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Post Info TOPIC: Sunfield Estate, Romiley (other wildlife)


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RE: Sunfield Estate, Romiley (other wildlife)


I was out this afternoon, at an undisclosed site, and saw a badger. It was well away from woodland in an open area. Does anyone know if this is typical behaviour? I'd certainly never seen one in broad daylight (such as it was today).



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Just saw a fox outside the kitchen window. The first for 4-5 years, and great to see again after a long wait.



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2 Pipistrelle type bats flying around over the Quarry Rd rail bridge at 4:20 this evening. The bad news is that the trees beneath them are being clear-felled by Network Rail. Perhaps their environmental credentials are not what they claim to be.



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A pipistrelle sp bat was hunting over Romiley Park at 4:50 this evening. Nice to know they are still somewhere close to home as Sunfield appears to have been deserted. Probably not unrelated to the big drop in moth numbers (amongst other things) this year.



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First garden sighting this year of pipistrelle type bats (2 of them, one chasing the other) last night. A great relief as I thought we'd lost them.



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My gob was well and truly smacked when I went into the garden this morning to find a Wall brown nectaring on some buttercups!! Incredible is an overused word, but that is what it was. Obviously a first for the garden.



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Former practice area of golf course was very low in activity this afternoon, but of 8 species of butterfly, 2 mint condition large skippers were the best (small heaths, small copper and 2-3 brimstones not bad either). Also silver Y and Silver-ground carpet moths. A large swarm of bees were buzzing around the tree-tops on Pinfold Ln.



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After just (almost) 37 years, finally had a record of large red damselfly in the garden just after dinner today. I don't have a pond, by the way! Only the 2nd ever species which has alighted during the same period.



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2 x examples of micro moth Incurvaria masculella found around Hilltop this afternoon which, according to the National database, are the first records for Greater Manchester. I'm fairly sure that's because not many other people are looking for them, even though they are quite distinctive (which the phone camera shot totally fails to show)! Also about was the first Red Admiral of my year, and a couple of other insects which are still 'might-be's'.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Friday 12th of May 2023 08:39:14 PM



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Friday 12th of May 2023 09:42:09 PM

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A wood mouse was in my back garden, in open view, for over 15 minutes around 7:45 this evening. First time I've seen one this year (although there was some evidence that they might have been in the shed during Winter - since sealed off).



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2 Holly blue around the laurels at the cottages on the top of hill top this afternoon.

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Following on from Bredbury sightings, one further comma and three small tortoiseshells were on 'back field' next to Sunfield estate. Another site sheltered from the easterly breeze.



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Yesterday, around Hilltop, a buff-tailed bumblebee (next to the only flowering dandelion around), and a Marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus).



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A few honey bees and a hoverfly (prob eristalis sp.) today on well sheltered heather, giving hope of Spring soon arriving, and an end to the tedium of Winter.



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A red admiral still visiting the buddleia in my garden this morning. 



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This little beauty crash-landed on my patio window this morning; a superb Western conifer seed-bug. Only a few records for the Stockport area, and a first for me. The definitive version of an 'armchair tick'.



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A single Purple hairstreak was seen from the railway bridge on Quarry Rd after a long, hot wait in the afternoon sun.



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In a similar place to Andy's post from May, I did my first 'wider countryside butterfly survey' today along my breeding bird survey route, which goes from the top of the low down to Compstall road and back, down over the top of the golf course, up Cowlishaw brow. Perversely, the butterflies were most abundant walking back along the top of the Low, with lots of gatekeepers and small skippers, though did pick up a reasonable diversity on the actual survey.

Was a bit nervous beforehand about by my white identification, but seeing large after the end boosted confidence that those en route had not been and I'm reasonably happy small predominated over green veined. Harder was keeping focus within an imaginary 5m-cubed box and ignoring the birds (and butterflies!) beyond.



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A hedgehog was at the front of the house and strayed on to our garden last night. A real rarity these days, probably 8-9 years since the last on the estate.



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A very good cross-section of inverts at the Golf Course today included:- 6 small heath, 4+ green-veined white (inc pair in cop), 2+ small white, 2 orange tip & 1 holly blue. Moths were:- 2 silver-ground carpet, 1 green carpet, 1 common carpet & the first silver 'Y' of the year. 3-4 cauchas rufimitrella (a micro moth - see photo) were new for the site (and me, I think). 13 azure, and 2 large red damsels. 1 agapanthia long-horn beetle, many swollen-thighed beetles (male & fem), and oedemera lurida (which is similar), 1 hairy shieldbug and much more. No time to look at things like hoverflies for instance. 



