Saturday, 15 July 2017

Gulls at Last

I have only just started to get good views of the gulls again at Shawell. The tip face had been moved too far away to view and the disturbance from the dog walker has been bad at the lagoons. He is still causing problems, as management haven't caught him yet.

Anyway the last few weeks have been better since the tip area is now closer to the road, but still a little too far away. At least I'm reading some colour-rings again. The bulk of these ringed gulls are intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gulls, which may be a surprise as at one time we thought of these dark mantled gulls as winter visitors.

Amongst the horde of LBBG are a few Yellow-legged Gulls including some juveniles and I've had a couple of first-summer Caspian Gulls this week as well - one today and one on Thursday.

First-Summer Caspian Gull

The highlight at present, however, is the gathering of Red Kites. Fifteen were there today including two pristine juveniles.

Juvenile Red Kite

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Red Kites, Gulls and Dragons

At the weekend I did the rounds checking the progress of several breeding birds. The gulls seemed to be doing OK on their new roof at Scudamore Road, Leicester and I am pretty sure that a few pairs of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and one pair of Herring Gulls are nesting at Troon Industrial Estate, Leicester. The young Red Kites I'm keeping an eye on are almost ready to fledge and the young Oystercatchers are growing night and day. Initially the Oystercatchers proved difficult to find, but then all of a sudden one swam out from underneath some vegetation at the side of the lake.

Oystercatcher Chick


At Cotesbach it was great to see that there was still ten Red Kites scavenging for any food they could find on the tip.

Red Kite

There are a couple of new ponds by the landfill site, which didn't take dragonflies long to discover. At least four Emperors were present including this ovipositing female.

Emperor Dragonfly

There were plenty of gulls at the landfill and I managed to read some colour-rings for a change - most were from Norway.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

News From SW Leics

My corner of Leicestershire is often ignored as a birding location. Well things are going quite well this year especially with locally rare breeding birds. At Brascote Pits a pair of Oystercatchers have three chicks and the Shelducks have five well grown ducklings. Neither of these two species breed successfully every year in south-west Leicestershire.

A respectable number of schedule 1 breeding birds have bred in the area this year including the first pair of Red Kites.

I had to travel to deepest darkest Wales to see Red Kites when I was a lad and back then no one expected to one day see one in Leicestershire. Well yesterday I stood enthralled as I watched 14 in the air together in south-west Leicestershire. Eight of them alighted in the same dead tree - how things change!

Red Kite

Whilst I was out yesterday I bumped into Neil Hagley who told me he'd seen some White-letter Hairstreaks at Croft/Huncote. It had been a few years since I last saw White-letter Hairstreaks there, so it was good to know they had survived. Adey Baker and I went to look for them this morning and luck was on our side. Two were nectaring on bramble flowers. The one that I photographed had its head hidden from my position, but at least I got a record shot. From the Huncote end of Croft Quarry you need to park by the metal gates and turn right as you go through the gate. walk uphill and stop just past the double telegraph poles. There is an obvious bramble bush with pinkish flowers and this was where we saw them.

White-letter Hairstreak, Croft Quarry