Monday, 26 March 2012

Glorious Highgate Common

Highgate Common - another of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Reserves,and one I have never visited before, situated in the South of Staffordshire, it is a remnant of an ancient lowland heath that used to stretch for 15miles.

Today the sun shone and the birds were singing everywhere, chiffchaff accompanied us , A huge mixed flock of linnets and  lesser redpoll were making one almighty cacophony of chirping on the edge of the woodland,  robin, song thrush, great tits, blue tits and long tailed tits again were all on great form, green woodpeckers were yaffling and greater spotted woodpeckers were drumming, jays were calling,.a couple of treecreepers were playing chase around the base of a tree and then up above there were soaring buzzards and at least 5 kestrels were spotted too!

linnets and redpoll

Song thrush


Butterflies including commas and peacocks  were fluttering around as were some small orange butterflies that we were unable to identify as they kept landing in the trees, which made us think they might have been moths instead!

Highgate Common is also home to several rare solitary bees and to help their continued success there several sand scrapes have been made on the paths where the bees make their nests. I am no bee expert but managed to photograph a couple of different ones - no idea if these are among the rare ones!.

Highgate Common also has grass snakes,  slow worms and lizards - we didn't see any today! It is also home to over 5,000 insects - we did see several of these!!!!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

So here we go again, chasing butterflies

A beautiful sunny day here in Staffordshire, but that wind out there is cold and strong!!! no chance of a butterfly resting in our garden today. It might be windy but you can always find a sheltered haven somewhere and I was hopeful that I would find one, I had a place in mind so a dog walk planned.

I was in luck - as I approached I saw a butterfly take to the air and another, would they settle or just keep flying. I was in luck again, not only did they settle they posed!




Every so often they would lift into the air to dance with another butterfly and then they would land again, I could have watched them for the whole afternoon, but lunch was calling.

The butterflies weren't the only ones enjoying the sunshine, several ladybirds were around too

 birds spotted today included, buzzard, grey heron, meadow pipit, kestrel.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

grey heron

I guess this grey heron lifted because I was walking towards it, although it was stood brookside surrounded by tall rushes so I probably wouldn't have noticed it at all if it had stayed still.

and what are the small dots, smudges, next to it, I think they are meadow pipits, there were certainly a handful around near to where the heron had been, including this one.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Little Owl

Walking our dog up the lane last week I spotted a Little Owl in an old pear tree in the middle of a small field, this didn't come as a total surprise as we used to see Little Owls in and around that field for several years - but the last two or three years there has been no sign of them.
I was naturally really excited so on my return home I jumped in the car with my camera in the hope it would still be there, but of course it had gone!
The following morning, there were two little owls sat in the same tree, I didn't have my camera with me again, so for the next few days I took my camera with me every time I walked or drove past the field, with no joy!
This morning I decided that I didn't have time to take any photos so opted to leave my camera at home when I drove into the village and yes there it was again - dilemma should I turn around and go back for my camera - No - I really didn't have time,! On my return from the village it was still sat there, so when I got home I took a couple of sips of my tea which I had made before going out and was waiting for me, grabbed the dog lead and my camera and did a quick walk up the lane with our dog.
I kept telling myself that it would have flown off, as it had been so illusive over the last few days, but as I arrived at the field gate, to my relief it was still there, and not only that it hung around, - it just sat there turning its head around watching the farmer in his tractor, me, the cows that were walking into the field as I arrived, eventually the cows got too close to the tree and the owl flew off, but at least I managed to get some pictures first! 
Little owls really are little, hopefully there will be some even smaller owlets to watch later on in the year!