24 September 2016

Staines Moor: 24 September

Another dull as hell day trudging around the moor seeing very few birds - birding in Surrey is so exciting! 'Highlights' were: 1 Whinchat (NW corner), 3+m Stonechat (1 NW corner, 2 east side), 2 (1m, 1f) Yellow Wagtail (NW corner), 14 Meadow Pipit, 2 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff (inc. 6 Bonehead Woodland), 5 Common Snipe, 1 Goldcrest (Bonehead Woodland), 5 Skylark, 1-2 Little Egret, 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 1 Common Buzzard, 3 Kestrel and 2H Cetti's Warbler. Passage overhead amounted to 83 House Martin SW and 21 Barn Swallow (mainly S). Also 1 Red Kite and 3 more Common Buzzard were seen at distance over Wraysbury Reservoir.

First Parasol Mushroom Macrolepiota procera of the autumn noted today and a few Snowy Inkcap Coprinopsis nivea, and only 7 Red Admirals were seen on Staines Moor today - an amazing 530+ were present just 16 days ago!

Snowy Inkcap Coprinopsis nivea, on dung, Staines Moor, 24 September 2016 - a few of these tiny delicate toadstools today

Parasol Mushroom Macrolepiota procera, Staines Moor, 24 September 2016

A Speckled Wood in the garden on the 14th was one of very few records for the garden.

14 September 2016

Staines Moor: 14 September

A few more migrants at Staines Moor today in unseasonally hot conditions. Migrants on the ground included 4 Whinchat (3 SE corner, 1 NW corner), 1m Stonechat (SE corner) - the first of the autumn, 13+ Yellow Wagtail around the livestock (with others overhead), 1-2 Common Snipe (calling high over the Colne early morning), 2 Northern Lapwing (also over the Colne early morning), 1 Sedge Warbler (beside Colne), 40 Meadow Pipit and 2+ Common Whitethroat.

Some movement overhead with 20 Meadow Pipit S, 63 Barn Swallow (mainly S), and 1 imm. m Eurasian Sparrowhawk WSW.

1 of 4 Whinchats at Staines Moor today

1 of a single flock of 11 Yellow Wagtail, including males, females and juveniles, around the horses on Staines Moor today

Also noted were 1+ Hobby, 1-2 Kingfisher, 2 Little Egret, 5 Reed Bunting, 2 Skylark, 8 Linnet, 2 Red Kite, 3 Kestrel, 2-3 Common Buzzard and 1+ Grey Heron.

Still plenty of Red Admirals around in the NW corner, although much fewer than my last visit, and 7 were seen migrating (mainly S), and 1 Small Copper, 4 Small Heath and a Meadow Brown were logged. Stanwell Moor added a few more Red Admirals along the Colne Valley Way.

8 September 2016

Staines Moor: 8 September

A little better for migrants at Staines Moor today with 2 Whinchat, 6 Yellow Wagtail (around the livestock), 2 Sand Martin S, 118 Barn Swallow S (then W from mid afternoon) noted, and 2 Common Whitethroat and 1H Lesser Whitethroat in the hawthorns (which could be local birds). Also noted were 1-2 Hobby, 1 Red Kite, 4+ Skylark, 8 Meadow Pipit, 3 Reed Bunting, c50 Goldfinch (including many juveniles feeding on the thistles) and c100 Eurasian Starling (mainly around the livestock).

Red Admiral butterflies once again stole the show, with an amazing 530+ counted around the blackberries in the NW corner, west side, along the old railway, and in the NE corner, amounting to a spectacular sight. Their origin is a bit of mystery. They are very fresh and so presumably hatched fairly locally, and I suppose they are heading south stopping to feed on the abundance of blackberries currently on the moor. In addition another 24 Red Admirals were seen along the Colne Valley Way through Stanwell Moor in the morning.

Other butterflies on Staines Moor today include 1 Painted Lady (feeding with Red Admirals), 4 Small Copper, 9 Small Heath, 3 Comma and 2 Speckled Wood. Several Migrant Hawkers Aeshna mixta were also noted.

On Stanwell Moor 3 (2H) Chiffchaff were also noted.

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui feeding on blackberries with about 20 Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta in the NW corner of Staines
Moor today. Heading north or south I wonder?

Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta feeding on blackberries, Staines Moor, 8 September 2016

3 September 2016

Red Admiral invasion at Staines Moor: 3 September

My first visit to the patch this afternoon since May. A few migrants noted. A trickle of hirundines heading south-southwest amounted to 51 House Martin, 24 Sand Martin and 51 Barn Swallow, and 1 Whinchat around the swamp and a Northern Wheatear along the Colne were probably bought down by the persistent rain from mid afternoon. 1-2 Hobby, 1-2 Common Buzzard (including nice views of 1 perched on a snag along Bonehead Ditch), 33 (1H) Linnet, 3 Kestrel (including 1m and 1f), 1 Skylark, 7+ Meadow Pipit and 1 Little Egret along the Colne were the best of the other birds noted. 2 imm. Mallard and an imm. Moorhen on the Colne are noteworthy as signs of successful breeding.

Highlight of the day came in the form of an incredible number of Red Admiral butterflies present on site. Despite the windy and overcast conditions and rain setting in from mid afternoon, I counted a minimum of 196 in the NW corner alone, most feeding on blackberries. Most looked very fresh so presumably these are broods from this year's migrants? At one point I took shelter from the wind and rain next to a hawthorn and 20+ shot out at once! I estimate there must have been at least double this number at Staines Moor today.

Other inverts noted on Staines Moor include 2 Small Heath, 3 Meadow Brown, 1 Comma, 2 Green-veined White, and 3 (2m, 1f) Banded Demoiselle. No grassland fungi fruiting yet - probably too dry.

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, Staines Moor, 3 September 2016 - 1 of at least 196 on site today

Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta, Staines Moor, 3 September 2016 - 8 feeding on blackberries in this pic (click to enlarge)

At home this morning, found a White Point Mythimna albipuncta in the house - a long overdue addition to the garden moth list.

White-point Mythimna albipuncta, Worcester Park, 3 September 2016 - an immigrant species found mainly in coastal counties in
south-east England but spreading northwards