance on the shed roof, the first since the snow in March, but it was gone too quick for me to tell if it was a Mistle or Song.

Great Tit

Young Robin

House Sparrow

Young Goldfinch

Young Blue Tit

Starlings & a House Sparrow

Blue Tit

The first young Goldfinch in the garden this year (the one on top)

Blue Tit

Long-tailed Tit

A rare occurrence one Sunday morning when a pair of Greenfinch appeared on the feeder

Elsewhere in the garden the Hedgehog is a sporadic visitor, I haven't seen it in a few weeks but the poop still appears in the garden. I typed this last night with intentions of finishing and posting but just after i'd done what should appear in the garden but a Hedgehog! It had a good snuffle around, walked in and out of my (pretty much dry) pond and I left it taking a long drink. I took a few photos on my phone.

I haven't seen a fox in a while though i've heard them. There has been a lot of bees and butterflies in the garden, the Lavender buzzes from dusk till dawn. There was a garden first with a Ringlet plus a fair few Meadow Brown too, I haven't checked all my records but I think that's also a garden first. We've also had Small White, Tortoiseshell, Large White, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Comma, Holly Blue, Green-veined White and Small Skipper.


Green-veined White

Small White

Small Tortoiseshell

Meadow Brown

This Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar was on the watering can, the only one i've seen in the garden this year

A Spider has taken up residence in it's web between the washing line and the house

On my walk to work Swallow numbers have increased finally, again like the Swifts they're not in huge numbers, i've seen up to 7 around the farm near work. Also by work a Crow family have successfully fledged 3 chicks, I can't recall ever seeing a Crow's nest around here before so i've enjoyed watching them.

Magpies have fledged in the park along with more Great/Blue Tits and a couple of Robins. I watched a pair of Wrens gathering insects I assume for their young, one flew right in front of me about a foot off the ground and grabbed a large fly right out of the air, that was pretty cool to see!

Down in the woods there is still plenty of young Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits around, a Song Thrush is still singing regularly and a Chiffchaff too. A new bird viewing screen has been built with several new feeders. The first few days the screen went up it was vandalised with some of the panels being kicked in, I don't get some people at all, why would you get pleasure from such destruction? Fingers crossed it's left alone now it's been repaired.





Song Thrush


Unfortunately the heat and lack of rain the stream through the woods has dried up


Great Tit

Long-tailed Tit

Hopefully in the next patch update, I can start off with 'It finally rained'...................