Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Birds & Dragons

Here's some pics from the weekend of birds on the feeders and dragonflies visiting the pond.

Blue Tit
Coal & Blue Tits

Coal Tit

Great Tit

Southern Hawker

Male Common Darter (picture by Josh)

Monday, 29 September 2008

Weekend Highlights

Pett Pools, near Rye on the coast in East Sussex, viewed from the road, yielded 2 Little Stints, Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Egrets, Avocet, 13 Dunlin and 10 Redshank. In the distance I could hear a Cetti's Warbler singing and I picked out 2 Willow/Chiffs in the bushes whilst a Sparrowhawk cruised through and a steady stream of Swallows passed over. On the sea wall I found a Wheatear amongst the many Meadow Pipits and a Whinchat showed briefly on the roadside scrub. On the beach there were many Oystercatchers, Curlews and Turnstones.

In the garden over the weekend 2 Coal Tits, 2 Blue Tits and Great Tit visited the feeders and flyover Canada Geese (heard not seen) were new for the garden list (number 43).

The pond attracted a Southern Hawker and Common Darter dragonflies and a small frog was found.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

I'm noticing a lot of Jays around at the moment as I journey into work (saw 7 today) probably busy gathering and burying acorns. Also saw a Ring-necked Parakeet fly over the A3.

Lunchtime in Wimbledon Park was pretty quiet with the usual waterfowl on the lake and a few Tufted Duck and Great-crested Grebes. Whilst in the woods I rustled up a few Long-tailed Tits and that was about it. A possible Common Darter dragonfly was hunting around the trees.

At home in the garden there's some interesting fungi growing on the lawn - I'll have to get some pics.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Picked up my 2nd puncture in almost 4 and a half years the other day with this gate latch embedded in the tyre - Nasty!

Monday, 22 September 2008

New Pond Visitors

Southern Hawker

Common Darter (female)


The pond's only 3 weeks old and already it's attracting wildlife. A Grey Wagtail visited briefly before being chased off by the cats and was seen to fly over the garden later in the day. This was a new bird for the garden and hopefully will return.

On both Saturday and Sunday, in the warm sunshine, a Southern Hawker spent 15 minutes or so hunting over the pond and a managed to get some flight shots as it seemed reluctant to use the pearches I had provided. Also a Common Darter put in a brief appearance. I'm hoping these dragonflies will eventually breed in the pond when there is more plant cover.

In the pond itself we saw our first Ramshorn Snail, probably introduced through the addition of plants.

Elsewhere in the garden, I put up 5 bird feeders with nuts and seeds and birds seen were Coal Tit, 10+ Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin and Wren although none were actually using the feeders yet.

Also Timmy the Fox had a wander around in broad daylight whilst we were actually in the garden - he seems to be getting bolder by the day.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Berry Munchers

Woodpigeon eyeing up some more berries

The elderberries are systematically being stripped by Woodpigeons at the moment, whilst the squirrels have had most of the hazel nuts. If one year we do Elderflower wine or hazel nut flan, we're going to have to harvest promptly before the creatures get their fill.

Garden Spider

There are some really impressive Garden Orb Spiders about at the moment, some are large and beautifully marked. Have a look at this individual that Josh found.

Garden Spider

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Froglet and Holly Blue

Holly Blue
There's still a few butterflies seen in the garden on the warm days, mainly Large and Small Whites although this Holly Blue was seen in the vegetable patch. Also the occassional froglet is found in the long grass around the pond - we haven't found any frogs that have put themselves in the pond yet, but I'm sure they will have moved in by next spring.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Fox at Moth Trap

A good catch of mainly yellow underwing species

The confident juvenile Fox we call "Timmy" has taken to loitering around the moth trap and springing on any he finds in the grass. Here you can see him looking directly at me because he can hear the camera firing.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Weekend Wildlife

Timmy the Fox wandered around the patio as bold as brass the other day even though he could see us at the window. Also I've added a Coal Tit picture taken last week.

"Timmy" Fox

Coal Tit

The pond is started to take shape with more plants being added. The 2 joists on the left are for some decking. Wildlife seen this weekend were: Two sizes of diving beetle, back-swimmer Whirly-gig Beetle (again just the one) and brief visits from dragonflies - most likely Common Darter and Southern Hawker. Also a male frog was rescued from the cats and put in the pond.

Bird visitors were Chiffchaff (sang briefly), Coal Tits, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit & Blue Tit and a flyover Swallow.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Pond Sprites

Key stages of building a pond are put in the liner, fill with water, let the kids have a play and a paddle, get the kids out, keep the kids out and then start filling with plants.

The pics shows two of these stages. Wildlife noted so far are one whirlygig beetle and a diving beetle which I haven't specifically identified as .. er .. it keeps diving.

Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope

News broke yesterday of a Grey Phalarope at Bough Beech Reservoir showing well from the road on the North Lake. Needless to say I dipped in after work and managed to see this grey and white sprite from the North.
Although, it was my 8th Grey Phalarope, it was my first at Bough Beech (127th species) and very welcome. I managed to get a few pics before the light faded. Also present were 4+ Little Egrets a Green Sandpiper, a few Common Terns and a number of Swallows were flying through.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Motorway Hobby

A Hobby flew over the M25 this morning between Junctions 8 & 9. Later a walk in Wimbledon Park was pretty uneventful with the high winds although I did flush a Snout moth from the bushes in the woods.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Bough Beech

Bough Beech last night produced a Buzzard, 4 Little Egrets, 4 Green Sandpiper, Common sandpiper, Grey Wagtail and 20+ House Martins.

Coal Tit

I finally managed to get a picture of a Coal Tit in the garden. One or two are ocassionally seen, usually announcing their presence with loud stridant calls but were difficult to photograph as they move off quickly through the tree canopies.

I'm keen to eventually get a picture of every species that visits the garden and some are harder than others e.g. the only Goldfinches I see are flyovers and so still have evaded my camera.

Picture to follow.

Recent New Moths

Copper Underwing
Pebble Hook-tip

Angle Shades

Here some pics of some recent new moths caught and a picture of the problem I can have with wasps.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Moth Trap Attracts Fox

"Timmy" Fox

Amazing - at the weekend the cats alerted us to something large moving around the moth trap. We went upstairs and carefully looked out the window to see a young fox pouncing on moths around the trap. Not to be out done, in the morning we found our cats doing much the same thing. One of them was even sitting on the perspex lid to dab at the moths inside. What with the wasps, foxes and cats treating it as a feeding station it's a wonder there's anything left to indentify.