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Fairburn Ings

A chance of scenery this outing for a particular bird I haven’t seen in the UK since 1986 so long overdue, weather today very grey and dull

So on arrival Lin Dike was the first port of call for the bird overdue, Great White Egret (a little clue  in what was hopped for) was the first white egret species found and at a distance as I walked towards the the hide , as I made my way down to the hide Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Coots, Moorhens, Mallards were all seen from the footpath.

Settling in the hide and scanning the pool Teal, Wigeon and Mallards were all dappling in front of the hide with Shoveler, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Lapwing, Mute Swan, and alone Whooper Swan were further a field, Little Egret ( two down last one to find) was picked up in flight then quickly disappeared behind some trees.

A picked up on a single Male Marsh Harrier working its way down the pool working both sides, I watched as it went further away from me and then went close to the trees where the Little Egret vanished, I was hopping it would flush something up and bingo a white Egret flew out and across to the other side of the field, Little or the hoped for ??. The scope was needed and bingo Cattle Egret, a long time since 1986 but there it was and a bonus of it being in Yorkshire this time, 3 White Egrets in a day another first…time was spent watching then I moved on down to the Visitor Centre

Around at the visitor centre feeders were Collard Dove, Tree Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Fieldfare, Redwing, a single Great Spotted Woodpecker high in one of the trees, and Blackbirds

Along by the coal-pit trail were various Gulls and a single Little Egret viewed from the Bob Dickens Hide

The Days Bird List (In no Particular Order)……..Cattle Egret, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cormorant, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Lapwing, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Black headed Gull, Lesser Black backed Gull, Common Gull, Shelduck, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Goosander, Grey Heron, Marsh Harrier ♂, Gadwall, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pochard, Fieldfare, Redwing, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Tree Sparrow, Magpie, Crow, Blackbird, Robin, Common Buzzard


Finding Dragons

Another Old Moor outing in the vain hope of finding some Dragonflies in the Autumn sun, but the first call was to be to the Field Pool hide where a Grey Phalarope had been seen for the last few days. Today it was rather distant and in the sun so it was pointless taking any photos but could be clearly seen size, shape and behaviour clearly giving this delightful bird away.

On then to try to find some dragonflies, didn’t take me long as i approached the wader scrape hide with a single Common Darter on the path way, here I stopped for a while taking my time over the photos and as it tried landing on my hair a few times and landing on the pathway. We were soon joined by a Migrant Hawker which the Common Darter avoided gracefully, and then the Hawker settled nearby, again a wonderful photo opportunity, a great start.

Decided on taking in a couple of hides to see what birds were about as well, as well as the Phalarope, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Golden Plovers, Lapwings, Green Sandpiper, were about the highlights

I walked around more of the reserve enjoying more Common Darters and their playful antics

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Common Darter

Common Darter

Essex Skippers

Essex Skippers were my hit target for today never before captured upon the camera, so I was out to change that and the destination was Tywell Hills and Dales, why here? a few other species were to be support for the day.

Hit Tywell at 9am in the morning to numerous dog walkers and overcast skies but not to be downhearted I marched on, a few butterflies were on the wing as I entered the reserve Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Heath were on the wing. It was an hour before the skies became blue and sunny and then there was an explosion of colour and I happened to be in an area were there was a few Small Skippers about so I started searching, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeepers, Small White, Large White, lots of Marbled Whites and then …nope Large Skipper, it took a while but find I did Essex Skipper and a bad capture but I was in the right place so I carried on…………

Eseex Skipper

Essex Skipper

A subtle difference but its mainly to do with antennae and being black underneath unlike the Small Skipper. Bird highlights here today were many Whitethroat, Common Buzzard and Red Kite

Decided on returning North via Fermyn Woods were the main target was the Purple Emperor (which on my visit today wasn’t seen) but plenty of Silver Washed Fritillary mainly whizzing past, Green veined White, Small White, Large White, Brimstone, lots of Gatekeeper, Comma, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown, a Peacock, a few Purple Hairstreak but mainly high as were the White Admirals, Ringlets, Small Tortoiseshell

Bird highlights here were the many Red Kites…Dragonflies was a Four Spotted Chaser 

Silver Washed Fritillary

Silver Washed Fritillary

Bullcliffe NR

Managed a couple of hours out with the camera at a local nature reserve plenty of things to see in the very hot weather.

Butterflies on the wing were plenty of Ringlets, with fewer Meadow Browns, a couple of fresh Small Tortoiseshells, a handful of Common Blues, lots of Small Skippers about and fewer Large Skippers, also a single Brimstone

Moths on the wing were Burnet Moths 5 Spot Burnet and a single 6 Spot Burnet was found

The best find was a Agapanthia villosoviridescens or commonly known as a Golden-bloomed grey Longhorn Beetle, one I’ve being looking for a few week now

A few hoverflies about with Volucella pellucens being the best find

A few bird species added with a nice Common Buzzard, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, and Yellowhammer

Agapanthia villosoviridescens Small Tortoiseshell


Large Skipper 6 Spot Burnet Moth

Volucella pellucens

North Cave Wetlands

Another visit out to North Cave, Black tailed Skimmer once again top of the list to find (I didnt again), 4 Spotted Chaser being the only dragonfly seen. Plenty of Damselflies about Blue tailed were numerous so were Azure, Common Blue Damselfly took a bit of finding.

