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A New Beginning......

After taking a year away from blogging in 2018 to get my self well after some serious health issues, I am happy to report that I am now in good health and all set to spend a 2nd year recording the wildlife of Hartlebury Common in 2019.  My aim will be to record as much of the wildlife (both resident and passage) as I can during the 12 month period and share my findings with you all via this blog.

I did manage to visit the Common and Hillditch Pool periodically in 2018 but not with enough regularity (I feel) to blog about my findings.  But, to whet your appetite for the coming 2019 below are a selection of photos from this years visits to this special mosaic of habitats.

So please check back in the New Year and join me for "A Year on the Common".


Common Lizard - 5th April 2018

Green Tiger Beetles - 5th May 2018

♂ Emperor Moth - 14th May 2018

Green Hairstreak - 17th May 2018

Scarce Chaser (imm.) - 2nd June 2018

Marbled White - 21st June 2018

Large Alder Sawfly - 14th July 2018

Brown Argus - 5th September 2018

Spotted Flycatcher - 12th September 2018

♂ Stonechat - 24th October 2018

♀ Stonechat - 24th October 2018

Lesser Redpoll - 11th November 2018

The big catch up (part 4) - November/December 2017

Sadly I was quite ill for the last couple of months of 2017 and my visits to the Common during this period were sporadic at best.  That said my health is on the mend and I'm looking forward to what interesting wildlife I may see at the site as Spring 2018 fast approaches!   So for now here is my somewhat limited catch up for the end of 2017.

Sunday 5th November - Lower Poolands:
Today's visit was really all about the fungi with Candlesnuff, Common Earthball, Ochre Brittlegill and Yellow Brain recorded. 

Yellow Brain (Tremella mesenterica)

Tuesday 21stNovember - Lower Poolands:
Again fungi was the focus with Turkey Tail and Jelly Rot both showing well.  Lots of trumpet shaped Cladonia lichen was also on show, although I am unsure as to which one as there are a number of very similar species within the Cladonia family.

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)

Jelly Rot (Phlebia tremellosa)

Cladonia sp.

Of great interest on the bird front was a flock of 27 Lesser Redpoll that dropped in for a short while to feed on a Silver Birch.  sadly I was only able to get a record shot before they flew of heading S.

Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret)

Thursday 7th December - Lower Poolands:
A brief visit to the Common today provided another species of fungi in Wrinkled Crust.

Wrinkled Crust (Phlebia radiata)

Friday 8th December - Wilden Top car park:
Today the wintry weather was arriving and I decided to pop to the Wilden Top car park at the Common to try and get some photos before the roads became too bad.  Sadly my photos didn't do justice to the snowy conditions although this was made up for by a cheeky Robin who decided to flit up onto the open car window and join me for a spot of lunch!

Robin (Erithacus rubecula) 

Saturday 23rd December - Lower Poolands:
My final visit to the Common in 2017 again tended to focus on the fungi with Crystal Brain and Velvet Shank of note.  It was also pleasing to see quite a few patches of Devil's Matchstick lichen on the open areas amongst the heather.  

Crystal Brain (Exidia nucleata)

Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes)

Devil's Matchstick (Cladonia floerkeana)

The big catch up (part 3) - October 2017

Monday 2nd October - Lower Poolands:
A very productive visit to the Common today with the undoubted highlight being 3 Stonechats (2♂, 1♀) that had dropped off on migration.  The passage migration of birds didn't stop there as 18 Meadow Pipits flew through heading SW and 26 Goldfinch flew over heading W.

Stonechats (Saxicola rubicola)

Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

It was also a productive visit on the fungi front with a number of different species observed including Fly Agaric, Deceiver, Snowy Waxcap, Common EarthballCommon Puffball, Brick Tuft and Sulphur Tuft.

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

Deceiver (Laccaria laccata)

Brick Tuft (Hypholoma lateritium)

Tuesday 3rd October - Lower Heath:
This morning I walked a circuit around the Lower Heath area of the Common.  Notable birds were a single Meadow Pipit that dropped in and 3 Common Buzzards that were up soaring.  

A small number of butterflies were present,  with 4 Small Copper, 1 Speckled Wood and a Small White recorded.  Other insects of note were a single Hornet and a Spiked Shieldbug.  The latter being a new species for me.

Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

Spiked Shieldbug (Picromerus bidens)

Saturday 14th October - Hillditch Pool:
The undoubted highlight today was not only hearing the squealing call of a Water Rail but seeing the said individual quickly run in front of the reeds before disappearing back into the vegetation.  This is only my second record of this species for the site. 

It was also quite a productive visit on the insect front with 4 Hornet, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Migrant Hawker, 1 ♂ Common Darter, a 7-spot Ladybird and a Green Shieldbug nymph recorded.

Tuesday 17th October - Hillditch Pool:
Sadly, there was no sight nor sound of Water Rail on today's visit.  That said, Hillditch still delivered on the invertebrate front with 2 Red Admiral, 2 Migrant Hawker dragonflies, a 22-spot Ladybird and 2 Hornets (both of which were feeding on the Ivy flowers).

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)

Hornet (Vespa crabro)

Wednesday 25th October - Lower Poolands:
It wasn't the most productive visit to the common today in terms of inverts but 4 Red Admirals were of note.  Things were slightly better on the fungi front with Candlesnuff, Parasol Mushroom and Sulphur Tuft recorded.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Friday 27th October - Lower Heath:
There were still a few butterflies on the wing during today's visit with 1 Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Small Copper noted.  Other notable inverts recorded included a Gorse Shieldbug and a queen Red-tailed Bumblebee.

