Back from the Bird Fair at Rutland Water, lovely sunny day here if rather breezy – no day trips to Ynys Enlli (Bardsey) today! The Robin breeding season is over, they have moulted and the pairs have split up. Heard several Robins singing, the function is to defend individual feeding territories – this is the autumn / early winter song which gradually fades out leading up to December. These singing birds could include females, whereas from Christmas onwards only male Robins sing. Read all about it in The Life of the Robin by David Lack.
Not all birds have finished breeding though – lots of House Martins and Swallows about (the Swifts have all gone), and Woodpigeons carry on singing (and laying eggs) until October. No luck with Turtle Doves though this year; when I was living in North Wales in the late 1960’s, Turtle Doves were common breeders in NE Wales and a few bred on Lleyn and Meirionnydd. Now these have all gone - read about it in The Breeding Birds of North Wales by Brenchley et al (2013). I haven’t seen a Turtle Dove anywhere in Britain this year.
Getting a bit late for good butterflies, but quite a few showy ones on our Buddleia including a Painted Lady the other day and several Commas. Then this morning a Common Blue appeared (very scarce round here this year and our first in the garden for 2015), plus a very smart Small Copper. This picture was actually taken just up the road in August last year.
Several Purple Hairstreaks seen on our butterfly transect route earlier this month, we try to do this every week for Butterfly Conservation. Viewing one of these individuals I even saw the ‘hairstreak’ mark on the hindwing, usually they are too high up on the oaks or ashes to see this. They lay eggs on the oaks and visit the ash trees for honeydew.