Butterflies were few with Brimstone, Common Blue, and Orange tip dispite the sunny weather.

Birds seen around the sight were………Avocet, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Crow, Cettis Warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common Tern, Coot, Dunnock, Gadwall, Greylag Goose, House Martin, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pochard, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Starling, Swallow, Teal, Tufted Duck, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren

But the best find of the day for me was a few Rhyssa persuasoris (Sabre Wasp), great to watch with the very long Ovipositor which is longer than the body, also called the Giant Ichneumon, the biggest in Europe. (Photo below)

Rhyssa persuasoria

Photography Day

Todays plan was down to Old Moor to see the Glossy Ibis and photo hopefully some Dragonflies and then up to North cave Wetlands for Hoverflies and Dragonflies.

The day started well with on arrival good views of the Glossy Ibis but always at a safe distance for my camera, Dingy Skipper was a nice new find for the year along Green Lane, the other target species happened with a bit of searching but I did finally manage to see a single Four Spotted Chaser, of which I did manage to get a photo of

Four Spotted Chaser at Old Moor

Four Spotted Chaser

On then up to North Cave Wetlands were I managed to find a new Hoverfly for me a Cheilosia variabillis, dragonflies were a little bit more difficult with only a handful of Four Spotted Chasers about despite searching, should have been here yesterday one guy said….how many times have I heard that. I was hoping for a Broad Bodied Chaser, which didn’t happen, so I spent some time taking photos of the Four Spotted Chasers.

Azure Damselflies and Brimstone Butterflies were a nice distraction whilst watching the Four Spotted Chasers

Four Spotted Chaser and Brimstone Butterfly, North Cave Wetlands

Four Spotted Chaser


Day List at Old Moor :- Avocet, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Canada Goose, Crow, Coot, Gadwall, Glossy Ibis, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Lesser Whitethroat, Magpie, Mallard, Mediterranean Gull, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pochard, Redshank, Reed Warbler, Robin, Sand Martin, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon

Brimstone, Dingy Skipper, Green veined White, Orange tip, Small White, Speckled Wood

Azure Damselfly, Blue tailed damselfly, Four Spotted Chaser

Day List at North Cave Wetlands : Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Cettis Warbler, Chaffinch,

Brimstone, Green veined White, Orange tip, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood

Azure Damselfly, Four Spotted Chaser

Old Moor and beyond

After early morning jobs I decided since the weather was great I would try my changes at Old Moor again for a few more migrants and insects.

Well I arrived at 11am and set off towards the Family Hide to nail the Mediterranean Gulls this time, it took a while looking thru all the Black headed Gulls, and a few Lesser Black backed Gulls but I found them this time amongst the Black headed Gulls on the first island, two birds seen at long last. Other birds seen from here were the Sand Martins now making home in the man-made bunker, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Cormorants, Moorhen, Coots, Canada and Greylag Geese.

Down on to Green lane where there was a Reed Warbler singing away close to the path, I decided on trying to see it and with patience it finally paid off with some great views of a secretive bird, then I caught sight of a Green Woodpecker as it flew down the lane, Brimstones and Orange tips were flying by as I made my way finally to the Wader Scrape hide were I saw a single Avocet, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, and plenty more Black headed Gulls

Decided then on a walk down to Bolton Ings down along Warbler Way were there were plenty of Willow Warblers and a few Chiffchaff, but around the hide was a Common Whitethroat giving good views, Dunnock again, Pheasant a few Goldfinch. On the way back a few Speckled Woods were seen.

A quick walk around the Dragonfly ponds in the vain hope of some damselflies, but alas none were found.

Birds at Old Moor :

Avocet, Black headed Gull, Canada Goose, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Greylag Goose, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Linnet, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mediterranean Gull, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pochard, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Robin, Sand Martin, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Starling, Tufted Duck, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren.


I travelled back then and took in the Ingbirchworth area were I finally connected with a single Wheatear, relief didn’t think i was going to connect with one this year, lots of Woodpigeon and Stock Doves about.

On to the Langsett area in hope of Pied Flycatchers, but on arrival to the site I found extensive workings going on so I wasn’t hoping on picking any up and I didn’t but a solitary Common Sandpiper on the dam wall was a nice bonus.

The final place for the day was Broadstones Res. for the reported Grasshopper Warblers seen that morning, they were not found but a lovely male Whinchat was the bird find of the day. Along with the Whinchat was Common Whitethroat,Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Willow Warblers

Birds Ingbirchworth Area :

Blackbird, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common Sanpiper, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Linnet, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting,Robin, Starling, Stock Dove, Wheatear, Whinchat, Whitethroat, Woodpigeon, Yellowhammer.

Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat