Potter Pits, 8 Aug

Small Copper

I had a look at Potter Pits, Shipley Station Butterfly Meadow and the site of the cinema on Thursday.

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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.

Monday at DMNR

On Monday afternoon I went down to Denso Marston Nature Reserve to see if anything interesting was happening.

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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.

More Painted Ladies

Painted Lady

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.

Small Things in our early August Garden

Bee

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.

Purple Hairstreak on a Friday

Purple Hairstreak and Peacock

The last week or so I seem to have been taking photos of butterflies more than anything else. Our Buddleia has been teeming with them. Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admirals, Large Whites, Green Veined Whites and dozens of Painted Ladies. We have also had a few Holly Blues high up in the Hawthorn.

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This then got me thinking about other butterflies so on Friday afternoon I decided to go along to Shipley Glen where the Oak trees towards the top edge of Bracken Hall Crag are just at the right height to look for Purple Hairstreak butterflies from the rocks along Bracken Hall Green.

They took a little searching out; Purple Hairstreaks are small. I did see one with its wings together walking along a tiny branch but I would not have noticed it without having watched it walk off a leaf onto the branch. If they spend time under leaves or on branches then they would probably have stayed hidden from me. You are also limited to looking at a small part of the tree that is close to the rocks at the edge of Shipley Glen. Any further up in the canopy and I would have needed a good pair of binoculars to find them.

Butterfly Bush

Painted Lady

In between the rain today we have had a few butterflies on and around our Buddleia. Several Small Whites have been chasing each other, six or more Peacocks have been on the Buddleia and a couple of Painted Ladys (Ladies?)