Preening Grasshopper

Whilst in Oxleys I disturbed quite a few Grasshoppers as I passed through the grassy open areas. Managed to get a few shots. I am assuming they are just Common Field Grasshoppers. Interesting to watch the Grasshopper in the middle photos preening its antennae. It would take it in turns to pass each antenna under which ever front leg was on the same side as the antenna which required attention. It would then pull its head along with the antenna from under the foot, I guess cleaning it at the same time.

Common Field Grasshopper (hopefully), Oxley’s Copse, 29 June 2010

Antennae Preening

Each Antenna was preened/cleaned in turn, several times.

Post Preening a spot of Basking was undertaken.


Steve Copsey

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Large Skippers and Marbled Whites

Just like Tony, I came across my first Marbled Whites of the year in Oxleys Copse whilst walking the dog this afternoon. Plenty of males and females on the wing, the size difference quite apparent. Also good numbers of Large Skippers in there as well enjoying the hot afternoon sun. Fortunately I was carrying my large camera and lens so I was able to take a few shots.

Large Skipper, Oxley’s Copse, 29 June 2010

Large Skipper, On Birds Foot Trefoil ? Oxley’s Copse, 29 June 2010

Marbled White, On Crown Vetch? Oxley’s Copse, 29 June 2010


Steve Copsey

House Martin Box success

Glad to report that the House Martin Nest Box I erected a couple of years ago on the side of the house has been used for the first time this year. I placed the man made double nesting cup on the house after the original nesting cup made by House Martins themselves was destroyed by House Sparrows which took up residence before the Martins arrived back. However there is one slight drawback to the situation.

Housemartin Nest with at least two chicks, 25 June 2010

Can you guess what they are yet ???

As if you didn’t know!!!

House Sparrows; the very birds that destroyed the original have now taken over the replacement. Still cannot be all bad as these birds are not exactly common now. That said this year I have had at least four pairs in boxes around the garden and possibly another couple of pairs in an Ivy covered tree. They are currently on second or third broods, so the population locally is looking healthy.

Steve Copsey

Mothing – Elephant Hawkmoth, Cream-bordered Gren Pea and Waved Carpet (?)

   Last night I put the moth trap out and had, subject to confirmation, a further five new species.  The most impressive was a pristine Elephant Hawkmoth. 

Elephant Hawkmoth, Fareham Garden – 25 Jun 10

Elephant Hawkmoth, Fareham Garden – 25 Jun 10

   Probably of greater significance though were singles of Cream-bordered Green Pea and, if my identification is correct, Waved Carpet both Nationally scarce species.  I was probably a little fortunate with the Cream-bordered Green Pea because I spotted it on the lid of the trap when I popped outside late last night.  

Cream-bordered Green Pea, Fareham Garden – 25 Jun 10

Correctly identified as Satin Wave, Fareham Garden – 25 Jun 10.  Many thanks to Dan Houghton. 

   Other recent new species provided that my IDs are correct (time will tell) are as follows:

Bramble Shoot Moth, Fareham Garden – 22 Jun 10

Clouded Border, Fareham Garden – 22 Jun 10

Rufous Minor, Fareham Garden – 22 Jun 10

Light Arches, Fareham Garden – 25 Jun 10

Mullein Wave, Fareham Garden – 25 Jun 10

Crambus lathoniellus (?), Fareham Garden – 21 Jun 10

Oak Nycteoline, Fareham Garden – 25 Jun 10

   I am still surprised by the variety of moths that are on the wing in my back garden at night. 

Good mothing,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) Geosci (Open)

Wicor shore – Lesser Whitethroat and Marbled White

   Today I took a stroll along Wicor shore in the wall to wall sunshine.  In the paddocks adjacent to Hospital Lane I spotted up to 20 Marbled White Butterflies on the wing that were my first of the year.  They were all very active and while I wilted in the heat in the hope that at least one of them would come to rest I heard a Lesser Whitethroat call from the nearby scrub.  

