Welcome to the Buteo Wildlife blog, a record of some of the wildlife that we have been seeing and occasional identification articles that will hopefully be useful for those trying to learn about wildlife.

If you enjoy reading this blog, join us on one of our tours - days and weekends looking for wildlife. Visit our website for details: www.buteowildlife.co.uk
Note that tours with clients may not always feature prominently on this blog because we are unlikely to have time for photography when out with clients - and walls of text don't tend to make the most interesting posts. If there is time for a few snatched photos they may not always be of the highest quality - but we'll use them anyway!

To try and keep posts in chronological order they may sometimes be given earlier dates/times than when they are actually posted. Apologies, for this - it's not meant to mislead anyone (and we will try to avoid this happening too often).

2 June 2012

In search of Nightingales (14th May 2012).

Following a period of generally poor weather I finally managed to have a proper look round a tetrad (2 km x 2 km square) that I had been allocated for the BTO Nightingale survey. I had previously made brief visits to parts of the tetrad, and hadn’t found any sign of Nightingales.
The tetrad included Galleyhill Wood, just to the east of the River Lee Country Park, as well as nearby farmland areas with a few scattered copses, and it was a very pleasant area for an early morning walk, although very wet and muddy under foot due to the recent rain. Unfortunately I was not able to find any sign of the presence of Nightingales anywhere in the tetrad, and I was not especially surprised about this because the habitat wasn't really ideal.

Above: Cattle at Holyfield Hall Farm viewpoint, with part of the River Lee Country Park in the background. Red-legged Partridges, Pheasants, and Yellowhammers were on the farmland between here and Galleyhill Wood, including some very smart looking ‘melanistic’ type male Pheasants with glossy purple-black plumage.
In the woodland their were Nuthatches, Coal Tits, Sparrowhawks, and various warblers, and at one point I had four different male Cuckoos calling nearby, as well as a 'bubbling' female. The calls from the female Cuckoo attracted two of the males who flew directly towards the sound.
Various common mammal species were seen early in the morning, including a small herd of Fallow Deer that did their best to hide in a thicket as I approached them along the public bridleway, and Reeve’s Muntjac, Red Fox, Rabbits, and Grey Squirrels were also seen.

Greater Stitchwort (above) was one of the more obvious flowering plants along the edges of the bridleways and footpaths, with the relatively small white flowers quite detailed when viewed closely. There were also quite a few other flowers to be found, as well as a variety of invertebrates that were feeding on these or present on nearby plants, some of which I was able to photograph with the only camera I had with me today – the one on my mobile phone.
Hoverfly - probably Syrphus ribesii.

One of the more numerous insects that I didn’t manage to photograph were the longhorn moths with antennae about three times the length of their body and iridescent wings. These were of a species known by the scientific name of Adelea reaumurella, and given various English names including Green Longhorn Moth and Fairy Longhorn Moth. Quite a few of these were around hawthorns and other trees/bushes, hovering above them in small groups or perching on leaves in the sun.

After I had finished surveying the tetrad I paid a visit to the nearby River Lee Country Park where I did manage to find some Nightingales in the usual areas. There were also a few Hobbies hawking some of the emerging insects, which no doubt included the damselflies that were now beginning to appear. Various damselfly species were easily found in vegetation near, or at the edges of  the various ponds, rivers, and gravel pits, but almost all were not fully mature.

Male (top) and female Banded Demoiselles, a species which can be numerous
along some of the rivers and streams in the Lee Valley.

An Angle Shades moth, found in sparse vegetation at the edge of one of the ponds.

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