Saturday, 29 September 2012

20th Sept Court Gardens at Holt

 On 20th Sept in a small area of the Court Gardens there were c30 Red Admirals, c20 Commas, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Peacock. With the Whites also, a total of some 60 butterflies (and 2 Southern Hawkers) made a nice change from the usual counts.


Thank you Gordon

Butterfly transect walk

Geoff Hiscocks Friday, September 28, 2012
  1. Click Photo to enlarge

    All four of us(Bath Nats members:Steve Creed, Graham Fulford,Geoff Hiscocks,Peter Shirley )completed the last transect walk of the year this afternoon at Bannerdown. Saw 10 butterflies (4 species) plus a large Grass Snake (photos provided).Click here for photo 2

    Thank you Geoff absolutely fantastic

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Trip Report Saturday 15th September 2012
 Local walk in Bath
Lyncombe Vale and Perrymead

Seventeen members gathered outside Prior Park Garden Centre at 10am then walked up to Lyncombe Vale where our first stop was on the raised pavement which has a stream running along the wall.  Here liverworts were growing luxuriantly just above water level on the wall, which was also covered in the tiny leaves of mind-your -own-business.  There was a distinct zonation of plants with Pellia epiphylla at water level and Conocephalum conicum just above.  Further up the wall hard fern, ivy-leaved toadflax and herb-Robert were growing in profusion.  A fallen branch covered in crust fungi, mosses and lichens provided an opportunity to learn about these groups.  Species found on this short branch included lichens Evernia prunastri and Parmelia saxatilis, crust fungi Peniophora cinerea and P. limitata and a moss Orthodontium. (Apologies for the latin, but they don’t have common names.)  Further along the road the wall was covered in bright yellow crustose lichen Caloplaca lucens and another liverwort Marchantia polymorpha was found growing between the paving stones.  Where the spring gushed out of the wall there was a mass of liverworts, mostly Conocephalum but also a delicate band of Riccia down by the water.  Lesser water-parsnip was growing in the stream.  Ferns on the wall included wall rue, maidenhair spleenwort and hard fern.  In one place the tarmac road had a good cover of mosses, mainly Calliergonella cuspidata and Eurynchium praelongum, in a damp and shady place where the mosses provided the first stage in colonisation.  Nearby hazel leaves were covered in sawfly larvae.

After passing under the arched bridge carrying the disused railway line soon to become the two tunnels cycle route, we came to a derelict pony paddock, now covered in a tall growth of burdock, angelica, comfrey, nettles and brambles, with greater plantain along the path.  This might well be called the cricket field as there was a profusion of dark bush-crickets, together with meadow and field grasshoppers (identified by Alan Barrett on his bat detector).  A lone chiffchaff was singing, and we noted nuthatch, robin, wren and woodpigeon.  Common carder bees were visiting comfrey flowers and there were many snails including white-lipped and copse snails.

Where the path joined Entry Hill we turned left up a steep path lined in places with tall beech trees where stock doves were noted.  Coming out on top we had a fine view of Lyncombe Vale and Perrymead valley looking across old pasture now rapidly being invaded by creeping thistle, with bramble spreading out from the edges.  Fleabane and hemp agrimony were noted.  A long-winged conehead was ‘detected,’ and speckled wood butterflies were seen.  Some of the false oat grass was suffering from rust.  A brief climb to the top of the slope brought us suddenly into the suburbs of Foxhill.  From here it was all downhill along Foxhill Road and Perrymead where I had seen roe deer in a garden the day before.  Red admirals were in the gardens.

Near the bottom of Perrymead we turned right up Blind Lane to the new entrance to the Abbey Cemetery which was built in the 1840’s and is now managed to retain the wildlife as well as many notable monuments.  Hemp agrimony and rosebay willowherb covered much of the ground between the tombstones.  A fine stand of the grass wood melick was noted under the trees and a large badger sett was pointed out.  A southern hawker dragonfly was noted.  Back at the garden centre we noted the greater horsetail, purple loosestrife, hemlock water-dropwort and meadowsweet along the streamsides by the car park.  Kingfishers are often seen here, but not today.

