30/05/13 15:00 Very warm and sunny. 22°
A Scalloped Hazel was new for the year in the garden moth trap. From 12:00 till 2.00 I visited the Skylarks area of Holme Pierrepont that is going to become a new Notts Wildlife Trust reserve. Apart from a Burnet Companion though, the moths (and butterflies) were scarce and unexciting. The past three days may have killed most of them off and a new emergence is needed.
I did bring home one of the most dull micro moths ever and it turned out to be a Dicrorampha species which needs genitalia dissection to determine which of three possible species it is. So, I dissected, dissolved, washed and then lost its bits, thus it remains anonymous. Probably Dicrorampha plumbana.

30/05/13 15:00 Slowly becoming brighter
One day of coninuous drizzle followed by one day of almost continous rain/heavy rain, so no trips out and awful mothing; blanks or Brimstone/Shuttle-shaped Dart. Until I found a Knot Grass resting on a tree this afternoon.

28/05/13 07:00 Cloudy, drizzly dawn 8.2° at 06:00
Only 3 moths of 2 species after a cloudy, calm, mild night was very disappointing. Ian Blackmore of the South Notts Ringing Group is actively involved in the Lings Lane area now and has ringed the Tree Sparrow chicks and sent me these photos of this Red-listed species.

27/05/13 07:30 Clear skies and a full moon. 5.7° at 06:00
Two Shuttle-shaped Darts, a Clouded Silver and a Dagger sp. (Grey or Dark - they can't be distinguished without dissection).

26/05/13 07:30 Sunny - cloudless and warm after a min of 3.3°.
Mothing is still very hit and miss with just Brimstone, Common Pug and Ancylis badiana this morning.

22/05/13 07:30 - 09:30 Cool and cloudy.
A V-Pug was a new moth for my garden and a Yellow-barred Brindle was a second-ever record (first was on 31st July 2007). Mottled Pug, Brimstone and Dagger sp. were all new for the year.

I've found three new, well-established Elms in the Lings Lane area which I checked (as far as possible given the canopy height) for White-letter Hairstreak larvae and pupae but without success. There is another Elm in a corner of the Meadow which I've checked on many occasions and never found any. I have found them just over a kilometre away at the edge of Bunny Park and some experts say that they are found on most hedgerow elms. The Lings Lane trees are healthy (so far) and over 5-6m high.

The Meadow vegetation is now tall and lush, and although the Blackthorn has finished and it is late May, the May blossom is yet to bloom. A Moorhen has built a nest in the brook so let's hope there is no substantial rain for a couple of weeks. I've been told by Ian Blackmore that the Tree Sparrow boxes are all occupied and have chicks - four have Tree Sparrows and one has a Blue Tit. Ian is a licensed ringer and will be ringing the chicks when they are big enough.

Later on, I checked the edge of Bunny Park for White-letter Hairstreak without success but I did see a Small Yellow Underwing and brought home a small Copper Underwing larva to rear through.
19/05/13 07:00 Damp and cloudy.
After a period of windy, wet and cold nights with no trapping or blanks, there were five new for the year species this morning; Chinese Character, Swallow Prominent, Freyer's Pug and Pale Tussock.

19/05/13 10:00 - 13:00 Sunny and warm.
Six kind people joined Mike and me for our Keyworth Meadow Open Day Walk. We began at the Burial Ground widflower meadow - land acquired in 2009 for future needs, but in the meantime, to be supportive of wildflower-rich, meadow wildlife. In 2011, the field was tilled and seeded, in 2011 with meadow hay from the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and supplemented with wildflower mixes suplied by Naturescape at Langar. However the late spring meant that the hoped-for display of flowering plants is still a week or two away.

In Lings Lane we soon found Greenfinches, Wrens and Dunnocks singing, while overhead were Swallows, a House Martin and Swifts. Up to 3 Buzzards were seen on several occasions with one doing a low flypast of the Meadow and a Kingfisher took a shortcut over fields. A small patch of Eyebright caught our attention.

Orange-tip, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell and other unidentified whites were on the wing. Although the Pignut was just coming into flower, there were no Chimney Sweepers to be seen though a Red Twin-spot Carpet was disturbed from the grass.

15/05/13 09:15 - 10:30 Spitting drizzle, strong breeze and a chilly 7°.
Had it not been for a Barn Owl the walk would have been a total disappointment. It was hunting the fields west of the brook, close to a RUBOP box that Howard had, five minutes earlier, said had been damaged by contractors and needed attention. It was presumably out and about at 9.50am because of the thoroughly wet preceding night which would have prevented any activity. The rain had swollen the brook somewhat and it will be interesting to see if any Chub have come upstream on the flows. The Barn Owl box which had been used very recently couldn't be repaired on site and will be replaced soon.

