Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sunday July 16

A cloudy morning, but quite warm, with a very light westerly breeze. A light shower late in the morning.

The early signs were quite promising, with a large tit flock in the copse near Netherstead, and a Sedge Warbler carrying food in a hedgerow by the dragonfly pool. As we approached the pool I noticed a falcon sitting in a dead tree near Stapenhill Wood. The scope, and camera, revealed it to be a Hobby.

The main pool was, as expected, still losing water through evaporation. A Little Egret stalked behind the island, while the large areas of mud contained several Pied Wagtails and a single juvenile Little Ringed Plover.

Little Ringed Plover
The flash field was even more disappointing. The furthest flash has no muddy edge and contained a few Mallard and a Coot, while the nearest flash is almost entirely drying mud and held a couple of Grey Herons.

Inevitably our attention turned to insects. A bumblebee-mimic hoverfly, Volucella bombylans, showed well. They can apparently mimc either Red-tailed or White-tailed Bumblebees, this one looked like the latter.

Volucella bombylans
There were plenty of butterflies still in evidence, but the only new one was a Small White, and I took too long trying to get a shot. One pool which still had plenty of water also contained a Kingfisher, and the first brood of Tufted Ducks of the year.

Tufted Duck family
Numerous little grass moths fluttered up, but we generally ignored them. However, I did recognise several Shaded Broad-bars, and a micro called Agapeta hamana. I think I have seen them here before, too.

Shaded Broad-bar
Agapeta hamana

The most interesting insects we saw were the crickets. There were loads of them. Most were Dark Bush Crickets, but Roesel's Bush Crickets were also well represented. We also found a couple of Long-winged Coneheads. I have probably seen one of these here before, but on that occasion I didn't get a shot and I left it as a probable. This time, the first was a nymph, in other words one stage away from being a full grown female, and the other was an adult male.

Dark Bush Cricket
Roesel's Bush Cricket
Long-winged Conehead - nymph
Long-winged Conehead - male
Finally, Dave headed off, and I stopped at the farm by Bannam's Wood to get some eggs. I then decided to back track to the new pool just outside the hamlet in the hope it might hold a Common Sandpiper (with the site drying up I am beginning to fear I will miss this species this year). It didn't, but I did get a notable species.

Adult male Grey Wagtail
More typical later in the autumn, a July record is unusual here.

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