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Post Info TOPIC: Ludworth Moor (other wildlife)


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RE: Ludworth Moor (other wildlife)


Fairly hopeless really. 3 species of damselfly (azure, common blus, blue-tailed), with only azure in any number c50. A male Emperor on top pool. And moths beat butterflies by 7 species to 6 , and that's counting a fly-past white I couldn't determine. Moths were Narrow-bordered 5-spot burnet, Cinnabar, Latticed Heath, Common Carpet, 3 Silver 'Y', Middle-barred minor and yellow shell. The vultures are well and truly circling!



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A brief early glimpse of a peacock gave some hope, but the sun soon vanished, so no further butterflies (or much else) seen. Tawny mining bees are always eyecatching though, and at least 3 were seen.



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I saw two magpies making attempts to catch something in mid-air just a few feet from the ground. I thought it was a small passerine until I got onto it properly, and saw that it was a small bat (this was 3 p.m.). It managed to evade the magpies with ease, gained height, and made off strongly towards the North.



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Surprised to find a male brown hawker still on the wing this p.m; my latest ever by 10 days. 2 common darter (1 f. 1 m.) were more expected.



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Between Smithy Ln. and up to and including the Quarry, sightings included c140 Narrow-bordered 5-spot Burnets (including 120, many in cop, along a 50 meter stretch of road), 5 silver Y, 1 Latticed heath and a cinnabar. The pond was as busy as I've ever seen it with a pair of Emporers (fem. ovipositing), 4 Four-spot chasers (1 ovipositing) & 4 Broad-bodied chasers (fem. ovipositing), plus the usual damsels. A fresh Comma was nice to see, as were 2 red admirals. Other species of insects (e.g. hoverflies) in desperately small numbers.



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First odonata of the year was, as usual, claimed by the large red damselfly (5). Bushes near the pond also held a good number of adela reaumurella, which was a new record for the site.



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Back at a different part of the 'moor' today, and pretty much the same mix of stuff. Only new species for the year was a male brown hawker at Brown Low. Apart from a few honey/bumble bees and soldier beetles, other insects were conspicuous by their absence. Passengers please adopt the brace position as a crash landing is imminent.



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Nothing to get too carried away about; just a good cross-section of lepidoptera and odonata: moths first. 42 narrow-bordered 5-spot burnets along a short section of Sandhill Ln., plus 1 latticed heath. The quarry area had singles of common carpet and clouded border. Butterfly numbers were okay, but not that good. Only counted properly in the quarry area, where there were 30+ each of meadow brown and ringlet, c15 small skipper, 6 large skipper, 3/4 small heath, 2 Small torts, and a red admiral. A comma was the only different one seen elsewhere. The lower main pond had a pair of broad-bodied chasers and a male emperor, along with the first emerald damsel of the year, and 3 other damselfly species. The upper pond very close to drying up for first time ever, and the main pond lower than I've ever seen. Not good.



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15th Sept.

Common Darter. 3
Red Admiral. 2
Peacock. 3

Roger.

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At last! A sunny afternoon to make up for the lack of birds in these parts. The patch of Michaelmas daisies on Grid Ln. had 3 small tortoiseshell, 2 peacock & a red admiral. Around Brown Low - Wall, comma (2), gatekeeper and speckled wood (2) were added (other small torts & peacocks also here). Action was provided by hawker dragonflies with a male common consistently driving off a smaller hawker (presumed migrant), with brown and almost certainly a Southern also present nearby. My first Ludworth record of a Hornet hoverfly posed nicely, and what is probably a new species to me (if confirmed), Parasyrphus punctulatus, rounded off an interesting couple of hours. 



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Combined dragonfly sightings from ponds at Brown Low and the quarry area:- 12+ common darter, 5 black darter, 4 Southern Hawker, 3 Brown Hawker, 1 prob Common Hawker (not commiting myself yet after last years migrant hawkers), masses of emerald damselflies, and 1 azure damselfly, the only other damsel noted. Not too many butterflies, but Walls everywhere (c15 in total), and 1 painted lady were the outstanding species.



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As befitting of the gloom of this afternoon (slightly exaggerating), moths outnumbered butterflies (not exaggerating). c75 narrow-bordered 5-spot burnets, 1 shaded broad-bar, 2 latticed heath and a vapourer larva were seen between Sandy Ln and April Cottage. The quarry/planatation meadow had 1 common carpet, 2 straw dot, and 30+ cinnabar larva on just a couple of ragwort plants! Another 10 or so burnets were also here. I left counting butterflies until another time when the weather is more suited to it. Around the lower pond, 12+ emerald damselflies were new since my last visit.



