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Post Info TOPIC: Etherow Country Park (other wildlife)


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RE: Etherow Country Park (other wildlife)


Just singles of Meadow Brown, ringlet and large skipper at the old picnic area meadow, and no large odonata seen anywhere! Don't have nightmares.



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Summer has started! First odonata of year - 5 Large red damselflies. Also firsts were 1 each of speckled wood and comma, and three green longhorn moths might have been my first for this site (it's a long way to think back)! Other butterflies were 10+ orange tip, 2 small white and 2 peacock. 



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21/10/23 p.m.

As things enter a lull, even the sight of a probable pygmy shrew, which ran across a wide path just in front of me, can raise the mood a bit. Shrews are very hard to see, I've found, so this was a nice bonus.



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Highlights of another insect hunt today were the picture-winged fly Urophora cardui (yet to be fully confirmed, but I'm confident it is), and parasitic wasp Gasteruptiidae species, which appears to have lost its ovipositor, making it hard to be certain exactly which one it is. Otherwise, a good number of ringlet (c20) was the only other notable thing.



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Following on from my previous post, I can now add a female rhinoceros beetle to the list, which someone on Facebook has just identified for me! Only before recorded in Dunham Massey in Grt. M/c by the looks of it. Also pictured, the black-headed cardinal I mentioed.



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Lots to see in the park's 'interior' today in the insect department; beetles included black-headed cardinal, which was a first for the park, and 2 four-banded longhorns. Butterflies included the first small skipper of the year amongst its larger bretheren (i.d. problems begin!), and a ringlet (I saw one in another part of the park yesterday) also nearly new for the year. Moths seen were Clouded silver and a couple of brown silver-line. The most numerous species were the odonata, with hundreds of the 4 expected damselflies, as well as an Emperor male, male and female broad-bodied chaser, and at least one black-tailed skimmer. Best, though were 6 male banded demoiselles along the river adjacent to the keg. I felt fully entertained for the first time this year.



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A mink was seen swimming around near the wooden footbridge on my way to the weir.

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Remarkably, a common darter was sunning itself on a wooden bench in this afternoon's sunshine. It looked in good condition and with no frosts due, it could easily last into December. Don't panic!



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A right old mixed bag in the park today. I was looking for odonata principally, and saw 9 brown hawkers, 1 Southern hawker, plenty of damselflies of three species, and what was almost certainly a female black-tailed skimmer ovipositing in the middle of the keg (more likely than 4-spotted chaser which I've never seen in the park from memory). Whilst watching this, I saw a movement in the top of my vision, and homed in on a near full-grown Lime Hawk-moth larvae munching away in a bough about ten feet above the water. One each of Peacock and Holly blue were the best of the few butterflies that were on show. Other insects included 4-spotted longhorn beetle, sicus ferrugineus and, a first for the park, the rather nice looking fly Phasia hemiptera.



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A bonus moth day following a 'festival' which took place over the weekend at the farm within the park. A small marquee had obviously been well lit on the nights of the festival, and still contained a few moths, allowing me to boost my park list substantially. Around the awning I found, 2 dun-bar, 2 dingy footman, 1 buff footman, 1 lesser swallow prominent, 1 peppered moth and a heart and dart (which I'm still trying to turn into something more special!). Of the quite poor numbers of butterflies present elsewhere in the park, 3 small copper was about the best sighting. There were various other odds and sods, inc: a tree wasp and a couple of the bug deraeocoris ruber, one the black form. 2 brown hawkers were the only non-damselflies seen in what is a shockingly poor year in the park for odonata.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Tuesday 3rd of August 2021 09:28:36 PM

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At least three 4-banded longhorn beetles seen between Compstall Mill & the CWT reserve, amongst c10 black & yellow longhorns. Puzzling, and worrying, was the total absence of large dragonflies around the ponds. Not too many butterflies either, but included small skipper, ringlet and half a dozen small tortoiseshell.



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Oh yes!!! Summer takes off with the sight of 2 large red damselflies making their first flights after the deluge had moved away. Here we go... 



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1 brown hawker.

1 speckled wood.

Time running out for insect buffs like me.



