Neil Freeman

This forum contains a topic per member, each representing a personal diary.
User avatar
Wurzel
Stock Contributor
Stock Contributor
Posts: 5927
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:44 pm
Location: Salisbury
Contact:

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Wurzel » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:24 pm

Great set of images Neil - especially the Bullfinches and the Redcap :D Hope you had a great festive break!

Have a goodun

Wurzel

User avatar
Neil Freeman
Posts: 2602
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:25 pm
Location: Solihull, West Midlands

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Neil Freeman » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:43 pm

Thanks Bugboy, in my case I notice the Blackcaps more in the winter than the summer...probably because I tend to take less notice of the birds when the butterflies are about.

Cheers Wurzel, we had a great break thanks, been a bit depressing this week going back to work...Roll on Spring.

Looking back at 2017 part 3 – Into Autumn.

With the season advancing from late August into September things were beginning to have an autumnal feeling around my local patch with the usual high summer species - Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and the golden skippers - all finished for the year. Speckled Woods could still be found just about everywhere including my garden where three of four individual males were often squabbling over different corners or chasing after the occasional female that came wandering through. Commas and Red Admirals were also around in good numbers although I was no longer seeing Peacocks or Small Tortoiseshells, in fact these latter two species had been few and far between locally this year. The common Whites had also been noticeably down in numbers through the summer although I was starting to see a few more Large and Small Whites passing through my garden.

Coverdale 09.2017  010 resize.JPG
Comma - Coverdale 01.09.2017


A few days down in Dorset stopping at Lulworth Cove in the first week of September was our final trip of the season. There had continued to be a lot of cloud about during the latter part of the summer with a stiff breeze blowing on many days and the first couple of days of September had turned cooler with some heavy rain. Overall, butterfly numbers seemed a bit lower during our stay down at Lulworth Cove compared to visits in previous years. This is relative however and I still reckon that this area is one of the best for butterflies at this time of year.
The path from Osmington up to White Horse Hill continues to be one of my favourite sites in the area and produced the highest count of Adonis Blues that I saw down there this time, easily 100+ compared with 20-30 that I saw at Bindon Hill and Durdle Door.

Dorset  09.2017 856 resize.JPG
Adonis Blue - Osmington 06.09.2017


Dorset  09.2017 591 resize.JPG
Adonis Blue female - Osmington 06.09.2017


Dorset  09.2017 894 resize.JPG
Adonis Blues - Osmington 06.09.2017


A few late Chalkhill Blues were still hanging in there on Bindon Hill, the only time that I saw this species in 2017.

Dorset  09.2017 257 resize.JPG
Chalkhill Blue - Bindon Hill 04.09.2017


Somehow, I had missed seeing Brown Argus so far in 2017 and I finally caught up with these in Dorset with a few showing up at Durdle Door, Bindon Hill and Osmington, abeit mostly worn and faded examples.

Dorset  09.2017 111 resize.JPG
Brown Argus - Durdle Door - 04.09.2017


I had also found Small Coppers to be in short supply so far this year with just a couple seen locally and odd ones showing up at various spots around the country. I was pleased therefore to find a few down in Dorset, just half a dozen or so scattered about between Durdle Door, Bindon Hill and Osmington, but nevertheless more than I had been seeing up until now.

Dorset  09.2017959 resize.JPG
Small Copper - Osmington - 06.09.2017


There were plenty of Small Whites flying around Lulworth Cove with Large Whites in slightly lower numbers, both species being present in higher numbers than I had seen so far this year.

Dorset  09.2017 328 resize.JPG
Small White - Lulworth cove 04.09.2017


Dorset  09.2017 122 resize.JPG
Large White - Lulworth cove - 04.09.2017


The grassy slopes above Durdle Door and the path up to White Horse Hill at Osmington have reliably produced Clouded Yellows in previous years and both sites came up trumps again this year.

Dorset  09.2017 487 resize.JPG
Clouded Yellow - Durdle Door 05.09.2017


A few Graylings were still flying at Durdle Door although nowhere near as many as I saw here at the same time a couple of years ago and this time I failed to find any up on Bindon Hill.

