Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bradley Fen Dragons

A lunchtime trip to the insect-rich area south of the Millennium Bridge.

Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa

Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata

Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas

Digiscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Swarowski ATM 80 HD x25-50

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grizzled Skipper, Easton Hornstocks

Another visit looking for herps. Only 1 Common Lizard and a lot of newts encountered but some good insects, including these and a few Treble-bar and Cinnabar moths and a Volucella bombylans hoverfly.

Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae

Anaglyptus mysticus, a longhorn beetle

Canon Powershot A640

Wasp Beetle, Garden

Nice longhorn beetle in the garden this morning. The Grass Snake was basking on the roof again.

Wasp Beetle Clytus arietis
Canon Powershot A640

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Grass Snake on the roof

Found today occupying space under a tile on our house roof. Hopefully manage better shots at some point but in very awkward spot.

Friday, May 25, 2012

First Hawk-moth

Poplar Hawk-moth Laothoe populi

Knot Grass Acronicta rumicis

Cockchafer Melolontha melolontha

Canon Powershot A640

0974 Argyrotaenia ljungiana 2
1776 Green Carpet (Colostygia pectinataria) 1
1834 Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata) 1
1906 Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) 1
1981 Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi) 2
2063 Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica) 1
2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) 1
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 1
2289 Knot Grass (Acronicta rumicis) 1
2380 Treble Lines (Charanyca trigrammica) 1
2384 Vine's Rustic (Hoplodrina ambigua) 1
Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) 8

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Garden Red Kite

This Red Kite has taken to perching in a tree in the garden and calling incessantly. Up to 5 still wheeling around the house daily.

Canon EOS500D 70-30mm IS USM

Nene Washes Regulars

Nothing unusual here today. But some digiscoping opportunities.

Snipe Gallinago gallinago

Here's looking at you. A 'false face' on the nape.

Garganey Anas querquedula

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava

Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

With added midges!

Digiscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Swarowski ATM 80 HD x25-50

A few more moths

Nothing unusual but mainly different from yesterday.

Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica

Pale Prominent Pterostoma palpina

Phtheochroa rugosana

Treble Lines Charanyca trigrammica

Scrobipalpa costella

Canon Powershot A640

0819 Scrobipalpa costella 2
0925 Phtheochroa rugosana 1
0974 Argyrotaenia ljungiana 1
1174 Epiblema cynosbatella 1
1342 Eudonia angustea 1
2011 Pale Prominent (Pterostoma palpina) 1
2063 Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica) 1
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 1
2380 Treble Lines (Charanyca trigrammica) 1
Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) 6

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Garden Grass Snake

Karen had a Grass Snake around our garden pond a couple of times today. Wow!

Long-tailed Tit

Consistently voted the nations favourite bird. These shots are of two birds in a large flock of young birds at Beeby's BP this morning.

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus, juvenile
Digiscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Swarowski ATM 80 HD x25-50

Moths at last

The appalling weather has made mothing a thing of the past recently but it cheered up a bit last night. Even so this is still a very small catch for the time of year.

Clouded-bordered Brindle Apamea crenata ab. combusta

Waved Umber Menophra abruptaria

Green Carpet Colostygia pectinataria

Least Black Arches Nola confusalis
Canon Powershot A640

0648 White-shouldered House-moth (Endrosis sarcitrella) 1
0974 Argyrotaenia ljungiana 2
1776 Green Carpet (Colostygia pectinataria) 2
1853 Oak-tree Pug (Eupithecia dodoneata) 1
1936 Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria) 1
2078 Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis) 1
2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) 1
2326 Clouded-bordered Brindle (Apamea crenata) ab. combusta 1
Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) 2

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Flava Wagtail?

Interesting looking wagtail at Beeby's BP today. I see a blue-grey head, whitish supercillium and throat. Possibly a female flava?

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Digiscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Swarowski ATM 80 HD x25-50


The wader fest at Beeby's BP continues. Following the Temminck's Stint I found on Tuesday, a Little Stint turned up yesterday and today there were up to 28 Dunlin, the Grey Plover still, a Common Sand, tundrae Ringed Plovers and these two Sanderlings.

Sanderling Calidris alba
Digiscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Swarowski ATM 80 HD x25-50

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grey Plover, Beeby's BP

Found a Temminck's Stint here a few days ago (photos here) along with a few other waders including this winter plumaged Grey Plover, which is still present today. Most of the other waders have moved on.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Digiscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Swarovski ATM 80 HD x25-50

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lily Beetle

A pretty pest of lilies.

Lily Beetle Lilioceris lilii
Canon Powershot A640

Friday, May 11, 2012

Phonescoped Whitethroat

This showed at Ferry Meadows on a quick outing with a borrowed scope and no camera. So I tried my HTC One X phone's camera with some passable results.

Whitethroat Sylvia communis
Digiscoped with HTC One X and Swarovski ATM 80 HD x25-50

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Long weekend in Catalunya at the invitation of Birdwatching magazine and the Catalan Tourist Board. Some top quality wildlife, plus excellent company and great food. 170 species of bird seen in all and some excellent mammals and insects. Species lists here.

