At the first hide the feeders were busy with Nuthatch, Blur Tits, Great Tits, Woodpeckers, Mandarin Duck, Magpie and Chaffinch with Moorhen quietly messing around near the water. A Kingfisher went pee-peep and perched on a branch for a second before flying off.
At the 2nd hide one of the birds I spent a bit of time watching was a Little Grebe. It was frequently diving and coming up with small fish. It is not until I saw it near ducks that I was reminded of how little they are. I had spent quite a bit of time watching the Little Grebe before I realised that there were two of them and they were taking it in turns to sit on a nest.
On several occasions I heard and then saw bits falling from high up in one of the trees. I looked over the tree with my binoculars but it was probably the forth time that I saw bits falling that the squirrel was finally showing itself as it snipped off and tucked into the nuts on the tree.
Other visitors that added yo the interest were a Bank Vole, Kingfisher (which flew a few circuits of the water but kept quite hidden when perched) a Chiffchaff and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
I think the noise of the rain and the splashes on the water helped make the afternoon relaxing. The Mandarin Ducks didn’t seem to mind it either and it looked as though they swam out onto the water when it was at its heaviest instead of staying under the cover of some of the overhanging trees.
I had a look at Potter Pits, Shipley Station Butterfly Meadow and the site of the cinema on Thursday.
Please click on any of the images to view in their gallery where you can also view them full size.
Walking along the narrow entrance to Potter Pits I saw a few butterflies but they quickly flew away but at about the same time I heard and then saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the top of one of the trees.
Until I got a bit closer I did wonder whether these Small Copper butterflies were Small Skippers. They are a similar colour and around the same size. At one point I did get close to some Ragwort that had both a Small Copper and a Small Skipper but the Skipper skipped off before I could get a photo.
I could hear a few birds around other than the Woodpecker, mainly Blackbirds over towards Bradford Beck, but I could also hear Grasshoppers. I got down low and moved slowly along the path until I saw a Grasshopper hop. I carefully followed it and managed to get a few photos of it. There seemed to be quite a few about so it is possible that these three photos are not all of the same one. A couple of times it did seem to know I was there and was quite good at hiding round the other side of what it was holding.
I didn’t spend long in Potter Pits and on the way out I spotted this Large White butterfly. On the edge of the path I spotted this black wasp with orange legs. There are several species apparently and I am no expert to try and pin the ID down any further. At the same time I looked up and was surprised to see quite a few gulls milling around. I think most of them are Black Headed Gulls.
Before going over to Potter Pits I also had a look at the site of the Glen Royal cinema on Briggate where this 19? Spot Harlequin Ladybird was seen. Feel free to update me if any of my IDs are wrong. Teasels are also on the site.
After looking at the cinema site I also had a walk around the Shipley Station Butterfly Meadow and spotted new looking Burnet Moth cocoons and Cinnabar Moth caterpillars. I have yet to see a Burnet Moth caterpillar. I admit to not knowing whether it is too early to see fresh cocoons.
Click on any of the images to see it larger in its gallery.
On the far side of the pond, in the reeds, I spotted movement. There was also quite a bit of noise from Blue Tits and Long Tailed Tits but I managed to get my camera on this little brown job. A Sedge Warbler. Chiffchaff. It looked as though there were at least 2 flitting around but with the other little birds around it was difficult for me to tell.
Thanks Steve for telling me that they are Chiffchaff and not Sedge Warblers. And now I have looked back at previous Sedge Warblers I have seen it is obvious.
They are not brilliant shots but I don’t often see these birds on the reserve.
Some of the leaves of the reeds look as though they are covered in insects – plenty for the birds to eat.
The pond was occupied by two adult Moorhens and five chicks. The size of the legs and feet looks ridiculous on the chicks. I assumed that the 2 and 5 were all one happy family but at one stage an adult was having a good go at one of the chicks. The adult and other chicks then moved off stage left and a few seconds later the other adult entered stage right and seemed to offer TLC and fed the chick.
The Water Lillies looked spectacular but a 600mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter on is perhaps not the best of lenses to get a photo to do them justice.
I’m still enjoying the number of Painted Ladies that are visiting our garden.
To get some of these shots I tucked myself into the Buddleia so that I could get some of the light behind the wings. I quite like them.
I have also been keeping an eye out for Mint Moths on the Sage and Oregano. I spotted something tiny move in amongst the Oregano flowers. These are tiny flowers and I had to get my glasses to look closer. This Mint Moth caterpillar seemed to be moving these tiny black spheres. Are they moth eggs? Or is it caterpillar poo that it was moving out of the way of its next meal? A quick search on the internet shows that Mint Moth eggs are pale spheres. Intriguing.
With my macro lens on I was also able to take these shots. I have yet to ID the first one.
From previous posts you can see that we have many Painted Ladies and other butterflies in our garden that are easy to see. But that hasn’t stopped me from looking for other smaller things that take a little more to spot.
We have Mint Moths on our Sage and, as here, on our Oregano. You can see its tongue dipping down into the tiny flowers. Tucked under the flowers are also some Mint Moth caterpillars.
The Oregano is also a favourite with other insects like these Hoverflies and Bees, as is the Toadflax.
This pair of Large Whites seemed rather stuck together tail to tail. I guess the one with the black dots on her upper wings will be off laying eggs on someone’s cabbages soon.