Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Told You!

I said a few weeks ago that I had a suspicion I might latch onto a Tawny Owl this year, and on Friday night I managed just that [lifer 225!] [year tick 210!]. It was 10:00pm and Mrs Reg and I went outside to water the plants. We heard the owl calling, but although it sounded close we couldn't see it. I thought it might be calling from the front of the house so went to investigate, but no luck. However, when I returned to the back garden I suddenly spotted it on top of a tree. One of my favourite sightings of the year so far.

I heard it again on Sunday night, but it didn't show. My impressions of a vole managed to bring a Barn Owl sailing over the house though! I have to say, I feel very fortunate to have these amazing birds so close to home.

On Sunday I also visited Upton Warren. There are some nice birds there at the moment, including a Greenshank and three Black-Tailed Godwits. I managed to spot a Lesser Whitethroat whilst I was there, and a Peregrine was on one of the masts too. As we left I took a picture of a moth in the hide, which has been identified as Dark Arches.


Black-Tailed Godwit

Common Tern at Upton Warren


Dark Arches

A quick visit to Shenstone was fairly unproductive. A Corn Bunting was singing from the wires, but there was no sign of any Quail.

Finding the Silver-Washed Fritillary butterflies in the Wyre Forest a week or so ago has seriously whetted my appetite for more lepidoptery. Whilst at Upton Warren, I got chatting to a couple of chaps who told me that there were some Small Skippers near the sailing club. As we left, they were able to point one out to me. At Shenstone I spotted a few more, and I think I saw a Marbled White, but I wasn't absolutely certain.

Since then I have been looking out for butterflies in the garden and have been lucky enough to spot a Speckled Wood and a Meadow Brown, plus an unidentified blue butterfly.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Childhood memories of long hot summer holidays were rekindled when Sunday also turned out to be ... Flying Ant Day! I'm posting a few pictures of these winged critters for your pleasure.

Up, up and away!

Ants with wings - brilliant!

Mrs Reg and I went to Webb's garden centre on Monday and I bought a butterfly feeder - a sponge that you charge with sugar water. So far I have only attracted a few wasps, but hopefully it might bring in one or two more butterflies over the next few weeks. It was only £4.99, so if it proves to be as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot I won't be too dispirited.

Whilst at Webb's we had a wander through their gardens and I was able to identify a Red Admiral, Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell. Also, on their small pond I noted a few Banded Demoiselles and a dragonfly, which I think may have been a Brown Hawker. I'm really keen to continue swotting up on butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies as I find them very interesting and I don't like seeing stuff without being able to identify it.

I'm thinking of doing a spot of butterflying at the weekend, so expect more news soon.

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