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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Autumn Highlights

The regularity of postings has diminished, but I've not finished blogging. Quite simply, there are not enough hours to live, work and play ..and blog. So I hope you will keep dropping by and appreciate quality rather than quantity.
Here are the highlights from my patch since the last posting....

Moths.  Small Scallop, Maidens Blush and Heart and Dart were all seen in the last 2 weeks of July.The first two of these were especially pleasing as they are species that I have never managed to trap in my garden, patch macro moth lifers are quite an event !
Maidens Blush
Small Scallop

Birds. Its been a slightly odd year to date. I have added several patch lifers this year, but the year list so far is one behind 2013 still. Kestrel, Grey Wagtail and Little Grebe are still very possible, as is Mandarin, and Wigeon. The Little Owl was still about last week, but autumn passage threw up little of note except for a Spotted Flycatcher on 23rd August. Hobby made the list with sightings on July 24th and August 2nd.
The big sighting since the last post was finally getting a Peregrine Falcon on the patch, at last ! It swooped down to take a Pigeon and I managed a record shot of it dining on its prey.

Dinner with a Patch Lifer

Butterflies. 20 species recorded this year. Numbers generally good, but 2 species not recorded at all were Small Copper and Holly Blue this year. If this was due to the excessively wet winter I don't know, but I would have expected to see them, along with a Painted Lady since the last post, but sadly not. A Red Admiral was the last butterfly I saw on 1st November.

Fungi A poor autumn for fungi ( to be honest my best sightings are usually from now onwards anyway ) but the excessively dry Autumn seemed to scupper the fungi, and didn't do much for the general flora either.  A couple of hundred yards just off my recording area, I did find some nice specimens of Amethyst Deceiver and Fly Agaric ( header pic ) around October 20th. One that did make an impact on the patch was this nice Chicken of The Woods, a patch lifer.

Chicken of the Woods

Dragonflies. A good year with Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Southern Hawker , Migrant Hawker and Banded Demoiselle ( first since 2012 ) being added, taking the patch year total to 13 species, which is as many as I could hope for. Large Red is really the only other I missed out on adding ( Small Red Eye and Scarce Chaser are future possibilities if their spread continues ) I have had Large Red it in my garden in 2012, so I live in hope that next year will be the year.

Other Inverts.   Thick -legged Hoverfly was a newbie, as was the hoverer Syrphus ribesii.I spent quite a few hours trying to photograph Hornets in the late Autumn sun, and generally observing them. I think they are one of my favourite inverts.

Thick Legs 

Finally, I managed a picture of a Hornet !

Galls. I feel I've underachieved with these this year, was expecting a few more, but nonetheless I was very pleased to record Robins Pincushion in a couple of locations.

Pretty Gall, Robins Pincushion

I have plenty of work to do over the remaining year to try and put a year list together and go through my pictures to try and ID a good number of Inverts and Flora. It's what dark nights are for. I will aim to pull it all together and post a final patch listing blog around Christmas. In the meantime, watch this space for a round up of a fantastic garden moth year...... Thank you for reading.