Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Great Crested Grebes Deliver Again!

Burnet Moth

Small Skipper

Burnet Moth

Meadow Brown

Small Skipper

Soldier Beetle

Red Admiral Butterfly

Got no deeds to do
No promises to keep
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me...
Life, I love you,
All is groovy___

Lyrics courtesy of Paul Simon

29th June. With the coming of another hot day I thought I’d head for the best place I know on patch for insects at this time of year. I wasn’t disappointed. I wouldn’t even try to guesstimate the number of Small Skippers seen today. Every where I looked at over this relatively small area seemed to produce one, two or three of them at a time. Not long on the wing, I believe they were looking to spread their genes as they seemed to be constantly on the move and disappearing into the longer grasses. It certainly wasn’t easy to get a photograph although I managed to eventually. The Meadow Browns were numerous too and seemed intent on the same pursuit as the Small Skippers. The Meadow Brown seems to my eye to have a water colour wash on the underside of the wings. One Large White appeared. It wasn’t long after noon, so I had chosen the hottest part of the day and so can’t be surprised at the movement of the butterflies. I was mindful of the Ringlets that I had seen at the weekend. Again, newly on the wing and all males I reckon, as the males take to flight a week before the females. Another butterfly that is becoming more common in this area, although I’ve yet to see one on patch.

We had been talking about moths at the weekend and Burnet Moths were mentioned. Numbers of Burnet Moths were about today and they were a lot more laid back and easier to photograph than the butterflies, as were the Soldier Beetles. The red and black of the Burnet Moth is definitely a sight to behold on a hot sunny day. Having taken some time out just to watch what was going on in this area I decide to walk on down to the small lake. I initially got my eye on one of the juvenile Great Crested Grebes which appeared to be completely independent now, as is its sibling. Just as well, as I was very pleased to see the pair of adults with their second brood of three youngsters. On the back of the female for the most, but then slipping off into the water to be fed by the male. When year end comes and I write up my highlights of the year, there is little doubt that the Great Crested Grebes are going to make an appearance. With the other pair still on the larger lake we have at present nine Great Crested Grebes on Killingworth Lake. It’s been good to see others taking such an interest in them.

It was cool down by the lake so I took a quiet and slow stroll around. I found no sign of the Little Grebe or the Sedge Warbler. There were at least twelve Lesser Black Backed Gulls, most of them loafing on the sports centre roof and at least two Common Terns. Swifts and House Martins fed and drank over the lake. I counted circa seventy-five Canada Geese, most of them gathered in two flocks on the larger lake. Common Blue Damselflies were much in evidence as they had been when I was watching the butterflies.

I slowly walked back towards the ‘insect area’ and watched the butterflies again before heading off to the area behind the village. Despite the coolness around the area of the lake I was feeling hot by now. I found a Red Admiral Butterfly, but had to get into the brambles and other vegetation to get a photograph of it and still it was quite distant. It flew before I could get a closer shot. Perhaps just as well or I would have ended up scratched and stung no doubt.

I heard both Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. The song of the latter appearing much weaker and quieter now and in fact there was probably more huit huit than song now. The business and sounds of spring have passed by now taking us into a quieter, but no less interesting phase of summer. I watched a family of young Long Tailed Tits as they called and moved through the bushes.

The wind seemed to be getting up more now and was perhaps a sign of a change in the weather. Cloud was also building up, although it remained very warm. Today had given me time just to ‘look and listen’ and I continued in this vein as I tried, unsuccessfully, to get an arty shot of the patch. As I rose from my knees I was surprised by a young lad returning home from school down the narrow pathway. He seemed to realise what I was doing, at least I hope he did! Anyway he gave a polite smile and a hello before continuing his journey.

On my way home I found a rather nicely coloured Magpie feather which is now in my possession. I make use of such things in the occasional talk I give.


  1. I did call past Killy this morning and spent a cracking hour there. First thing i noticed on the smaller lake was the second brood of G.C.G.'s with the previous juveniles in quite close attendance. Would have made an interesting pic but too distant. Lots of other stuff but a first for me on either lake.......a Little Grebe. I see you mentioned one in your posting but i had definately never seen one there before. Went up to Big Waters then ended up at Cobalt all on level ground...........well, except when i went "off path" a couple of times. I paid for it also as i tweeked my calf the 4 times i did.
    I knew i shouldn't but.............

  2. Glad you had a good morning.

    Little Grebe used to be a regular on the small lake, but I hadn't seen one for sometime. Holywell Birding heard one calling back in April and I found one a week ago. I didn't see it this afternoon so interesting to hear it's still there.

    You better be taking it easy :-)

  3. There was also a nice variety of butterflies and moths there, which is great to have on your doorstep! (Not too mention the damselflies).

    So yeah it's groovy, Simon and Garfunkel style, lol!

  4. Yes, "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" to be exact Mark. From Simon and Garfunkel's, album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. "59th Street Bridge" is the colloquial name of the Queensboro Bridge in New York.

    Yes, some good insects out and about at the moment.:-) Cheers Brian