Sunday, June 28, 2009

Garden Warbler

Part of the Open Gardens involves "scarecrow" making and displaying, this year ours was the life cycle of a butterfly.

A Garden Warbler has been singing from all around the garden and once briefly from within it this weekend. The Blackcap is now largely silent but very occasional bursts of sing indicate it is still about, possibly breeding. Over the weekend three young Goldfinch fed on a thistle in "the meadow" and the juvenile Tree Sparrow is appearing regularly with a parent. The House Sparrows seem to have gone.

The first Ringlet of the year was flying on Saturday.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Open Gardens

Our "Open Gardens" leaflet can be found here.

Rather madly, considering our circumstances, we've agreed to do this. The garden is open to visitors today and tomorrow, 11:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. At the moment it's rather foggy and very wet, not ideal.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tree Sparrows

A juvenile Tree Sparrow was under the kitchen feeder with an adult this morning, they have clearly bred somewhere very close by.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Small Elephant Hawkmoth

Elephant Hawkmoth

Elephant Hawkmoth

Probably two Small Elephant Hawks in total and at one point had three Elephant Hawks around the light at once Also plenty of other moths, which will take me a while to id because I'm no great shakes at them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunny Runswick Bay

Dad's Day treat - go to Runswick Bay and have a pub lunch. I'm very fond of the Royal Hotel which serves a good pint of Black Sheep and decent enough grub (fish and chips recommended if you're hungry). You can sit out overlooking the bay and casually bird whilst enjoying these refreshments. This Wood Mouse was in the garden.

On the way down the first Herring Gull chick of the season was on a roof.

House Martins were very active collecting nest material and seven nests were located on the usual building (House Martins seem ok in this neck of the woods). Lesser Whitethroat was singing in the top car park.

Earlier in the morning at home a Cuckoo, cuckooed repeatedly from the plantation beside the garden, didn't make airspace though, the two male House Sparrows were present again, the Blackcap seems to have been joined by a competitor and in the afternoon a veritable flock of three Grey Herons flew past.

The cut field that was sprayed with cow shit now holds a goodly flock of Curlew and plenty of gulls were following the silage cutting tractors including about 60 Black-headed Gulls and 30 Herring Gulls.

Out hunting for more moths for the garden moth recording week, click here for info.

Hummingbird Hawk

Hhhhmmmmmmmm.... Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the garden this evening (very blurry pix in the gloaming). Rather early in the season methinks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bees, butterflies and night noises

So the Painted Lady invasion finally reached here with one early in the week in the garden and one in Whitby and then four in the garden yesterday and at least six today.

Bombus hortorum

The bumblebee photos are from last weekend when I had a surprising lack of enthusiasm for birding and stayed at home mooching about.

Bombus pascuorum (also saw B. pratorum)

Up and about early on Saturday morning my wander around the feeders to fill them brought a garden first - the sound of Redstart singing. The bird was in our neighbour's trees about 200 metres away but a nice record none the less. Redstart is much more common on the other side of the dale around the organic farm. The farm which is our neighbour is not organic, it may of course be micro-climate that dictates Redstart ditribution but I do suspect land management practices have something to do with the paucity of breeding Redstart on our side of the dale comparing dismally to the plenty across the beck. Also of note was the Blackcap which has greeted our awakening each morning since last Sunday - I'll upload some song later. A male House Sparrow joined the much more regular Tree Sparrow at the feeders along with the usual gang of Yellowhammers, Greenfinches, Siskins and Goldfinches. Stock Doves are early morning regulars from the kitchen window feeding on the fallen seed from the feeder.

Moody moor

An Atlas visit took up the rest of Saturday morning, bringing few surprises but good numbers of Tree Pipits and proving breeding, two different Cuckoos still cuckooing, Redstart singing and the discovery of some very lovely meadows in a part of the tetrad where I had previously not ventured.

Nice fields

Back home a low flying Buzzard entered airspace and Kestrel was displaying, Sparrowhawk hunting.

Evening arrived and I wondered about moth trapping, Elephant Hawk ought to be on the wing but the birds won, as they usually do and I headed to one of my favourite places. Out of the car and straight away the familiar creaking gate greeted me - LEO hunger calling. The Long-eared Owls had used the same spot as last year. I wanted to check a new spot for Nightjar so didn't linger with the owls and set off tramping. Roe Deer were but shadows in the lower fields, their barks pierced the dusk. On the way to the selected spot I heard Nightjar behind me, from where I had just been .... however, I carried on. The so called promising spot had clearly looked good to my eyes but not to a Nightjar's. Lots of churring was coming from a way away and from a closer but different spot. Eventually, having tramped more I arrived at a territory. Fortunately my midge protection was at least partially effective and over half an hour a male bird flew around me five or six times just 10 feet or so away. An unseen Woodcock roded overhead. I headed home.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Garden today and Orkney report

Today both House Sparrow and Tree Sparrow in the garden, the House Sparrow female feeding two young by the feeders. This is the first sighting of this species, common 400 metres away, in the garden for about a year. Also plenty of Siskin and Goldfinch. Willow Warbler are now whoeeeting in the trees. A Blackcap sang briefly from behind the feeders.

I managed to repair the pond which had sprung a leak, it's now full again.

Orkney report is on my other blog - Literate herring this way It's a very brief account of a very busy week.