Friday-Saturday, 4-5 May

First area was the southern half of the Ebro Delta. These shots were taken on Friday evening and Saturday morning. The Ebro has c.60% of the world's breeding Audouin's Gulls.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Audouin's Gull Ichthyaetus audouinii

Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus

Some Ebro scenes including rice paddies, a bat hibernaculum and a view of the town of Poble Nou Del Delta.

Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus

Great birding throughout: Glossy Ibis, Great White, Cattle and Little Egrets, Squacco, Night and Purple Herons, Little Stint, Redshank, Greeshank, Common and Wood Sandpipers, Knot, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Collared Pratincole, Little, Caspian, Gull-billed and Whiskered Terns, . There were plenty of migrant passerines heading inland and one clump of bushes on the coastal dunes had masses of Willow Warblers, 2 Medodious Warblers, 2 Woodchat Shrikes, a Turtle Doves, 2 Redstarts, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat and Wheatears.

A trip to a northern tip of the delta at Garxal added little in the way of birds but poking about in the scrubby dunes produced some other wildlife. Both Common and Iberian Blue-tailed Damselflies occur here but several features of this pair point to elegan I think.

Common Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegan

Lophyra flexuosa, a Tiger Beetle

Spiny-footed Lizard Acanthodactylus erythrurus

The museum at Deltebre has a very pleasant garden which had attracted a fair number of migrants including a couple of first summer male Pied Flycatchers and a Spotted flycatcher.

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

Sunday, 6th May

Sunday saw us in the mountains of the Els Ports Natural Park just inland from the Ebro Delta. Here the highlights were Spanish Ibex, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Western Bonelli's Warblers, Firecrests, Short-toed Treecreepers, Blue Rock Thrush and Crag Martins plus a few interesting plants and insects including a Moroccan Orange-tip.

Woodcock Orchid Ophrys scolopax

Asphodel sp.

Wild Tulip Tulipa sylvestris

Iberian Water Frog Pelophylax/Rana perezi

Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus

Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris

El Estrets Gorge

We stayed in the town of Hurta de St Joan where we visited the daddy of all olive trees 'Lo Parot' and picked up Short-toed Eagle, Rock Sparrow, Melodious Warbler, Scarce Swallowtail, Large Psammodromus and this smart chafer beetle.

Oxythyrea funesta

"Lo Parot"

Large Psammodromus Psammodromus algirus, immature

The drive north was uneventful until the Lleida area where Black Kites, Cattle Egrets and White Storks started to appear and we picked up our only Montagu's Harrier. Further north the we were back in mountain territory finding Small Blue, Crested tit and, at the Terradets Gorge, 3 Lammergeiers, which put on a good show

Small Blue Cupido minimus

Monday, 7th May

Early Monday we headed back down to the plains near Balaguer. Calandra Larks were everywhere and there were Bee-eaters, single Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Roller and Stone Curlew, Tree and Rock Sparrows, Iberian Wagtails, 2 Whinchats, Lesser Kestrels, Turtle Doves and 2 Honey Buzzards.

Bee-eaters Merops apiaster

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

Little Bustard habitat

Next it was north again to the impressive ridge of Montsec picking up our first Red-rumped Swallows on the way. The summit at Sant Alis had Rock Thrushes, Tawny Pipit, Wheatear, Subalpine and Bonelli's Warbler, Firecrest, Skylark , Stonechat and more.

Narcissus sp. poss Rush-leaf Jonquil N. assoanus

The Pyrenees from Montsec

And it was to the Pyrenees, or at least the Pre-Pyrenees, we headed next picking up our first Black Redstart on the way.

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros

The target here was a vulture feeding station at Buseu and things were looking good as 3 Lammergeiers showed on the drive up. Feeding time was total mayhem with c.200 Griffon, 4 Black and 2 Egyptian Vultures, 10 Lammergeiers, a Black Kite, 2 Golden Eagles, a Booted Eagle and even a Ref Fox getting in on the action. It's possible to get close up to the action by paying for a place in one of the hides or watching on the cams at the house. The Black Vultures are from a reintroduction scheme that is progressing very successfully. Rehabilitated birds were first introduced just four years ago and some are already breeding.

Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus

Black Vulture Aegypius monachus

The vulture cam

Tuesday, 8th May

Another early start for my final day, which took us on a long jeep trip across the Alt Pirineu National Park from Tirvia to Civit. Highlights here were several Chamois and Roe Deer, a magnificent party of Mouflon (particularly interesting: part of a population expanding out of reintroduced stock in nearby Andorra), Citril Finches, 2 Golden Eagles, a Peregrine, a Rock Thrush, Firecrest, 2 Grey Partridge, Crossbills and a Rock Bunting. In the valley above Civit were a few migrants, including a Red-backed Shrike, a singing Wryneck, Bonelli's Warbler as well as Iberian Green Woodpecker and Rock Bunting. Raptors below here included Lammergeier, Short-toed and Booted Eagles.

Mouflon Ovis aries

Final birds for me were Monk Parakeets and a surprise singing Iberian Chiffchaff at a railway station in suburban Barcelona on the way home.

Thanks to everyone on the trip and especially Gemma and Diego.