W/E 19th August 2018. BUTTERFLIES: Transects within SK22 and SK21 were covered on the 17th and 18th respectively. A decline was noted in most species but Speckled Wood, Brown Argus and Small Heaths were still in good numbers. DRAGONFLIES: As with the butterflies fewer of these insects were recorded presumably due to the cloudy condition currently prevailing. However, any blink of sunshine encouraged Migrant Hawkers to appear with these insects now spread over the whole area. HOVERFLY: During the transect visit to SK21 a Hornet mimic, Volucella zonaria, was found nectaring on the flowers of a solitary Butterfly Bush located on the drive. BIRDS: A Garganey was found in the ML on the 19th and was duly filmed as it sportingly approached the GFH with a party of Mallards. Although still around the Little Egrets are infrequently recorded with at least one visiting the now virtually dry Tertiary Lagoon. Although Mallards and Gadwalls are currently the commonest surface feeding ducks there is a smattering of Teal and Shoveler to be found and occasionally Mandarins appear in the North Pool where there are regular sightings of two Wigeon. Green Sandpipers can be found in the Tertiary Lagoon or on the edge of the Strip. In general, warblers are now silent but the odd snatch of song can be heard from Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler. PLANTS: The hot summer appears to have brought forward the fruiting season with, in particular, Blackberries being very obvious. The Crab Apple tree, on the PNT, is laden with fruit as are several Plum (Prunus sp.) trees although the fruits on the last mentioned are splitting. Amongst other berry bearing plants the Rowan and Lords and Ladies are the most conspicuous carrying bright red fruits. MAMMALS: Two Mink were noted on the 15th and were described as one pale and one ginger. Rabbits remain scarce or are hiding away but a two-thirds grown kit was seen on the 18th and a Bank Vole scuttled across the driveway on the same date. With thanks to MJH, KW, KS, RW and PJ.
Drakelow sighting reported by Tom Cockburn
Mallards and Gadwalls are currently the commonest surface feeding ducks.