3 Garganey together on the South Lake this morning. Little else of note except for a single Peregrine which I don’t see that often at Longham. Small Red-eyed Damselflies were present yesterday afternoon on both the small pond at the SW corner of the site and the North Lake, plus one Gold-ringed Dragonfly (George Green.)
A couple of birds of minor interest early this afternoon – a flyover Dunlin and a Common Tern. Also c106 Tufted Duck chicks (George Green.)
Just 12 new birds ringed – 3 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Greenfinch and one each of Reed Warbler, Bullfinch, Blue Tit, Wren, Blackbird, Kingfisher (another juvenile), and the first Willow Warbler of the year. Just one re-trap, of one of this year’s Long-tailed Tits (Roger Peart.)
Ringing produced 23 new birds – 9 Reed Warblers, 4 Wrens, 2 each Blackcap, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Kingfisher (both juveniles) and one each of Robin and Blackbird. Rather surprisingly no Chiffchaffs. There were two re-traps, a recent Robin and a Song Thrush (RS61960) which was first ringed 21st June 2012 as an adult female. This is certainly the oldest ST we have recorded at Longham and probably the oldest one I have ever had. As the present bird was first ringed as an adult it will be over 6 years old. At 5.10am there was a Hobby over the trees to the SW of the lakes flying round for a few minutes trying to catch early House Martins (Roger Peart.)
It was an incredibly quiet time for the 40 minutes I was there, with a couple of Lapwing on the island and around 60 Tufted Ducks on the North Lake. The biggest surprise was 19 Little Grebes around the south island, he most I’ve ever seen at Longham (Darran Jones).
Had a walk round the lakes this morning before the rain. The highlights were 5 female Shoveler on North Lake, a Kestrel and 2 Common Sandpipers (Martin Wood).
There were lots of Swifts, House Martins and a few Sand Martins about. The Common Terns (2) were still there this afternoon, plus 6-7 Little Grebes and Great Crested Grebe still sitting on nest in the south east corner of the smaller lake (Martin Wood.)
There was one adult and two juvenile Common Tern, all atop separate buoys in the model yacht corner of the large lake. Also two juvenile Kestrel being fed by their parents on the water meadows (Trevor Thorpe.)
Had a wonderful morning at Longham in bright sunlight and was treated to a basking Grass Snake on the rocks of south lake and then a swimming Grass Snake which possibly was the same one as it was not much further along. We saw 3 Green Woodpeckers, a pair which flew down from Samuel’s Wood and pecked the grass for a long period, then saw a single green woodpecker in between the 2 lakes on the path. A pair of Kestrels
hovering at the edge of South Lake. 3 Cormorants on the solar panels of South lake and enjoyed the many crèches of Tufted Ducks including having to wait whilst large numbers of ducklings and a few adults crossed the path in front of us transferring from South lake to North – was lovely to watch. In addition, 2 nest-building Great Crested Grebes. As always it was a joy (Lesley Wilkes and Kim Smith).
Still at least 1 Lesser Emperor at Longham, one was flying around the east end of the causeway path before moving into the Horse Paddock, another was photographed along the southern shore of South Lake so presumably a different individual. Plenty of the rest of the normal dragons, although the one absentee was Red-veined Darter. My first 2 Clouded Yellows of the year. The adult and juvenile Common Tern were still on South Lake, quite comical watching the juvenile trying to land on the buoys , several times he just slid straight over it and ended up in the water. Also 1 Common Sandpiper on North lake and 3 on one of the fishing Jetty on South lake. The Great Crested Grebes don’t look to be having much joy, still building a nest around a single egg that spends most of the time submerged (Ian Ballam).
The Common Tern fledgling was still being fed by its parents. There was a Black-tailed Skimmer on the far side of the south lake by the end of the causeway and I saw a small flock of 4 Greenfinches feeding there. There were plenty of Reed Buntings
and Reed Warblers around as well as around 60 Canada Geese on the lake. Returning to the car park I saw a Green Woodpeck-er on the causeway and Sparrow-hawk being mobbed by Swallows (Darran Jones.) In the late evening another mobbed Sparrowhawk, juvenile Song Thrush, 2 Green Woodpeckers, a Jay, a Whitethroat and a Kestrel seen. The two Common Terns were on South Lake, but left at about 7pm going over Emily’s Wood (in south-east corner) with a load of gulls going the same direction (Martin Wood).
Early this morning at the lakes the weather was too overcast, cool and damp for any Odonata to be on the wing, although I met a chap who had travelled down from Bristol to observe the Dragonflies and Damselflies. Occupied myself with counting the Tufted Duck families and noted groups of 3,1,2,2,7,7,3,1,17,17,9,11,20 and 29 ducklings [that’s 129 ducklings, back to form after a poor year last year], the latter group a combined crèche attended by three females. Also noted singles of Lapwing, Kestrel, Common Tern and Common Sandpiper (Trevor Thorpe). Sandwich Tern briefly fighting with a Common Tern over fishing rights to the south lake. Later adult Common Tern feeding juvenile on north lake (George Green.) In the late evening a session with the bat detector revealed a few passes by Noctule Bats, then large numbers of Soprano Pipistrelles with a few Common Pipistrelles (Dominic Couzens).
