philm63

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philm63
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Location: Bingley, West Yorkshire

Re: philm63

Postby philm63 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:39 am

January 2014

This is the last of my catch-up reports and we go into the New Year. Back to business I thought, but not so as on the 6th my first great-grandson arrived. So I became a very busy taxi driver ferrying people to hospital for visits, then taking grand-daughter and son home. Then lots more trips here there and everywhere as everyone vied to buy the cutest outfits and all the other additional bits deemed necessary. No doubt most people have been through this stage at some point. Then weekends became baby-sitting sessions as all the women in the family wanted to spend time with the new arrival and my time to go out slowly disappeared during the short days.
With all the activity few opportunities arose to do much walking especially as all it seemed to do was rain. I am still continuing to try and show more common species in a different light such as in the head-on shots of the Chaffinch and House Sparrow, or close-up shots such as the Canada Goose

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7th January. The Great Spotted Woodpecker visits seem to have tailed off but the Nuthatches are providing an alternative spot of colour. This one popped onto the front feeders as I stood in the kitchen and stayed till I had got the camera. Nuthatch has become much more frequent in the garden over the past two years, with two birds showing at times. I have at least two, possibly three, pairs in a half-mile radius of the house

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12th January. Went to Dowley Gap to see if I could find over-wintering Chiffchaffs, they are around that area at the moment, but I had no luck. However I was well compensated with some excellent views of this Kingfisher. The nearby River Aire was in full flow and very cloudy so the Kingfisher was along a small channel that runs down the side of the island and under the canal aqueduct. The trees made it quite gloomy so I was actually pleased with the results and I managed to creep up quite close

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18th January. A trip up the canal towpath provided some nice winter birds, lots of finches and passing thrushes. A small group of Canada Geese provided a nice study shot

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Followed soon after with a small group of Redwings in canal-side trees, I have been unable to get any decent shots of Fieldfare so far this winter, most have been fly-over or against the light views. Redwing have been a bit more reliable but not by much, both species seem to have been very wary here this winter

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And a very confiding Chaffinch

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19th January. I was on ferrying people duties at Bierley in south Bradford. Due to the baby I nearly always have the camera with me now. Here House Sparrows are pretty regular and this male was just outside the door so didn’t pass up the chance

Have now caught up on my diary and like everyone else just waiting for the first butterflies – I hazard a guess it will be a Small Tortoiseshell for me, as that is usually the case

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Wurzel
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Re: philm63

Postby Wurzel » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:33 pm

A great way to finish your round up - lush Kingfisher, tricky Redwings :D and a psycopathic Sparrow :shock: :D
Looking forward to reports for 2014 already Phil :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Neil Freeman
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Re: philm63

Postby Neil Freeman » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:08 pm

Hi Phil,

I have enjoyed reading your round-up and some great photos to go with them :D

Cheers,

Neil.

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philm63
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Re: philm63

Postby philm63 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:17 pm

Wurzel, Neil

Thanks for the comments and glad you enjoyed the ride, I really enjoyed reading back over my trip reports looking for sightings and shots worth relating

It is looking like there will be no post for February as I have only been seeing more of the same. I have managed to get a few decent shots but mostly again of the same species, or in other cases just record shots such as a large flock of Fieldfare I found on Sunday; so will not post any of them

Phil

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philm63
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Re: philm63

Postby philm63 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:42 pm

At last some butterflies! last Tuesday (15th) saw my first Small Tortoiseshells, with a few around, followed a few days later by the first Peacock. With the bank holiday managed to get out a bit and added three male Orange Tips; none of which showed any inclination to stop.
The 15th is almost the same day as last year's first butterfly, but the Orange Tips are earlier. Over the past few weeks I have trawled the local area looking for my first sighting but last week saw the first consecutive days that averaged around 13 - 14 C, maybe that played a part. We have had some short periods of sunshine but seemingly tempered by a nagging wind, even over the weekend the wind spoilt what could have been some decent outings; and now we are back to the rain
The time was not wasted as I had some excellent bird sightings locally, and reading the various posts enjoyed other people's finds.
I have visited a local spot called Bradup a few times recently which was a delight. A tarmac road runs out to Whetstone Gate about two miles out onto Rombalds (Ilkley) Moor. Here there is a car park next to the radio relay station (which is why the road exists). Bradup is lower down the road where farmland starts changing to rough pasture, and then to heather moorland. On a sunny spring day it is a lovely place to be - and typical of the edges of the local moorland. The fields echo to displaying Lapwings, bubbling Curlew and the occasional drumming Snipe. Meadow Pipits and Skylarks singing with the occasional Reed Bunting and Pied Wagtail. In the area the background sounds include calling Pheasants and the "go back go back" calls of Red Grouse. I will be back here soon as the moor edges here are home to Green Hairstreaks.