Marbled White, Portchester – 25 Jun 10

Marbled White, Portchester – 25 Jun 10

   The bushes were full of House Sparrow but one bird that flew out to a nearby conifer clearly wasn’t a sparrow and it eventually showed itself to be the Lesser Whitethroat.  After it flew back down to the scrub I managed a gash record shot of the bird. 

Lesser Whitethroat, Portchester – 25 Jun 10

   I know the photograph isn’t particularly good but my camera, a Canon SX10-IS, continues to do exactly what I bought it for and that is to provide record shots of the wildlife I see without the need to carry a large camera and lens around. 

   A nearby field contained twenty plus Rook many of which were panting from the heat. 

Juvenile Rook, Portchester – 25 Jun 10. 

   Offshore I spotted Grey Heron, Little Egret, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Great Crested Grebe and a single Sandwich Tern.  

Good birding,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) Geosci (Open)  

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Titchfield Haven Extras

Just a few shots I took at the Haven on Friday. Could not seem to fit them in under any breeding theme so here they are by themselves.

Jay, not a rare bird at the Haven but not usually as obliging as this individual, perched on a fence post near the Meon Shore Hide.

Black-tailed Godwit, one of the 190 or so birds that have decided to spend the summer on the south coast, usually first year and non breeding birds. This years tally is the most I can remember summering on the Solent.

Lapwing, this bird spent an hour or so sat in front of the Pumfrett Hide. Possibly it’s mate is sitting on eggs nearby?

Steve Copsey

Mothing update from my Fareham back garden

   By far the most numerous moth caught recently in my Fareham back garden has been Heart and Dart.  The moth trap also normally contains several Willow Beauty Moths that so far all appear to have been males due to their feathered antenna. 

   New for garden since my last moth posting have been as follows: 

Cinnabar, Fareham Garden – 6 Jun 10

Vine’s Rustic, Fareham Garden – 6 Jun 10

Freyer’s Pug, Fareham Garden – 6 Jun 10

Dark Arches, Fareham Garden – 8 Jun 10

Heart and Club, Fareham Garden – 14 Jun 10

Green Pug, Fareham Garden – 15 Jun 10

Ingrailed Clay, Fareham Garden – 19 Jun 10

Tawny Marbled Minor, Fareham Garden – 19 Jun 10

Cabbage Moth, Fareham Garden – 20 Jun 10

Uncertain, Fareham Garden – 20 Jun 10  

Uncertain, Fareham Garden – 20 Jun 10


Garden Grass-veneer (Micro), Fareham Garden – 20 Jun 10

Orange Footman, Fareham Garden – 21 Jun 10

Common Emerald, Fareham Garden – 21 Jun 10

Riband Wave, Fareham Garden – 21 Jun 10

Phlyctaenia coronata (Micro), Fareham Garden – 21 Jun 10

Probable very worn White-point, Fareham Garden – 21 Jun 10

   I also caught a single Figure of Eighty, a very aptly named moth, but the photographs were lost during transfer due to an error.  Thankfully, the error appears to have been a one off. 

   New for year have been as follows:

Female Large Yellow Underwing, Fareham Garden – 15 Jun 10

White-point, Fareham Garden – 15 Jun 10

Pale Mottled Willow, Fareham Garden – 19 Jun 10

   Many thanks to Richard J Moore for confirming my identifications.  It is much appreciated. 

Good mothing,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) Geosci (Open)

Yellowhammer, Hornet and Six-Spot Burnet Moths at Boarhunt

   Due to the predicted continued good weather I took a days sea leave today and headed for Boarhunt to walk along the various footpaths around Bere Farm.  For much of the walk I was rarely out of earshot of a singing male Yellowhammer.  In total I spotted nine singing males plus a female. 

Male Yellowhammer, Martin Down – 13 May 10

   Once again Barn Swallow were nesting at Bere Farm and it was nice to observe colonies of House Sparrow thriving at both Bere Farm and Wickham Common.  