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Notable only really for 'new' butterfly sightings, namely 2 red admirals (1st of year, and probably latest ever such date), and newly emerged small copper and peacock. Moth pammene aurana seen, as well as several narrow-bordered 5-spot burnets, and best of hoverflies were leucozona laternaria & Chrysotoxum bicinctum. Hopefully, as more flowers come into bloom, things might get a bit more unpredictable. No hawker type dragonflies yet, they too being way behind this year.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Saturday 26th of June 2021 10:46:15 PM

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A mixed bag of all-sorts this afternoon. Best was 3 four-spotted chasers at the pond, the first time there's ever been a multiple sightings here. Plenty of damselflies to see there. 5 large skippers had emerged, at least 27 small heath counted, and a couple of painted ladies were spied. For moths, a Mother Shipton nectaring was unusual, and a smal phoenix also spotted, not usually a day-flier. Lots of other things to amuse as well.



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Late posting for yesterday. At least 4 Wall Browns, 15 Small Heaths and c20 Green veined Whites.

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Good butterfly sightings of green hairstreak (2), and a surprise small copper. Best other invert was hoverfly chrysotoxum arcuatum, which was probably new to me - certainly for up here anyway.



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Normally wouldn't mention a vole sighting, as they are usually brief and obstructed. However, on this occasion, what I believe was a field vole (very short tail) emerged from the vegetation at the side of the road about 30 meters away, and zig-zagged about, before running straight down the middle of the road towards me, passing to my left just three feet away!! Once a car had passed, it came out again and once more showed well. More than once, it waded through the stream of water draining down the side of the lane, so I thought of blagging it as a water vole for a minute or two! Brightened up a quite lifeless bird quest. 



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A very interesting observation this evening as I returned to my car near Larkhill, as four large-ish bats were hawking for insects over the field opposite Larkhill for at least 15 minutes. In 30 years of visits up there (and I frequently used to stay quite late for owls in the Summer) I cannot recall a single previous sighting. Smart money must be on noctule bat I suppose, but who's to say they were not something rarer, perhaps even a species that has migrated from the Continent? Anyone out there who has a bat detector and lives nearby might like to see what they make of them. Whatever, it was great to see some 'other wildlife' up there in the season of little insect activity.

 



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A nice 'bag' of stuff this p.m., starting with 9 small tortoiseshells, a peacock and 1-2 silver Y on a Michaelmass daisy patch on Gird Ln. Up at Brown Low there was a min of 4 speckled wood and the odd white, whilst a Southern hawker came and went occasionally. Best was when I sat on a bench and a common darter (1 of c4) used my arm as a hunting perch! It flew off above me once, and returned with a minute fly which it proceded to eat on my wrist. That's why I love them: totally oblivious to us. At the quarry pond, a male common hawker was confirmed with some good flight shots obtained. 1-2 emerald damsels persist. Nearby, two green-veined whites were seen together.



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Late news from 24th August - third visit of census. I have only just looked at some in-flight shots I took of 'common hawker' on the 'big screen' and with refinements, and it appears almost certainly to be Migrant hawker!! A first for the site, and perhaps for the Stockport area. Once again proof, if I really needed it, that you should never assume something is what you expect it to be. disbelief

 



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Doing the BDS census on the ponds, best was 4 emperors at the same time at the main pond, with 2 females ovipositing (see photo). The first emerald damsels were also on view (about 6).

 



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A shortish visit as I was expecting storms (Met Office computer strikes again). Things of interest were at least 15 narrow-bordered 5-spot burnet, 1 shaded broad-bar and a silver Y. First small skippers of the year good to see, and lots of peacock larvae. The pond held 2 emperor males (briefly, obviously, as they don't tolerate one another) and a site first of female black-tailed skimmer which I wrote off at first as a more likely 4-spot chaser (familiarity can breed laziness). A good job I got a decent photo to double check afterwards.



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An impressive emergence of small tortoiseshells today, with over 100 seen on a circuit lasting a couple of hours. Also notable were a few silver 'Y' moths, showing that some immigration is taking place. This was further evidenced by 9 red admirals and a painted lady. Other moths seen were green carpet, yellow shell and silver-ground carpet.



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Had a picnic tea at Picking Rods last night and was delighted to see a weasel run over the track.

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Started as a walk for birds, but the sun unexpectedly came out, so I was soon into insects instead. Not many butterflies, although the first small heaths (3) of the year popped out, also saw small tortoiseshell, green-veined white, speckled wood, and a couple of peacock larvae. It was gratifying to see so many insects, especially snipe flies which were in their hundreds; also a fair selection of hoverflies. Best two were what I think were a couple of new insects to me, a rove beetle and a sawfly. It's going to be a good week! 