Dorset  09.2017 731 resize.JPG
Grayling - Durdle Door 06.09.2017


Common Blues and Small Heaths were seen in good numbers as were Meadow Browns which had already disappeared from my local spots. Meadow Browns continue to fly much longer on the these Dorset chalk downs, as do Marbled Whites which I have seen still flying here in early September in previous years although I did not find any this time.

Back home through the rest of September, Speckled Woods continued to show up at most local spots as did increasing numbers of Commas. Red Admirals also seemed to be having a good year all over the country and my patch was no exception with plenty showing up all over the place.

Solihull 22.09.2017 107 resize.JPG
Red Admiral - Hillfield Park Solihull 22.09.2017


Speckled Woods continued into October with the last one seen in my garden in the second week.

Coverdale 06.10.2017 007 resize.JPG
Speckled Wood - Coverdale 06.10.2017


My last butterfly photo of 2017 was a Red Admiral in the garden on October 29th. This was not the last butterfly I saw however as I continued to see Red Admirals into November albeit usually as quick flypasts.

Coverdale 29.10.2017 014 resize.JPG
Red Admiral - Coverdale 29.10.2017


So then, the cool and cloudy summer had merged into a cool and cloudy autumn, often with a stiff breeze blowing from the North West which kept the temperatures down on many days. This is not to say that there wasn’t any nice warm and sunny weather because there was, it is just that the overall impression is of a generally cloudy and breezy second half to the season.
Considering the year as a whole, the nice spring had led to some early emergences and there was a particularly hot spell in early June which continued this trend. After this however, many of the summer species seemed to have suffered due to the deterioration in the weather from later in the month and many seemed to be well down in numbers. As mentioned at the beginning of these lookback reports, this is based on my own experiences and observations and other peoples experiences in other parts of the country may differ from mine.

All in all I saw 41 species in 2017, coincidentally the same final tally as 2016 although the mix of species was a bit different as I had more of a northern focus in 2016 and visited Cornwall twice this year as well as our later trip to Dorset.

This is now the time of year that I start to think about what I would like to see and where to go in the coming season which usually involves doing a bit of research and making plans for a number of trips, all of which gives me something to look forward too on these cold dark winter nights.

Here's to the coming season and lets hope its a good one for everyone.

Neil

User avatar
Goldie M
Posts: 3233
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:05 pm

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Goldie M » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:58 am

Happy New Year Neil! I'm just catching up on my posts, I love the shots of the pair of Adonis , funny, I never think of them being out in Sept It's always August in my mind, daft I Know :lol: Goldie :D

User avatar
Andrew555
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:30 pm

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Andrew555 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:45 am

Great reports and some fantastic shots Neil, I love those Fritillaries. :mrgreen:
I visited Haddon Hill last year as well, I didn't see any Heath Frits but the weather was against me.
But I saw them later, elsewhere on Exmoor so all is well. :)
It's been a few years since I walked up White Horse Hill, I will do that this year I think as it seems I've been missing out!
Cheers

User avatar
Wurzel
Stock Contributor
Stock Contributor
Posts: 5927
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:44 pm
Location: Salisbury
Contact:

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Wurzel » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:25 pm

Another great report Neil, great shots with a Cloudy :mrgreen: and many taken at Durdle Door (my favourite place ever) :mrgreen: but the best has to be the male Adonis - it jumps of the screen - I thought I could touch it for a moment there :shock: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

User avatar
Neil Freeman
Posts: 2602
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:25 pm
Location: Solihull, West Midlands

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Neil Freeman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:23 pm

Thanks Goldie, I always think of Adonis Blues as a late August/early September butterfly, probably because that is when I usually see them in Dorset :D. I am told that they usually fly there well into September and sometimes into October, I believe they emerge a bit earlier in the south east.

Thanks Andrew, I reckon that path from Osmington up to the top of White Horse Hill is one of the best sites in the area in early September but is well worth a visit at any time. I have also been there in early July and seen loads of butterflies including Clouded Yellows then as well :D .

Thanks Wurzel, I can easily understand why Durdle Door is you favourite place, great scenery and loads of butterflies on the downs around there...plus Lulworth Cove is just over the hill :D.

