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.

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