Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Waterfronts and Weevils

So yesterday evening I headed over to Watermead Country Park South. It sounds grand, and a good three decades or so ago when it was relatively unknown and certainly had no proper access and car parks it was actually brilliant for birds. I remember seeing breeding Redshank there, Marsh Warbler, spring Garganey etc.

Over time the car parks came, cycle paths were laid and people arrived in time to force feed a burgeoning population of feral Greylags etc. Now it's a bit of a dump with potential. The reedbeds have grown up nicely, there is plenty of scrubby shelter and carr-like habitat.

It's still possible to enjoy a visit there and see/hear birds as long as you have the will power and intent to ignore and avoid fuckwits. That's back in 'normal' times, let alone now. Yesterday it was busier than Sainsbury's car park but still easily possibly to avoid contact and maintain distance - you just have to focus on what you're doing, expect that everyone else is a fucking idiot (even if they're actually very considerate) and ensure that you actively move over or - as I did - stay in the scrubby verges as much as possible rather than on the path.

Anyway I digress. I nipped over to Watermead CP South and had a very enjoyable hour walking around the lakes - the first open water I've walked around for months. I particularly enjoyed seeing and hearing warblers: Reed, Sedge, Cetti's, Garden, Blackcap, Willow and Chiffchaff. I also enjoyed Common Terns, hirundines and Reed Bunting. I didn't enjoy feral goslings and masses of Mutes. I was hoping to be able to point the new camera at some of the better birds but all were either skulking, partially hidden or brief.

I managed to stalk a Grey Heron though ....

It was actually the wrong side of the low sun, but I was able to go around it and come from the other side. Here it is on no-zoom and full-zoom from the same spot ...


It was a full-bodied heron, not just a neck and head .....

.... unlike this new-to-science and undescribed headless cormorant sp. ...

Aside from the horrible goslings, I saw another less-desirable thing ..

Size of an otter.

Views welcomed on this mother-duck ....

.... in-bred RCP or an RCP x feral Mallard-type thing?

The moth trap yielded a garden-tick beetle last night...

Heterocerus fenestratus

I did pot it for a better shot but, actually, it's one of those hairy-but-shiny beetles that look crap unless photographed properly when dead and stacking so I gave up and let it go.

Today has been blisteringly hot. After packing up for the day, I remembered about the spear thistles just on the edge of the estate and headed out for five mins with my sweep net. Result! Four thistles, six swipes, five weevils + two tortoises + several lacebugs ....

Rhinocyllus conicus

Spear Thistle Lacebug [Tingis cardui]

Cassida rubiginosa - one intact, one with a bite?

Also this hoverfly larva gorging itself on the masses of aphids on the plants


Gibster said...

That's mad how much you're finding - it'd take me a month to find as much up here as you find in a day! Maybe I need to emigrate south again.

There's a whole lot of RCP in that duck, in fact I can't honestly see anything else in there other than a bit of leucism. Farmyard RCP.

Brilliant Zero-crested Cormorant pic, should get that accepted no worries :)

Skev said...

I'm ignoring loads Seth. Imagine how great it would be if I was actually competent enough to look at more stuff! I think I'd swap sunny Leics. for showery Skye most days of the week though - we have more cows and fuckwits, you've got more eagles and mountains.