Wildlife photos from July 2018 (and other snaps)

The emphasis of my wanderings this last week or so has been on butterflies. The Buddleia in the garden has been swarming with Large Whites and Peacocks with a fair sprinkling of Comma, Painted Lady and Red Admiral. This, and tweets/postings re butterflies to and from @BCYorkshire, got me hunting in the garden and along Baildon Bank -> Baildon Green to just short of Midgeley Wood.

Apologies for starting off with a rubbish photo but I think this is the first time I have noticed one of these butterflies. The post is quite long but I hope you like the photos and  as usual they are on flickr within an album that has more photos. Feel free to visit the album to see the others or click on an image that will take you to that image in the album.

Hopefully I have identified most things correctly but if you are an expert feel free to put me right.

Purple Hairstreak?? on Oak leaves

I think this is a Purple Hairstreak (Favonius quercus). It is on the leaves of an Oak tree at the western end of Baildon Bank. After starting with a poor photo I’ll move on to some better ones. Well at least I think they are better.

Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata)

This is a Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata). We appear to have 2 in the garden, 1 on each clump of Oregano. They are small and can very easily hide under small leaves. At full stretch it is about 1.5 cm across = small.

There are more photos of it in the flickr album that show it with wings stretched looking almost as bis as the bee that is behind it. Another shows the underside of its wings.

Holly Blue

A small butterfly we have had in the garden is the Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus). Here it has settled on the Oregano but is usually just flitting through.Holly Blue

I also managed to spot Holly Blue on an apple tree and blackcurrant bushes near the back of Baildon Community Link.

Red Admiral Butterfly

A larger butterfly that we have had on the Buddleia is the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). This shot was getting quite close and personal.

Red Admiral Butterfly

Red Admiral

Painted Lady Butterfly

Another large butterfly, still one of the aristocrats, that liked the Buddleia was a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady. This one shows its spread wings.

Comma Butterfly

We have also had a few Comma butterflies

Peacock Butterfly

This Peacock (Aglais io) that visited the Buddleia looks as though it is cleaning its proboscis using its front legs.

Peacock Butterfly

Peacock

Large Whites

Many Large White (Pieris brassicae) have been fluttering through the garden and sometimes settling on the Buddleia. These two look like they are about to have a go at a bit of mating.

Large Whites

Large White. Though I must admit to wondering if they are Small Whites. I am hoping to get some more photos of the smaller ones that have pale yellow undersides to their rear wings.

Gatekeeper

A couple of times I have spotted a Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) in the garden but these 2 were seen on Baildon Bank.

Small Copper

Here we have a Gatekeeper, a Small Copper and 2 small wasps(?) out on Baildon Bank.

Small Copper

This is a better view of the underwing of a Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

Small Copper

And this shows the upperwing of a Small Copper

?? Meadow Brown

I think this is a Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)

Ringlet

And this one is a Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

Ringlet

Here we have 3 Ringlet butterflies sharing a Blackberry flower. Another photo on flickr shows one of them with a wasp.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterflies are one of those that you suddenly see flying up from the grass of path as you get close.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

As the Speckled Wood flies off it might disturb another and they can spend some time flitting around each other in the speckled sunlight.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Speckled Wood

Moth Silhouette on the window

I spotted this moth silhouette on our dining room window with the evening sun shining through it. I have no idea what kind it is other than quite small.

Grass hopper

Out and about I could here Grass Hoppers and several times saw something jump away from me. After seeing where one landed I managed to get close enough to take a photo.

Grass hopper

Several years ago I remember hearing Grass Hoppers at Baildon Green and found lots of them on the short stone pillars next to the path. For quite a stretch between Thompson Lane and Baildon Green there seemed to be between 5 and 15 Grass Hoppers on each stone pillar. So this week I glanced at each pillar as I walked past. I only saw 1 Grass Hopper.

Tiny insects on the Buddleia

Back home I had noticed insects on the Buddleia varying in size from tiny to small. A couple of other photos show that the Buddleia was teeming with these tiny ones.

Tiny insects on the Buddleia

Tiny insects on the Buddleia – Several of the flower heads had dozens of these little critters. Very similar to the pollen beetles I saw on the thistles ner Shipley Station.

Tiny insects on the Buddleia

Tiny and small insects on the Buddleia. Here we are actually looking at the back of the small beetle, almost from behind it. Its “shoulders” look very much like a head with what could be a mouth ready to bite any predator.

Tiny insects on the Buddleia

Small flying insects on the Buddleia

Insect on Oregano

Small flying insect on Oregano

Hover fly

Hover fly on the Buddleia

Wasp

Wasp on the Buddleia

Honey Bee

Honey Bees were very busy during the bright sun, feeding on the Buddleia

White Tailed Bumblebee

As were White Tailed Bumblebees but not in such large numbers.

Bullfinch

While I was watching the wildlife around the Buddleia a Bullfinch or two flew between the houses and I managed to spot were one landed.

Acorns growing

Acorns growing on Oak trees on Baildon Bank.

Salt's Mill from Baildon Bank

At several places along Baildon Bank you can get good views out over Saltaire. This is New Mill/Salt’s Mill and Saltaire village.

Salt's Mill from Baildon Bank

And this view of Salt’s Mill from Baildon Bank shows the chimney. You can see some photos of mine taken from the top of the chimney here.

Rosse Systems, Shipley from Baildon Bank

You can also get views of parts of Shipley that you don’t often drive past like Rosse Systems

Spider eyes?

When I am walking about around grass I keep my eyes open for regular shaped holes or tracks. These two looked big enough for a small rodent but look as though they are used by spiders. It was strange to see 2 next to each other like that.

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.