Friday, 27 September 2013

Westcot and beyond South Farm.

Off to a good start this morning and parked in Westcot Lane before hoofing it into great countryside where apart from occasional horse riders I have the great outdoors to myself, yippee! not a bleeding pooch in sight not even on the horizon , small wonder the wildlife has an easier life here.
A few Goldfinch, couple of Wrens, usual Blackbirds, Corvids, Woodpigeon, Robins, two Buzzard, two Red Kite, two Kestrel and a pleasant surprise in the form of two late Whitethroats.
Butterflies were out in number with Speckled Wood everywhere, also two Red Admiral, A dainty and delightful Small Copper and a lot of Comma's including nine of these colourful individuals in close proximity feeding on Blackberries all on one bush.
At South Farm a huge sprayer was spraying pre-emergent herbicide on the recently sown wheat fields and I chatted to the Farmer who told me this specialist machine costs over £200,000 and has no other uses, this is so different from when my Dad farmed South Farm I think from 1949 until 1970 and is where I grew up or was it dragged up, well i'll leave you to decide on that one.
I guess I walked eight to ten miles today so you will probably realise I was pretty well knackered by the time I made it back to the motor and headed back to Stanford. Apart from the Whitethroats all quite common fare but believe me I really enjoyed my day on a most pleasant day in old England.
       Looking from Westcot Lane to a part of Sparsholt known as Watery Lane
                                         Comma on Blackberry
                                        High in the sky a Red Kite

                                              Speckled Wood
                                        the delightful Small Copper

                                          Red Admiral
                                           A bit of old England
    Another shot of yesterdays micro the Twenty-Plume Moth with wings closed

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Grove to Hanney

Parked up at the edge of Grove and walked the green track to Hanney, not sure how far that is but probably a round trip of five miles or so. From a birding point of view it was disappointing bearing in mind this is very good small bird habitat being a rough and ready thick double hedge with plenty of natural food and cover. I suspect there is so much food about at the moment that what birds there are in the vicinity are widespread and well hidden by the foliage.
A few Chaffinch were seen and a bullfinch heard, other birds noted were Wren, Blackbird, assorted Corvids, and Robins that are now singing, albeit in some cases with rather scratchy out of tune offerings that will with a little time soon become that mellow and oh so sad sounding song we are all  familiar with.
Only Moth interest today was a micro Twenty-Plume Moth that gave me an opportunity to photograph it when it settled on the shower curtain.
                                          Micro Twenty - Plume Moth

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Derrick the Crane.

In my Moth Trap (outside loo with light left on overnight) Derrick the Crane has decided to hoist himself onto this Feathered Gothic Moth looking like it could s moth er it, Derrick is one of hundreds of thousands of Crane Flies currently emerging just about everywhere.
With the warm afternoons we are experiencing, the Butterflies are making the best of it with many Speckled Wood and mixed Whites in abundance.
A walk along the Ridgeway starting at Sparsholt Firs and passing along the top of Crowhole bottom and Childrey Warren and giving me a feeling of exhileration as I felt I was on top of the world. I guess I saw about a dozen of both Common Buzzard and Red Kite plus two Kestrel.
                                             Derrick being over friendly
                                            Rabbit catcher
                                          On top of the world

                                           Distant Kestrel
                                          Looks like a Silver Y Moth to me

                         Nettle Tap  Micro Moths on Goats Beard or Jack go to bed at Noon

Monday, 23 September 2013

A Ragged Snout and a Pied Wagtail.

Over the past couple of days I have encountered A Moth called the Snout that with age has become rather Ragged and a return to the garden of some old friends including Pied Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Starling and Goldfinch in the meantime trips to Shellingford and Baulking Quarries have turned up possible Wood Sandpiper , mixed Gull flock, Swallows and Martins are still going through along with dogs and their thoughtless owners.
                                          Snout - worse for wear
                                          Young Pied Wagtail
                                          Lunar Underwing this and the moth below are much in evidence recently
                                             Feathered Gothic
                                         Part of the Canada Geese Flock - in excess of 200
                           Part of the Gull Flock there are so many loafing around they could start a bakery
                                         Juvenile Goldfinch
                                          Big & Beautiful - Migrant Hawker
                                          Common Darter

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Wallet could happen to anyone.