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Pretty drab fair. For such a nice day, butterfly numbers were terminal. Only 6 species, inc. small copper, 2 small tortoiseshell, comma, and 2 gatekeepers. Odonata worse than butterflies - 1 common darter, 1 (prob) southern hawker at height. Cream-streaked ladybird was perhaps best sighting, a first for me I feel sure, although I do like the Water cricket, 2 of which were doing their 'moving by farting' thing on a small pond.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Thursday 20th of August 2020 09:41:40 PM

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Swarms of people more than insects! Highlights were a fresh small copper of a new generation, 5 comma, 3 red admirals plus five other butterfly species. A July highflyer had been attracted to a light on the toilet block overnight, a good moth to see in daylight. a single brown hawker was only odonata of note.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Saturday 11th of July 2020 10:36:15 PM

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Seven species of odonata was probably the highlight. Aside from 4 species of damselfly, there were 3 male broad-bodied chasers, and singles of banded demoiselle (fem) & earliest ever black-tailed skimmer, also a female. All other insects very much as expected, including large skipper, brown silver-line moths, and common malachite beetles.



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Finding a 'lifer' is a big lift at the moment, so a Black-spotted longhorn beetle felt really special (especially as there was little else). They are apparently common and widespread, but just try finding any identifiable species of beetle to order!

 



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Thursday 23rd of April 2020 08:52:46 PM

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A few camera traps set up around the area might be a good idea.

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Not an expert on prints, though I do watch for them

Looks much more like Otter than Mink (thanks to Google Images). The footprint is quite broad & heavy

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Chris Harper wrote:

Near Keg pool noticed a few footprints next to the river. Look a bit like Otter to me but could be Mink. No expert but would welcome any comments. 

Quite dark but an image attached. 

If you zoom in you can see claws


Hi Chris,

Nothing like an expert on prints, sorry. Something which would have allowed an idea of scale in the picture might have helped those who might know. Still, it's exciting to think that one might still be around (not a mink, obviously)!



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Near Keg pool noticed a few footprints next to the river. Look a bit like Otter to me but could be Mink. No expert but would welcome any comments. 

Quite dark but an image attached. 

If you zoom in you can see claws



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Hi Andy. Yes it was swimming upstream away from the weir. And yes, I was incredibly lucky! I felt sorry for the couple who had just left the hide literally 2 minutes earlier!

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Steven Nelson wrote:

I was stunned to watch an Otter hunting in the river in front of the bird hide today. It surfaced 3 times and caused panic amongst the ducks. I reported it at the Visitor Centre and they were gobsmacked! They werent aware of any previous reports. My first one in GM.

Also a small bat (probably Pipistrelle) was flying around over the footpath near the garden centre in broad daylight much to the amusement of many passers-by.


Utterly amazing, Steve. And can I mention lucky as well? Which way did it appear to be travelling? I guess upstream (away from the weir).

Cheers, 



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I was stunned to watch an Otter hunting in the river in front of the bird hide today. It surfaced 3 times and caused panic amongst the ducks. I reported it at the Visitor Centre and they were gobsmacked! They werent aware of any previous reports. My first one in GM.

Also a small bat (probably Pipistrelle) was flying around over the footpath near the garden centre in broad daylight much to the amusement of many passers-by.

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Attempted some insect tracking yesterday whilst dodging smack-heads and half-cooked party goers who had been attending the 'Moovin' weekend. Yes, that's the reality of a Stockport 'Country' Park.

Best was finding Ruddy darter for the second year at the SSSI. One very obliging male along the path, but I feel there was at least one more viewed at distance. Nearly ranking with this was spotting a male banded demoiselle on the Keg pool, the first time I've seen a male holding territory in the Park, so it is good for something! Other species seen included common darter (3), Brown hawker (4), Southern Hawker (1) and a female common blue damsel.

Wasn't really paying too much attention to butterflies, but Red admirals are beginning to emerge (6), whilst small copper is irregular at the site.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Tuesday 27th of August 2019 09:26:02 PM

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12 species of butterfly this p.m. was very decent, but numbers not especially high (e.g. 37 ringlet, 25 meadow brown, 7 comma, 7 gatekeeper, c10 green-veined white). Species of odonata included a female banded demoiselle, 1 black-tailed skimmer, 2 emperor males, 3 brown hawker and 1 southern hawker. Two species of longhorn beetle were seen, 1 agapanthia and 4 black and yellow. A giant rat seen near the weir was less welcome.



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Insects appeared to be subdued today, but did include 2 black-tailed skimmers (prob both males, but only got good look at one), a black & yellow longhorn beetle, and a park first for me, a fly-by hornet. Butterflies were particularly low in numbers apart from the 'invaders' - painted ladies - of which I saw 8.



