Burying beetle in the moth trap

I’ve been running a moth trap since mid-April after I received one for my birthday and I’ve had some success catching a variety of species of moth which I will probably show at one of the indoor meetings. As well as moths, I usually catch a few other insects such as wasps, flies, and midges, but last night I caught a rather splendid burying beetle – not quite as good as the lesser stag beetles that Francis has caught – but nonetheless a great find in the trap. I have no idea how common these are around Wakefield, probably quite common, but a first for my garden!

Burying Beetle (Silpha vespillo)

Burying Beetle (Silpha vespillo)

Wildflower walk, Old Moor RSPB reserve

A lovely morning for our wildflower walk with a full range of wonderful colours from white hedge bindweed, sneezewort, wild carrot, white water lily to the yellows of wild honeysuckle, yellow loosestrife, fleabane, ribbed melilot and greater spearwort to the pink hues of purple loosestrife, goat’s rue, common centaury and slender speedwell. This handsome puss moth caterpillar was camouflaged well amongst the willow and we spent a while admiring it.

Puss moth caterpillar

Puss moth caterpillar

Wood Anemones at Brockadale

I’ve just returned from a few days photography in Wiltshire/Dorset where I’ve been photographing firecrest, great bustard and Dartford warbler and, as the spring weather continued, today I went over to Brockadale to see what spring flowers were on offer. The cowslips are not yet in bloom and the highland cattle seem to be making a bit of a mess of the meadow so I’m not sure how well the cowslips will do this year. The wood anemone on the hillside are spreading well but deep in the woods, they somehow looked more at home in the dappled spring light.

wood anemone Spring migrant birds included blackcap and chiffchaff but no willow warbler yet, There were plenty of song thrushes singing which was a welcome sound

February meeting: Extra-ordinary AGM

This is an advance notification that at February’s meeting we will be calling an extra-ordinary AGM to re-present the WNS accounts. The reason for this is to comply with the Charities Commission rules which states that we should present the accounts to the members 14 days in advance of our AGM. As we were unable to do this due to the original AGM being too soon after Christmas to get in all the bank statements from the peregrine account, our auditors have suggested we make the AGM null and void. However, the Society doesn”t wish to have to repeat the AGM business, hence an extra-ordinary AGM to present the fully audited accounts. This should only take five minutes and we would advise thta the accounts are now online for anyone to look at ahead of the meeting.

After the business, we will be heading off to Spain to have a look at some of the iconic species of birds that this vast country has to offer, such as this beautiful pin-tailed sandgrouse.

Pin-taiked Sandgrouse

Raven over Anglers Country Park

Chris Swaine, a regular birder at Wintersett, just Tweeted this great image of a raven over Anglers Counrty Park. This is a very unusual bird for the area and Chris informs me that he also saw it just before Christmas and Pete Smith also heard one there just before Christmas. It must be the same bird blogging around the area and I’m hoping I might just get it on the garden list if it flies over Ryhill!

raven overr Anglers Country ParkThe wedge shaped tail is unmistakably raven as are the long narrow wings. Ravens are definitely on the increase and expanding their range as a breeding bird, no longer confined to the coast or mountains but are nesting in ciities on cathedrals and tower blocks.

You can follow more of Chris’ sightings on Twitter @Croftonbirder

Black Redstart in Ossett

John Hamilton Tweeted his sighting of a rare visitor to the district that he stumbled upon in Ossett – a black redstart! The bird has been seen in North Ossett churchyard and may have been around some time as there has been an influx of these beautiful little chats into the country in recent weeks. Eddie Andrassy has been up there and saw it the next day on Saturday 7th January. So, if you are that way out, it might be well worth a visit to the church to see if the rarity is still around. Do let us know if it is still there.

Autumn colours, fungi and goosander at Nostell Priory

autumn colours at Nostell Priory

autumn colours at Nostell Priory

Nostell Priory seems to be proving popular with WNS members just now with Roger heading there last Friday and bunping into Barbara and Richard, and us there today also bumping into Barbara and Richard! I suspect we will make it one of the outdoor field meetings again next year!

I saw much of what Roger had on his visit with the exception of firecrest but for me it was the autumn colour and good selection of fungi that were the attraction. The woodland around the lower lake was superb in the late autumn sunshine on Remembrance Sunday and the temperatures were positively balmy. We had plenty of fly agaric, honey fungus and the shaggy scalycap pictured here. I only saw female goosander but they were still great to see and the occasional whistle of the wigeon was a delightful sound. We had a single male shoveller on the water too and plenty of goldcrests, treecreeper, nuthatch and long-tailed tits in the woodland.

shaggy scalycap (Pholiota squarrosa)

shaggy scalycap (Pholiota squarrosa)

goosander at Nostell Priory

goosander at Nostell Priory

November meeting change of speaker

Due to an error on my part, the November meeting will now be local photographer Ron Marshall giving his talk entitled – “Alaska – the final frotier”. The talk covers his trip to the very north of Alsaka to the remote town of Barrow and will cover the unique wading birds and mammals of the region. This is going to be a highlight talk so do come along on Tueasday 8th at the usual venue.


Chiffchaff in the Ryhill garden

A sure sign of autumn for me is the flocks of titmice passing through the garden along with the occasional Phylloscopus warbler and today’s offering was a lovely chiffchaff/ The bird was fliting in the autumn red and yellow leaves of an Indian chestnut tree in the garden and was in full song. Lots of these birds on the coast, blown in by easterly winds, but not sure if this was a migrant or a UK bird heading south. Most welecome whatever his origins and, as I didn’t photograph him, here’s one I did earlier on the Yorjshire coast