The Last Comma

September 25, 2010 at 7:31 pm


This photo shows a Comma Butterfly on some blackberries just after the sun had melted the first frosts of Autumn on the 25th

It seems to have been a butterfly week with up to five Speckled Woods on Hopwood on several days and a Red Admiral in our garden.

On Hopwood more Skylarks have been heading South. Bullfinches are enjoying the Autumnal fruits with a party of five feeding on some blackberry bushes.

In the garden the Nuthatches have only returned once during the week. Collared Doves have again topped twenty and the immaculate male Sparrowhawk is back plus at least one immature bird.

At The Double

September 18, 2010 at 8:40 pm


Not one but two Nuthatches fed in the garden together on the eighteenth – only the second ever visit to the garden in forty two years! It remains to be seen whether they re-appear tomorrow.

On Hopwood on the seventeenth, in warm sunshine there were Skylarks calling as they flew South over the Golf Course. There were considerable numbers of Coal Tits, some Goldcrests, Reed Buntings and a Sparrowhawk. Two Buzzards were also present. The warmth and sunshine had also brought out five Speckled Wood and two Small Tortoiseshell butterflies which was good to see after a very poor Summer for butterflies.

After the Twelfth

September 14, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Red Grouse

This is one Red Grouse that has survived the glorious twelfth. The heather has been so purple this year that I couldn’t resist a trip to the Northern Dales this week to obtain a last clip of video before I start work scripting the new Pennine DVD. There were grouse everywhere and it was obvious that they have had a good breeding season with dry, warm weather in the crucial April/May period.

On a recent trip into Rochdale and Oldham we saw from the car two Sparrowhawks, two Buzzards, one Peregrine and one Kestrel not a bad total for a fifteen minute round trip.

The Swallow roost has now broken with only fifty birds present on the second of September, down from up to five thousand the day before. In the garden a female Sparrow Hawk has appeared and made a kill today flying off with its prey before I could come to the rescue!

Young Adders Emerge

September 4, 2010 at 3:31 am

Young Adder

Whilst looking for Hobbies I came across this young Adder. It is about six weeks old and six inches long and I believe it can still give you a lethal bite despite its age. Apparently August is the month when young Adders emerge and they are on their own as soon as they are born.

The Swallow roost continues to impress at more than two thousand birds per night and no predation yet from any raptors. I would expect their numbers to reduce soon as the movement South starts in earnest in September. I wonder how many will reach South Africa and return next year?