This morning an adult Common Tern was feeding its Juv. mostly on North lake (Lorne Bissell). Finally I managed today to tick off Common Tern at the lakes with an adult and juvenile bird on North Lake, bringing my total up to 97 species for the site. There looks to be a good build-up of Coots and lots of Tufted Duck ducklings. Butterflies and moths included Red Admirals, Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Six-spot Burnets (Martin Wood.) A late evening walk was fun this evening, giving close views of Roe Deer and Red Fox. At around 9.30 an adult and young Tawny Owl were calling from Samuel’s Wood. A Hobby was feeding over the North Lake well after 10pm and it seems that there is a roost of young Starlings (at least 100) in the bushes on the west side, at the end of the Causeway (Dominic Couzens).
We had the usual small birds and wildfowl apart from a Sandwich Tern out on one of the small buoys (Dave and Pat Harris).
Lesser Emperor and at least 2 Red-veined Darters still present. The darters were showing well and landing on the gravel path along the north side of the north lake. Also a Grass Snake on platform beside south lake (George Green.) 1 Sandwich Tern from 9:45 am (on north lake) for maybe an hour, 2 Grey Wagtails and several Common Sandpipers calling. The female Great Crested Grebe keeps trying to construct a new platform by the original failed nest in the south-east corner of North Lake, but the male’s not keen and wants to use the new nest about 2 meters north. This morning they were demolishing this third nest to add to the one favoured by the male (Lorne Bissell).
Unfortunately the Great Crested Grebe nest in the south-east corner of North Lake has failed. The birds are building in two other places nearby although they visit the original nest (Lorne Bissell).
There was no sign of the male Scarlet Darter today.
12:30hrs: Male SCARLET DARTER showing well along edge of small pool at far end of South Lake (James Phillips). This is a dragonfly MEGA!
Please could you be aware that there is a pair of nesting Great Crested Grebes near the fishing platform in the south-east corner of the North Lake. They have one egg. This is the first breeding record here for a while, and it is technically illegal to disturb them.
What is going on with this place. Today James Phillips concentrated on insects and recorded an incredible SIXTEEN species of damselflies and dragonflies on-site. Has this total ever been matched on one day in a single location in Britain? – LL is only just over one square kilometre! There were three significant rarities.
In addition he also saw SIXTEEN species of butterflies!
The species concerned were: ODONATA:
1. Brown hawker
3. Lesser emperor
4. Golden-ringed dragonfly
5. Scarce chaser
6. Black tailed skimmer
7. Common darter
8. Red-veined darter
9. Scarlet darter
10. Banded demoiselle
11. Common blue damselfly
12. Azure damselfly
13. Blue-tailed damselfly
14. Red-eyed damselfly
15. Small red-eyed damselfly
16. White-legged damselfly
1. Red admiral
4. Meadow brown
7. Marbled White
8. Common blue
9. Brown argus
10. Small copper
11. Small skipper
12. Essex skipper
13, Large skipper
14. Large white
15. Small white
16. Green-veined white
This brings the total site list of butterflies up to 23 species.
Managed three different male Lesser Emperor in the end! All were in the NE corner of the North Lake. 12 species of Odonata seen in all, with best of the rest being one male Red-veined Darter, many Small Red-eyed Damsels and a couple of White-legged Damsels too (James Phillips). Also a Hobby (Lorne Bissell), 8 Little Grebes and a Song Thrush collecting food (Martin Wood). Martin also took a photo today of what it turns out is a SCARLET DARTER dragonfly.
Had a nice evenings walk South Lake lots of small Tufted Ducklings with 17 with one female then two and three broods. A lot of Mallards about and it was very nice to see two smart looking Little Grebes. A Common Sandpiper was on the large island a part from that it was pretty quiet (Martin Wood).
Ringing was rather quieter than Tuesday. Just 19 new birds and 3 retraps (a Blackbird from 2015, juvenile Robin from May and a Great Tit from Tuesday!). The 19 new birds were: Wren 4, Reed Warbler 3, Chiffchaff 2, Blackcap 2, Robin 2, Great Tit 2, Greenfinch 2, and one each of Dunnock and juvenile Whitethroat. Also a dead Pygmy Shrew (Roger Peart.)