Cheers,

Neil.

essexbuzzard
Posts: 1363
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:23 pm

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby essexbuzzard » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:53 pm

Great to revisit those Dorset sightings, Neil. I was there earlier than usual, in July. I think a combination of the season running a couple of weeks early, and deteriorating weather, may have meant many species were already on the wane by September. For me, the thing I remember most about September was the lack of sunshine, although that reversed in October and November, resulting in new generations of some species.

User avatar
David M
Posts: 7970
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby David M » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:11 pm

Lovely sequence again, Neil (especially the female Large White). Less than 2 months to go till this year's action begins! :D

User avatar
Neil Freeman
Posts: 2602
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:25 pm
Location: Solihull, West Midlands

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Neil Freeman » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:17 pm

Thanks Mark, unfortunately there continued to be a band of cloud across the midlands for a lot of October and November too and we didn't enjoy the amount of sun that the south east appeared to have.

Thanks David, probably just over two months for me here, depending on how the rest of the winter turns out of course.

Garden Moths – 2017.

Although I had started to run the moth trap in my garden in 2016, this year was the first that I have run the trap for a whole season. The first night was on January 8th and resulted in, appropriately enough, a couple of Winter Moths. The last time I put the trap out in 2017 was on December 21st when the season had turned full circle and I had another couple of Winter Moths.
The season really started to take off in March and numbers increased on and off depending on the weather conditions until by mid summer I was getting up to a couple of hundred individual moths in the trap...although most of these would usually be common 'trap fillers' such as Heart & Darts or Large Yellow Underwings. My largest catch was on the night of 27th August when I counted 203 individual moths which was made up of 159 macros and 44 micros. In reality the catch would have been higher but inevitably with these numbers some of them escape before being counted, especially the micros which are often settled on the outside of the trap and don't sit still for long. This count also included 88 Large Yellow Underwings and 56 Square-spot Rustics which illustrates why some of these are referred to as 'trap fillers' and like the micros some of these escape when the trap is opened.

My tally of garden moth species for the year was a total of 245 of which 151 were macros and 94 were micros. Of the macros 38 were new species for the garden and I also had 40 new micro species, the latter due mostly to the fact that I hadn't started to look at the micros until half way through 2016. There were also a few species that I had seen in 2016 which didn't show up this year. This gives me a garden total to date of 264 species of moth split into 170 macros and 94 micros.

A selection below of some of my favourites from through the year. All caught as single individuals unless otherwise stated.

Coverdale 12.03.2017 008 resize.JPG
Oak Beauty - 12.03.2017. 3 of this attractive spring species caught.


Coverdale 01.05.2017 021 resize.JPG
Chocolate-tip - 01.05.2017


Coverdale 25.05.2017 073 resize.JPG
Maidens Blush - 25.05.2017. I love the name of this one.


Coverdale 26.05.2017 241 resize.JPG
Poplar Hawk - 26.05.2017. 6 of these including a second brood example in August.


Coverdale 28.05.2017 074 resize.JPG
Swallow Prominent - 28.05.2016. New for the garden.


Coverdale 07.06.2017 013 resize.JPG
Beautiful Hook-tip - 07.06.2017. New this year. 9 caught.


Coverdale 10.06.2017 074 resize.JPG
Figure of Eighty - 10.06.2017. 3 caught.


Coverdale 13.06.2017 017 resize.JPG
White Ermine - 13.06.2017. 2 caught.


Coverdale 15.06.2017 018 resize.JPG
Lime Hawk - 15.06.2017. New this year although I reared one last year from a caterpillar found in front of my house.


Coverdale 24.06.2017.2 075 resize.JPG
Elephant Hawk - 24.06.2017. New for garden. 2 caught.


Coverdale 24.06.2017.2 163 resize.JPG
Scorched Wing - 24.06.2017. New for garden.


Coverdale 24.06.2017.2 068 resize.JPG
Swallow-tailed Moth - 24.06.2017. 8 caught.


Coverdale 01.07.2017 252 resize.JPG
Coronet - 4 of these caught.


Coverdale 04.07.2017 020 resize.JPG
Early Thorn - 04.07.2017. A couple of these caught in spring but this female is second generation so not that early.