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First Butterfly of the year up here for me with a nice Comma just near the Quarry entrance.

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A stoat ran across the road ahead of me, disappeared into a drystone wall, then its head popped up through a hole just 10 feet away and we stared at each other for about 20 seconds. Excellent.



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Not far from a clean sweep of all the butterflies and dragonflies you can hope to see up here at this time of the year. Maybe 4 black darters (inc. 2 males, see photo), 20+ common darter (mostly imms/fems), 30+ emerald damsels, 1 emperor male, pair of brown hawkers, 1 male common hawker, 6 common blue damsels, 2 azure damsels. Of the butterflies, 'new' generations of wall (2), small heath (4), small tortoiseshell (4), small copper (3), and a few 'fresh' peacocks. All the old hangers-on still represented by speckled wood (4), small skipper (3), maedow browns and gatekeepers. Painted ladies still going strong (12+). All of these were seen at or around the quarry and pond area expect the speckled woods.



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Started as a hopeful look for birds, but thankfully the sun came out to rescue the afternoon.

Dragonflies restricted to a female emperor ovipositing into a pool which is normally dry at this time of year. Tried to dam the outflow so perhaps it might stay wetter in future. Nearby, at Brown Low, a Southern hawker was ranging about. Most of the butterflies were fading species of the Summer, but there were 3 Wall browns around the 'Low' area, somewhere they are not often seen these days. Hoverflies included Sericomyia silentis and Volucella inanis



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Great Crested Newts 7
Common Frog 1

Cheers John.

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More searching for 'new' insects after last trip's success with moths (the second 'antler' turned out to be a very worn true-lover's knot). Found another couple of species that I don't recognise and am having to research. In the meantime, here's a picture that is fairly difficult to obtain - a female (obviously) emperor ovipositing at the main pond (where two males also were, plus two brown hawkers inc a fem. also ovipositing). Tantalising glimpses of what was probably a black darter (as I also has on Monday).



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Counted over 350 butterflies of 11 species today. Without going into too many boring details, numbers included 104 small skipper, 71 gatekeeper, 56 meadow brown , 42 ringlet and 25 small heath. The painted lady onslaught was also noted here with at least 10 seen (some at rest). Moths were 4 silver 'Y', 1 (maybe 2) antler, and a common footman. Odonata included my first emerald damsels of the year (at least 10), with a pair already in tandem. Also 2 emperor males and a common hawker male. There was also a pair of hawkers in tandem at the small upper pond, but were never allowed to settle by the emperor so I couldn't see what they were.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Monday 29th of July 2019 09:30:15 PM

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Quite a number of butterflies about today;

Good numbers of Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Gatekeeper
20+ Small Tortoiseshell a good number of these along the first section of the PR path from Gun Road to the gate.
7 Small Skipper
4 Speckled Wood
2 Red Admiral
1 Peacock
1 Small Copper

Plenty of Green-Veined White as well


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Hilltop-Cloughend-April Cottage-Quarry area

Lots of butterflies on the wing - particularly notable were high numberof Small Skippers and a single Wall Brown

Small Tortoiseshell 7
Small Heath 13
Gatekeeper 6
Wall 1
Meadow Brown 19
Ringlet 20
Small Skipper 21
Green-veined White 11

Lower quarry pool Odonata:
Lots of Azure, Common Blue and Emerald Damselflies
Emperor 3m, 1f
Broad-bodied Chaser (probable female)

Cheers John


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Quarry area.

Meadow Brown 31
Ringlet 15
Small Heath 22

Other species were low in number:
Painted Lady 3
Small Tortoiseshell 2
Large Skipper 1
5-Spot Burnet 2

Odonata:
Azure Damselfly c30
Common Blue Damselfly 5 identified but must be many more
Blue-tailed Damselfly 2
Broad-bodied Chaser 1
4-Spot Chaser 1
Southern Hawker 1
Common Darter 2

Cheers John


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After seeing the terrific willow tit, I was soon drawn towards insects as the sun came out with the following results: 2 green-veined white, 15 small heath, 6 meadow brown, 6 large skipper, 1 red admiral, 1 Small tortoiseshell, and a mind-boggling 16 painted ladies no less. We certainly have an invasion on our hands. Moths were:- 1 silver 'Y', 3 cinnabar, 2 clouded border, and 1 blood-vein. Odonata were on view but I decided to leave them until next time as I did not have the right bins to clinch all the i.d.'s. That wasn't necessary for the male broad-bodied chaser which was on the upper pond.



