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Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Catchup - August 2021

It's a great relief to be writing this blog post as it almost brings me up-to-date with my output. Having looked at what I did in the month of August, or should I say "what I didn't do", I was quite surprised to find that, in spite of me only getting out twice, I managed to take quite a lot of photographs!

Monday, 2nd August          Saltersford Valley CP

This day was one of those two days when I did get out. My destination was a local dragonfly spot. It had been a cold and windy time in the days beforehand, so I was not expecting much. 

A Common Tern was active on my arrival and I managed, just about, to get a shot of it with a small Pike.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) - Saltersford Valley CP
There were day-flying moths around and I was unsure of their ID, but @MothIDUK kindly informed me that this one was a Common Carpet (in a colour form that I was not familiar with).
Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata alternata) - Saltersford Valley CP
I unfortunately managed to lose my odonata records for July and August and I only managed usable shots of two species of damselfly.

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) (male) - Saltersford Valley CP
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (male) - Saltersford Valley CP
On the first of the lakes, I spotted a Coot with a Blue-tailed Damselfly in its bill. I thought it was taking it to one of its juveniles, but the damselfly had gone before it got there.

Coot (Fulica atra) with damselfly - Saltersford Valley CP
Coot (Fulica atra) (adult + juvenile) - Saltersford Valley CP

Several butterflies were seen but the only one photographed with any degree of success, was this Peacock.

Peacock (Aglais io) - Saltersford Valley CP
It had been an enjoyable short trip out, even if the sightings and photographic opportunities had not been very inspiring.

Tuesday, 3rd August          Garden

It's always exciting to see a Comma butterfly in the garden, and one graced us with its presence this day.

Comma (Polygonia c-album) - garden on 3rd August, 2021
Wednesday, 5th August          Garden

Common Blue butterfly is also a species that we do not see very often in the garden, and so this was another lucky day.

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) (male) - garden on 5th August, 2021
Thursday, 6th August          Garden

Love them or hate them, there's no denying that a Sparrowhawk is a magnificent creature, even when they look a little dishevelled as this one did in the rain. I think that it's a juvenile.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) - Garden on 6th August, 2021
Sunday, 9th August          Garden

A short bright spell, although a little cool, had me looking for something to photograph after I'd had a short session with the Elephant Hawk-moth larvae. This smart hoverfly caught my eye.

hoverfly (Syrphus ribesii) - garden on 9th August, 2021
Red Admiral seems to be doing very well this year. It is one of our most colourful butterflies.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) - garden on 9th August, 2021
Monday, 10th August          Garden

Most years, we get a visit from Willow Warbler in the late summer and it can be a bit of a challenge sometimes to confirm they are Willow Warbler and not Chiffchaff. The first clue for Willow Warbler is usually the bright yellow on the underside and then the leg colour. You can now see that I am very much still a novice birder. I had, at first, identified the bird that visited this day as a Willow Wabler, but I now see that, with some certainty, it's a Chiffchaff.

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) - garden on 10th August, 2021
This bird came in with a small mixed tit flock, and I managed some shots of Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit.

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) - garden on 10th August, 2021
Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) (immature) - garden on 10th August 2021
Tuesday, 11th August          Ketton Quarry

I went out this day, and the results were such that they warrant their own blog post! This will follow at a later date.

Sunday, 15th August          Garden

This was a very special day, in that it was the first time that I managed to witness a dragonfly visit the garden mini-pond that I installed last summer. Sadly, it was a male of the species, so will not have added any 'life' to the pond.

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) (male) - garden on 15th August, 2021
Friday, 20th August

This was another quite exciting day for us as we had both Nuthatch and Chiffchaff visit. Nuthatch too is only an occasional visitor, with maybe one or two sightings a year. The real excitement was, however, that we had two of each! This is the first time ever that we have had two of either of these species.

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) - garden on 20th August, 2021

Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) - garden on 20th August, 2021
Tuesday, 24th August          Garden

The moth trap was put out in the garden this night. It was a reasonably large catch, and as I had a morning appointment to collect my car from being serviced the following day, I confess that many micro-moths were discarded without any attempt to record or ID them. However, it did still result in me recording 103 moths of 29 species. Due to my haste in sorting these, the photography was well-below par. Here are a few:-

Lime-speck Pug (Eupithecia centaureata) - garden moth trap from 24th August, 2021
Orange Swift (Triodia sylvina) - garden moth trap from 24 August, 2021
Canary-shouldered Thorn (Ennomos alniaria) - garden moth trap from 24th August, 2021
It is common for moth traps to catch non-moth subjects, sometimes with devastating effects on the trap contents. The worst situation was once when I had several Hornets in the trap, which made a feast of the moths. This time the aliens were not so destructive although I suspect that the wasp, below, might have done some damage. This type of wasp is very difficult to identify without examination with a microscope. It could be one of the Ophion species or Enicospilus inflexus.

Ichneumonid species - garden moth trap from 24th August, 2021
Also in the trap was this shieldbug.

Birch Shieldbug (Elasmostethus interstinctus) - garden moth trap from 24th August, 2021
Friday, 27th August

We used to have a large koi pond in the garden which took up much of the garden and had a waterfall feature at one end. This regularly attracted Grey Wagtail and, occasionally, a youngster was brought to the pond too. The koi were re-homed and the pond filled in more than ten years ago, with just a small part of the waterfall feature converted to a static bird bath. However, Grey Wagtail has continued to visit every year since. I can't believe that this is one of the original birds, and am fairly well convinced that these visits must be due to some form of genetic imprinting.

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) - garden on 27th August, 2021
Saturday, 28th August

I was delighted to see a Nuthatch return to the garden on this day, and I shall now indulge myself with further images of this character-full bird.

Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) - garden on 28th August, 2021
Monday, 30th August

For a few days, a female Bullfinch had been visiting the garden and coming down to a feeder tray while a juvenile Bullfinch stayed lurking, mostly hidden, in the large Elder at the top of the garden. I'd been trying to get some shots of this juvenile for some time, and failing. This day, however, I did manage just one shot that is just about usable - much to my relief as this was the last time that we saw this bird.

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (juvenile) - garden on 30th August, 2021

That brings me to the end of my August Catchup. My next post will probably cover my day out on 11th August, as mentioned above, and will feature birds, butterflies and dragons - plus a few more items! In the meantime, stay safe.

Thank you for dropping by - - - Richard


  1. Once again I'm taken by your moth trap results, in particular the lovely Canary-shouldered Thorn and the Ichneumonid species. As for the darter in your it's my turn to become a little green around the gills!

    Regards and Take Care. Pete.

    1. I'm still waiting to hear news after your tantalising comment to 'watch this space' with regard to you and a moth trap, Pete!

      I was actually hoping for more from my mini-pond this year, but then I have not spent as much time watching it for activity as I might have done, due to other pressures on my time.

      Best wishes. Stay safe - - - Richard

  2. Some great shots-particularly some fine insect shots.

    1. Thank you for your kind, and much-appreciated, words of encouragement, Conehead 54 - whoever you are?!

  3. The activity in your garden continues to impress all who read your blog, Richard, and the fact that you are a dab hand with a camera enables us to join in the fun. Yes, a raptor is always impressive, even bedraggled. I know your elation in having a nuthatch pay a visit. Last winter we had both Red-breasted and White-breasted on a regular basis, but I think that Miriam reached for her camera every time. Yesterday your name came up when we saw a Pileated Woodpecker. I know you have a special fondness for woodpeckers and this is a spectacular species. It was in flight but I have no doubt that with your skill and equipment you would have succeeded in getting a good picture or two. Your moth trap continues to deliver. Best wishes to you and Lindsay. David

    1. Yes, David, Pileated Woodpecker is a species I'd love to see. Sadly, my sightings of UK woodpeckers has been confined to Great Spotted recently. Lesser-spotted Woodpecker is now extremely difficult to find in this area, and Green Woodpeckers - although often heard, and sometimes seen as a flash of green zooming past at a great distance - have not presented themselves to me for a photo for a few years now. Green Woodpeckers are extremely nervous birds in my experience.

      I hope that all is going well for you and Miriam. We're doing fine here and in the process of having air-source heat pumps installed in our home as I write this!

      Take good care - - - - Richard

  4. Hi Richard, I love the Tern with un poisson in its mouth. I had not seen a single blue butterfly this year at all until this week, and suddenly we have several in the garden. I love all the birds of prey, but I must admit I prefer to see them elsewhere and not in our garden! I have not missed seeing their visits this year!
    I have seen Long-tailed Tits further South than us, but I have never yet seen them in the garden. We were both delighted though a few days back to spot a Nuthatch on the Cherry tree, a first for both of us and I have now seen it a couple more times since. Hopefully it will remain a visitor.
    The macro of the Common Darter is superb, I am sure I could never get a shot like that.
    I hope that all is well with you both. I had my 3rd jab this morning so I have now had two Pfizer and one Moderna. Nigel is only due his third shot on November, he is younger than me so did not get the early injections!
    Wishing you all the best, take care Diane

    1. Hello again, Diane! The macro shot of the Common Darter was taken using the Sigma 150 macro. It's a lens that I only usually use when photographing static objects such as moths from the moth trap, so those ones with the green card background are with that macro lens. Most of my photography (all the other images on this post), including macro, is using the Sigma 50-500 which, sadly, is now discontinued.

      Under our government's current policy, Lindsay and I will not be getting our 3rd jab before 22nd October. We had the Astrazenica for our first two, and will probably get the Pfizer one for our 3rd. We're looking forward to it!

      Best wishes to you both - stay safe - - - Richard

  5. This is, once again, a very diverse and satisfying collection of superb photographs! Picking a favorite is like choosing a favorite child - impossible.

    Thank you for including the Sparrowhawk. Even wet and rumpled it is a magnificent raptor. The Peacock is certainly colorful! I have a fondness for Nuthatches and could watch them all day long.

    Gini and I certainly hope you both continue to be well!

    1. Lindsay insists that I bang on the window to frighten the Sparrowhawks off when they show up in the garden. She probably suspects that, when she's not around, I usually leave them in peace - at least until I've had time to pick up my camera and take a few shots. However, sometimes they get a bit too cheeky and visit dayly over a period, and then I do start to discourage them as the usual garden birds will leave us to go somewhere safer if I take no action.

      All is good here, and I managed a bit of late-season dragon hunting this afternoon. I didn't come across another soul whilst out - most unusual these Covid days on a sunny weekend day!

      Very best wishes to you and Gini - - - Richard

  6. Hello Richard,:=) I came to thank you for the correct ID on my latest post. I have now corrected my mistake, and am grateful that you told me.:=)

    Your post is full of wonderful sightings and lovely photographs, and I have enjoyed seeing every single one of your varied wildlife visitors. Thank you also for the knowledge you share Richard.Your beautiful photos and informative narration.
    All the best.

    1. Thank you for your very kind words, Sonjia. On the subject of ID, I'm always happy to help if I can, but only if I'm certain, as I'm no expert!

      My very best wishes to you - stay safe - - - Richard

  7. Hello Richard
    sensational shot from the dragonfly eyes, looks very good, nice post
    Greetings Frank

    1. Thank you, Frank. I was quite pleased with that head-on shot of the Common Darter too. Sometimes I get lucky!

      Stay safe - - - Richard


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