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Tuesday 17th of May 2022 09:03:53 PM

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4 gorse shieldbugs were the best sighting around Hilltop this p.m. Must be many more as gorse is extensive, but they are hard to see. Also dozens of a micro moth which I see every year on the gorse in SPring. I must find out what it is. A few common butterflies seen inc. 2 holly blues and 2-3 speckled woods, also comma, and orange tips.



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Typical of our Spring. One minute I'm watching the first orange-tip of the year, and the next we have a biting, cold wind with soft hail thrown in! Still it MUST be Spring now the orange tip is out. 



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First commas (2) and small tortoiseshells (3) around, or near to, Hilltop, Romiley this p.m.



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What appears to be a pretty food find was made on the Golf Course area last Sunday. With only one record for Cheshire moth recording area since 1966, stumbling over a couple of nemophora cupriacella was a bit of luck, and a reminder why you should never let your guard drop. On top of that, it is a superb little specimen.

 



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With half of the golf course ex-practice course site looking post-apocalyptic following application of a potent herbicide to the brambles which circle the site, finding some decent butterfly numbers (mostly on the untreated side) was a pick-me-up. Best was the first small skippers of the year (c6), with 30+ ringlets looking good too. First brimstone for a while as well. Not too much back-up, not surprisingly given the crass act of destruction, but a male emperor dragonfly was my first hawker species of the year.



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p.m. Romiley Golf Course area. Summer staggered forward another step today with year-first sightings of large skipper (3), and a single meadow brown. The only other butterfly new since my last visit here was a fly-through Painted Lady. Moths provided the real 'excitement', with a site-first CHIMNEY SWEEPER, my first for 7 years, and only the fourth locale I have ever seen this in Grt. M/c., also the nearest to my home. Also cinnabar moth was a year-first, and silver-ground carpet up to two in number.

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Saturday 12th of June 2021 09:15:23 PM



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Saturday 12th of June 2021 10:57:50 PM

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The golf course area this afternoon continued to tell the story of depressed butterfly numbers, with just FIVE butterflies seen (plus 1/2 whites that flew by without identity) in over 2 hours, the best being a couple of small heath and a small copper. Other insects on view included agapanthia long-horn beetle, black & red froghopper, common leaf weevil, cantharis rustica and one of the species of jewel wasp. Moths involved 2 common carpet, 1 silver-ground carpet and a silver 'Y' - the years first migrant.



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First bats (2),- pipistrelle types, of the year flying together, viewed from my living room window, yesterday evening. Must have known what was coming!!!



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A queen tree bumblebee was trying out gorse blossom around Hilltop this afternoon. A couple of hoverfly species also seen, but not identified, although one was a 'drone' type.



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Don't often record moths on here, but as this was the first macro for 2021, I thought it significant. One pale brindled beauty was at the security light near my garage on Sunfield Estate this morning.



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On afternoon patrol around 'Hilltop', Romiley, I was on the footpath adjacent to Greave School when a mustalid sp shot across the path not far in front of me. It disappeared into dense cover. Whether it was a stoat, or more likely a weasel, was hard to tell. Whatever, it was easily the closest to home that I've ever seen one, and so an unexpected encounter anyway.



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I specifically went up to the Hilltop 'summit' at dusk to check for bats, and was rewarded with the best display I've ever seen close to home. There were 4 pipestrelle types on view at the same time, with a potential total of 8 seen as I saw others away from the place of original appearance. As if this wasn't enough, I was thrilled to spot a sparrowhawk amongst them after about 10 minutes which made a few attempts to catch one. It appeared to be unsuccessful. The bird continued to be seen until just before 4.55 p.m. when it was very thick dusk.



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On the second day without any sunshine at all, a red admiral was in the garden briefly this morning.



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A pipistrelle sp. was flying in my garden airspace (i.e. below rooftop height) at 4.40 p.m. this evening.



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2 red admirals and a comma around Hilltop this p.m. Also 1 red admiral in my garden on buddleia. Who'd have thought after the first few days of October?



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A painted lady in the garden this morning was a nice surprise, and unlikely to be seen again if the forecast is correct. biggrin



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Always a bit of a special moment when you see a species in your garden which you've never recorded elsewhere, even if it is in a niche interest area like picture-winged flies. This is anomoia purmunda, and could be my last new insect species this year.



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After JUST 34 years of waiting, a species of odonata finally touched down in the garden this morning: a common darter, which spent about 40 minutes sunning itself on a fence. I don't have a pond, of course, and there are none suitable that I know of nearby.



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Two new butterflies for the year in the garden today - a beautiful, fresh painted lady, and a holly blue which touched down for about 2 seconds!