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Another brilliant insect day, with something new at every turn. Large red, blue-tailed and azure damselflies were a decent start, brimstone the best butterfly. A brown silver-line was a park first moth (for me), but was nothing compared with new beetles common malachite and elaphrus cupreus (also known as copper peacock). A small colony of slender groundhoppers was another species I've never seen before anywhere in the U.K. Other new park records were alder sawfly, narcissus bulb fly, black/red froghopper and sloe shieldbug with others still to be checked against photographs. Not missing the birds at all!!!



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I've just had it confirmed that a moth I found in Ernocroft wood on the 9th is a chestnut, a 'lifer' for me. Easier to get lifer insects than birds these days in the U.K.

 

 



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A few insects which I've recently identified in the park which have not been recorded before in the area (according to the National Database).

9th August - the leafhopper Evacanthus interruptus (photo below).

Today: Bronze shieldbug (a personal first), and potato leafhopper (apparently quite common, but if nobody records them, then the map is left with a yawning gap).

Also today, a dried up part of the 'swamp' area had many empty shells of what I took to be freshwater clams or mussels. Another victim of the drought.

 

 



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A complete contrast to my last visit here, with three big surprises! This included two personal odonata 'site-firsts' in the shape of a male Ruddy Darter and, even better, a pair of black-tailed skimmers in tandem (hopefully continuing their presence in the park in future - water permitting!). I'm still trying to compare my photos as I may have taken two different males. As good as these were, my first ever elephant hawk-moth larva, a whopping full-grown example, took pride of place. Absolutely superb. Other finds included one each of blood-vein and small phoenix moths, a teneral emerald damselfly and a fly sicus ferrugineus - a strange looking beast.

P.S. Online searching also found that I had photographed the beetle phyllobrotica quadrimaculata which the literature states as being 'uncommon'.



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A complete contrast to my last visit here, with three big surprises! This included two personal odonata 'site-firsts' in the shape of a male Ruddy Darter and, even better, a pair of black-tailed skimmers in tandem (hopefully continuing their presence in the park in future - water permitting!). I'm still trying to compare my photos as I may have taken two different males. As good as these were, my first ever elephant hawk-moth larva, a whopping full-grown example, took pride of place. Absolutely superb. Other finds included one each of blood-vein and phoenix moths, a teneral emerald damselfly and a fly sicus ferrugineus - a strange looking beast.



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Nine species of butterfly today (p.m.) inc first local red admiral of the year. Highest numbers were of ringlet and meadow brown which numbered about 25 each. Not far behind, though, was silver 'Y' with 19 seen (there were probably many more as every time I stepped into the grass, I flushed one). Seems to have been an invasion as many immigrant moths and other insects have been reported on the Atropos website.

5 broad-bodied chasers inc four males, and two brown hawkers. A little bit mundane at present with little in the way of surprise.



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Four species of damselfly today, and a good number of broad-bodies chasers (5 inc two males disputing an area of swamp near the river bird hide). A hawker type species, which had probably just emerged, flew from near the farm road between the two ponds and off towards Ernocroft wood. Comma, green-viened whites and orange tips were only butterflies.



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Saturday 12th. First odonata for park this year with a fair hatch of blue-tailed damsels, and a few azures. Pity the park is going to the dogs as, unbelievably, an off-road vehicle was driving up the path as I left Ernocroft wood!!!! As I walked down the tarmac road into the park, two dirt-track scrambling bikes were coming in. No wonder few birds of interest use the place anymore.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Sunday 13th of May 2018 11:03:36 PM



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Sunday 13th of May 2018 11:04:59 PM

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Orange Tip 11
Green-veined White 16
Comma 1
Peacock 1

Also Brown Silver-line showing the line on under wing. The Bluebell display alone is worth the visit at the moment

Cheers John

-- Edited by John Rayner on Sunday 6th of May 2018 08:54:37 PM

-- Edited by John Rayner on Sunday 6th of May 2018 08:56:37 PM

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It's not been a great insect year, with moths especially poor, so finding this brilliant Red Underwing in the park this afternoon was a real prize. Only my second ever, and first for more than 25 years!



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Yesterday p.m.

1st hawkers of the year seen: 2 brown & 1 southern. Also a broad-bodied chaser female which might have been a first for the park for me.

Butterflies.

5 red admiral, 2 comma, 3 speckled wood, 22 ringlet, 20 meadow brown, 4 large skipper, 1 green-veined white.

Others:

1 tree bumblebee, 5 black & yellow longhorned beetles.



