"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, 23 January 2014

Marsh Lane NR and Garden Birds and Moths

Apologies for lack of posts recently but I haven't really had chance to get out much recently. I did go with E to Leamington Spa last Friday and took the camera in the hope of getting some photos of the more scenic parts. Unfortunately E spent the whole time dragging me in and out of shops so I didn't get chance to use the camera. E managed to get a Cath Kidston mug in the sale at the same time as I talked myself out of buying a bag that I could have used for knitting also in the sale but £38!!!

Today I finally managed to "escape" and spent an hour or so at Marsh Lane NR.

As you can see from the photo below the paths are still very wet!

This is a view of Car Park Pool from one of viewing screens.

A record shot of a Buzzard soaring high over the grassland. Buzzards are coming more and more common in the area - we even get them occasionally soaring over our garden.

Oak Hide overlooking Railway Pool was empty when I arrived and I got fairly close up views of several Snipe foraging in a channel to the right of the hide in the same place that I saw a Water Rail on a previous visit.

Only record shots again but slightly better than the photo I managed on my last visit :)

Whenever I've seen Snipe in the past they always seem to be walking and foraging at the edge of water but this individual kept swimming (or is floating?? just been having a discussion with B as to the correct term!!) backwards and forwards across the channel.

From time to time Lapwings and Black-headed Gulls took flight.

I've been keeping an eye out for a Peregrine that is seen regularly at the reserve but so far I haven't had a sighting.

The real highlight of the visit was a pair of Goosanders on the Pool - apparently they've been around for a couple of days. If you click and enlarge the photo you might just be able to make one out - (they were about quarter of a mile away!).

Acting on a "tip-off" I also managed to see a few Yellowhammers in the hedgerow of the crop field. The Common Snipe, Goosander, Yellowhammer and Shelduck bring the list of species seen at the reserve since I first started visiting up to 50. After today's visit my Year List for 2014 stands at 46 which is a good total for me in January.

Garden Wildlife


We've had quite a few visits this month from birds that are occasional visitors - Collared Dove (I know I keep on saying it but they are rare these days in the garden - numbers have decreased as Wood and Feral Pigeons have increased), Stock Dove, and a real highlight a male Bullfinch. A female Blackcap (see photo below) has been visiting the feeders for over a week and Lesser Redpolls appeared yesterday feeding on silver birch seeds. The garden bird list for the year now stands at 20.


I haven't seen any moths at all this year and haven't yet put the moth trap out.

A few weeks ago I sent off my moth records from last year to the County Recorder and received an email asking if I had a photo of the Hedge Rustic I trapped. Apparently they are very scarce these days in Warwickshire and there have only been 2 records in the last 20 years! I sent off the photo (huge thanks here to CT for her initial suggestion as to the id of this moth!) and he has confirmed that it was indeed a Hedge Rustic and he was really pleased to know the species is hanging on in part of the County.

Last year's Hedge Rustic trapped on 31st August

Bearing in mind as to how scarce this moth now is in Warwickshire I had a look through some of my old moth records and photos on the off chance I could find another record of one. I sent the County Recorder a few other photos of unidentified Rustics and lo and behold I had another record from 28th August 2010! - photo below.

It is a timely reminder of how important it it to send records off to Country Recorders and I can't wait for this August to see if I can trap some more Hedge Rustics!

As a result of this experience (and the Dark Spinach record I have which I only found out by chance is another rare species in Warks these days), I've finally got round to buying this excellent book.

It shows the status of macro moths in the County and I shall now at long last be able to check if any species I trap are rare. When I looked at distribution maps for Hedge Rustic it was interesting to note that there is quite a historical cluster of records for Hedge Rustic in the area where I live.


Dean Stables said...

Great blog post, Caroline. And great news regards your Hedge Rustics :-)

Countryside Tales said...

That is really interesting and exciting about the Hedge Rustic- I remember looking at the pic and sending you the possible ID so am thrilled it's a rare one. Brilliant! I wonder if there's a similar book for Hants? So looking forward to moth season again. You've also given me a nudge to get my records in.

