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Thursday, 29 September 2022

The First Half of September, 2022

For various reasons, I didn't get out as much as I would have liked to in the first half of September. It was also a bit quiet as far as garden observations were concerned. Here are some notes and images relating to that period.

Thursday, 1st September                      Garden

A visit by a Brimstone butterfly was the main highlight this day.

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) (male) - garden on 1st September, 2022
Thursday, 8th September                      Garden

Another butterfly was the star of this day.

Comma (Polygonia c-album) - garden on 8th September, 2022
Saturday, 10th September                 Garden

Sticking with the Lepidoptera, it was a moth that caused excitement this day. I have recently published photos of Hummingbird Hawkmoths hovering at flowers on this blog. Finding one settled is something that rarely happens. I was, therefore, extremely excited to see one head high up into the Sambucus nigra 'Gerda' (known to Lindsay and I as 'the black bush'), and seemingly settle. I picked up my camera and eventually managed to find it with the aid of binoculars. It was so cryptically coloured that moving just a metre to try and get a better angle on it took me a good five minutes to locate it again. With yet another move, I lost it - and then the Goldfinches arrived and sent it on its way.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum) - garden on 10th September, 2022
Sunday, 11th September                    Hicks Lodge ; Garden

I was in two minds whether or not to visit the very local Hicks Lodge on this day as it can get busy with people on foot and on bicycles, and even occasionally on horseback, at the weekend. However, I decided to give it a try, and was glad that I did.

I parked at Oakthorpe Colliery and headed up to the south entrance to the Hicks Lodge site. From the moment that I got to the gate I was seeing Migrant Hawker dragonflies in the immediate vicinity. I spent around twenty minutes here trying to get some shots. Because of the background, I totally failed with attempted flight shots but, eventually, I saw one settle. To my absolute delight, it was a female. I reckon that the odds are about 20:1 that a spotted Migrant Hawker will be a male rather than a female.

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) (female) - Hicks Lodge
Passing on, I found huge amounts of fungi growing, away from the path. I subsequently found that these were Field Mushrooms, and I could have foraged buckets full of them. However, Lindsay, probably somewhat wisely, will not entertain the idea of me bringing any foraged fungi into the house for consumption! 

Alerted by the call of a Buzzard, I spotted this one in the distance.

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) - Hicks Lodge
It's around 600 metres from the south gate along the track to the main circuit of Hicks Lodge, and I spent some time to the east side of the track.

A Comma butterfly was very obliging.

Comma (Polygonia c-album) - Hicks Lodge
Near the top of the rise, the Field Mushrooms gave way to masses of another fungus. Although the fringe of that cap looks quite distinctive, I have no idea as to the identity of these.

fungus - Hicks Lodge
A Red Admiral was also in this area.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) - Hicks Lodge

As I drew near to the main lake, I diverted onto a minor path that passes between two smaller ponds, Here I found a Common Darter.

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) (male) - Hicks Lodge
Having reached the main lake, I found two swans, one of which seemed unhappy with the presence of the other. There was an animated persuit for a while. The persuer is depicted in this next image - putting on quite a show!

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) - Hicks Lodge
A Cormorant flew over.
Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) - Hicks Lodge
A female Mallard flew in and made a splash - yes, it's me with my thing about water splashes again!

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) (female) - Hicks Lodge
. . . . . and a Coot glided by serenely.

Coot (Fulica atra) - Hicks Lodge
I thought that this flower stem of Purple Loosestrife looked particularly beautiful.
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) - Hicks Lodge
A Grey Heron was on the edge of the larger island.
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) - Hicks Lodge
On the main path, I found this brilliantly metallic-looking beetle - I have no idea as to its identity!
beetle sp. - Hicks Lodge
My photos do not have enough detail for me to identify this hoverfly beside the path, but I am relatively certain that it is an Eristalis species.
hoverfly (Eristalis sp.) (male) - Hicks Lodge
I had another session trying to photograph Migrant Hawker dragonflies, and had a little success. Unfortunately the sun had disappeared at this time.

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) (male) - Hicks Lodge
Before departing, I took some shots of a Small Copper butterfly.
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) - Hicks Lodge
At home that afternoon, I had another session with a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.
Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum) - garden on 11th September, 2022
Wednesday, 14th September                  Hicks Lodge
I returned to Hicks Lodge on this day. Sightings were similar to my visit only three days earlier, so I'll just offer some photos, and a few words.
I love the stamens on the Chicory flower! 

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) - Hicks Lodge
Carrying on with the blue theme, the male common Blue butterfly is rather special too.
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) (male) - Hicks Lodge
There was the usual mix of dragonflies seen.
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) (male) - Hicks Lodge
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) (male) - Hicks Lodge
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) (male) - Hicks Lodge
A Little Grebe kept its distance, as is usual.
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) - Hicks Lodge
A group (not quite a skein) of Greylag Geese arrived, flew around undecidedly, and then headed off northward.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser) - Hicks Lodge
As I left the site a Buzzard flew overhead and landed in a distant tree. I'm convinced that this is the same bird that I see each time I visit, and one day I'll get a decent close-up of it - maybe!
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) - Hicks Lodge

Thus ended the first half of the month of September, and so ends this blog post. I am a little uncertain as to what my next blog post might feature, but it might be something to do with royalty.
In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves and Nature. Thank you for your visit - - - Richard