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

Gorse Shieldbug (Piezodorus lituratus)

There was also a variety of interesting fungi fruiting at Lower Heath with Blackening Waxcaps, Snowy Waxcaps and Golden Spindles of note.

Blackening Waxcaps (Hygrocybe conica)

Saturday 28th October - Hillditch Pool:
With autumn migration in full swing today was all about the bird movements.  Of note were 8 Skylark that flew through heading NW, 6 Pied Wagtail heading E and a single Cormorant heading SW.  Three Common Buzzards that were up soaring above the reserve.

The big catch up (part 2) - September 2017

Friday 1st September - Hillditch Pool:
A very productive visit to the pool today produced a ♂ Ruddy Darter dragonfly, the first one I have ever recorded at the site in many years of visiting.  Other dragonflies observed included 4 Common Darter (2♂ , 2♀), 2 Brown Hawker and 2 Migrant Hawker.  A single Speckled Wood was the only butterfly noted.

The visit was also productive for a range of different invertebrates with 2 Hornets, a 22-Spot Ladybird, a Crucifer Shieldbug and a Corizus hyoscyami bug recorded.  A Vapourer Moth larva was also noted.

Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)

22-spot Ladybird (Psyllobora 22-punctata)

Crucifer Shieldbug (Eurydema oleracea)

Corizus hyoscyami bug

The Vapourer (Orgyia antiqua) larva

Friday 1st September - Lower Poolands:
From Hillditch I headed over to the Lower Poolands side of the Common.  The undoubted highlight was seeing 3 Spotted Flycatchers (1 adult & 2 juv) at the edge of the Oak woodland.

Butterflies observed were 8 Small Copper, 4 Small Heath and 2 Red Admiral.  A Silver Y and a Common Carpet moth were also recorded.  3 Hornets were noted.

Sulphur Tuft fungi and Common Earthball were also of note.  A nice example of a Robin's Pincushion gall was discovered on a Dog Rose.

Silver Y (Autographa gamma)

Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata)

Robin's Pincushion Gall (Diplolepis rosae)

Tuesday 5th September - Lower Terrace/Terrace Bank:
Today I undertook a walk around the Lower Terrace of The Common and along the Terrace Bank.  It was a productive butterfly day with an incredible 14 Small Copper recorded,  Also observed during the walk were 3 Small Heath and 1 Small White.  Two Hornets were also noted.

Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)

Wednesday 6th September - Lower Heath:
Yet another good butterfly day on the Common with the undoubted highlight being 4 Small Tortoiseshell that were feeding on the Devil's-bit Scabious flowers.  Also observed were 11 Small Copper, 7 Small Heath, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Large White and 2 Small White

A ♂ Common Darter dragonfly, a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee and a queen Tree Bumblebee were also noted.

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

Friday 8th September - Lower Heath:
Today's visit to the Common was all about the lizards with 5 Common Lizards (2 adult & 3 juv) seen basking together on a large fallen log.  The juveniles were tiny at not much more than an inch and a half long (about 40 mm for you metric types).

Butterflies of note today included 9 Small Copper, 4 Small Heath, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Red Admiral and a single Meadow Brown.  A single Migrant Hawker was the only dragonfly observed during today's visit.

Common Lizards (Zootoca vivipara)

 Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Saturday 9th September - Lower Heath:
Today I observed 3 Common Lizards in the Lower Heath area.  Two were basking on the same log as the previous day and a third was at a different area of the Common. 

A Yellow Wagtail flew over calling heading NE and 3 Swallows passed through heading SW.  Two Common Buzzards were up soaring over the Common and a party of 12 Long-tailed Tits were also observed.

Common Lizards (Zootoca vivipara)

Tuesday 12th September - Hillditch Pool:
On arrival to the pool a Grey Wagtail was picking its way along the edge of the pull in.  Surprisingly this is not a species I encounter often at the site.  A Tawny Owl was heard calling.

On the dragonfly front there were 6 Migrant Hawkers and 3 Common Darter (2♂,1♀) present.  The shoal of Rudd were observed basking near the surface of the pool.

Along the vegetated path an incredible twenty one 22-spot Ladybirds (18 adult & 3 larvae) were recorded.  Also of interest was a Burnished Brass moth that was found at rest in the vegetation.  A Crucifer Shieldbug was also noted.

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

Rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus)

22-Spot Ladybird (Psyllobora 22-punctata)

22-Spot Ladybird (Psyllobora 22-punctata) larva

Crucifer Shieldbug (Eurydema oleracea)

Burnished Brass (Diachrysia chrysitis)

Wednesday 13th September - Lower Heath:
There were still quite a few butterflies active today with 12 Small Copper, 4 Small Heath, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Speckled Wood and a Small White all noted.  A single Migrant Hawker dragonfly was also recorded.

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)

Thursday 13th September - Lower Poolands:
Huge congregations of many 100 of Ivy Bees were present in the sandy areas between the low growing heather, with many females observed going into nest holes. 

Also recorded this visit were 3 Small Copper, 1 Speckled Wood and 1 Small White.  A single Hornet was also noted.

Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae)

Please note:
There are no more entries for September as I was away for the latter part of the month.  The next post will collect my October sightings for the site.