Sunshine!

Agden Side

It’s hard to believe, but it seems like Summer’s returned, if only for one day. So I took the opportunity to have a walk round Agden and Rocher Head, and back down Damflask and the Loxley Valley.

Birding-wise there were very few highlights considering how far I walked. Two of the biggest came early on with a spotted flycatcher at Agden, and two cronking ravens over the reservoir. Very little was at Agden Side or Rocher End, with the exception of goldfinches, long-tailed tits, meadow pipits, woodpigeons etc.

Meadow Pipit

Damflask was very busy with walkers, joggers and dog-walkers, but I still managed a great crested grebe, and the Loxley Valley turned up two dippers, which were seen close enough for me to jot down their coloured rings (which I’ll email the BTO to find out more about these individuals). At Old Wheel Dam were five tufted ducks, and the usual mallards, coots, Canada geese etc.

 Coot

Down Loxley Road, a large flock of around 70 lapwing could be seen flying over Long Lane, and an interesting bird of prey could be seen soaring high above. It was broad-winged with obvious “fingers”, and soared with only occasional, shallow wingbeats. Its chest appeared lighter than its wings and tail. I’m going to put this down as a not quite satisfactory buzzard, but if anyone knows of any interesting birds of prey that fit this description that have been seen in the vicinity let me know.

The soundtrack of today was the sound of grasshoppers in the grass. They were hard to find, and even harder to photograph as they hopped about, and this is the best I could come up with.

 Grasshopper

And finally, a few insect id challenges (ie ones I don’t know!). Can anyone help with…

Hairy caterpillar

This hairy caterpillar was seen on the ground at Agden Side…

Dragonfly

This dragonfly at Rocher Bog (some kind of hawker?)…

Burying beetle?

This large, scary, but very dead beetle at Rocher End Plantation (some kind of burying beetle?)…

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Pete

My name is Pete

6 thoughts on “Sunshine!”

  1. We were out at Agden Side and Rocher today too! Great display of sundew at Rocher Bogg – seems to get better every year. A pair of broad-bodied chasers were mating and laying eggs in one of the pools.

    I think your caterpillar is an oak eggar (Lasiocampa quercus).

    Not sure about the dragonfly or the beetle.

  2. Looking at Chinnery I was thinking one of the eggars, but wasn’t sure which one. I see it feeds on heather too, which would fit (despite its name!).

    Did I pass you by any chance at one point today? Were you the fella with the nice camera I said good morning to on Agden Side Road somewhere between 12 and 1230ish ?

  3. Cheers, Dean. Someone on Flickr reckons the dragonfly’s a black darter, but I’m leaning towards your id looking at Google images. I realise the photo is not the best angle for id purposes!

  4. Yes, that was me (and my other half, Liz). Looks like you were walking in the opposite direction to us! We started at High Bradfield and walked round to Agden Side via Rocher Head.

    I have seen black darters at Rocher Bog around this time of year. They are a lot smaller than hawkers – the abdomen is no more than inch long. According to the BWP guide (Brooks & Lewington), their most distinctive feature is “three yellow spots on black patch on side of thorax”. This is easier to see on females and immature specimens (www.flickr.com/photos/roger/1243347974 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/roger/34904944/). The dragonfly in your picture does appear to have these markings on its side, so it could well be a black darter.

  5. Yeah, I started at Low Bradfield to stock up on a few on-journey snacks at the Post Office.

    Which is the daft way round of doing it, as it means I had to walk up the sheer slope from Agden to Agden Side! At least it meant I got to see the ravens…

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