Sunday, 5 July 2020

Ballachurry Reserve, 2nd July 2020.

July at Ballachurry Reserve
  I arrived at the reserve around 2.30 on Thursday and enjoyed walking round in the sunshine for a couple of hours. There was plenty of birdsong from the trees but I hardly managed to see a bird at all!  The water fowl saved the day as far as photos were concerned though. Here is what I recorded:


SC209694 ( from hide) 2 x adult Moorhens and 2 x juveniles
SC209694 ( from hide) female Mallard
SC208694 2 x Woodpigeon; Willow Warbler heard but not seen; 2 x Great Tit
SC209695 Goldfinch, Willow Warbler;  Chiffchaff - all heard but not seen
SC210694 Goldfinch

Butterflies and Moths:

SC210694 Small Tortoiseshell; Meadow Brown
SC209694 Meadow Brown
SC208694 Meadow Brown
SC209695 Large White
SC209693 Meadow Brown
Sc208695 Clouded Border moth


SC210694    11 x 7-spot
SC 209694    7-spot
SC208695     2 x 7-spot


SC209695  various instars of Gorse Shieldbugs
SC209694   various instars of Gorse Shieldbugs
SC208695    2 x different Hoverflies
SC209694 Soldier Beetle
SC210694 and throughout reserve Marsh Woundwort in flower
SC209694 and throughout reserve - Honeybees especially on bramble flowers
SC209693 "Cuckoo Spit"  Common Froghopper nymphs  - Philaenus spumarius . They make the spittle by blowing bubbles through their bottoms! Have just learnt this interesting fact from British Wildlife Magazine!

neatly mown paths look inviting - which one shall I take first?

first call, the bird hide and pond

female Mallard

adult Moorhen

and another
one of two juveniles
Large White butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell

Meadow Brown
another of the freshly  mown areas
bridge and boardwalk
one of several 7-spot Ladybirds near the entrance

another along the Gorse Boundary on thistle

this one was on the old beehive loop
Marsh Woundwort - stop and smell the pungent leaves!

some Hawthorn berries already red
what a lush meadow!
taken from the ramp to the hide
Hoverfly 01

Hoverfly 02

early instar of a Gorse Shieldbug

another early one

this one is older - note the changed colour

and this is a late instar - another colour change

the Cuckoo Spit hides the nymph of the Common Froghopper

Soldier Beetle
The reddish hue  = dock seeds
looking across the meadow to the hide
Please click on the photos to enlarge them

Ballachurry Reserve, 1st July 2020

a final look at June

On Wednesday some of the Southern Group Committee met at the reserve with Cheryl who, with a group of friends, will be helping at another of the Trust's Reserves - Earystane. It was a pleasure to meet Cheryl and to show her round Ballachurry,  explaining  some of the volunteering work we do there.

We also enjoyed coffee and biscuits in the hide while discussing various matters and had excellent views of the resident Moorhen family as well as fleeting glimpses of Goldfinches and a Sedge Warbler.

Steve, the Commissioners' contractor, was also at the Reserve mowing the paths and strimming the boardwalk edges. It was good to be able to say hello and thanks again after the long lockdown period. Our ongoing thanks to Rushen Commissioners for taking on this regular summer task.

adult Moorhen

Juvenile Moorhen
Please click on the photos to enlarge

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Ballachurry Reserve, 24th June 2020

Meadowsweet in the meadow

Two visits to Ballachurry on Wednesday! We'd received a report that a tree had blown over and was blocking the path so I went down with loppers, hoping they would be adequate and that I wouldn't need a man with a chain saw! One of the willows on the old beehive loop had split right down the middle in the recent gale and had indeed completely blocked the path. I cleared a way through but we can leave the main trunk where it has fallen and it may well root in where it touches the ground. Thanks to the member of public who reported it to the MWT office.

Fortunately I found no nests in the fallen tree

the split trunk
all clear again
Of more concern was the fact that we had clearly had some sheep on the reserve! Sheep dung everywhere - especially on my shoes! They had left some wool behind too as evidence, if more evidence were needed. It seems they may have got in through the adjoining private land but the gate has now been padlocked so hopefully it won't occur again. The sheep dung was attracting flies which were quite persistent in their attentions so when I returned in the afternoon to do a recording visit I made sure I  was well and truly covered in insect repellent!
Exhibit A - woolly evidence. I'll spare you Exhibit B!

I returned to the reserve about 3 and spent a couple of hours there. Here is what I recorded:


SC209693  Sedge Warbler
SC208694  Sedge Warbler; Willow Warbler &  Chiffchaff  ( both heard but not seen)
SC209694 Chiffchaff heard but not seen
SC209694 ( from hide) female Mallard; 2 x Adult Moorhens + 2 chicks.

Butterflies & moths:

SC210694 Red Admiral
SC209694 Common Blue;  Meadow Brown seen singly but also a mating pair; Speckled Wood
SC208694 Speckled Wood
SC208694 Silver Y moth; Speckled Wood; Red Admiral; Meadow Brown
SC209695 Meadow Brown
SC209693 Unidentified white flying


SC210694 23 x 7-spot Ladybirds
SC209694 5 x 7-spot Ladybirds
SC208695 3 x 7-spot Ladybirds
SC208694 4 x 7-spot Ladybirds


SC210694  2 x Grypocoris stysi bugs
SC208694 Scaeva pyrastri (?) Hoverfly sharing Hemlock Water Dropwort flower with Ladybird
SC208695 Syrphus species Hoverfly
SC209694Syrphus species Hoverfly
SC209694 Tephritis species fly on thistle -Xyphosia miliaria
SC209694 unidentified micro moth

Moorhen with chick

juvenile growing fast
female Mallard
the fly on the left does not have long to live!
mating Meadow Browns on gorse boundary SC209694

 Tephritis species fly on thistle  (Xyphosia miliaria)

unidentified micro moth

Grypocoris stysi Capsid bug

one of many 7-spot ladybirds on the reserve

three spots on each wing case and a shared spot in the middle = 7

Syrphus species Hoverfly

Syrphus species Hoverfly

a very popular floret of Hemlock Water Dropwort

Scaeva pyrastri Hoverfly?  If so, a migrant species.

they eventually settled for one each

but perhaps that one was better after all....

as the Dropwort dies down the Meadowsweet comes into its own

bridge has been repaired and the Dropwort cut back
shady corner
Common Valerian

unfortunately several trees on the reserve have succumbed to Ash Die-back

Stinking Iris

ripening cherries on Memorial Tree

Angelica leaves give a jungly feel

June wild roses
With thanks to Steve Crellin for fly IDs

Please click on photos to enlarge them