Sunday, 9 August 2009

Hot Days On Patch. 1

??? Moth

Ruddy Darter

Peacock Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell

Meadow Brown

Canadian Goldenrod

5th Aug. Well ok, not hot bird wise, but hot none the less. I had noticed numbers of butterfly passing the windows this morning and I found that the attraction was the Butterfly Bush Buddleja davidii in a neighbour’s front garden. I was tempted to get my binoculars on the bush to pick them out, but thought better of it. I decided to take a walk along the wagon way instead. I was initially disappointed, but things soon picked up.

Birds are few and far between on patch at the moment, and have been throughout the previous month which has focussed my attention on the insects. On reaching the farm I did find numbers of Swallow and House Martins hunting over the field and the first few of many Goldfinches to be seen today, feeding on the thistle seeds. Summer is not the time for birds on this particular walk. I was drawn to some Dyers Greenweed Geista tinctoria (I think!) on the side of the track and later a patch of a very attractive plant which was attracting many insects. On later checking I found this to be Canadian Goldenrod Solidago canadensis. I also began to notice just how many people have Butterfly Bushes in their gardens!

Small White Butterflies had been with me the length of the walk and when I came to the small open grassland area I began to find Green Veined White, Small Tortoiseshell (numbers), Peacock (numbers), a single Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and the odd Small Skipper which seem to be coming to the end of their flight period. Moving along it was a pleasant surprise to find the road between Killingworth and Backworth closed as repair work is being carried out on the bridge. It’s amazing what a difference this makes to the walk. I do remember when this road was a quiet country road, but no longer, so I’ll be happy if it stays closed for sometime. I found a single Painted Lady Butterfly as I crossed to the continuation of the waggonway as I made in the direction of Holystone. Now that there are crops in the fields birding was restricted. I had earlier heard the occasional huit huit of Chiffchaff and now found and heard Wrens, Linnets and Yellowhammers. I disturned a flock of 50/60 Goldfinch, which apart from two birds had been hidden within the hedgerow. Again these birds had been busy on the thistles. Apart from this there was only the corvids, pigeons and gulls. Numbers of Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Meadow Brown Butterflies continued to appear.

At the point I turned around to return I found a couple of very flighty Wall Brown Butterflies which proved impossible to photograph. I’d like to think that the edges of the fields which contain many species of wild flower are deliberate policy on the farmer’s behalf. In amongst the assortment I found a large patch of Scarlet Pimpernel Anagallis arvensis which was just coming into flower and lots of Pineappleweed Matricaria discoidea. The later actually being quite attractive when seen in close up.

I had noticed that there was no sign of any Swifts in the area. Walking homeward I caught brief sight of a Sparrowhawk flying into the trees with prey, probably caught in a garden on the estates. It wasn’t long before I heard the calls of Sparrowhawk chicks and probably the female bird. I hung around for a while, but was unable to catch sight of any of the birds which where still calling excitedly as I left for home.

6th Aug. No real chance for birding today but I did take some time out to look at the area where the Sparrowhawks have nested. On approach I caught sight of a Sparrowhawk flying high in the sky above the site. I took the chance to wait and see if the male would fly in with food. There was no action at all, but I was joined by a Ruddy Darter Dragonfly and a rather attractive blowfly, a Greenbottle species of the Lucilia genera. Blowflies I understand are one of the first flies to come into contact with carrion because of their ability to smell this from long distance. It is another one of the insects that is important in the science of forensics. I must read up a bit more about this then order my Butterfly Bush!
I ended the day finding a rather attractive moth in the garden. I suspect this is a common moth. Can anyone I D this for me please?


  1. Thanks. That seems a very apt name. Perhaps this moth lark is easier than I thought! :-) Brian.