   On Wickham Common I encountered a minimum of eight Six-spot Burnet Moths.  According to the ‘HantsMoths’ website it would appear to be a little early for this species although not unheard of. 

Six-spot Burnet (?), Wickham Common – 21 Jun 10.  It has definitely got six spots. 

Six-spot Burnet, Wickham Common – 21 Jun 10

   Also spotted on the walk was a Hornet and a moth that wouldn’t keep still that I presumed to be a Silver Y.   

Silver Y (?), Boarhunt – 21 Jun 10. 

   All in all a very pleasant way to spend the longest day of the year. 

Good birding and mothing,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) Geosci (open)

Cackling Goose at Titchfield Haven

Obtained the best views so far of the Haven’s Cackling Goose, It was present with around a dozen Canada Geese for the majority of the afternoon. Although I say with, this was not strictly the case. The Cackling Goose was always on the periphery of the main Canada group and always looked wary, especially as the group left the water to feed. Not sure if this wariness was of the other Canada’s or the scrape area in general. When feeding it always ate on its own but never more than a few metres from the group. When on the water the Cackling Goose was invariably at the rear of the flock usually following in the wake of the main group.Cackling Goose with nominate race Canada Geese, Titchfield Haven, 18 June 2010Comparison ShotCackling Goose, Titchfield Haven, 18 June 2010Cackling Goose, Titchfield Haven, 18 June 2010

Steve Copsey

Bullfinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker in the garden

   Last weekend whilst I was out in the garden a Bullfinch called from the mature Silver Birch in the neighbour’s garden.  In the hope that the bird would fly down to the feeders I rushed in doors and grabbed my camera.  When I returned I was treated to a pair of Bullfinch on a feeder filled with sunflower kernels.  I managed a record shot before the birds flitted off.  The fact that both birds negotiated the metal guardian fitted to the feeder without any trouble proved that, although only a recent garden tick, they were regular visitors to the feeder. 

Pair of Bullfinch, Fareham Garden – 13 Jun 10

   For information the tiewraps shown in the photograph are to stop pigeons pocking their heads through the guardian to trough all the food. 

   The highlight in the garden this weekend was regular Great Spotted Woodpecker on the peanut suet feeder.  For the last few months I have put out fat balls but the birds showed very little interest in them.  However, there has been a very keen interest in the peanut suet blocks that I recently ordered.  The first one lasted just five days.  As well as a couple of juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker a male bird was regularly seen flying off with a beak full of suet.   

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, Fareham Garden – 19 Jun 10

Blue Tit, Fareham Garden – 19 Jun 10

Juvenile Starling, Fareham Garden – 19 Jun 10

Good birding,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) Geosci (Open)

Chilling Cliffs plus Titchfield Haven Cackling Goose

   Yesterday evening I took a stroll around the Chilling area from the carpark at Titchfield Common.  Although the birding was a little quiet and despite the relatively brisk westerly wind it was a glorious evening to be out and about. 

Cormorant, Chilling Cliffs – 19 Jun 10

   The highlight was two adult Gannet heading East through The Solent.  The first bird at 1900 was in mid-channel but the second bird ten minutes later was a lot closer inshore.  

Greenfinch, Chilling Cliffs arable – 19 Jun 10

   Along the cliff top arable small numbers of Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Linnet fed on the rippening rape (?) seed. 

Male Linnet, Chilling Cliffs arable – 19 Jun 10

   Around Chilling Barn the first brood of Barn Swallow was on the wing with up to a dozen birds flitting around me at any one time as I walked around the stables. 

