Sunday, 23 June 2019

Leeds Birdfair

On Saturday it was the 4th Leeds Birdfair at Rodley Nature Reserve. My daughter and I were up and off early so we could have a look round the reserve before it got busy. It was quite a hot day with no sign of rain for a change, finally shorts weather!

As usual Chifchaff sang us into the reserve, the entrance road seems to be a favourite spot. At the lagoon hide a Kingfisher was just off to the side. One of the volunteers had his scope on the bird with fantastic views, he took an amazing phonescoping video which can be seen along with a couple of other videos from the day on his twitter - . 

My daughter took this photo of the Swans, who were too busy preening and refused point blank to look up for a photo. 

The usual Cormorant hang out

Lots of Reed Buntings were singing around the reserve

A brief glimpse of a Little Egret

It was a great day for Dragonflies, Banded Demoiselle were everywhere and they are stunning to see! We also saw Azure, Common, Blue Tailed and Small Red Damselflies and Broad-bodied Chasers. A chap from the British Dragonfly Society very deftly caught and showed the horseshoe shape on the back of an Azure Damselfly, a good mark to ID them by, the damselfly then flew off as if nothing happened.

Banded Demoiselle

I don't have an ID on this but it was huge

A few Butterflies were about and in the bee garden by the visitors centre I spotted a couple of beautiful tiny moths, new for me - Small Purple and Gold Moths, a nice find. We counted 50 Ladybirds and larvae in one spot but there were a lot about. A couple of patches of Caterpillars caught my eye and I later found out they were Peacock Butterfly.

Speckled Wood

Red Admiral

Peacock Butterfly Caterpillars

Large Skipper I believe

Small Purple and Gold Moths

Onto the fair itself, it was bustling with people and we took a moment to get lunch in the form of bacon sandwiches and jacket potatoes! There is always a nice selection of home made baked goods in the centre and I treated myself to a scone filled with jam. A lot of the societies are represented - RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Yorkshire Naturalist Union, British Dragonfly Society, TCV, Leeds Swifts, BTO Gardenwatch, Swillington Ings Bird group and others i'm sure i've missed! In addition there were amongst others bird feed stalls, a book stall and the Calverley Beekeepers stall, where we couldn't resist the jam and bought Apricot! Also I couldn't not buy a book....... 

My brother met us there with one of my nieces and I showed them around the reserve a bit, despite only living up the road he'd never been. I was hoping to do the fish pass walk but lost track of time whilst we were walking, but there's always next year! Spending time with family in one of my favourite places is pretty special though. 

We made rope on quite a clever machine, so far it's been used for skipping and as a toy to keep the cats amused!

I picked up my copy of the Swilling Ings 2018 report, which i've already started reading, it's full of the history of the Ings with last year being the 30th Anniversary, a really interesting read, with being fairly new to visiting I had no idea of it all. It's a really well put together report. The book I got was a biography on Audubon, a translation from a French author.

Another great day at the Birdfair!

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Out and About

A bit of a catch up post around the patch and beyond from the past month.

First of all the beyond......just over the motorway from Churwell Woods. The giant pine cone tree looks more like Rice Krispie cones at the moment! There are lots of Finches on this little walk - Gold, Bull and Green. I'm pleased to say the Lapwings have nested again in the same spot I discovered last year.


Back in Churwell Woods and early May saw lots of Tadpoles in the stream and ponds. The little spot in the sunny corner is becoming greener and greener, Iris are flowering all along the stream.

A bit of an unusual thing to be adding at this time of year - Fungi pictures! The amount of rain we've had has created very damp conditions and it's popping up everywhere. I have little brown ones all over the lawn too. 

The birds in the woods have fledged a fair few young - Great, Blue & Long-tailed Tits, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Woodpigeons, Robins, Thrush and my favourite, Blackcaps!

Great Tit

Woodpigeon with youngsters

Long-tailed Tit

Young Thrush


Stock Dove

House Sparrow





The fledgling Blackcaps, I counted three, there were possibly more but they were in the undergrowth and could have been the adults also. I've managed to see them on a couple of occasions. Really pleasing to see as last year the Blackcap pair seemed to fail to fledge any birds. 

Finally we've had a bit of sun and it brought out lots of bees and ladybirds, it's a little lacking in Butterflies at the moment, i've only seen Speckled Wood and Orange-tip Butterfly recently.

Orange-tip Butterfly

Speckled Wood Butterfily

Green Shield Bugs


Ladybird Larvae 

Lots of these Spiders were on the leaves

I've tried to ID but please let me know if i've got them wrong!

Red-tailed Bumble Bee

Tree Bumble Bee

Buff-tailed Bumble Bee 

This bush was by one of the entrances to the woods, i've never seen anything like it before. My photos don't do the orange colour justice and the bees loved it, it was covered in them! I did a bit of research and discovered it's a type of Buddleja - Globosa

White-tailed Bumble Bees

All in all looking good around the patch right now, though I need to venture into the parks a little more and see what's about there. Bird wise i've only added Swifts and Red Kite to the list over the past month but it's always quiet at this point in the year.