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With the heat being as it was last night, I decided to wander around the Sunfield estate to check whether there was perhaps the odd moth at the lights that are dotted around. 75 minutes later, I had almost 20 species of macro, including 2 lifers!!! I had to keep walking back to my house for more pots. The 2 new ones were Oak Hooktip, and Buff Footman (I might have seen this in Dorset, I would have to check). Amongst others seen were copper underwing, iron prominent, antler moth, marbled beauty , and ruby tiger. All this before midnight, and I timed it well as the storm began about 15 minutes later. And, on top of that, I saw a fabulous shooting-star, part of the Perseids meteor shower. I couldn't sleep after all this (well it was due to the storm really).



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After so much frustration, a butterfly count was in order today. Here's what Romiley golf course had this afternoon.

4 of peacock & comma; 17 gatekeeper, 8 (at least) green-veined white, 1 of small white, small tortoiseshell, small copper, 43 small skipper, 73 meadow brown, 7 ringlet - an alarmingly low number (had 195 here 2 or 3 years back). The single moth seen appeared to be a small dotted buff, not a known diurnal species and only the second I've ever seen. Apart from these , a single brown hawker was on the fields, and 2 blue-tailed damsels on the pond (now overstocked with fish).



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Not a day for insects, or so I thought. On a shopping trip to Romiley village this p.m. (in heavy drizzle), a large insect was seen flying towards me which landed about 10 feet up on a wall. Due to the size, I expected a peacock butterfly, but was amazed to find it was actually an Old Lady moth!!! Wrong place, time and weather. A nice surprise on an awful day for anything.



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When the sun is as scarce as it is at the moment, it helps to have a fallow field just 50m from your front door. Today it meant that within minutes of the cloud breaking I was able to see nine species of butterfly almost literally on my doorstep namely:- ringlet, small skipper, large skipper, small tortoiseshell, red admiral, comma, meadow brown, small & large whites. On top of that there were two species of macro moth- silver Y and narrow-bordered 5-spot burnet, and a hunting brown hawker. The field full of horses nest door was, by contrast, a barren desert. Green belt needs to be more than just short, animal blighted turf.



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Around the golf course yesterday, the first Ringlets were about (17), whilst other species included 45 meadow brown, 11 small tortoiseshell, 9 large skipper and 2 red admirals. A couple of 5-spot burnets also. Today, as I passed through on the way back from Werneth Low, an adult male emperor was cruising a quiet corner of the course; first for me this year.



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Jury still out on the sawfly. In the meantime, here's a photo of the odd-looking insect in question.



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First meadow browns today at the golf course (6), and the tattiest small copper I have ever seen. As one species emerges, another bows out (for now). Best sighting, though, was of what I think was the sawfly abia candens, but as this is a rarity I will need to seek advice. Whatever, it is a really smart looking beast.



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Some kind of lift-off in the moth world last night (at last), with over 20 species seen including a few micros. Highlights were a garden-first Purple-bar, a 2nd only Grass rivulet, and a Pale Tussock was the first for eight years. Other included peppered moth, ingrailed clay and scalloped hazel. It was so atmospheric with no plane or train noise (or drunks); a tawny owl called quite close by, and what I think was a oystercatcher went over (I was stood on a chair at the time trying to reach the purple-bar, so it did not register properly). Great stuff.

Picture of Grass rivulet:

 



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What can only be called a reasonable afternoon around the Golf course site. Best 'spots' were of the first Large Skipper of the year (just one!), and also 3 small heath which I'd guess I haven't seen here for 10-12 years. Moths were 8 silver-ground carpet, 1 common and 1 dark-barred twin-spot carpets. 20 azure, 4 large red, and 2 blue-tailed damsels were the odonata. The rest was as I'd expect e.g. swollen-thighed beetles, agapanthia villosoviridescens, red/black froghoppers, oedemera lurida, hawthorn shieldbug etc...

 



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Monday 25th of May 2020 10:02:47 PM

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Last evening had the rare event of two mammals using my garden simutaneously. Whilst a wood mouse was availing itself of seed spilt from the feeder, a bat was buzzing it overhead.



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A black sexton beetle was attracted to my moth trap last night (it crashed noisily into the window). Quite an arresting species due to its size. It was nearly all I caught of any note, as only a single pug moth (which was not identifiable) was in the trap this morning. However, when I went out to photograph the beetle later (which I'd kept in the fridge overnight), I found a superb Alder kitten which had obviously been hiding and the sun had caused to move. About the 3rd or 4th record for the garden, and quite a good find anywhere.



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