Lovely Snipe pics and am v envious about the yellow hammers- haven't seen any for years. Our male black cap was in evidence a week or two ago for a day or so but haven't seen him since and no sign of the female so it was lovely to see yours. Also hoping you get to see the Peregrine, another one I haven't seen before :-)

Em Parkinson said...

I'm so delighted to see a Snipe that isn't flying away from me shrieking. What a great shot. Nice looking book. CT will be biting your hand off for that!

Ragged Robin said...

Dean - Thanks so much :) Really pleased that Hedge Rustic is hanging on round here at least :)

Countryside Tales Thanks so much again for your help with id :) I've just had a google and found a possible Hampshire book for you - does seem to list status. Its expensive but there again books like this always are - you might get it cheaper elsewhere? Here's the link (sorry you may have to cut and paste!!) http://www.nhbs.com/the_moths_of_hampshire_and_the_isle_of_tefno_118288.html

I was pleased with Yellowhammers as I haven't seen any for some time though views distant!!! Last Peregrine I saw was at the back of an office block in Birmingham - a well known site!

Em Parkinson Thanks Em - Easier to get closer to snipe when lurking in a bird hide :) Hopefully, I've found a similar book for CT :)

Countryside Tales said...

Caroline- many thanks. Have just found the book for £20 on the Oxfam website and ordered it! x

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Well done CT - hope you enjoy it as much as I am enjoying mine - exceedingly useful and interesting :)

Wendy said...

A lovely post, Caroline. You've had some great bird sightings at Marsh Lane and in your garden. Buzzards are common here, too - but only very recently. I love the Snipe and Goosanders.
We used to have the wonderful Yellowhammers in the fields around us here, but in the last couple of years I've heard them perhaps once, maybe twice. It's no surprise - the local landowner has been pulling up the hedges.

Chris Rohrer said...

When people capture moths, bugs etc, do they kill them or are they released back into the wild? I don't know much about bugging. As for birding, the snipe is really cool. I love treks like this but I hate the muddy shoes and paths:)

Jerry said...

Hedge Rustic! Now I am envious!! And it has definitely been a great year for Snipe so far with so much mud everywhere. We have plenty at our local patch including some Jack Snipe too. Happy New Year, Jerry

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks so much. I think Buzzards have spread eastwards which is great news.

I don't see many Yellowhammers locally these days so was well pleased but there's a crop field left full of seedheads which encourages them :) Loss of hedgerows over recent decades is really bad news for wildlife plus some are trimmed far too much and far too regularly :(

Chris Rohrer - Thanks :) Rest assured Chris all mine are released alive back into the wild within 24 hours. I just pot the ones I need to identify and then let them go. All the moth-ers I know do the same. There are a few moths that need examination of genitalia under a microscope for definite id but I don't go down that route. I think the days of killing insects has long gone thank goodness and people just take photos.

Really muddy in countryside over here at the moment with all the rain - I live in wellies :)

Jerry - Thanks Jerry - yes I am rather over the moon :) They do get Jack Snipe at Marsh Lane and I'm checking all Snipe sightings carefully :) Happy New Year to you and your family too :)

SeagullSuzie said...

Marsh Lane is the perfect place to escape and you seem to always be rewarded with something which is brilliant. I have been complaining of hardly any birds in the garden but last week was great and I had a female black cap too. It's been years since I saw yellowhammers.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks :) Marsh Lane was definitely THE discovery last year :)

I'm so glad you are getting more birds in the garden and really pleased for you about the Blackcap :)

David Turner said...

Fascinating stuff as regards the moths and a fantastic record for your garden. I am also currently working away at my moth records from last year but due to the chaotic nature of my records it is taking me longer than I expected. I must really try and be more organised this year !!

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner - Thanks :) My wildlife records are usually very chaotic. Have scraps of paper all over the place :(

Moth records aren't too bad as I take part in GMS so try and be more organised and keep handwritten lists of those caught and when etc. in a file waiting to be typed up. Waiting is the operative word - had to do all GMS records in one go and type up my own Excel Sheets. Like yourself I need to be organised and will try and do them weekly :)