JulyJuly is generally a quieter time on the patch in terms of birds so most years I tend to make the most of the insects this time of year. I recorded 15 butterfly species on the patch this month with the undoubted highlight being Marbled White as this was a patch first. Large Skippers were on their way out but both Essex Skipper and Small Skipper were now beginning to emerge. Also new this month were Gatekeeper, Holly Blue and Small Copper.
A number of day-flying moth species were also recorded at Shenstone including Cinnabar, Lime-speck Pug, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnett, Silver Y, Six-spot Burnett and Yellow Shell.
Patch Odonata in July included the following dragonflies: Broad-bodied Chaser, Common Dater and Southern Hawker. Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies were also noted.
The birding highlight of the month was the 7 adult Common Terns (TS) that arrived at Captains Pool on 14th July and visited daily for the best part of a week.
The first signs of the patch Corn Buntings successfully breeding were also this month when 4 juveniles were observed at one location. Elsewhere on patch juvenile Common Whitethroats were noted and the Captains Pool Great Crested Grebes were observed with 4 juveniles riding on their backs.
A rather showy ♂ Whinchat (TMH) was present on patch the last 2 weeks of the month giving great views as it progressed through it's moult.
A number of invertebrate based away days were undertaken this month. The undoubted highlight was catching up with a migrant Red-viened Darter (BS) at Camp Lane Pits, Grimley....another dragonfly lifer.
Monkwood was also very productive this month with with Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary butterflies observed. The ponds at Monkwood were excellent for dragonflies with Emperor Dragonfly, Ruddy Darter and Emerald Damselfly being highlights.
AugustOn Patch, the adult ♂ Whinchat was still present for the first two days of the month. A family party of Garden Warblers (3 juv) were present along Stanklyn Lane with this being my first record of this species breeding on the patch.
On the 20th August I found the first juvenile Whinchat of the autumn for the patch.
From 24th August there were 2 juvenile Whinchats (TMH) present for a few days. Small numbers of passage Common Redstart (with a maxima of 3) were noted on many days throughout the month!
On the butterfly front it was disappointing to see only a single Purple Hairtreak at Shenstone during August this year. Common Blue numbers were also very low!
Away days this month included a number of visits to Grimley to enjoy the long-staying Great White Egret and a trip to Prestbury Hill in Gloucestershire to see Chalk Hill Blue butterfly (a new species for me).
SeptemberAt the start of the month I took a blogging break for a week but soon got back into my flow there after.
A flock of Lapwing was present on patch for most of the month with a maxima of 74 Lapwing recorded on 18th September. The highlight of the Shenstone birding month was 3 Golden Plover that were present on 28th September.
On the 9th September I saw my lats sighting of a Little Owl at Shenstone. A pair had tried been seen near a known nest site earlier in the year but they seemed to abandon early with no sign of succesful breeding. Also on the 9th I observed a single flyover Yellow Wagtail. This was to be my last this autumn.
A rare day of sunny mild weather on the 27th September made for an awesome patch butterfly day with one 30ft stretch of Ivy holding no fewer than 15 Red Admirals and 9 Commas. Nearby 1 Small Copper, 1 Speckled Wood and 5 Small Whites were also noted.
The only dragonfly species of note at Shenstone this month were Migrant Hawker and Common Darter.
Away days this month included a very productive trip to Titterstone Clee Hill with Mark P which produced 13 Northern Wheatears, 5 Stonechats and 2 Peregrines. The highlight though was observing good numbers of Common Hawker dragonfly...a speciality of the acidic pools up there.
Another productive trip was to Eymore Wood on the 17th September where I was treated to good views of a flock of 14 Common Crossbill.