David Goode

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Friday, 7 September 2012

Trip report

Monday, 3rd September 2012:
Joint meeting with BNHS and Bath RSPB local group.
Meare Heath & Ham Wall on the Somerset Levels
(Leaders: Phillip & Lucy Delve)

Our party of six met at Ashcott Corner, where a lucky few saw a Grass Snake swimming across the drainage dyke. Ashcott Corner is well placed to access the extensive reed-bed and wetlands of Ham Wall, Walton, Meare and Shapwick Heaths. These can all be viewed from the track that runs east and west from here, along the line of a drainage dyke and the route of a disused railway line. Heading west in mild, calm and glare free conditions, we found plenty of interest throughout our morning on the Natural England Reserve. Bird sounds accompanied our progress; the explosive song of Cetti’s Warblers, more distant reed buntings, “hu itt” calls of leaf warblers, the occasional Water Rail squeal, and even a few pinging calls of Bearded Reedlings.  Although water levels were very high, there were birds to see, flocks of Teal, Mallard and Gadwall circled above, a party of Lapwings passed over and the occasional lone Cormorant flew overhead. Swallows swooped low for insects over the reeds. A Hobby settled in nearby oak trees.  Then on Noah’s Lake, the highlights: two Black Terns, tiny compared with Black-headed Gulls perched next to them; two Great White Egrets, among the first known to nest in the UK and only this year; an Osprey flying in with a large fish.
Although more inclined to fly in bright sunshine, several species of dragonfly were seen through the morning. The most notable find here were several Small Red-eyed Damselflies along the dyke, on bank side vegetation. This species, new to Britain in 1999, has been expanding its range westwards and if our identification is correct, is a new arrival here. After lunch, back at the car park, we set off eastward to view the Ham Wall and Walton Heath RSPB reserves. Now in sunshine, butterflies were more active. It was particularly heartening to see several Small Tortoiseshells, which have become so scarce elsewhere. Dark Bush CricketsClick here for photo 1 abounded in the path side vegetation.Click here for Photo 2 In the pools by Loxton’s Loop we saw several more Small Red-eyed damselflies and a small Marsh Frog. Among all the soaring Buzzards and at least four Hobbys, a dark juvenile Marsh Harrier flew across our path toward the Ham Wall. Also on Ham Wall, well hidden among cut reed stumps were up to twenty Snipe.

List of birds seen, heard or both. 45 species:

Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Duck, Great-crested Grebes, Mute Swans, Greylag Geese Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Great White Egrets x2, Little Egrets x3, Cormorants x30, Hobbyx5, Buzzards, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Black Ternsx2, Black-headed Gulls, Lesser-black-backed Gulls, Coots, Moorhen, Water Rails, Lapwingx15, Snipex20, Wood Pigeons, Swallows, House Martins, Blackbird, Cetti’s Warblerx3, Reed Warblersx3, Chiffchaffx5, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tits, Bearded Reedlings, Wrens, Robins, Goldfinches, Reed Buntingx2, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Jay.

Butterflies Seen:
Small White x 2, Green-veined White x 1, Common Blue x 1, Red Admirals x 4, Small Tortoiseshells x 10, Speckled Wood x 5.

Thank you to  Phillip & Lucy Delve

Trip report

Report on visit to Brown’s Folly Nature Reserve, 11th August 2012

Twelve members attended this visit, in which Alan Rayner demonstrated his ecological ways of observing and appreciating the rich variety of wildlife to be found in this well-known local Nature Reserve. The need imaginatively to combine and prolong views from ‘outside’ and ‘within’ in order to understand the dynamic relationship between what is present and where it is present was emphasized. This relationship was brought out in the contrast between woodland and grassland and in the repetition of similar patterns of life from small to large scales. Individual highlights included dead man’s fingers and eyelash fungus growing on decaying logs, a wide variety of mosses and liverworts growing on soil, boulders and trees, a ‘forest’ of giant horsetails and some sturdy flowering spikes of broad-leaved helleborine.  

Thank you Alan