Coverdale 05.07.2017 014.JPG
Buff Arches - 05.07.2017. Just one of these this year, I had half a dozen in 2016.


Coverdale 25.07.2017 015 resize.JPG
White Satin - 25.07.2017. New for this year, 3 caught.


Coverdale 11.08.2017 340 resize.JPG
Canary-shouldered Thorn - 11.08.2017


Coverdale 15.08.2017 098 resize.JPG
Yellow Shell - 15.08.2017. 6 of these came to the trap.


Coverdale 20.09.2017 144 resize.JPG
Dusky Thorn - 20.09.2017. New for garden. A couple of these were caught.


Coverdale 13.10.2017 063 resize.JPG
Green-brindled Crescent - 13.10.2017. Another new one.


Compared with some of the moths above, the one below appears a bit drab and although worn and faded was actually the best moth I had in the garden. At first I had trouble identifying it and after posting the photo on a couple of Facebook moth groups an ID of Cloaked Pug was suggested which is a rather scarce migrant / vagrant which is suspected of breeding at a few locations scattered around the country. I also sent the photo to my county moth recorder who confirmed the ID and informed me that it was only the fourth record for Warwickshire in the past forty years, the last one apparently being in 2012. Just goes to show that you never know what might turn up, even in a suburban garden like mine.

Coverdale 15.06.2017 031 resize.JPG
Cloaked Pug - 15.06.2017.


So far in 2018 the weather hasn't really been suitable for me to put the trap out, either too wet and windy or simply too cold. Just waiting for a fairly still night with a temperature of about 6c or more and it will be out again.

Bye for now,

Neil.

User avatar
Goldie M
Posts: 3233
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:05 pm

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Goldie M » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:05 pm

Hi! Neil, Lovely Moth shot's, you must be pleased with your find, I really like the Ermine Moth it's certainly well named.
The weather has been really bad this winter all over the country lets hope we've a better Spring and Summer because of it.

I've got a shot of a moth that I've not named yet,( I've no Moth traps but if I see one when I'm out I usually take a shot of it)
I've put it in the ID post hoping some one will know what it's called. Goldie :D

trevor
Posts: 1547
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:31 pm

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby trevor » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:30 pm

Seeing your beautiful Hawk Moth images reminded me of an image I took in the French Pyrenees .

One night our tour leader set up a Moth trap at our hotel. In the morning this huge Privet Hawk Moth
was found in the trap. I placed a £1 coin near the Moth to give a sense of scale.
Unfortunately the only image of Moth and coin together was this one.

All the best,
Trevor.
Attachments
P1330731.JPG

User avatar
Andrew555
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:30 pm

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Andrew555 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:20 pm

Beautiful selection and a great report Neil. :D Amazing variety, and very nicely shot as well.
I love the pic of the Canary-shouldered Thorn, that yellow mane! :D
Fantastic.

User avatar
Wurzel
Stock Contributor
Stock Contributor
Posts: 5927
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:44 pm
Location: Salisbury
Contact:

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Wurzel » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:15 pm

A stunning selection of shots and species Neil :D :mrgreen: If anyone ever says that Moffs are boring again I'll direct them to your PD :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

User avatar
Neil Freeman
Posts: 2602
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:25 pm
Location: Solihull, West Midlands

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Neil Freeman » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:03 pm

Thanks for all the comments Goldie, Trevor, Andrew, and Wurzel :D

Along with a lot of the country we have just had a very wintry weekend with some heavy snow on both Saturday and Sunday although on both days it turned to sleet and then rain so it didn't stay on the ground for long.

The weather didn't deter the birds though and I was pleased to see a couple that are rarer visitors to the garden. On the Saturday there was a Greenfinch which I have only ever seen in my garden once before.

P1310248 resize.JPG
Greenfinch - Coverdale 20.01.2018


The Bullfinches tried to bully him (her?) away from the feeder but he stood his ground...

P1310247 resize.JPG
Bullfinches and Greenfinch having a squabble.


On the Sunday I spotted a Redwing turning over the fallen leaves on the lawn. I usually get one or two of these each year and this was the first this winter. I only had time for a quick record shot though the back room window before something spooked it and it flew off.