12/05/13 06:30 - 09:30 6°C Sunny but chilly westerly.
A Cormorant flying east (yesterday's flew west) was perhaps the same bird from Attenborough (where they nest) with some fishing grounds in the Vale of Belvoir. A Hedgehog in the inaccesible field favoured by the geese (4 Greylags today) wasn't moving at all. My first Swift of the year was a good 12 days later than I expect to see them. No Turtle Doves, no Cuckoos and no Willow Warblers in residence.

With the Wheatear passage now over perhaps a summary would be of interest -
  • April 20th - 11
  • April 21st - 34
  • April 22nd - 23
  • April 23rd - 30
  • April 24th - 17
  • April 25th - 24
  • April 26th - 27
  • April 27th - 28
  • April 28th - 31
  • April 30th - 22
  • May 1st - 12
  • May 3rd - 3
  • May 6th - 1
11/05/13 07:00 6°C Breezy after two days of wind and showers.
Only 1 moth for Garden Moth Survey night - a Shuttle-shaped Dart.
A Blackcap has been singing from my garden for the past three days: Although they visit occasionally (especially in winter) a breeding pair would be a first.

08:45 - 10:30 9.0° Sunny turning to cloudy.
10 Rabbits today is the highest count I've managed. A Small White was being blown around in the cold breeze. The Little Owl was again perched at the entrance to the Barn Owl box and the two Stock Doves sitting nearby seemed to be waiting for it to depart so that they could get into their nest (they often utilise Barn Owl boxes). There was a dead Roach in the brook. I've never before seen a Roach in this section of the brook and how it got there I've no idea - perhaps escaped from an upstream pond or lake? Usually by this time of year there are Chub in the brook but they are not there now - they seem to come upstream on a swollen brook but we've had no rain to speak of since February. A flyover Cormorant was the first this year.

08/05/13 05:30 Overnight minimum 10.7°.
Just 10 moths of 9 species, included this Least Black Arches;

07/05/13 08:30 13° at 08:40 and clear skies.
17 moths of 8 species with a Pebble Prominent being new for the year.

11:00 - 13:30 23° at 15:00 and clear skies.
I do occasionally leave the parish - I went all the way to East Leake today (6 miles) where I found several Grizzled Skippers at Rushcliffe Halt Station and a Large Red Damselfly farther south along the Great Central Railway. Grizzled Skippers are a specialist Rushcliffe butterfly as far as Notts is concerned and are at the northernmost edge of their British range here.

06/05/13 06:45 5.1° at 06:00 and clear skies.
No wind = 11 moths; 1 *Garden Carpet, 3 Emmelina monodactyla, 1 Brown House Moth, 2 White-shouldered House Moth, 1 Double-striped Pug, 1 *Waved Umber, 1 Early Grey, 1 Clouded Drab and 1 *Powdered Quaker. Also another Nicrophorus humator.
*=1st this year.

07:30 - 09:30 19° by 10:00; wispy cirrus.
Still 1 lingering Wheatear from the remarkable spring passage and the first Speckled Wood of the year. The same field that has previously hosted Mute Swans and Greylags, today had 7 Greylags and 2 Canada Geese. On the negative side there were no Cuckoos and no Turtle Doves (and I haven't seen a Swift yet.)

05/05/13 06:00 5° at 06:00 and clear skies.
Just a single moth (an Early Grey) and this burying beetle - Nicrophorus humator. This species is a fairly frequent visitor to my moth trap.

04/05/13 06:00 9.5° at 06:00. Overcast and drizzly. Showery later.
Moths can be hard to please; despite almost double figure temperature at dawn, overcast skies and little moon, the strong winds seems to have prevented activity - just a single Common Quaker.
A male Sparrowhawk again depleted my garden passerine population by one:

03/05/13 06:30 - 09:15 3.6° at 06:00. Cloudless start, then wispy cirrus. 13° by 09:30.
Just a single Early Grey in the garden moth trap despite conditions overnight seeming similar to the previous one.
39 species of bird recorded this morning but apart from 3 Wheatears and a Jay there was nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps the number of Greylag Geese is mildly interesting; there were 7 in a field adjacent to the Meadow and 3 others flew over including a white one. A Green-veined White was flying before 8.00am and Comma and Orange-tip were basking later.
02/05/13 06:00 3.5° at 06:00. Cloudless.
Garden moths: 3 Early Grey, 2 Hebrew Character, 1 Common Quaker, 1 Small Quaker, 1 Early Thorn, 1 Clouded Drab, 1 Double-striped Pug.

01/05/13 07:30 - 10:30 -0.5 at 06:00. Cloudless 16.3° by 11:00.
Just a single Common Quaker in the moth trap, but not long now before some diversity arrives. Lots of Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats now singing in territory. 12 Wheatears, 3 Linnets, Buzzards, Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk getting harassed at considerable altitude by a Carrion Crow. The star bird was a male Yellow Wagtail - the third this spring. A dusk visit in the hope of Barn Owls only turned up calling Little Owls.