Holly Blue

For several days now I have seen Holly Blue butterflies flying through our garden. I didn’t know where they had come from or where they were going.

Just to be different these images are all within the blog. They are NOT part of a flickr album. Clicking on them should load a bigger version though.

Yesterday I saw one of them stop on its way through and it gave me time to get my camera.

The Buddleia is now getting its flowers so over the next few weeks I expect to see more butterflies. The first to feed on the bush this year was this Small Tortoiseshell. Several Large Whites have also been flying through the garden, seem to approach the Buddleia, but as yet haven’t settled on anything.

 

Rodley Nature Reserve 27 June 2018

On Wednesday 27 June 2018 I called in at Rodley Nature Reserve

As usual you can click on an image to see it in the album on flickr. There are several more photos within the album.

Great Crested Grebes mating

The first hide was looking out onto a pair of Great Crested Grebe. I know they are diving birds but here I think she might have been thinking that they could have built the nest a bit higher before mating.

Great Crested Grebe nest building

They did then spend some time building the nest.

Great Crested Grebe nest building

It was a joint effort bring the stuff in to build it.

Great Crested Grebe with young

I don’t know if this is one of the nest builders but it is with a young Grebe.

Avocet with Black Headed Gulls

As I left the hide a couple walking the other way asked me if I had seen the Avocet on the Duck Marsh – so that was the next hide to visit. Two Avocet in front of a few Black Headed Gulls. This is a first for the reserve.

Avocet

The long, thin, upward curved beak is evident in this shoy.

Avocet

One of them has rings on its leg. I think they are – left leg, white on top of green. Right leg, red on top of orange. Hopefully others have better views and have been able to find out where it was ringed.

Avocet

The upwards curve of the beak means they can sweep it along the surface of the water and catch the aquatic insects.

Avocet

It looks as though the ringed bird also has one on its right leg. Are all 5 needed to identify it?

Avocet

And they have little webbed feet.

Pheasant. As surprised as I was

I walked around the wild flower meadow where there were lots of Meadow Brown butterflies. I approached the gate to the river path by one route just as this Pheasant approached from another.

Pheasant

We were both a bit surprised, but also both curious.

Ovipositing Azure Damselfly pairs

Children were around having a good time pond dipping near the visitor centre and lots of Azure Damselfliy pairs were making sure that there will be lots to dip for later.

Edit 8 July 2018.

I have checked back through my photos of the visit and found some more that I think are worth showing.

Avocet

Avocet pair

Avocet, ringed

Ringed Avocet

Little Grebe

A rather wet looking Little Grebe.

Comma, Bees and Thistle

A Comma butterfly sharing thistle flowers with Bees.

View from the bridge

The view from the bridge just inside the nature reserve. Beautiful.

Shipley Butterfly morning of 3 July 2018

We have had some really hot weather recently and as a result butterflies are able to be very active. Going out in the midday sun to take photos of butterflies is not the most sensible so on Tuesday I decided to get off a bit earlier than usual. I went to Shipley Station again and let the ticket office know what I was intending to do – this time they asked me to “sign in”

Burnet Moth emerging from Pupa

In the butterfly meadow all was quiet on the moth and butterfly front but there were a few noisy Jays, Magpies and Chiffchaffs around. Several Burnet Moth pupae looked as though they had either given up or were waiting for the temperature to rise.

Burnet Moth

Just after 7:30 things started to warm up a bit and Burnet Moths started to show themselves.

Red Spider Mite

I also went over to the area between platform 5 and the carpark. Peering over the fence I saw a Small Tortoiseshell – but got a better photo of one later. I then noticed Red Spider Mites just under my chin. Lots of them were running about on the fence timbers.

I didn’t spot any Common Blue butterflies so I decided to go over to the field on the other side of platform 4. You can get to it by going under the bridge on the left of the road into the station. On the way there I spotted this graffiti. “Stop Morrisons killing rare Marbled White butterflies in Shipley”

White Tailed Bumblebee

By now the day was heating up again and things were getting busy. Like this busy White Tailed Bumblebee.

ID required.

Many of the thistle flowers were covered in tiny black shiny flower beetles. I don’t know what else to call them – anyone got an ID?

Female Meadow Brown

The field was full of Meadow Browns flitting through the grass. It’s quite surprising how they manage to work their way through what looks like a thick mat of grass.

Small Skipper

Both over in the station and here were dozens of Small Skippers.

Ringlet butterfly (Aphantopus hyperantus)

Ringlet butterflies were also around.

Smal Tortoiseshell

As were Small Tortoiseshell. This is the better shot I mentioned earlier.

Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis)

A few moths were also flying about. I believe this one is a Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis)

Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)

But the star of the show was a Marbled White. I only saw one at a time and it could have been the same one each time. Certanly no where near the numbers as the Small Skippers or Meadow Browns. Hence the graffiti I mentioned earlier I guess.

Young Chiffchaff

On the way back to the road the path goes between trees and on the edges there seemed to be several Chiffchaff flitting about, I assume parents plus fledglings. This one stopped long enough for me to get a shot of it.

The album on flickr has several more images – you can view the album here.