P1310265 resize.JPG
Redwing - Coverdale 21.01.2018


The culprit then emerged from the bushes...

P1310271 resize.JPG
Fox - Coverdale 21.01.2017


A bit milder today but wet with it and looks like a another blustery couple of days ahead.

Bye for now,

Neil.

User avatar
bugboy
Posts: 2258
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:29 pm
Location: London

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby bugboy » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:24 pm

Dressed in those fine greens and Yellows I'd say that was definitely a male Greenfinch :) . You did well with that Redwing picture, such a nervous bird. I'm lucky if I catch a fleeting glance as they dive for cover at my approach. I generally hear them deep in scrub or flying overhead. I guess hiding inside your house helps.

Great selection of moths from earlier too, Buff Arches, Swallowtail, Beautiful Hook-tip, Scorched Wing among my favs which I haven't seen myself in many a year :mrgreen:
Some addictions are good for the soul!

User avatar
Wurzel
Stock Contributor
Stock Contributor
Posts: 5927
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:44 pm
Location: Salisbury
Contact:

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Wurzel » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:07 pm

I'd go with male as well Neil :D Good to see the Greenfinches putting in an appearance, they've had a bad run. Great work with the Redwing as well, not an easy species to photograph as they are no where near as bold as their boisterous and larger cousins the Fieldfares :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

User avatar
David M
Posts: 7970
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby David M » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:40 pm

Great wildlife images, Neil. I love the birds fighting over the feeder, the sneaky fox and, of course, the sequence of moths, my favourite being the Canary Shouldered Thorn, which is an absolute gem!

User avatar
Neil Freeman
Posts: 2602
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:25 pm
Location: Solihull, West Midlands

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Neil Freeman » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:41 pm

Thanks for all the comments bugboy, Wurzel and David :D

bugboy wrote:... I guess hiding inside your house helps...


Yep, like a great big centrally heated hide, lazy birding at its easiest :wink:
To tell the truth, I am usually supposed to be doing jobs around the house and building up the brownie points in readiness for the better weather, trouble is I am too easily distracted when I spot something through the windows.

Sunday 28th January

A mild weekend with a wet and windy Saturday but Sunday was much better, in fact it almost felt like a nice spring like day so I decided to do my bit for the Big Garden Birdwatch. I set up in the back room in the afternoon and counted the birds that I saw during an hour between 1.30pm to 2.30pm with the results as follows;

Great Tit (3)
Blue Tit (4)
Coal Tit (1)
Long-tailed Tit (5) - these turned up together in a little gang.
Dunnock (1)
Blackbird (5) - all working the lawn together.
Chaffinch (3) - first year I have seen these in the garden, they have been there most days this winter.
Bullfinch (2, a pair)
Starling (1) - don't see these around here much these days.
Song Thrush (1)
Robin (1)
Wood Pigeon (3)
Magpie (2)
Blackcap (2, a pair)
Goldfinch (1)

Most of these were around the bushes or moving to and from the feeders too quickly to get photos but I did manage a few shots,

P1310278 resize.JPG
Blackcap male - this shot taken on the Saturday, he was there again on Sunday but stayed in the bushes.


P1310299 resize.JPG
Blackcap female - actually seemed more confident than the male.


P1310284 resize.JPG
Blackbird knocking bits off the fat block - they seem to have developed a habit of doing this and then picking the bits off the ground.


P1310369 resize.JPG
Starling in the bushes.


Since the weekend it has gone colder again and there was a good frost here this morning and It looks like the rest of the week is going to stay cold.

Bye for now,

Neil.

essexbuzzard
Posts: 1363
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:23 pm

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby essexbuzzard » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:22 pm

Wow, a blackcap and redcap, bit jealous of those! :mrgreen: No greenfinches I notice, but a good haul anyway.

User avatar
Wurzel
Stock Contributor
Stock Contributor
Posts: 5927
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:44 pm
Location: Salisbury
Contact:

Re: Neil Freeman

Postby Wurzel » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:10 am

That's a pretty impressive garden list Neil :D :mrgreen: and great shots especially the in flight Blackbird :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel


Return to “Personal Diaries”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests