Due to the new Covid-19 variant I find myself once again shielding due to the national lockdown as from the 5th January
When I’m back at work Nature on a Lunch Break will re-appear in some form, in the mean time keep safe, stay at home, Stay Local and I’ll see you in nature soon
Well Its good to be back on site eventually, thanks mainly to the vaccine. The months of January and February were missed so hears the nature news as from March.
March (Week 9 – 12)
The month stated slow due too the bad weather, wind/rain and cold, but by mid-month things were becoming more spring like. The 17th was a great day, a year to the day that I went into shielding, a record count of Eight Buzzards in the air riding the thermals together and a single Male Sparrowhawk thrown in as well, welcome back :))
The 20th saw the arrival of the first spring migrant in the form of a Chiffchaff, glad to see returning birds. The same week saw a pair of returning Grey Wagtails on the brook, along with a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker. Also this week in the nearby wood were Goldfinch and Long tailed Tits. On the 30th a Blackcap was on site, this being the first March record here.
Primrose, Wood Anemone, Lesser celandine, Leaves budding, things are starting to return from there winter slumber
Last week of March produced a couple of warm days which resulted in the first Butterflies of the year being seen, Peacock being the first for the year followed by a Comma, with Small Tortoiseshell later that week
Bird List :- Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Grey Wagtail, Jackdaw, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Robin, Rook, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Woodpigeon, Wren (26)
Butterflies :- Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell
Click on Image to make Larger
April (Weeks 14 – 17)
April started off on a very cold spell with temperatures going back down to the zero mark and to say we were getting temperatures up to 20° the previous month I was a little bit in shock, winter coat back on. Week 15 saw sunny and dry weather with the temps struggling into the teens, but where it did a few insects were encouraged to come out.
Bird species resulted in plenty of common species about with Blackcaps and Chiffchaff the returning migrants to site. Goldcrest and Stock Dove were a nice bonus to the species count for the year, Buzzards were seen and heard on the sunnier days.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker nest hole was found and on occasion a Woodpecker could be heard ‘tapping’ away inside as it excavated the hole ready for the young. Looking forward to watching the site during the breeding months.
Week 16 saw some great bird highlights with a Green Woodpecker “yaffling” very loudly alas heard but not seen, this bird hasn’t been on site for a very long time, so great to hear again. Also a Raven went thru, giving off that distinctive “Croak Croak” call rather than a “Caw” call of the Crow, this bird went over the top car park, the sad thing was I’d just put my camera away, always the case.
Butterflies for the month included Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, with the 15th of the month seeing the first Orange-tips on the wing. Wasn’t until a week later (Week 16) that things turned up a notch, plenty of Orange tips were now on the wing, a single Male Brimstone went thru (these never settle) but beautiful to see, we also had the emergence of Speckled Woods and Green veined White Butterflies.
Week 17 on the 27th April turned out to be a highlight day for birds with five added for the year. Thanks to the local farmer ploughing the field two of those were Gulls, Black headed and Lesser Black backed. A pair of Pied Wagtails were seen on the factory roof the same day, then in a field at the other side of the factory a Sparrowhawk flew along the hedge line, no doubt local for a local meal, finally a new summer arrival a Common Whitethroat was proclaiming territory from a number of bushes.
Other highlights was a single Roe Deer on the 22nd
Bird List : Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Lesser Black backed Gull, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Raven, Robin, Rook, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Stock Dove, Whitethroat, Woodpigeon, Wren (28) (34 for the Year)
Butterflies : Brimstone, Comma, Green veined White, Orange tip, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood (7)
Click on Image to make Larger
May (Weeks 18 – 21)
May has started on a very wet, mild and occasional sunny spells, this has reflected in the amount of insect species seen with only Orange tip and Peacock Butterflies seen in those sunny spells along with Common Carder, Red tailed Bumblebee and Tree Bumblebee up to the 11th of the Month.
Only new bird species seen up to the 11th were a pair of Mallards flying thru, no sign of Swallows as yet
The Great Spotted Woodpecker nest hole seen last month may have been abandoned but with the nest site next to the public path this may have been the problem
2 Swift went thru on the 14th at 11am,very unusual to see Swift before Swallow here
New Hoverfly Species ID on the 10th as Dasysyrphus albostriatus
A brief rest bite from the bad weather resulted in a few more butterflies coming out, great to catch up with a Holly Blue even if it was only a fly past.
Due to the bad weather its the birds that have been taking the limelight as of late and a bird which I thought I heard last week, the call was very brief, finally showed itself on the 24th and that was the Willow Warbler. These birds have always been a pass thru bird but one seems to have claimed territory in the top car park.
The Great Spotted Woodpecker, good news, I thought this nest had been abandoned at the beginning of the month and they proved me wrong at the end. Parent birds actively seen with food entering nest hole along with young birds heard. Video press HERE
Were are the Swallows????
