Sunday, 28 September 2008

Denholme Clough

Looking south down the clough from the northern end
To the north is Doe Park Reservoir
The North East view of Doe Park Quarry
"Young" Simon at his favoured watchpoint looking North West over Denholme village

More Dragonflies at Timble - M Bloomfield

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Dragonflies at Timble

A few photos of Dragonflies taken at Timble today. A correction to any misidentification would be welcome.

I am not certain of the top one ( help please ) . The middle one is the Common Hawker, and the bottom one is a female Southern Hawker. Others showing today included Common Darter and Black Darter.

Cheers Stephen

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Twite at Fly Flatts

A flock of 15 Twite at Fly Flatts this afternoon. 3 unringed birds, with seven different ringing patterns on the others, they were, white -red -white with green on the other leg, pale blue-yellow and pink, pink and white, green and white, pink-white and blue, red-white and red, red -white and pink.
Cheers Stephen

Bumblebee Records Confirmed

Very Many thanks to Tom and Sally for help in this respect.

Five Photographs all Bilberry Bumblebee Bombus Monticola (c) DB 2008

Report Submitted to Bumblebee Conservation Trust 03-09-2008

I came across several bees of the same species, with which I was unfamilliar, feeding on Ragwort at the edge of the moor. With reference to literature I later identified them as the above species. Luckily I had my camera and took several shots which I insert at the end of this mail.

As I have never seen this species before and it would appear to be uncommon I would be grateful if you would confirm that my identification is correct.

See Below for reply 20-09-2008

Giga Move of Bombus sp.... White Tailed Bumblebees Mating (c) DB 2008

White Tailed Bumblebee (c) DB 2008

Bombus lucorum report submitted to Bumblebee Conservation Trust 03-09-2008

The visit was primarily to record the visible migration of birds but by mid morning it was apparent that not only the birds were on the move but many, many bumblebees as well, certainly into the hundreds. All of the bees that we could identify were of the same species White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum). All were going fast, with the wind, in the same direction as described below. Initially I cannot find anything in literature about the movements / migrations? of these bees and I wonder if you have any information that you could let me have? I paste in below my report for the morning which is "bird" orientated but it does confirm the weather conditions and mentions the bees.

In addition we saw a pair of "grounded" White-tailed bumblebees mating with the female attached to a heather stem. The male rythmically had its legs in the air (as shown in the photograph) attached only by mating. Literature that I have says that mating of this species is very rarely observed so I insert a couple of photographs which may be of interest and confirm male and female of the species.

See Below for Reply 20-09-2008


Dear David,

Many thanks for the two records sent to us on September 3rd. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in our response. I have now added them to our database.

I'm very excited to see that you have recorded B. monticola! Since beginning our survey we have become aware that this species is perhaps not as threatened as we once thought, as it seems to thrive in areas where it is found. Instead, it seems to be extremely specialised, generally existing only in upland environments which means that it's range is always going to be restricted. Having said that, our Vane Farm bumblebee reserve has shown that this species can be attracted to forage at lower altitude habitat if suitable flowers are available. Records of this species are therefore particularly useful to allow us to identify exactly what type of habitat we need to preserve/provide in order to keep this species happy!

I am also very interested to hear that you appeared to witness some kind of migration of white-tailed bumblebees and also that you have observed a mating event. Little is known about the mating habits of bumblebees due to the paucity of observations and it is often been supposed that mating usually occurs out of site, perhaps at the tops of trees or somewhere similar.

I have never heard of a bumblebee migration, but we have found that males of certain species do turn up very far away from the nearest known population. For example, Steph O'Connor of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust found a male B. monticola in Hertfordshire which is way out of the known range for this species. This is perhaps an indication that males disperse far from their maternal nest and if they use wind to aid them on these flights, perhaps this explains your observation of several white-tails on the move on such a windy day. It is certainly a very interesting observation and we will keep an eye out for similar reports or occurrences.

Thanks again for these fantastic records! I will keep you posted on any future use of your photos or information.

Best wishes,

Gillian Lye.

(Bumblebee Conservation Trust)

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Migrating Meadow Pipits Paul Clough

Meadow Pipits were moving SW through and around Paul Clough this morning, 150-200 approx between 8.00am and 9.30 am. Here is one which paused for a while.


Saturday, 13 September 2008

Stoat dispatching Rabbit, Paul Clough

A sickening cry drew my attention, for ten minutes or so I watched as the Stoat killed with repeated bites and then then dragged its prey off into cover.

Red Fox - B Vickers

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Birding in Bulgaria - 30th August to 5th September 2008

The birding in the first week in September, was particularly good with the migration well underway.  10,000 White Pelicans (above) and 17,000 White Storks (top) formed great swarms over the Bourgas area and headed towards the crossing point of the Bosporus.  The raptor passage didn't quite materialise as planned, but the range was as advertised, even if quantities were low.  Levant Sparrowhawk, Goshawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Montegu's Harrier, Steppe Buzzard, Osprey, together with Red-footed Falcon, Saker Falcon and Hobby were all seen in small numbers.  Marsh Harriers were particularly numerous around the large wetland areas, with Black Terns, Caspian Terns, Whiskered Terns and seven Broad-billed Sandpipers being the pick of the waders.  We staked out a position in a secluded valley and enticed a pair of Eagle Owls to show well and around this type of habitat woodpeckers included Lesser Spotted, Middle Spotted, Syrian and a single Wryneck.  On the barren Steppe areas of the north, flocks of Calandra, Short-toed and Crested Larks were visible together with a pair of breeding Stone Curlews.  In these dry northern areas passing Wheatears were common, they included four different species, Northern, Isabelline, Pied and Black-eared.  The coastal scrub and woodlands were frequently watched and migrating birds included Thrush Nightingale, Great Reed Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Golden Oriole, Citrine Wagtail, over 30 Red-breasted Flycatchers and over 200 Red-backed Shrikes, which seemed to be everywhere, the Lesser Grey Shrike being seen on fewer than ten occasions.  A later visit to a mature, mountain woodland produced Sombre Tit and Woodlark and altogether 170 species in seven days birding was very good value, Bulgaria showing what an excellent place it is to be in early September.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Kestrel Riddlesden

On the way down from Whetstone Gate , spotted this accomodating Kestrel. Stephen

Friday, 5 September 2008

Paul Clough VisMig 2008

There is a spare two way radio available for loan to a dedicated birder, preferably BOG member willing to regularly count and record the vis as it passes out of Paul Clough, Oxenhope early mornings. Saturdays and Sundays during the season are a minimum. It can then be emailed to me and details will appear on the Visible Migration pages. The radio will enable you to keep in touch and compare what is "moving" as it moves with the most of the Bradford vis team whilst they are also recording on their sites...... a stimulating experience!

Please post a comment if you are able to comply.


Thursday, 4 September 2008

Another Bumblebee!

Anyone Help? (c) Dave

Monday, 1 September 2008

Riddlesden Moth

I thought this might be an easy to identify species with the two distinctive white spots and large antennae, but its beyond a novice like me. Taken this evening on my window in Riddlesden. Any ideas? 300mm , F8, PN11 extension tube(52.5mm), in camera flash.

Cheers Stephen