Thursday 5th July 2012 - Captains Pool, Dunclent & Hartlebury

There was a rare occurrence today, it actually felt like summer.  Buoyed by the sunshine and blue skies I decided to have a few hours out looking for inverts. 

Captains Pool
My first port of call was 'on patch' and I paid a visit to Captains Pool to see what dragonflies and damselflies were present.  On arrival I quickly forgot about the Odonata (for a while at least) as I was greeted by the sight of 2 adult Common Terns performing well over the pool.  I watched them for about 10 minutes or so before they flew off heading North.  10 minutes later they returned and proceeded fishing for a similar amount of time before heading North again.  I am informed by Tony that this is a pretty much daily occurrence which leads me to believe that they are nesting at a nearby site.  More investigation required!

Also of note bird wise were 3 young Great Crested Grebe chicks that were travelling around on the parent's backs.  The chicks were first noted by TS on the 3rd of July and is welcome news as they were unsuccessful with their first brood.  A Cormorant, 8 Swifts, 2 House Martins and a immature Swallow were also noted at the pool.

In terms of Odonata there was a profusion of Azure Damselflies with many of them seen 'in cop'.  Blue-tailed Damselflies were also in good numbers but the only dragonfly noted was a single ♂ Broad-bodied Chaser.

The following butterflies and moths were also observed along the causeway:  2 Commas, 2 Ringlets, 1 Silver Y and 2 Cinnabar Moths.   Small numbers of early instar Cinnabar caterpillars were present on the Ragwort.

A Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle and a 2-spot Ladybird of the melanic form (f. quadrimaculata) were also noted along the causeway.

Common Tern (record shot)

Click on image to enlarge


2-spot Ladybird (form quadrimaculata)

From Captains I headed over to the nearby Pools at Dunclent to see if the Captains Pool Common Terns were nesting there.  The pools are actually due east of Captains but worth a check as they are the next closest  bodies of water with islands on.  It soon became apparent that the islands at the pools were over vegetated and the terns were definitely not nesting there.  Looking at the OS map they seem to be flying north over part of the town towards Podmore pool so perhaps that should be a place to check another day.

This walk wast a loss though as I did see a cracking Blood-vein moth along a tree-lined section of path.  A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, a Ringlet and 3 Cinnabar moths were also noted.

What was also nice about this walk was seeing all the stunning blue Cornflowers that were in bloom amongst the cereal field behind Heathy Mill Farm.  A sight that you don't see often enough these days!

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)


The final site that I visited was the grounds of Hartlebury museum to check if there was any sign yet of the Scarlet Tiger Moths.  Today I was in luck and counted 5 Scarlet Tigers.  This was welcome news as I wasn't sure how they had fared with this odd summer we are having.  A great way to round off a good day.  Pity it's going to rain again tomorrow!

Scarlet Tiger Moth


  1. well i'm glad the sun shone for you at last Jase :-)
    I had a Common Tern ''record'' shot like yours the other week - I couldn't bring myself to post it :-) :-) :-)

  2. The Blood-vein and Scarlet Tiger are beautiful moths, Jase - both looking very aeronautical.

    You were right about the rain - tipping down this evening!

  3. Cheers Warren...I know what you mean, it was a tough decision with regards the Tern shot...not the quality I would have liked but hey it's a record shot of a good patch bird ;-)

    Thanks Rob. I particularly like Scarlet Tigers they are quite simply stunning!

  4. Good news on the GCGs Jason. Two very nice moths there and I completely agree regarding the Cornflowers! I don't see them growing round here at all.

    Lovely to see the orchids on your last post and nice piece of video of the very smart looking Med Gull!

  5. You certainly see a lot up there, Jason! The Cornflowers are lovely flowers. Great shots of some stunning moths, and I do like that little ladybird!

  6. Hi Jan, yes it is good news about the Grebes. I love the sight of the stripy youngsters on an adults back.

    Thanks Omi...I just wish there were ore Cornflowers around