Sunday, 29 June 2014

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

An afternoon visit in unsettled conditions provided a few opportunities for a spot of photography. When the sun appeared from behind the clouds several species of butterfly made brief appearances, Holly Blue, Small White, Large White, Comma, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet and Meadow Brown. I even found a lone Marbled White flying low above the meadow, the first of the year. Dragonflies and Damselflies were also noted on the wing with Emperor Dragonfly, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly and Red-eyed Damselfly all seen. From Teal Hide I heard a singing male Cetti's Warbler while at the tern rafts several young Black-headed Gull had finally fledged.

                                                           Emperor Dragonfly (female).


Friday, 27 June 2014

Goldeneye at Springwell Lake

I paid a late morning visit to the lake to catch up with the juvenile Common Goldeneye that I hadn't seen for a couple of weeks. From the picnic table adjacent the car park the bird showed very well and is almost fully grown. I watched for some minutes as is continually dived below the water surface for food. According to Geoff Lapworth the adult female departed the lake at least two weeks ago.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Chalfont Road, Maple Cross

A morning walk in glorious sunshine to the barley fields off Chalfont Road produced several species of Butterfly and Dragonfly. If you don't know this area very well you will quite easily miss the small man made pond that is a fantastic breeding site for the dragonflies. This pond is in fact part of the M25 drainage system that was built when the motorway was widened some years ago. Behind it lies an area of meadowland that holds many species of blooming flora which in turn attracts the butterflies.

                                                     Broad-bodied Chaser (male).

I noted two male and a single female Broad-bodied Chaser at the pond, the males chasing each other around in a territorial dispute. A lone male Emperor Dragonfly patrolled the air space above the pond picking off its victims with an incredible turn of speed. Throughout my stay it did not rest at all. Along the reed fringed margins Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies were noted.

                       Common Blue (male) feeding on what I believe to be Common Bird's-Foot-Trefoil.

                                                                    Large Skipper.

At the meadow several species of Butterfly were noted, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Marbled White and Common Blue.

Birds observed of note included a singing male Common Whitethroat near the pond while on the pond a pair of Common Moorhen were busily feeding their second brood of young. Interestingly the sub-adults from the previous brood were noted feeding the young of the latest brood. 

15-06-14 West Hyde

The fields at West Hyde looked magnificent with thousands of Poppies in bloom among the crops. Along the quarry road a singing male Corn Bunting was present in the hedge and was later joined by two more that flew in off the fields.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

I received news that Andrew Moon observed a family party of Cetti's Warbler this morning from Rotunda Hide. This is the first confirmed breeding record for this species at the reserve and explains why the male bird has been quiet of late. After completing a night shift I did not visit the reserve until the afternoon when the following species of note were seen:-
Little Egret (adult feeding on insects from Rotunda Hide), Mute Swan (pair with 3 cygnets), Gadwall (35 plus female with brood of 6 ducklings), Common Pochard (female with brood of 4 ducklings), Common Moorhen (pair with new brood from Shell Hide).
It was a sunny, hot afternoon and ideal weather for insects, Hairy Dragonfly and Black-tailed Skimmer were on the wing above the paddock while in the long hedge Small Tortoiseshell and Small White butterflies were noted.

                                                                       Little Egret

                                                     Common Pochard with duckling

                                               Black-tailed Skimmer (female) briefly at rest.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Early morning at Maple Lodge

An early morning start began at the Clubhouse Hide where a pair of Common Moorhen were busily feeding their young.

Above on the feeders several juvenile Blue Tit and Great Tit revelled on the free handouts.

They were later joined by an adult and Juvenile Great-spotted Woodpecker that briefly posed for the camera.

Out on the marsh a female Tufted Duck was noted with three ducklings from the Teal Hide and later at Shell Hide a female Pochard was observed with four ducklings.
At Lynsters Farm a female Mallard was present on the flooded part of the cow field with a brood of ducklings. Several species of warbler were heard singing including Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Reed Warbler and Common Chiffchaff. On returning back to the Clubhouse Hide a Cuckoo was briefly observed as it flew overhead. On leaving I noted a single Eurasian Oystercatcher feeding on the cricket field.   

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Stockers Farm & Stockers Lake

A single Eurasian Oystercatcher was observed briefly feeding on the flooded field at Stockers Farm and may have been one of a pair that I had seen earlier at Maple Lodge. A couple of recently fledged Pied Wagtail were busily hunting insects while a dozen or so Canada Goose grazed the meadow.
From the causeway at Stockers Lake I noted a pair of Red-crested Pochard a single Common Kingfisher and the escaped Black Swan. Many warblers heard singing including Sedge, Reed, Garden, Common Whitethroat and Common Chiffchaff. At the heronry at least eight Little Egret were noted including a pair feeding young. At the small ponds near the boardwalk I photographed a few species of Damselfly and Dragonfly.

                                                          Banded Demoiselle (female).

                                                                Blue-tailed Damselfly.

                                                           Common Blue Damselfly.

                                                            Large Red Damselfly.

                                                         Broad-bodied Chaser (male).


Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

A morning visit in mild, sunny conditions with birding pal Steve Carter produced a pair of Eurasian Oystercatcher feeing on the cricket pitch.

At Rotunda Hide we briefly photographed Early Marsh Orchids and Yellow Flag Iris while several Common Swift buzzed overhead.

At the Long Hedge several Damselflies were were making the most of the dry, mild conditions.

                                                                  Azure Damselfly.

From Long Hedge Hide the resident pair of Great Crested Grebe were again observed with a single juvenile and three eggs at the nest, hopefully these will all hatch in the coming days.  


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

A late afternoon visit in calm, mild conditions provided the following species of note:-
Little Grebe (adult with juvenile), Great Crested Grebe (pair with single young and 3 remaining eggs at nest), Mute Swan (pair with 3 cygnets near Long Hedge Hide), Gadwall (12), Common Moorhen (adult collecting food near Shell Hide),  Black-headed Gull (several pairs with young), Common Tern (2 briefly investigating rafts), Eurasian Oystercatcher (1 feeding on cricket pitch), Great-spotted Woodpecker (adult male with juvenile at clubhouse feeders), Reed Bunting (singing male), Reed Warbler (singing male), Common Blackbird (pair with young on cricket pitch), Mistle Thrush (pair at nest, 2nd brood).

                                                Great Crested Grebe (male) from Shell Hide.

                                                Mute Swan cygnet fron Long Hedge Hide.

                                                             Rabbit at the Long Hedge.