Monday, 17 October 2016

Sunny autumn day at North Cliff Wood

Although the lure of the coast and its migration wonders was there, I decided to head inland, to the small jewel that is North Cliffe Wood. There seem to always be something interesting going on there and I wanted to take advantage of the sunny weather forecast to try and see some late insects. Although it was quite windy, the shelter of the trees made for a pleasant walk around. 
 A few Parasol Mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera) were open in all their magnificence at the start of the heath. Its is hard to show in a photo how large they are!
 Many Common Darters were about and they became more active as the morning progressed. No Migrant Hawkers though.
Female Common Darter
Male Common Darter.
There were also plenty of droneflies, here a male Eristalis tenax.
I saw a hornet in flight with the corner of my eye. It was on a sunny spot by the path, with an almost dry pond covered on reeds on the side. I waited a bit and then saw another. They appeared to be patrolling over the reeds. I thought that they might come and rest on the path or on the trees, as it was still a bit cold. One did. It was still quite high, so no macro shots, but I was pleased with them, my best hornet shots yet!

As I restarted my walk, Redwings called their alarm calls. I noticed a rowan ahead and watched. The Redwings left, but there was a flock of Bramblings feeding on the berry seeds, discarding the pulp (which I suspect thrushes will eat from the forest floor later). I moved slowly to a better position and sat on a mossy cushion. Watched and photograph the Bramblings from there. A Fieldfare joined them for a short while.
Male brambling

A group of Long-tailed tits made their appearance later as I was having my lunch on the clearing where the hornets were. They were in the company of a Great tit, a Coal Tit and a Marsh tit. Common Darters sat on the sunny spot and hunted from the path. A Common Carder bee queen also came down to bask. Over my head a gliding butterfly, a Red Admiral, which settled on a tree.
Common Carden Bee, Bombus pascuorum.

A Field Digger Wasp, Mellinus arvensis.
A robberfly, likely Machinus atricapillus

I had checked many logs today, not finding much of interest, until this:
A Crab spider, Ozyptila sp. unfortunately, just after taking this shot, it rolled onto dry leaves and I couldn't find it again.
A pair of Buzzards called, soaring over the heathland. When I looked up, a kestrel was hovering practically over my head, with the Buzzards higher up. A passing crow decided he had to bother the Buzzards and climbed up to their level and started mobbing one.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Flamborough Headland

I took a trip to Flamborough Head this morning. The wind was relentlesly southwesterly, so not really ideal for migrants, but it was a mild, sunny day. Not long after arriving I noticed a pair of crows mobbing what it looked like a gull. On close inspection it turned up to be an Osprey! I hadn't seen one for years so it was a nice start. It moved south very quickly but not before I had taken a record shot.
A large flock of Greylag circled and settled by the golf course, and several skeins of Pink Footed geese totalling about flew south
On the shore, a few seals bobbed up and down just offshore, trying to keep their noses dry. Three of them playfully chased and sniffed each other noses. Yet another lay on rocks.
In between seal watching, I spotted a Guillemot, a few Gannets flying far offshore, two red-throated divers and a Great Crested grebe. Five House Martins appeared to still be settled on Selwick bay. One of them took on chasing a Pied Wagtail, to the annoyance of the wagtail.
Insects were still abundant. On the Butterflies and moths I saw many Red Admirals, 2 Painted ladies, 1 Large White, 1 Comma and a few Small whites and a Silver Y.
I went down to the beach at Selwick bay for lunch after a walk around the headland. On the steep steps, a couple of Stonechats watched for insects, and allowed me to approach and then watch them for a while.
A view of Selwick (Silex) bay
Osprey mobbed by Carrion crows
Small Tortoiseshell pupa.
The headland at low tide.
A dead common shrew on the path.
Great Crested Grebe.
Distant shots of Red-Throated divers.
Common Darter.
Red Admiral.
Pink-footed geese migrating.
The leaders of the flock.
Ichneumon Pimpla sp.
Large White.
A large male Colletes, possibly hederae? UPDATE 1/10/16. Ian Beavis at Twitter indeed confirmed this is an Ivy Bee Colletes hederae, the northernmost British record and first for Yorkshire! I guess the SW winds might have aided dispersing individuals north to this well known migration spot.
Another shot of the Ivy Bee.
Small White.
Red Underwing.
Female Stonechat.
Male Stonechat.
Common Field Grasshopper with barnacles.
Loafing seals.
Painted Lady.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Filey Brigg birds and half a lifer

The sea was very flat, with almost no wind today and high tide. I had only been to Filey once before and it was nice to be back, right on migration season. By the campsite, on the Sycomores we heard a call reminiscent of coal tit that happened to be a Yellow Browed warbler. It didn't exposed itself very well, so I ended up having a lifer without seeing it's head. Insects were aplenty by the line of trees, including several Red Admirals and many hoverflies. On the pond a Dunlin fed with some Linnets. We walked atop the north facing clifs and spotted a Wheatear.
 The birds were aplenty by the Brigg. A group of six Common Scoter not too far offshore, Cormorants, Sandwich Terns, Shags, various gulls, a flock of snoozing Knot, Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Oystercatcher and while having lunch, a surprise in the form of a Kingfisher. The nicest thing about Filey is that you don't really need a telescope to see the birds!
Pied Wagtail.
Helophilus pendulus.
Eristalis tenax.
Mesembrina meridiana.

Red Admiral.
Greenfinch feeding on rosehips.
View to the NE from the clifftop.

Common Field Grasshopper.
Common scoters.
Rush Veneer, a migratory moth.
Red throated divers.

Beadlet anemone, Actinia equina.
A view of the Brigg.
Purple Sandpiper
Sandwich Tern
Lion's mane jellyfish, Cyanea capitata
Purple Sandpiper
Shag (left) and Cormorant
Common Shore Crab, Carcinus maenas.