Caring duties today 19/09/13 meant A hurried trip to Pit 60 at Standlake leaving my Brother in Law sat in the car while I scanned the lake, with work being carried on the site there was not too much of interest and I dashed back to Stanford in the Vale and called in the local Coop to get the latest edition of doom and disaster ie a newspaper. That's when I discovered my wallet was missing and so quickly jumped back in the motor to retrace my steps eventually arriving back at pit 60. I had only been in the hide a few minutes frantically searching when a chap came in and asked if I was Barry Hudson well even I can get that one right and I answered in the affirmative. He told me that he had found my wallet and had given it to the likable, hard working and enthusiastic Lower Windrush Valley Project Officer Jane Bowley I can't tell you the relief that surged through me and if he had been female I would have kissed him but he wasn't and I would sooner lower my testicles into a boiling pan of water than kiss a bloke, Jane arrived soon after and gave the wallet back to me - So a huge thank you to the LWV team for their honesty and helpfulness. Of course it killed off any chance of birding but lets see what turns up tomorrow.
                                           Probably    Common Marbled Carpet
camboy.                              Probably   Eudonia Angustea

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Harvest is in but I still found Wheatears.

I intended to bike down to Shellingford Pit today (Wednesday 18th) but I was a little short of time and the wind was a bit fresh so I drove there in the car (I am quite pathetic in inventing reasons to take the easy option) Found three Wheatear on the ploughed field by the side of the pit, also saw two hunting Kestrel, four Yellowhammer, four Mute Swan including two cygnet, one Heron, five Common Snipe, eight Coot, two Tufted Duck and one Dabchick.
                                          Any Ideas ?
                                            House Sparrows at the feeders - also a Coal Tit earlier

                                           Buzzard Grub

                                            Still active Wasps Nest

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Dead Moth Under The Microscope

This Moth I picked up in the outside loo it had died - But why I don't know, hope you find some of the close up detail interesting.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Baulking Quarry - Query.

Made sure I had adequate wet weather clothing today as I headed off to Baulking Quarry and on arrival I parked on Baulking Green, stepping out of the car I was struck how brightly the sun shone in the stiff and cold wind but decided that the wet weather gear would not be needed as the sky was full of white fluffy clouds and a beaming sun .
As I climbed over the stile and walked along the pathway leading through the woodland surrounding the west side of the quarry I was quite amazed at the numbers of Speckled Wood Butterflies there were many dozens of them along with several Comma's , now, although it wasn't freezing cold it most certainly was in no way warm so the Common Darter Dragonfly that put in an appearance also rather surprised me.
Made my way down through the trees to the lakeside unfortunately this super spot is to some considerable extent marred by the many dogs that use it as a toilet and their thoughtless owners who take great delight in encouraging rover into the water and allowing their curs the freedom of the quarry, one wonders just how good this site would be without the canine interference especially for ground dwelling animals and low nesting birds.
A Black-Tailed Godwit flew round and round hoping to find food and a safe haven, alas, too many dog walkers with their crapping machines that were running wild and eventually the B-T Godwit gave up the ghost and disappeared. On the water were Lesser Black - Backed Gulls, about eight Pochard, some two hundred Canada Geese, twenty Mallard, forty Tufted Duck , six Great C Grebe and a Cormorant. At this juncture the now dark grey and threatening heavens opened up drenching me and catching me out yet again.
The surrounding fields to the east contained some one hundred Lapwing many Gulls and a lot of Corvids. As I made my wet and bedraggled way back to the motor I had nice views of a pair of magnificent Buzzards as they circled the sky doing there best to assist the local farmers in their fight against the huge numbers of Rabbits.
A planning application to divert some of the public right of ways has been posted in several places at the quarry and my first thought was to query this but on closer inspection it looks as if it might benefit the wildlife by keeping the dog menace away from some of the site.
                                           A few of the Canada's
                                           Speckled Wood
                                          Common Darter
                                         The Gathering Storm
                                           Rooks over the far side
                                           Part of the proposed changes