Small Tortoiseshells have been the predominant butterfly with 32 seen on one walk, but still very flighty and hardly settling; hence the limited photographs

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Peacocks have been a bit more confiding and have showed various stages of wear and damage as the recent shots below show

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I have managed to get some very pleasing bird shots recently but have resisted the urge to post them as we are in the butterfly season now, but wanted to share the one below. The last visit to Bradup on Saturday resulted in 15 minutes watching this Redshank at decent ranges, it is much brighter than the usual birds seen in autumn and winter at the coast or on wetland reserves. A few breed locally around the moor edges, oddly enough I had another one even closer to home the day before; actually on my local patch

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And finally the shots below are included just for Wurzel - hope you enjoy them!

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Phil

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philm63
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Re: philm63

Postby philm63 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:10 am

Hi all

Since my last post in April 2014 I have been loitering around the fringes and still keeping up with people’s diaries and sightings. I decided it was time to start posting again, so I hope you all will all excuse the absence, and hopefully I can manage to post the odd image to brighten up your day
Have just summarised the period 2014 to 2017 to bring the local situation up to date
A selection of images from that period follow for my local species

Skippers


Large Skipper

With the loss of two sites locally to housing developments I now look for this species at two main sites, Bingley Bog North and Eldwick Reservoir. Both held the species in the period 2014 to 2017, mid-June to mid-July. No great numbers were seen but it was reliable at both sites. Knotford Nook also holds a small colony along the river-line

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Small Skipper

Appears a short while after the first Large Skipper, but tends to stay around a bit later. They also appear at the same sites, Bingley Bog North and around Eldwick Reservoir, with the occasional ones elsewhere. 2017 was an average year in numbers, but some nice behavioural sightings

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Goldie M
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Re: philm63

Postby Goldie M » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:54 am

Love the shots of the Skipper on your finger, :D How'd you manage to get one to stay long enough to do that , they're usually so quick :D Goldie :D

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Andrew555
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Re: philm63

Postby Andrew555 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:05 pm

Some lovely Skippers Phil, that one on your finger is great. :D

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philm63
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Re: philm63

Postby philm63 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:01 am

Cheers Goldie and Andrew

The Skipper was photographed on the 23 July this year, it was not at a site I usually see them and was very lethargic but looked in good condition. The hardest bit was operating the camera in my other hand and trying to get a focus at such close range

Goldie.
I also ran into a WLH, actually my first, this year; it is shown later in this post. It was nectaring at a spot within a mile of my home and where I had no idea they occurred. It doesn't seem to fit the norm though as it was about 2pm on the 9 July I saw it, a warm and sunny day indicated by my notes. Glad about that, though, as I would never have seen it otherwise. The thistles it was nectaring on were about 20 yards from a single elm in an area with no other elms. I know to keep an eye on that site next year


Hairstreaks, Blues and Coppers

Green Hairstreak

In 2014 the moorland colony at Whetstone Gate had 27 on the 17 May which was near the time seen in 2013. In 2015 had only a single at Bradup in June and in 2016 saw none on the moors (probably bad timing on my part) but found a new small colony, of around 6, at Glovershaw. Oddly enough these were along a woodland edge at the bottom of a bracken covered slope and the butterflies were in the trees, that sighting on the 30 May was the only one that year. Saw none in 2017. In the period 2011 to 2013 I had got used to seeing them mid-April to mid-May, but late spring has been poor locally the past few years

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Purple Hairstreak

A species that does occur locally but still eludes me on a regular basis. Limited to the odd sighting in the treetops, and none at all in 2017


White-letter Hairstreak

I had never seen one locally till this year, but they do occur at a few sites I do not visit. So I was utterly surprised to find one within a mile of home on 9 July this year. The site is a secluded copse with a single Elm, The butterfly was nectaring on creeping thistle in the early afternoon. It was a delight and a real buzz at the time. Not seen again on subsequent visits

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Common Blue

None were seen locally in most years. In May 2017 found three small groups along the paths above RSPB Fairburn Ings. Only males were seen, and all very flighty, at that time. Then found a single male at Bingley Bog North in mid-June, a first for me at this site, so will check the site for more next year


Holly Blue

I only expect to see the odd individual and 2014 to 2017 were no exception. At the right time I usually get one passing through my back garden, and then expect the odd individual elsewhere, and this proved to be the case; with other sightings spread over a number of sites, almost always only singles

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Small Copper

The best two sites locally disappeared under housing developments and subsequently it is hard finding them elsewhere locally so far. I do not doubt that there will be a site where I can find them reliably, have just got to turn it up. Otherwise it is the odd individual like this year produced

