Our Garden and Denso Marston Nature Reserve. Early Aug 2018

These are a few photos from our garden and a couple of walks through Denso Marston Nature Reserve and along the river.

Mint Moth

I am sure that Mint Moths have been around our garden for years but unless you stop and look you never see them.

Mint Moth

This one has different colouring to the first one I posted. I think this might be because this one is the second brood of the year.

Brown Hawker

A month or so back the ponds at Denso Marston Nature Reserve were swarming with damselflies. During these recent visits I only saw one or two but did spot a Brown Hawker flying about.

Brown Hawker

These two photos show the Brown Hawker ovipositing (laying its eggs) on vegetation just under the water.

Shield Bug

I spotted shield bugs on several plants.

Shield Bug

I could imagine that if this Cow Parsley was still green these bugs would be quite difficult to spot.

Shield Bug

This seed head has 4 shield bugs on it.

Ladybird

Several Ladybirds were around too.

Blue tit

After keeping quiet at the Spider Club feeding station for a few seconds birds started to come along. Kije this Blue Tit.

Blue tit

This one preferred to feed off the seeds on the ground.

Robin

Whereas this juvenile Robin was happy to get food from the raised board.

Robin

As was this Robin that is a bit older.

Speckled Wood

This Speckled Wood went onto the ground and kept flicking its wings, something I had not seen before. It was only when I looked at the image later that I realised that it was on what i assume are the remains of a Speckled Wood. The wing is very pale.

Speckled Wood

There were quite a few Speckled Wood butterflies around.

Comma

I also managed to spot this Comma butterfly.

Grey Heron

And here is an obligatory photo of a Grey Heron. I have hundreds of photos of them now. 🙂

Barn Owl, Baildon Moor 15 Aug

I have not been up onto Baildon Moor for a little while, partly because it has been rather hot to be out in the open.

There are a few birds we hope to see on Baildon Moor at this time, some of them just passing through – Whinchat and Wheatear being 2 examples

I had heard that Barn Owls in the area had done well, even though in one family the female had been killed on the road; but apparently, helped by the good weather, dad upped his efforts and fed all 4 of their chicks well.

On Wednesday I went up onto Baildon Moor at about 6:45am and started near the cattle grid at Glovershaw.

Barn Owl

Quite soon I spotted a Barn Owl flying along the field parallel to the path and wall.

Barn Owl

I quietly walked along the path, going backwards and forwards a bit to keep good sight of the owl, stopping short of the gate to the horse track.

Barn Owl

The owl was very methodical as it flew back and forth quartering the field.

Barn Owl

At one point there were two owls, one at each end of the field. They then spend a few seconds around each other before going separate ways. One had stains from the corner of its eyes, the other had a much cleaner face. There is a photo showing two owls in the album on flickr but just as a record shot.

Barn Owl

It looked as though the owl flew slower when near sheep. I wonder if this was because the sheep might disturb small mammals that the owl can then pounce on.

Barn Owl

A couple of times it heard and saw me but didn’t seem too worried by my presence.

Barn Owl

They were hunting for the last snacks of the night.

Barn Owl

Flying silently up and down the field.

Barn Owl

Ready to dive on something it has heard.

Barn Owl

Down into the grass. Sometimes, after diving in, it was back up in the air quite quickly. Sometimes it spent a while out of sight, I assume tossing back whatever it had caught.

Barn Owl

A couple of times it then spent a few minutes on a fence post, presumably letting its last meal go down properly.

Barn Owl

During one of its hunting passes it veered off line slightly as though it had heard something and it disturbed two Hares. This photo shows the Owl flying almost over the top of one of the Hares that is starting to run off. This is a little surprising because I thought Hares tended to sink down to the ground when threatened. I this case it seemed to think that running was the best option.

Linnet

I then did a loop, through the Scout Camp at Sconce, along Sconce Lane to Ash House Farm where I saw a flock of Linnet perched on two overhead cables.

Starlings

The Linnet were then displaced by a flock of Starlings.

Kestrl

At Faweather Grange I tried and failed to get some shots of 4 or 5 Pied Wagtail but further on, towards Weecher Reservoir, a Kestrel was perched on an overhead cable.

View Baildon Moor to Ferrybridge

By this time it was starting to look as though rain clouds were coming from the West. Looking East was a bit grey too. This is a black and white view looking from Baildon Moor, East to Ferrybridge power station.

As usual you can click on an image to see it on flickr. In the album there are several more photos from my walk.

Purple Hairstreak and the Butterfly Count

Saturday was the Butterfly Count walk organised by Bracken Hall Countryside Centre. I went along because of the promise of looking for Purple Hairstreak butterflies.

