New Year

The start of a New Year and news of Waxwing nearby had me out and about sooner than I thought, but Brighouse is just over the hill and with a couple of hours to spare who wouldn’t be tempted

On site people were about and of course the old saying of “you should have been here 10mins ago, there was about an 100”, the weather wasn’t good, light drizzle, and grey skies, but not the less off I set in pursuit.

Redwing were everywhere, every bird seemed to be a Redwing, Blackbirds and Mistle Thrush were picked out amongst the Redwing, I found 2 tress loaded with berries both guarded by Mistle Thrushs, still no Waxwing

I ventured in to the park adding a flock of 5 Brambling to the day still no waxwing, so I decided on going down to where they were first seen,Lane Head Hotel….Black headed Gulls were overhead, Grey Wagtail flew over, bonus, and Goldfinch were seen in one of the trees but no waxwing

I was about to give up I’d been here 2 hours now, but you get a feeling sometimes that your being watched…I turned around and looked up and there a top of a nearby by tree 7 Waxwing, at last, enjoy. I took my eyes away for a moment for the camera and looked back and of course they were gone.

Ok…I hung around for a little longer heading back to the park area where I had seen the Brambling earlier. I took a quick scan with the binoculars from a safe distance and behold I could see a flock of waxwing feeding where the Brambling had been earlier, I headed towards them crossing the road and heading into the park, it wasn’t to be my day they were scared off by someone walking close by….I didn’t see them again after another 30 mins of looking.

Mistle Thrush ….on Guard Duty

Mistle Thrush on guard duty

Old Moor RSPB

The end of the year at last saw me out blowing the cobwebs off the old bins and back down to Old Moor RSPB reserve a visit was long, long overdue  23 January being the last time I set foot on this reserve. Old Moor Map

I enjoyed about 30mins near to the car park watching and taking photos of mainly Blackbirds in the berry trees with the addition of Song Thrush and a nervous Redwing before going onto the reserve itself

My first place of call was down at the Reedbed Hide, not to see Bittern, but Bearded Tit which seem to have taken to this side of the reserve. Long tailed Tit were the only birds I saw flitting among the reeds. On the water however Tufted Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, Little Grebe, Mute Swan. Coot and Moorhen were all present.

Back near the Bittern Hide I caught sight of a Male Stonechat on the fence posts to the left side, after watching him for a while feeding, and flying in and out of adjacent fields the female finally showed up, great to see these and a new bird for me on this site

My next port of call was the family hide were Black headed Gull, Common Gull, Teal, Cormorant, Lapwing and Goosander were added,  along with 2 Drake and 1 female Pintail and a few Shelduck

Outside of the hide nearby a friendly Robin posed nicely for photos

A brief call into the cafe for a Coffee and slice of cake and change the camera battery before heading back to the Tree Sparrow Farm were I finally saw Bullfinch, Tree Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Great Tit and Dunnock

Last port of call was the Bittern Hide area for the Starling Roost and the murmaration, the birds gathered on the nearby pylons from about 3:45pm and gave a brief flying display before roosting in the reed bed. The number of starling here wasn’t great but none the less the displays are always good to see and of course they always attract birds of prey and in this case a Sparrowhawk giving chase

Todays Bird List (In no particular order) :- Blackbird, Redwing, Song Thrush, Long tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Stonechat, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Linnet, Pintail, Lapwing, Shoveler, Magpie, Crow, Bullfinch, Common Gull, Black headed Gull, Goosander, Lesser Black backed Gull, Shelduck, Jackdaw, Common Snipe, Robin, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Stock Dove, Goldcrest, Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Starling, Little Egret, Sparrowhawk

Common Gull

Common Gull 2-1300939

Stonechat (Male)

Stonechat 3-1300835


Once again I found myself down in Dorset on family matters but Saturday had me out and about this time dropping into Ferrybridge Nature Reserve (Chesil Beach Center) and then onto Portland Bill and the Tout Quarry

First call was Ferrybridge and the Chesil Beach Centre, I arrived at about 10am and fortunately the tide was on the way out, I had a look at the birds around the centre seeing Black headed Gulls, Great Black backed and Herring Gulls, and a few Mediterranean Gulls a single Wheatear popped up along the bridge railings, which adjoins the car park to the shingle beach, there eventually turned out to be a number of Wheatear today as I made my way along the beach, these and numerous Silver Y Moths kept me company on the walk.

Most of the activity was around the centre where numerous wader species were busy feeding on the mud flats, Bar tailed Godwits, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Oystercatcher,  and Dunlin were all seen, overhead a couple of Sandwich Tern and Swallows.

I eventually made it over to the island of Portland and decided on a walk around on of the quarries, Tout Quarry Nature Reserve  was the one I had decided on earlier in the week. I parked up the car near the Heights Hotel,Free Car Park and great views back to Chesil Beach. First encounter was a pair of Kestrels on the lower slopes, on in to the quarry Wheatears’ were seen and the odd Red Admiral Butterflies.

It wasn’t until I was well in to the quarry where I found a good flowering Buddleia bush that I found a good number of Red Admiral Butterflies well into double figures. Whilst watching these I noticed Painted Lady Butterfly had joined the party along with a few Silver Y Moths but the star attraction was a Hummingbird Hawk Moth, a quick flight around the bush and it was gone, it was there that I decided on ending my day, you couldn’t get better than that.

The Day List:-

Sanderling, Dunlin, Bar tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Mediterranean Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Wheatear, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Cormorant, Small White Butterfly, Red Admiral Butterfly, Painted Lady Butterfly, Silver Y Moth, Hummingbird Hawk Moth


Hummingbird Hawk Moth


Not the best shot in the world,  but do you know how quick these things are

Frampton Marsh

A new place for me this being a first time visit to RSPB Frampton Marsh situated out near the Wash on the  Lincolnshire coast it took about 2hr 30mins to get there from home but we arrived in glorious sunshine, windy but nice.

After a break, coffee and sarnies, we dropped into the visitor centre first to say hello and to look at the site maps before setting off on site towards the 360 hide.Our first was with a Painted Lady Butterfly, which would be first of a few seen today. It wasn’t long before we arrived at the hide and settled in, looking gout over the pools we found Black tailed Godwits (numerous), Ruff, Redshank, Dunlin, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Spotted Redshank, Common Snipe, Little Egret (c14), Pied Wagtails skipping along the pool shoreline.

We moved off seeing very little at this time of year the wind was strong but we saw a few large White Butterflies long with a Red Admiral, and Meadow Browns.

We eventually found a sheltered spot well out of the wind where Large Whites were numerous, Hawker dragonflies were evident but never settled, but there were plenty of Ruddy darter Dragonflies which were settling and it was a great time spending time with these, and a Reed Warbler was seen around by the pond

It was quiet today but we were told to return in winter when the birds would be numerous an offer not to be refused


Ruddy Darter

Ruddy Darter





Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly

Lulworth Cove

Family business saw me down on the Dorset coastline around the Lulworth area, stopping in Weymouth, so I had to have  a play day in the Lulworth Cove area for the butterfly of the same name.

The weather was in our favour a hot sunny day but lots of people decided on visiting the area also but i need not have worried its a big place. We headed down into the cove and up on to the right hand hillside where we saw plenty of Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet Butterflies, but it took a while before the Lulworth Skipper showed up, but when it did good views were had. This Skipper is only found along this coastline from Weymouth to Swanage and for about a couple of miles inland, so if you want to see one down here is the only place, try also the Portland Quarrys and Durlston CP. A little bit smaller than the Small Skipper, the female has distinctive wing markings unlike the Male which can be more difficult to separate if seen without the female

Lulworth Skipper, Female with the distinctive wing marking

Lulworth Skipper at Lulworth Cove

Salcey Forest

Down to Salcey Forest this week for the Northants Butterfly Conservation walk, we knew before the day that we would be struggling for Purple Emperor and we were right , things seem to be a couple of week behind this year or is this becoming the norm? However we were hoping.

We met in the Horsebox car park, this one is free where as the visitor centre is not, the meeting time was 10:30am and when all had gathered (35) we were off, out of the car park, not towards the main road.

Soon we were picking up Ringlets, these seem to be having a good year, White Admiral was shouted by one of the group and we all got to have good views although little bit distant but it was afresh individual and was settled. Comma was seen next giving us us the hope it might be a Silver washed Fritillary before it settled to give good views. Wood Whites were next on offer along with Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell.

On our walk around we were also picking up other widlife as we went along Southern Hawker and Broad Bodied Chaser Dragonflies. Coming eventually across a pond, no dragonflies here but we did find a Slow worm and a few Common Lizards. Once again on the walk a few of my favourite beetles were found, the longhorns, 3 species today, the Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn, Rutpela maculata, and Rhagium mordax.

Back to the butterflies, we eventually arrived at the meadow were we found Marbled Whites, Large Skippers, Common Blue and a Painted Lady. 

A great day unfortunately no Purple Emperors, White letter or Black Hairstreaks were found whilst we were on the walk,  Black Hairstreak was after we left for the Norfolk coast and the chase of a Great Knot

We left Salcey at about 2pm and arrived at Titchwell RSPB reserve at about 4:30pm, Titchwell being the last reported place for the Great Knot.

We soon got the news that a Peregrine had disturbed the Knot flock along with the Great Knot and hadn’t been seen since 1:30pm. Not to be discouraged we worked or way thru the Knot flock, sitting in the Parrinder Hide, but alas it wasn’t there, but we looked upon Avocet, Bar tailed and Black tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Pied Wagtails, distant Common Buzzrad along with a Marsh Harrier.

We decided on a walk down to the sea catching Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Linnets, on the way down on the beach Common Scoter out at sea, Sandwich and Little Terns overhead. 7:30pm came we decided on leaving and on leaving the car park at 7:45pm the pager went Great Knot seen at Holme next the Sea with directions, it had to be done has we were passing we couldn’t leave it could we, by  8:15pm we were looking at my first Great Knot, now thats how to end a day out

Day List Salcey Forest

Comma, Wood White, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, White Admiral Ringlet, Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Buzzard, Goldcrest, Red Kite, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Broad Bodied Chaser, Southern Hawker

Day List Titchwell

Red Admiral, Avocet, Greylag Goose, Pied Wagtail, Moorhen, Black headed Gull, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Black tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin, Shelduck, Common Tern, Shoveler, Coot, Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Redshank, Reed Warbler, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Swallow, Sedge Warbler, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Cormorant, Common Scoter

Rhagium mordax Longhorn Beetle

Rhagium mordax....Longhorn

Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly

White Admiral

White Admiral Butterfly



Silver Studded Blue

Prees Heath was the destination for this weeks target Butterfly, a place I’ve never been and is supposed to be a hot spot for the target species. I arrived at about 11:30am after doing a couple of jobs at home the weather looked good on the travels but began to look dodgy on approach, I needn’t have worried.

I hit the reserve after having some refreshments to the sound of Yellowhammers and a Great spotted Woodpecker flying overhead. I got talking to a fella who gave me the locality of lots and lots of Common Blue Butterflies and that he had actually found one Silver Studded. I found the place he was talking about to find lots and lots of Silver Studded Blues and not one Common Blue. Other butterflies here were a few Small Heath, a Small Tortoiseshell, and a Yellow Shell Moth

I spent the time 3 hours in total with the Silver Studded Blue taking photos

So if you want to see Silver Studded Blue Butterflies Prees Heath in Shorpshire  is a place to go

Silver Studded BlueSilver Studded Blue Male

Silver Studded Blue Female

Silver Studded Blue Female

Silver Studded Blue Male