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Thursday, 19 April 2018

D Day!! (Vitamin D that is)..

Started the day with an uncomfortably large car bill after MOT and service!
By far the best day of the year (-  hottest April day for 70 years!-) being hot, sunny but a bit 'squinty' without sunglasses. Disappointingly, both PHP and QECP were devoid of insects and pretty much no bees, wasps nor hovers at either site. Just nine butterflies of four species, an unsurprising male Orange Tip being the best. The water was pretty much devoid of birds other than two 'proper' Greylags and both GCGs; the sky much the same with just twelve Buzzards (plus two more on the way home and one over the garden) in groups of eight and four. Plenty of birdsong including Treecreeper and plenty of Blackcap including one above.

These terrapins, two of four were out basking.

At QE two invisible singing Firecrests was it!!

Rather like this giant Bee Home for giant bees!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Queen for a day..

.. A full moon would glow every night
And summer would be everyday...

The mewing of Buzzards is still a rare sound here so it was nice to hear one, throw back the curtains and see three, two normal and one pale, calling, dive-bombing and slo-mo flying high off to the west before drifting back northwards.

A  lot of irate Starling noise on the pond's island was a clue to a female Sparrowhawk which circled upwards disturbing all the pigeons and gulls; probably would have given a decent shot with the zoom lens.

Curiously the out-of-bounds area, after yesterdays little flurry of bees was pretty quiet despite less wind and better temperatures. Conversely the play-area scrub and that behind BPA was full of hovers, albeit mostly the same old stuff plus NfY Myathropa florea and more Bee Flies. Another Nomada spp disapeared before I could focus on it. Lots of sunbathing V. vulgaris queens.

The original Willow Warbler was still present with another one singing on the south side of the field. As I write this more gull alarm calls pointed to a Buzzard, presumably one of this morning's, circling silently - I wonder what the attraction is over the city??

Later in the garden some Honey Bees joined the H-fFBs mostly on Forget-me-not, the/a Bee Fly was sunbathing, this Salticus spp jumping spider and the first female Sphaerophoria spp was buzzing about.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Spring still AWOL...

No car today and tomorrow so little wildlife opportunities and very cold SE wind so all sunny south-facing local hedges etc blasted by wind. Any insect taking off being blown out of sight.
Four Lesser- and one Great Black-backed Gull, Cettis calling and probably 10 Meds, four seen and the rest heard only.
A few Bee Flies(pic 3), a Small Tortoiseshell, a couple of NfY hovers (Helophilus pendulus and Syrphus spp) and a few bees, mostly Andrena spp but including several Common Carder, Red-tailed Bumblebee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Ashy Mining Bee(pic 1), Orange-tailed Mining Bee(pic 2) and Gooden's Nomad Bee plus another reddish Nomad which got away in the breeze.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Bibio spp

It seemed unlikely that any of yesterday's Arctic Terns would have remained on Ibsley Water but I thought it was worth a punt as they are a bird I pretty much never see even when regularly seawatching in the past. And of course they had indeed departed!! Annoyingly the three Little Gulls were reported but not there when PW and I looked. The LRPs are still dashing around  and calling a lot but few hirundines (10SM/2 HM) and the only new bird for the year was a Common Sandpiper which kept its distance. Typically, a distant kite went south and one of the few Buzzards today was feeding on a Rabbit on the west side. Only two Goosanders and no Goldeneyes today.

By the centre at least eight Bramblings were point blank, great for watching but pretty horrible for photography with the ugly shingle path as background and side-lighting. A single Early Thorn was the only decent moth, Bombus pascuorum was again on Pulmonaria and Eristalis intricaria was the only new hover. The pink plant above may (depending on FB accuracy!) be Herb Robert, a question for RC next time we cross paths.
Edit : reidentified as Common Storksbill.

Also some monochrome fungi above made a nice shape - should have used some water to wash off debris and broken out the macro.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Missed opportunity..

Tea terrace view

Westmead view

Another poor choice today missing Velvet Scoter, some other seabirds and GWE at Titchfield and 25 Arctic Terns dropped by rain at Blashford - two and a half years since I last saw this species in Hants, also Ibsley Water.

At PB nice to catch up with Alan who kindly showed me the single Whimbrel on the north brooks, I'm guessing nearer Matt Phelps' attic window than the hanger!!! Just a dot even in the scope. Strangely no hirundines at all. Two or three Nightingales, two Lesser Whitethroats and a Sedge Warbler all heard-only new birds for year. The GWE was in front of Little Hanger before disappearing. After yesterday's attempt at spring today was back to grey and depressing with 'double-speed-wipers' on the way home.

Bumped into Gareth and sister, not having seen him for 11 years at work!!

Unsurprisingly bugger all insects.

Brief stop at Waltham produced little other than a very dapper male Stonechat; curious as to why they are pretty much guaranteed here and typically scarce in spring/summer at PB.

Saturday, 14 April 2018


Noisiest plane for ages but presumably getting a lot of flights out of Lee on Solent on such a nice blue day once the mist had blown away.

Otherwise nothing special birdwise today although a Cuckoo was calling briefly a long way north of Meadow Hide and just a single Swallow.
Two Water Voles in the ditch, one with only one eye were reasonably photogenic plus this Wren; a couple of invisible Water Rails were calling.

A couple of Bee Flies on the path (and another later in the garden) plus two NfY hovers, Epistrophe elegans and Platycheirus albamanus.

Friday, 13 April 2018

A few insects locally..

Just locally today with three singing Blackcaps and two Chiffs plus a few invisible Meds up in the murk. The fenced off area was crawling with gazillions of mini spiders, my first Small White and two each of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock, first Cheilosia spp and Meliscaeva auricollis although no other hovers. A few Bombus bees, several H-fFB (including 6 at home)  including the above on top of a Bombus terrestris and a few Honey Bees and good numbers of Andrena spp above. Also small fungi above.