You have until 12th August to take part in the Big Butterfly Count organised by Butterfly Conservation.

Purplae Hairstreak

We found quite a few Purple Hairstreak and spent quite a lot of time looking specifically for them. They are tree butterflies so are usually happy to be in the canopy of their favourite tree – the Oak – where they feed on Honeydew (the sugary secretion of Aphids).

Purplae Hairstreak

Bracken Hall Green is a good place to see Purple Hairstreak because you can stand on the rocks at the edge and look at the tops of the Oak trees. Some of the leaves are within touching distance but care is required because there is quite a drop if you slip off the rocks. Even when you have sight of the tops of the trees they can be difficult to spot. The most reliable way is to watch for small butterflies in the air, watch where they land and then train binoculars on the spot.

Small Copper

We also saw several Samll Copper butterflies. This one settled on the rocks for a few seconds.

Pair of Small Copper

I then went down to Trench Meadow looking for White Letter Hairstreaks but no luck. I did have this mating pair of Small Coppers pointed out to me.

Small White

The thistles had mostly gone to seed but there was still lots of Knapweed that was teeming with bees, hoverflies and Small White butterflies.

Speckled Wood

Several Speckled Woods were around too.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Hoverfly

Lesser Hornet mimic Hoverfly

Bee

Bee

Hoverfly

Hoverfly

Wrose transmotters and Emley Moor Transmitters

Walking back up to Bracken Hall Green I decided that visibility was quite good so I decided to try my new long lens out on the view of Emley Moor. I think it is not bad but I will keep my eyes open for days with better visibility.

I have taken photos of this view before. It is taken from near Reva Reservoir, looking over Baildon for 3 1/4 miles to the transmitters at Wrose and then over the whole of Bradford for a total of 19 miles to Emley Moor transmitter in the distance. The mast on the right has been erected as a temporary transmitter while work is being done on the big one.

Hornet Hoverfly?

This is a quick posting due to me not being sure, and wanting to find out more, about the Hoverfly. I’ll update the post once I have more confirmed info.

Hornet Hoverfly

It looks like a Hornet Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria). This is a view from the side. The abdomen is quite fat, not like the more common hoverfly that has a very thin abdomen.

I would like confirmation as to what type of Hoverfly it is. The internet talks about the distribution of the Hornet Hoverfly moving up from the South. Is it a frequent sighting around Bradford/Yorkshire?

Another type of Hornet mimic Hoverfly that someone mentioned is Volucella inanis which, given the location, is more likely.

Hornet Hoverfly

And a view from the top.

Mint Moth on Oragano

This is a view of a Mint moth on Oregano taken the same day as the Hoverfly. I have added this one just for the fun of it.

Denso Marston Nature Reserve early July

On 11 July 2018 I went for a walk at Denso Marston Nature Reserve along the river Aire with my camera.

As usual you can click on any of the images to view them on flickr within the album where you can see more photos of the visit.

 Grey Squirrel

Before I get around to the Denso photos here’s a couple from our garden. A Grey Squirrel eating some of the the food that has dropped from the bird feeder.

Wood Pigeon

And a Wood Pigeon that feeds in the same area.

Small White

I spent a few minutes by the pond at DMNR watching Moorhen, fish, Damselflies and quite a few Small White butterflies flitting about.

Juvenile Jay

Quite often I see Jays at Denso Marston Reserve but usually they have already seen me and are flying away. Having just been quiet near the pond perhaps this juvenile was not too spooked by my presence.

Juvenile Jays

I then spotted two more close by, all the same family I expect.

Small Skipper

A few Small Skippers were also flitting around the river banks.

Juvenile Robin

Over on the Spider Club bird feeder were a couple of juvenile Robins. They didn’t seem as wary as the adults.

Heron

I have hundred of photos of Grey Herons that I have taken over several years but this is the first time I have seen one pretending to be a Swan. It is possible that it still has its feet on the river bed but it looks unusual for a Grey Heron.

Heron

It then seemed to give itself a good shake.

Heron

And started hunting out fish. The stretched out neck and the reflection is good in this. I am impressed that there is no splash or ripple though.

Heron

To me Grey Herons look all wings, neck and legs with a tiny body in the middle to hang everything off. It is amazing that they can get large fish down their throats but even more amazing that there is room for the fish in their stomachs; their bodies don’t seem big enough. This one is just coming in to land and has lots of eddy currents stirring up its wing feathers.

This photo was taken just after the one at the top of this blog posting – the featured image as it’s called – the one that appears on Twitter, Facebook and G+ when the post is shared.

Photos and blurb from other visits to DMNR can be seen at these blog posts:-

There are others, feel free to type “Denso” into the search box.