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Phil

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philm63
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Re: philm63

Postby philm63 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:40 am

Browns


Gatekeeper

None seen locally for a few years, but was only sporadic before that. In 2017 had a single that was retrospectively identified in these posts, I had assumed it was another Meadow Brown. That will teach me to be more observant

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Small Heath

There is a reliable site, with a small colony, at Bradup. But I could not connect with them at all in 2017. Three visits at around the usual time produced no butterflies

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Wall

I usually find these along the road-sides and pathways in small numbers, but the sightings got better in 2014 and continued into 2017. The bridleway down to Eldwick Reservoir was turning up 6 or more on some days in either May – June or August, with 8 on one trip in May 2014. It is now a butterfly I expect along this walk at the right time, and I am not usually disappointed

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Phil
Last edited by philm63 on Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Wurzel
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Re: philm63

Postby Wurzel » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:15 am

Great to see you back Phil :D and with a great selection of shots - White-letters great and those Walls brill - especially the final one, really interesting posture :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: philm63

Postby essexbuzzard » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:42 pm

Agreed. These days, a good Wall site nearby should be cherished.

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philm63
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Re: philm63

Postby philm63 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:48 am

Cheers Wurzel, essexbuzzard

I seem to think that the Walls in angled-wings shots seem to show more texture and a richer colour, or maybe I just need to get my glasses changed!!

Browns continued

Meadow Brown

It can be the commonest butterfly at the higher elevations locally, with good numbers in June and July, and the odd stragglers into August. 2017 followed the normal pattern but I felt the main flight period was limited this year, and the main bloom of thistles saw very few butterflies utilising them

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Ringlet

Occurs locally in most spots I usually see Meadow Brown and the two are on the wing together, though Ringlets disappear sooner. In 2017 I had 12 on one day in late June and it was regular till mid-July with counts of over 20, then they all vanished. The area down to Eldwick reservoir was good this year in July, whilst the lower altitude Bingley Bog was better in late June

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Phil
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Last edited by philm63 on Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Andrew555
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Re: philm63

Postby Andrew555 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:57 am

Enjoying your shots and reports Phil, love the White-letter Hairstreak and you can never have too many Walls. :)

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David M
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Re: philm63

Postby David M » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:14 pm

Lovely sequences, Phil. Bring on the next instalment.

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Goldie M
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Re: philm63

Postby Goldie M » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:58 am

Great shots Phil, keep them coming, Goldie :D

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philm63
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Re: philm63

Postby philm63 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:47 am

Cheers Andrew, David and Goldie

Browns continued

Speckled Wood

This was again another species that had a few good years till 2016, but appeared thinner on the ground in 2017. The best spot locally Prince of Wales Park suffered from the over-removal of ground-level shrubbery and this robbed the butterflies of some of their favourite haunts. I gather the intention is to let it grow back which may improve things in the next few years. Still turning up at other sites, so no major concerns as yet

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Whites

Brimstone

I only see the odd individual and the period 2014 to 2017 was no exception. At RSPB Fairburn Ings in May I saw two


Green-veined White

Locally common in 2014 seen from 23 April to the 9th September with a peak of 15 on one day, 2015 to 2016 were quieter, with some sites not producing many at all. I also noticed a reduction in the number that were nectaring when the thistles were out, which had produced more photos in the earlier years. 2017 had sightings from April to July with 14 seen at Strid Woods in May. However sites such as Bingley Bog North, which are usually very good for this butterfly, did not seem to hold as many this year

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Phil

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Wurzel
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Re: philm63

Postby Wurzel » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:55 am

Cracking set of shots Phil :D I think a Hedge Brown snook into your Meadow Brown sequence :wink: Great Specklies and Green-veined especially the grand finale - what a beauty! :D :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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philm63
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Re: philm63

Postby philm63 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:56 pm

Hi Wurzel - Glad you like them. Which image do you think is a Gatekeeper, could it be the last one, is that what you think

Whites continued

Large White

Common enough in the right places, I got the impression numbers were down in 2017 and the sightings were limited to the period May to July with just a single seen in August

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Orange Tip

It is usually limited to sighting in April and May. 2016 was a good year and I saw some still on the wing in early June. It is becoming more frequent in the garden as well. 2017 saw only sighting in May but at a number of sites

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Small White

The years 2014 to 2016 were about average but 2017 was poor for this species locally as well. I was hard-pressed to turn them up at any of the usual sites

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Phil

essexbuzzard
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Re: philm63

Postby essexbuzzard » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:25 pm

Yes, the last one in your meadow brown sequence in definitely a gatekeeper, of hedge brown. I think your speckled woods will be ok if, as you say, the maintenance is not to intensive, as they prefer lush grass for the eggs and caterpillars.


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