Moorside & Tong Park Dam June 2018

Here’s a few photos from a couple of walks from Jenny Lane down to Tong Park Dam area. A walk from cricket pitch to cricket pitch in fact.

As usual the images are on flickr and clicking on them will take you to that photo on flickr withing the album.

Swallows

After passing the play area on Jenny Lane, towards the top end of the rugby club, there are a few wire above the path. A great place to see young Swallows calling to be fed.

Swallows

And then getting flying insects pushed down their throats. Yummy!

Willow Warbler

Willow Warblers were also collecting insects for their young. This one was spotted  just before getting to the Moorside Equestrian Centre. The Bracken and small trees were providing good cover for the young. Several small flocks of young Goldfinch were also around but they were feeding themselves on various seed heads. I didn’t get any decent photos of the Goldfinch, they all had their backs to me.

Chimney Sweeper Moth

Much further down on the walk nearer Birks Wood and  Willy Wood moths and butterflies were more evident. There were lots of Chimney Sweeper moths (Odezia atrata)…

Meadow Brown & Bumble Bee

Small Heath or Meadow Brown? I should be able to tell the difference between them. The Small Heath is small and the Meadow Brown medium size. With a little help from one of the experts (Yorkshire branch of Butterfly Conservation) I am now going for Meadow Brown.

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)… (but where is the white dot in the eye?)…

Speckled Wood

I also noticed a small number of Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)

Longhorn Moth (Nemophora degeerella)

This Longhorn Moth (Nemophora degeerella) was somehow managing to hoist its antenna into the air. They are a lot longer than its body.

Azure Damselfly

A large number of Azure Damselflies were around. They got more and more common as I got closer to the various ponds.

Newly hatched Damselfly

At the Denso Marston Nature Reserve Celebration Day I learnt that a newly hatched Damselfly can be difficult to categorise. I think this is a newly hatched one.

Sawfly Larva

By the footpath between Tong Park Dam and the cricket ground were several clusters of Sawfly Larvae. Apparently they group together for protection in numbers.

Tong Park Dam

For this shot of Tong Park Dam, with ducklings and Swan, I held my camera as close to the surface of the water as I could.

Ducklings

It can be really noticeable that when a parent duck spots you it makes a quck or two and all its brood get together as quickly as possible and try to follow the parent.

Whitethroat

On the other side of Gill Beck I was pleased to spot this Whitethroat.

Whitethroat Family

And even more pleased to see that it had a family.


Mute Swan

Back at the Dam I got my camera down low again to take a few photos of the cob Mute Swan that was swimming about. I quite like this shot of the swan coming towards me as it dips its head in the water.

Mute Swan

I got this one as it lifted itself up flapping its wings. The next shot was of it a lot higher but unfortunately it went off the top of the frame. I am concerned about the state of its flight feathers. They look very battered and worn. They look nothing like the majestic wings you often see when a swan does this. Has it moulted? Has it been battling with invaders of its partners nest?

You can view the photos above, and more, in the album on flickr.

Moulting of Flight Feathers

Birds moult and have to replace the feathers that they lose. Ducks, Geese and Swans are different to other birds in that when they moult their flight feathers they lose them all. During this time they may not have enough feathers to be able to fly. This puts them at greater risk of predation. I have seen a small number of dog owners allow their dogs to chase wildlife. It was a frequent sight in Robert’s Park where dogs would run along the path by the river and chase the ducks and geese into the river. Sometimes the dog would also go into the river forcing the birds to fly. The owner may think that it is “just a bit of fun” and that the birds can “just fly away” when the need to. But during a flight feather moult these birds would not be able to fly and may harm themselves trying or be caught by the dogs.

Mandarin Duck

Many of you will have seen male Mandarin Ducks on the canal or river, they are quite colourful. Springwatch had a Mandarin Duck brood this year.

Male Mandarin Duck in eclipse

Many male ducks shed their flamboyant colours when they go into their annual eclipse and are unable to fly. This is a male Mandarin Duck during eclipse. You would hardly recognise it but I am pretty sure it is the same one as in the photo above it.

 

Unusual house caller

We have had many visitors to our kitchen but today was the first time I have noticed a Thrush in the house.

I heard a fragile “tap, tap, tap” outside and went to look. On our patio a Thrush was tapping a small snail shell on the ground. I didn’t shoo it away but went for my camera.

Thrush on patio wall

When I got back it was on the patio wall but then surprised me by coming closer.

Thrush on kitchen threshold.

The next I saw of it was on the kitchen threshold.

Thrush in the conservatory

It soon hopped out so I carefully went to the kitchen door. The Thrush was no longer on the patio. It had decided to have a look around the conservatory. But not on the outside, poking in the gutters for insects and worms, like a normal Thrush, but inside.

Thrush checking out the magasine rack

It also had a look in the magasine rack.

Thrush on patio wall

After opening both doors to the conservatory it happily hopped out and onto the patio wall again. I’ll be watching for you, I’m not having you in the house watching the World Cup.

The images are on flickr and you should be able to click on any of them except the very top “feature” image to view them within the album or you can view the whole album using this link. There are several extra photos in the album.