Lots of dragonfly action today, with at least one, probably two male Lesser Emperors, at least one Red-veined Darter and many Small Red-eyed Damselflies. One Lesser Emperor was on the North Lake (especially south-east corner), together with the Red-veined Darter, while another very probable individual was on the large pool beyond the south-west corner of the South Lake, the stronghold for Small Red-eyed Damselflies. Also present: Black-tailed Skimmer, [Common] Emperor, Brown Hawker, Red-eyed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly and Banded Demoiselle. Also Common Sandpiper, Common Tern and Sandwich Tern, a 1st-summer Mediterranean Gull, 120 Starlings and 5 Song Thrushes around the car park and 9 Lapwings on the island. (Lorne Bissell, Dominic Couzens, George Green, Darran Jones). NB: If you are checking out dragonflies and damselflies, please take care not to disturb nesting birds.
Ringing this morning produced a good number of 44 new individual birds and 6 retraps. Retraps were 4 Long-tailed Tits, a Dunnock and a Great Tit. One LTT and the Dunnock were ringed in 2012, the Great Tit in 2014. The new ones included two new species for the Longham ringing list: a House Sparrow and a juvenile Starling! The other new birds were Long-tailed Tit 10, Chiffchaff 8, Robin 5, Reed Warbler 5, Wren 4, Great Tit 3, Blackcap 2 and one each of Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush and Dunnock (Roger Peart.)
A fair number of baby Tufted Ducks are about now, but I saw no Great Crested Grebe chicks. There were around 70 Starlings on the industrial part via the second side. A lone Kingfisher was fishing on the tiny island on the far side of south lake and a Sandwich Tern (a first for me) briefly stayed on one of the buoys before heading towards the River Stour (Darran Jones.) The Sandwich Tern was present fishing on South Lake for much of the evening. A count of the 1st hatchings of Tufted Duck was 5 broods of 9,7,3,1 and 1 chicks. Finally a flock of 150+ Starlings is by far the largest lock I’ve seen at Longham Lakes (George Green.)
A visit this pm produced another brief sighting of a nice bright red male Red-veined Darter over the pool in the SW corner of the site. Also Small-red-eyed Damselflies are much in evidence on the same pool (George Green).
Among the dragonflies were a few Black tailed Skimmers ; also Cinnabar caterpillars and a Redshank on the large island (Martin Wood).
9 species of Damsels and Dragons in total including male Red-veined Darter on path on east side of South Lake, first Small Red-eyed Damselfly of the season on the pond in the SW corner of the site, first Brown Hawker of the season and Scarce Chaser. Also first Common Sandpiper of the autumn (George Green).
Neither rare dragonfly was seen today in the wind, but a White-legged Damselfly was about (George Green)
It’s still all systems go on the dragonfly front. In the early afternoon there were no less than 7 dragon-twitchers, a record for here. There seemed to be multiple Red-veined Darters at the eastern end of the Causeway, and at least one male Lesser Emperor there at 3pm. A Lesser Emperor is holding territory near the pumping station along the east side of the south reservoir (Ian Julian). Also a Gold-ringed Dragonfly, Scarce Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, Red-eyed, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies.
In the south-east corner of the North Lake I noticed an Emperor-type dragonfly patrolling over the reeds. I was able to confirm it was a Lesser Emperor as it flew past me patrolling up and down along the path no more than 6ft away. It then proved difficult to follow, but I later found it or another patrolling between the jetty & the slipway in the NE corner of the south lake, & a definite 2nd shortly afterwards on the north side of the causeway, about halfway along. Returning to the SE corner of the N lake, I found one perched about 5ft away from me and whilst watching this one, another flew past chasing a large dragonfly, which looked as though it could well have been a 3rd Lesser Emperor. I also had 2 male Red-veined Darters patrolling the SE edge of the North lake, but none settled, & several Scarce Chasers (Olly Frampton.)
Update: 1 Lesser Emperor and 1 Emperor still at Longham just before 2000. Lesser appeared occasionally in SE corner of N lake as reported by others, always going anti-clockwise – the speed it was moving and time between appearances made me think it might even have been doing a circuit of the entire lake! Well done Olly and thanks for putting news out, that’s the first Lesser Emperor I have seen (Peter Moore).
In the evening (10.30pm), there were large numbers of Daubenton’s Bats feeding over the River Stour close to Longham Bridge, with a Serotine (Dominic Couzens.)
I found 3 Red-veined Darters at Longham Lakes this morning. The first and second involved a pair mating in brambles near the Study Centre and the third was a male I watched for some time along the south shore of the South Lake. Very quiet on the bird front (George Green.)
I escaped from the Wimborne Folk Festival this afternoon and went to the lakes, plenty of Swift with a few House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallow hawking over the lakes and causeway. Apart from the usual, the best bird I got was a Hobby around the south east corner and over Emily’s Wood (Martin Wood).
Remarkably, the Bonaparte’s Gull was seen again this morning. It was thoroughly hassled by the Black-headed Gulls and eventually left the Lakes, headed for River Stour (Lorne Bissell).
A drake Garganey was reliably reported to me this morning. Apparently it was at the south end of the South Lake skulking in the reeds. Despite my best efforts I failed to relocate it (George Green).