Cackling Goose, Titchfield Haven – 18 Jun 10

Female Stag Beetle, Hook Wood – 16 Jun 10

Good birding,

Tony T   BSc (hons) Geosci (Open)

Titchfield Haven; Avocet Update 18 June 2010

During Friday afternoon we attempted to establish the exact Avocet numbers across the reserve. Bob Shilling a long time RNBWS member and Graham Barritt were roped in to help. We may not be spot on but we had 62 adults across all the scrapes. 7 adult sized juveniles from the Meon Shore Hide and 8 two to three week old chicks from the Spurgin Hide, down from last week by three or four. In total that gives us 77 Avocets. To add to that we had 8 adults sitting on the islands in Eleven Acre Mere; (Barry resisted the urge to go metric and rename it 4.45 Hectare Mere). Hopefully I will get down there again next Friday to check the numbers.

Avocet, Titchfield Haven, 18 June 2010

One thing we did notice was that all the two to three week Avocet chicks have merged together to form a loose feeding flock. The youngsters with ever vigilant adults seem to have taken over the section of Eleven Acre Mere immediately in front of the Spurgin Hide. Any other birds that have the misfortune to enter this no go zone are asked ‘politely’ by one of the adults to leave the area immediately! As with last week Mallards, Coots Moorhens and Canada Geese appeared to take the full force of the Avocets displeasure.

All in all in looks like a great year for the Haven’s Avocets.

Three day old Mallard chicks being put in there place.

A young Coot receives the hairdryer treatment

The Avocet remains persistent

The Coot goes deep (depth around six inches)

Steve Copsey

Barnacle/Canada Goose Hybridisation ??

The question of possible hybridisation between a Barnacle and Canada Goose looks like it may be resolved in the near future. Yesterday Tony, Sid and I had views of the pair from the Meon Shore Hide. I managed a few snaps before they disappeared into cover. The two juveniles are now starting to moult into their first adult plumage and I believe are showing signs of both adults, but I am as certain as I am of an England victory against Slovenia next Wednesday. In the picture below the left hand juvenile looks to showing more of a Canada head with the head of the bird on the right looking more Barnacle. That said the second image appears to lean towards two Canada heads. The neck colouring on both birds as you would expect is dark with the breast junction becoming paler, again as in Canada. However, both youngsters seem to have quite a strong contrast between the folded wings and the flanks as in Barnacle, or am I seeing things? Hopefully I will see the birds again over the next few weeks and all will become clear??

Barnacle/Canada Family? Titchfield Haven, 18 June 2010

Barnacle/Canada Family? Titchfield Haven, 18 June 2010

Steve Copsey

Stag Beetle in Hook Wood

Out on Wednesday evening with Sid and Tony walking around Hook with Warsash NR, when Eagle Eyed Lawrence spotted this Stag Beetle on the floor just as we left Hook Wood. The violet bronze wing case colouring and the smaller jaws indicate a female.

Stag Beetle, Hook Wood, 16 June 2010

Stag Beetle, Hook Wood, 16 June 2010

Steve Copsey

Titchfield Haven Breding Update; Redshank with an Eyed Hawk Moth Bonus

Of the many visits I have made to the Haven over the last ten years, Fridays was the first time I had seen young Redshanks on the scrape. I am sure they have bred in the area before but for me this was a first. I was very glad to see four well grown chicks with one of the adults from the Spurgin Hide; they seemed to favour the cover given by a large patch of Water Mint in which to feed. Probably a good strategy given the predators around the reserve and up to now it appears to be working as one of the wardens said there were only ever four chicks with the Redshank pair so 100% survival so far.

Juvenile Redshank, Titchfield Haven, 11 June 2010

Whilst in the hide I had a good chat with national rarity hunter Dave Wallace who had been up to see the Marmora’s Warbler a few days previous in Gwent. As is the norm with the Haven we were shuffled towards the exit all too early in the day but we did have the bonus of coming across an Eyed Hawk Moth near to the Meon Shore Hide that had been spotted earlier in the day by someone with keener eyes than mine. We also saw this decent sized caterpillar around 4/5cm long. One of the lady wardens did tell me the name but I obviously did not catch it.

Eyed Hawk Moth, Titchfield Haven, 11 June 2010

Caterpillar sp, Titchfield Haven, 11 June 2010, Any ideas welcome.

Steve Copsey