-- Edited by Andy Bissitt on Tuesday 27th of June 2017 09:06:34 PM

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Spring is definitely here... first pristine male orange-tips (3), also 2 green-veined whites and 4 commas. Got to take advantage whilst the weather is better for insects than for scarce birds.



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Yesterday p.m.

My second record for site of banded demoiselle. A female hunting from the nearside bank of the canal just where the 'cafe path' meets the road into the park. I did say that removing the trees might be to the advantage of insects, and this is brilliant proof of that. Hope they don't allow too much grow back. Also yesterday amongst other things, 8 brown hawker, 1 southern hawker, first common darter of year. Best butterfly was this years rarity, the red admiral (second of year for county only).



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Brown Hawker 1

Common Darter 1

Speckled Wood 2

Field Vole 2

Cheers John



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Yesterday I tried to locate any White-letter Haistreaks but found none. However I did get my first Ringlet in GM near the weir pool.

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After ONLY 30 summers visiting the Park, I finally chanced upon a White-letter hairstreak there today. Was always aware there were (historic?) records from there, but finding this species is not that easy anywhere (especially with dodgy weather). I thought I would go without a UK sighting this year after a site I found at Marple Aqueduct last summer was destroyed during the winter (courtesy of the Canal and River Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund and Stockport Council).

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Comma, Speckled Wood, Ringlet

Beetles Carabus nemoralis Ground Beetle fees on snails,
Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn - Agapanthia villosoviridescens another sighting which seems to indicate it has a good range in south GM with sightings here, stockport and Astley Moss.
Longhorm Beetle Rutpela maculate large very well marked yellow and black beetle.
Another Longhorn Beetle Grammoptera ruficornis
False Flower Beetle Grammoptera ruficornis

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Moschatel found; thanks for the directions Ian. Also good to see some proper Yellow Archangel.



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Hi Ian, if you could could give me rough directions as to where the Moschatel patches are I'd very much appreciate it.
It's a plant I've been looking out for for quite a while now.

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Short Tailed Vole and Wood Mouse from hide, Ramsons, Blue Bell, Wood Speedwell, Green Alkanet, Dogs Mercury, 5 patches of Moschatel, Archangel natural and sadly variegated form working it way into the wood Barren Strawberry, Yellow Pimpernel, Wood Sorrel, Wood Anemone, wood forgetmenot Skunk Cabbage, Opposite Leaved Saxifrage, Wood Rush, Pink Purslane, Lesser Stitchwort, Dog Violet Lesser Celandine, Marsh Marigold, Garlic Mustard, Cow Parsley all in flower Lord and Ladies, Marsh Cinquefoil showing.

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Some good plants all in flower
Lord and Ladies, Fringe cups, Wood Aven, Blue bells, Ramsons, big patches of Bugle, Opposite Leaved Golden Saxifrage, Moshcatel, (Both quite Rare in GM) Barren Strawberry, Cuckoo Flower, Wood Sorrel, Water Cress, Sorrell, Comon Bistort, Pink Purslane (An Invasive Increasing in the Keg) Yellow Archangel, (Not the variagated garden plant) Wood Speedwell, Thyme Leaved Speedwell, Lesser Stitchwort, Yellow Pimpernel, Common Dog Violet, Dusky cranesbill

leaf beetles Hydrothassa marginella on buttercup, Ground Beetle 'Snail Hunter' - Cychrus caraboides found under a log near the hide and a large group of whats looks lik Donacia Genus reed beatles on buttercup in the marsh over 40.

Several Orange Winged butterfly mainly female, few Speckled Wood and Green Viened White.

In the river below Brabyns Park I was tipped off that Signal Crayfish have spread from a brook further up. Lifted a few rocks to see if this was correct. I didn't find this American pain but did find 6 large bull head fish.

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In the Keg Woodland

Dog's Mercury
Field Wood-rush
Wood Sorrel (a simple but beautiful plant)
Barren Strawberry
Pink Purslane (some clumps white rather than pink)
Wood Anemone (always a treat)
Bluebell (in flower but not yet in their prime - running a week or two late. If there's a better woodland
for Bluebells in GM, I'd like to know where)
Lesser Celandine bringing some yellow in amongst the white and the blue

None of these wild flowers are uncommon, but all worth seeing. smile

-- Edited by Tony Darby on Sunday 5th of May 2013 10:54:56 PM

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Stoat in woods beyond Hirst Cottage

Cheers, John

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