Bird List : Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Jackdaw, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Robin, Rook, Song Thrush, Stock Dove, Swift, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren (27) (37 for the Year)
Butteflies : Green veined White, Holly Blue, Orange tip, Peacock, Speckled Wood (8 for the Year)
June (Weeks 22 – 26)
June as begun in weather we’ve all been missing, warm and sunny, despite the sunny weather for me the insects have been very hard to find with only Orange tip, Green veined White and Speckled Wood Butterflies in evidence. It has however been more of a great start for Bees this month with Common Carder Bees, White tailed Bumblebees, Goodens Nomad Bees, Tawny Mining Bees and a new Bee a Panzer or Fulvous Nomad Bee (this can only be split under a microscope looking at the certain hairs to see if they are black or yellow’ish)
Birds have included the usual common birds along with Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Jay, Pied Wagtail with a large group of Swifts moving thru mid-month, a Common Buzzard seen on a few days and the Whitethroat re found these being the highlights
Good weather continuing resulted in a few more insects coming out on week 24 with Golden bloomed Grey Longhorn being found with Small Copper, Small White and Red Admiral Butterflies being seen (all first for the year)
Bird List : Blackbird, Blackcap, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Crow, Jackdaw, Jay, Long tailed Tit, Mallard, Pied Wagtail, Song Thrush, Swift, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren (16) (39 for the Year)
Butterflies : Green veined White, Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Small White Speckled Wood
July (Weeks 27 – 30)
Well I’m sorry to say it looks like the July weeks on site have been lost due to wet weather, holidays and various shift work, hopefully August will be better
August (Weeks 31 – 34)
Well August kicked off with a bang with a pair of scarce birds seen in the top car park (3rd), haven’t been seen since 2013….Collard Dove. Probably not a scarce bird locally but great to see them on site.
Also a new hoverfly species seen Xylota segnis, the UKs commonest Xylota hoverfly but the first I’ve seen on site, also a Volucella inanis hoverfly was seen on the buddleia
When the sun did shine there were plenty of butterflies to see in the buddleia’s near the top car park, Commas, Gatekeepers, Green veined White, Large White, Peacocks, Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells, and Small White.
September (Weeks 35 – 39)
Well September didn’t start off on a great note, I’m afraid I proved positive for Covid 19 on the 1st and was off work for three week, but thankfully due to being double vaccinated I have come thru this experience.
October (Weeks 40 – 43)
Highlights for October included a skein of Pink footed Geese heading in a NE direction at the beginning of the month, then due holidays and late shift the middle of the month was missed. The ending of the month however, due to the late October sunshine, brought in a Female Southern Hawker Dragonfly, one that could have been easily missed but was found settled in a nettle patch, and gave me chance to admire this Dragonfly. The final week of the month saw Harlequin Ladybirds making an appearance especially the forms spectabillis and succinea, and with a Silver Y Moth this ended October
November (Weeks 44 – 47)
The month started well with a Grey Wagtail picked up briefly as it passed overhead calling. A skein of approx. 100 Pink footed Geese passed over the site early morning on the 8th flying in a NW direction, calling to each other and trying to make way into the strong wind. Around the bird feeders there has been a pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Robin, Dunnock, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit and Long tailed Tit, Bullfinch were heard calling in the top car park early one morning. Grey Heron passed thru dinner time on the 16th
Second half of the month brought a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers into the feeders, out in the woods a large flock of Siskin were seen in their preferred trees approx 50 birds, this fell of as the month progressed, giving none towards the end. Kestrel was a nice bonus mid-month as it flew thru, Blackbird numbers are now building up but alas no Redwing or Fieldfare as yet. A few Goldfinch have been hanging around in the wooded area along with the Siskin and a Nuthatch as been fairly vocal.
The last sunny days of November brought a single Common Buzzard soaring thru, an unidentified (due to the sun) Wagtail species was seen on week 47.
19 Species seen this Month
December (Weeks 48 – 52)
The last few days of November (Week 48) brought in the cold weather along with the first falling of snow, which brought in a good selection of birds but alas no Fieldfare or Redwings. The Siskin flock returned but not in the numbers seen last month, Goldfinch were around in good numbers as were Blackbird’s.
The temperature around the middle of the month came back to normal December temps, the birds around were Blackbird numbers were still good along with Goldfinch and Siskin, and a Grey Heron was seen flying thru on a few days. Other birds of note were a few Dunnocks on site, Robins, Wrens, Blue Tit and Jackdaws were building up in good numbers.
10 Species seen this Month (43 for the Year)
2021 draws to a close and I wish to thank all my readers for joining me this year. Although we lost part of the year due to Covid lockdowns and getting Covid, it was good that nature can be a healer in these times. I didn’t see any new species for the site this year but highlights were the Great Spotted Woodpecker nest, Green Woodpecker heard, Raven over and Collard Dove on site after an absence of 8 years.
Finally I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Species Counts for the Year have been :-
43 Species of Bird (67)
16 Species of Butterfly (21)
1 Dragonfly (10)
For a complete list press HERE