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Plenty of butterflies out with the warm sun;

17 Orange Tip
8 Peacock
7 Speckled Wood
3 Small Tortoiseshell
3 Green Hairstreak
1 Green Veined White

Cheers

Mark

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A couple of green hairstreaks today, whilst orange tip and green-veined white were new to the site this year.



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The crazy season continues with the year's first Green hairstreak this afternoon (after about 5 minutes of sunshine)! Don't think I've ever seen one previously before May.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Sunday 7th of April 2019 09:08:02 PM

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About four weeks ago when I saw a red kite in the area I also saw a weasel in a dry stone wall near the picking rods.
Sorry for the delay,not used to this site.

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Quarry area: 3 peacocks and 1 small tortoiseshell. On the field above the quarry, was surprised to find a group of toads, mostly in the flooded wheel ruts. Counted four, and others were calling nearby. I'm pretty sure this was a first record (for me at least) for the site.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Wednesday 20th of March 2019 08:40:34 PM



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Wednesday 20th of March 2019 08:40:58 PM

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A quick hour or so as I was in the area brought zero interest from birds, but the sight of a butterfly, very probably a peacock, flying on the SBI as Brown Low. Unfortunately due to the herbage and woods, I was not able to track it down to confirm.



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John Rayner wrote:

And still they are emerging...

A very fresh looking Small Copper in flight then roosting in the grass. The latest date for Cheshire is 13th November so this date equals that one. Not sure of the late date for GM.

Cheers, John




The latest date for Small Copper in GM is 17th November 1993 at Amberswood Common, near Wigan. (Info from Peter Hardy)

Cheers John


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And still they are emerging...

A very fresh looking Small Copper in flight then roosting in the grass. The latest date for Cheshire is 13th November so this date equals that one. Not sure of the late date for GM.

Cheers, John

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Another reason they, and others like small heath and wall, did well at this spot this year was the exclusion of sheep for the first time. Long may it continue.



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November 6th.

One Small Copper still hanging on in there. Roosting on a ragwort but when I returned 30 minutes later it had flown. Day temp today 12 degrees but with a stiff southerly wind.

Steve, The slope below the quarry is SW facing but not particularly sheltered. The ragwort where it was roosting is central in the photo.

Cheers, John.

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Surely this must be a pretty sheltered spot on Ludworth Moor? There can't be many places at that altitude where Ragwort is still flowering...

David, I believe the caeruleo-punctata aberration of Small Coppers is more prevalent the further north you go. I'm old enough to what the NCB was - even old enough to remember when Sunderland had a decent football team!

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During the late 1970s and early 1980s, when teenagers collected, rather than watched butterflies, there were numerous colonies along the various NCB Railway Lines around Sunderland town centre. I seem to recall that Lycaena phlaeas commonly had the blue markings of the caeruleopunctata aberration. Unfortunately, my collections have long since expired, so I have no physical evidence of these ruminations, and I would imagine that the colonies have also now disappeared.

I realise that this post has a historical bent to it, with mention of the NCB, butterfly collections, and Sunderland still being a town wink

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John Rayner wrote:

Small Coppers flying in 6 degrees day temp!! And at an elevation of over 900 feet.

Today I saw the amazing sight of at least 6 (possibly 7) Small Coppers. One dead but 5 very much alive were seen simultaneously whilst, roosting, nectaring and in flight. A couple of them chased each other and dropped down into the grass then the male began courtship wing-fluttering. This must be at least the 3rd generation. Some were very ragged but others in really good nick. (Steve, one of the ragged ones was a decent ab. caerulea-punctata)

They are hardy little creatures.

Cheers, John


 They certainly are John. Here's a photo taken with my phone at 9:20 a.m. on the morning of 18th October when there was still a frost on the ground. How do they survive such a chilling combined with saturation? Seriously though, it is not a desirable situation as they have reached a dead end whereby any eggs laid will not be able to reach the larval stage in time to pass the Winter. This is one of the silent killers brought on by climate change.

 

 



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Friday 2nd of November 2018 09:47:09 PM

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Small Coppers flying in 6 degrees day temp!! And at an elevation of over 900 feet.

Today I saw the amazing sight of at least 6 (possibly 7) Small Coppers. One dead but 5 very much alive were seen simultaneously whilst, roosting, nectaring and in flight. A couple of them chased each other and dropped down into the grass then the male began courtship wing-fluttering. This must be at least the 3rd generation. Some were very ragged but others in really good nick. (Steve, one of the ragged ones was a decent ab. caerulea-punctata)

They are hardy little creatures.

Cheers, John

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