Tawny Mining Bees

Posted on - In Elizabeth Mills
Saturday was really warm and sunny and we had a gentle walk along the riverbank in Newton. Wood anemone , primrose, celandine, marsh marigolds all in flower and lots of Bumble bees, Red Tailed, Buff and Early flying around. Also noticed some really rich red insects flying around and finally managed to photograph one. It was a female Tawny Mining Bee, its dense, rich ginger coloured coat glowing in the sunlight, very glam. The males are usually smaller and not so densley haired and duller but they make up for it with a patch of white hair on their faces, that looks like a moustache.This is one of the species that can be parasitized by beeflies. If you see a small hole in the ground with a little volcano of soil around it , then you may have found a Tawny Mining bee nest....
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Deja Vu.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
As on Monday, the last birds of the day for me on Friday came via yet another text from 'THE RAC' - The Reliable AC - to alert me to his claim of at least 5 Yellow Wagtail at Braides and probably more in poor light looking into the sun and long grass, of which I found three. Also here,  5 White Wagtail seen in a quick scan before I had to scoot off back to Lancaster.Black-tailed Godwit Lune Estuary. Pete Woodruff.On the Lune Estuary at Glasson, 26 Black-tailed Godwit and 14 Eider noted, and at Christ Church, a singing male Blackcap gave excellent views. Along the canal tow path to Conder Green, a Sedge Warbler, a Buzzard was over fields behind Aspley Farm, and a Cormorant fishing the canal. Three Wheatear were at the water treatment plant at the entran...
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Bee-flies and spring

Posted on - In Elizabeth Mills
As soon as the "Lollipop Primroses" (Primula Denticulata) start to flower and we get some warm sunny days, I start listening out for a high pitched whine in the garden and looking out for quickly darting and hovering golden furry flies. For me it means spring is definitely underway when the Bee Flies are back in the garden. For a start they apparently don't feel inclined to fly if the temperature is below 17 degrees c. so sunny days are a must for them. All that hovering and zooming about must require a lot of energy. It also means that the solitary bees whose nests and larvae they parasitize have had time to get their breeding cycles underway. The adult beeflies have a really long proboscis that sticks out from their face to reach deep into flowers for nectar. It looks like it could do you an injury if it decided to, but beeflies are total...
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A for effort

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Some serious field hours and footsteps covered today, but very little reward – seems like the surrounding areas were scoring, but really struggled for any quality today. Let’s not complain too much, it was great to feel the sun on my back, but the birds just didn’t play ball today. Started at the Golf Course at dawn and it felt like it would be a good day – 8+ Redpoll through and my first Tree Pipit of the year. A pair of Sparrowhawk chased through the scrub and Whitethroats were in fine song, but little else of note. The Sand Plant still had a few White Wags around (there were still plenty on Crossens etc), a pair of Wheatear, the resident tame Dunlin and a few Willow Warbler including an acredula type A quick look at Crossens Inner produced a Common Sand, but the geese on the outer marsh were too distant s...
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Too clear

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
 It was too clear overnight for night migrants to stick around and too clear during the day for diurnal migrants to fly low so today's list is short:Heysham Nature ReserveRingingLesser Whitethroat - 3 were caught and ringedVis 0730-0930:Redpoll sp - 22 Linnet - 20 Goldfinch - 3Meadow Pipit - 3 Swallow - 1House Martin - 2 Pink-footed Goose - 8SeaKittiwake - 31 (also seen past Stone Jetty) inCommon Scoter - 1 out then onSandwich Tern - 27 inGreat-crested Grebe - 2 onMiddleton NRSedge Warbler - 3 singingLesser Whitethroat - 2 singingCetti's Warbler - 4 singing (1 near No Swimming Pond, 2 either side of central marsh, 1 west end of western marsh reedbed)...
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Winter favourites reappear

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
The start was perhaps about 30 minutes too late this morning but a few migrants were caught and ringed during the first hour or so with later rounds producing the first two Common Whitethroat of the yearGoldcrest - female ringed, male heard singingWheatear - 1Robin - unringed birdGreen Woodpecker - heard distantly early on HNRChough - flew over HNR heading SW at 0611 and was relocated having flown in from the SE at Half Moon Bay in early eveningWhitethroat - IOY - two ringed but none heard singing - usually the other way round with this spp!Shag - 2CY wooden jetty area late pmMothCommon Quaker in trap...

Missing In Action

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
A rather grey morning left me waiting for the promised lunchtime sun before I hit the trail. Although the light was still not good, sun was on the way with our bit of the “heatwave”. Those midday Barn Owls showed again, this time an obvious pair since they hunted the same fields. They weren't quite in tandem with one of them much more active than the other which sat in the adjacent hedgerow for a good hour. I was still on ISO1200. Barn Owl Barn Owls Barn Owl I checked out the recent Buzzard location to find both birds on show but partly hidden in the nest, seemingly doing a little housekeeping. Nearby was a Kestrel and also a male Sparrowhawk sat in the depths of the cover with its bright orange breast a dead give-away. Some migrant species are rather slow in arriving this year. The long journey from Africa...
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Delicious flava & Welsh ospreys

Posted on - In Leighton Moss (RSPB)
Now that the weather is a little more settled, for a few days at least, we’re hoping to see an influx of delayed migrants here at Leighton Moss. As I write this an increase in recent sightings of sedge and reed warblers is already evident and several birds are belting it out from the reedbeds around the reserve. Meanwhile the sound of blackcaps, willow warblers, chiffchaffs and Cetti’s warblers is an almost constant feature as one wanders along the trails. Our foghorn-in-residence, the very vocal male bittern continues to boom away from his patch of reeds to the south of the Causeway. Although most easily heard between dusk and dawn, the song of this particular bird is often heard at random times of the day allowing many visitors the chance to hear this evocative sound. There was some excitement last week following the surp...

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
The weather on Wednesday morning was cloudy, grey, windy, and nothing like what the forecast had been. Hardly to be called suitable for a visit to Bowland, but it turned out decent in the afternoon. In any case I had a man to meet for a survey of Hawthornthwaite Fell, but not until I'd been presented with a brilliant mounted photograph of a female Stonechat complete with a bill full of insects, including a Latticed Heath moth.There's quality loss from the original in the copy of this excellent photograph, but there's some improvement with a 'clik the pik'. Stonechat. Martin Jump.No Stonechat found on the west side of Hawthornthwaite, but 2 Ring Ouzel gave distant in flight views, before soon disappearing up Catshaw Greave. This sighting came two days earlier than a previous male Ring Ouzel I found here on 20 April 2...

Two more Black Redstart

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
There was a lot of Wheatears moving through today, associated with one mobile group of about 15 birds was a particularly ghostly female/immature Black Redstart, see snap below (it actually is on this picture). They were on the rocks and sea wall around Red Nab before drifting inland about 12:30.A second, also female/immature, Black Redstart was on the south wall roundhead. This was a more striking bird, but no sign of white wing patches. It initially flew to north wall, but quickly returned, unfortunately to the inside of the Power Station confines (so no pictures) 13:15. It was relocated at 14:50 by Jeff on the roundhead.Sandwich Tern - 29 offshoreRock Pipit - still around lighthouse area. Record shot below is slightly overexposed making it appear pale.Wheatear - minimum 27, between 11:30 & 13:30, most moving through.Whimbrel - 1Insect...