"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Highlights of the Year - Part 4: October to December

Hopefully, a shorter post :D!

Garden Butterflies

The last two butterflies seen in the garden this year were during the hot sunny spell we had at the beginning of October - a Red Admiral on 1st October and a Speckled Wood on the 5th. Buff-tailed bumbles and a common carder bee were also seen during this unseasonally hot weather. Overall a poor year for butterflies in the garden with many species usually seen not putting in an appearance this year.

Garden Moths

Moth numbers were low in the trap during October and beginning of November although there were two new species for the garden - Green Brindled Crescent on 14th October and November Moth aggregate on 22nd October. Thanks again to Dean and Stewart for all the help with moth id over the year. My last trapping session of the year on 6th November resulted in just one species being caught - a Light Brown Apple Moth

November Moth agg

Green Brindled Crescent - have cheated a bit here as I can't find my original photo of the moth caught in the trap (I have thousands of moth photos in the folder really must delete some!) so this is a photo of a much better marked individual caught in the utility room when we were on holiday in Wales!

I did catch a Winter Moth on 23rd December attracted to light and caught on the garage door window.

I've ended the year on 94 species trapped (or seen) in the garden in 2011. Not a brilliant total and I'm sure I could have reached the century if I had been better at identification! or trapped more frequently! Total number of species trapped in the garden since I started is 135.

Garden Birds

A wren began roosting in a hanging basket on the patio at the beginning of October - do wonder if its the same individual who roosted in the same spot last winter and nested there the previous summer.

Was thrilled to see a female blackcap feeding on pyracantha berries on 31st October although she was only seen on the one occasion. We have had blackcaps feeding for several months in the winter in the past so I live in hope one will appear again.

For several weeks now I have been carefully checking small birds feeding on or around silver birch seeds in the garden - up to now the birds have been blue tits or goldfinches but today was thrilled to see around 16 LESSER REDPOLLS feeding on birch seeds in trees behind the pond and in the wooded area at the top of the garden.

This brings the total number of bird species actually seen within the garden to 28 this year. Quite a low total compared to previous years. Usually get between 30 to 35. Edit - Just got round to typing up my year lists and the garden total should read 30 - I forgot about Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff passing through on migration!

A trip to Middleton Lakes (the new RSPB Reserve) on 23rd October produced my first fieldfare flock of the autumn and a long-tailed tit flock although there was no sign of the short-eared owls seen there recently. I'm looking forward to visiting this reserve more next year

Middleton Lakes

After several visits to a local nature reserve - Millennium Wood when I saw very few birds mainly carrion crows, wood pigeons and magpgies with the occasional robin, blackbird or great spotted woodpecker sighting, I was thrilled to see more species on 5th December. A male chaffinch was seen from the entrance road and blue tits and blackbirds on the reserve but the real highlights were a male and female bullfinch and, even better, redpolls (probably lesser) feeding on silver birch seeds. It just shows that perseverance in visiting a site that initially doesn't look very promising can pay off.

Millennium Wood

Returning to the garden - I noticed today that we have red campion in flower in the wildflower meadow!

We spent a few days in North Wales in October - we didn't do much walking or birding as the weather wasn't too good but I loved returning to Portmeirion - one of my favourite places


And I'm really pleased I found the time to visit Baddesley Clinton, a National Trust property, in December to see the Christmas decorations around the manor house

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