Sharing observations III

It is good to know that many of you are finding lots to see in your gardens and nearby on your walks, with Redwing and Fieldfare on the move back and the first Sand Martin, Swallow and other summer visitors arriving.
Of course in addition there have been different bees and butterflies in our gardens, moths identified by our moth trappers, and a number of nesting birds. Thanks everyone for your emails and online news.
Here are some of these contributions …

From Doug: This last week’s bird highlight has been a Raven flying from the Worsbrough area over Silkstone Common. The two Buzzard have been seen on a daily basis. The moth numbers have been varied with two different species recorded from last week, Brindled Beauty and Twin Spot Quaker.
There does seem to be more activity on the bee-front this week which include Common Carder, Early, Buff Tailed and Red Tailed (all Bombus – bumblebees).  Jill has had a female Orange Tipped butterfly – the first for us this season. Doug.

Arthur and Pat saw a Brimstone fluttering over the River Deane near Old Mill Bridge and their first violet of the year (V riviniana).
      They have had a fair crop of stout brown and white fungi sprouting from their lawn in urban Barnsley; they have been identified as Saint George’s Mushroom albeit two weeks before St George’s Day, so rather early.

From Alan: I have been painting the garden shed today and the only company I’ve had has been a hoverfly that seemed to be guarding a clump of daffodils. It came over to see what I was doing occasionally, no doubt saying ‘you’ve missed a bit there mate’ before flying back to his patch.
Strangely no butterflies for such a fine warm day. I had a quick look at the tortoiseshell that I had put in an egg box in the shed; it had fallen on its side so I fear the worst for it.

From: Annefie: Good to spot the Little Owl in the hawthorn tree on our local walk.

From Catherine and Mark: Seeing much more of the wildlife in the garden and on our local patch is a wonderful silver lining of the lockdown.
We went for a walk near Stairfoot in the sun last weekend. We were amazed at the size of the seasonal pond in the nature reserve area which we visited about this time last year.

It filled most of the old quarry floor and there were a lot of water birds enjoying it including Gadwall, Little Grebe and two pairs of Tufted Duck!
It was a glorious spring walk in the sunshine and we saw our first bee fly of the season as well as a glorious view of a male Yellowhammer in full breeding plumage.
Exercise walks down the Dearne have been our greatest joy, watching the Kingfishers, Sand Martins and lots of raptors. We think a pair of buzzards seems to be roosting in the nearby woods and wondering if they might nest…..
An evening visit delivered four species of bat – the two Pipistrelles, Daubentons, and a Noctule.
The Hairy Footed Flower Bees are still active in the garden. The males patrol the flower borders and have proved to be very aggressive, chasing off any other insects they encounter including bumble bees several times larger! I have posted a photo on the website.
[See comment on Shared Observations II post]

From Stuart – locked down in Penistone … Lynn and I are continuing with our new routine and during our daily “exercise walks” continue to see beautiful things. On one walk we were laughing at the new lambs playing and chasing each other in some spring sunshine and in the same field Lapwings seeing off a Carrion Crow. We often see Brown Hare in one field too and the Curlew with their haunting calls which we simply love to hear (this is all within 20 mins walk of the town centre).
Some new things this week too on Wednesday spotted my first Brimstone butterfly of 2020 near the river Don, this was seen while I was watching both Brown Trout and Grayling feeding at the surface of the river. They were feeding on new emerged midges. On Thursday (9th April) I saw my first Swallow of the summer, always a very welcome sight.
Then, on the same day, when back at home in the garden we heard a crow high in the sky mobbing something. You may remember from my last note that our garden (postage stamp size!) is just across the road from the Tesco supermarket in Penistone and quite a few birds use the warm air rising off the large park and huge roof space for natural lift. It was a pair of buzzard last week; this time an even greater sight – the wonderful Red Kite. I have seen odd ones around Penistone in previous years but this was the first over the town centre for me.

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