July is the first month of the WeBS year, with autumn passage starting, it also won't be long before we are welcoming our first winter visitors back onto site. Conducted by Stuart and Julie, here are July's results....
63 tufted duck
48 mute swan
105 graylag goose
37 Canada goose
21 little egret
8 grey heron
8 great crested grebe
5 green sandpiper
21 black-headed gull
2 lesser black-backed gull
12 common tern
Greenshank - some of the first waders through on passage in July. Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
Autumn passage seems to have started here at Langford with some nice waders through in the last week or so. I was very pleased to see a party of 28 black-tailed godwit over on Wednesday morning. I watched them for several minutes as they wheeled over Phases 1 and 2, before looking like settling down on Phase 3. This species is annual at Langford and is always worth looking out for, along with the scarcer bar-tailed godwit - records of this species are less common but should always be on the radar of the wader watcher on site!
A family party of avocets made an appearance on Friday evening, along with 3 green sandpiper and greenshank have been dropping in regularly, with a curlew heard on several occasions last week. A report of 2 wood sandpiper on Thursday is also interesting. Another species that should always been kept in mind, they are almost annual at Langford and this is the second record this year after a spring individual in May.
It's been a good month for gulls too, with 6 yellow-legged gulls present one evening mid-month and a suspected Caspian hybrid. For any gull fans out there, yellow-legged gulls always turn up on site in July in roosting flocks with lesser black-backs and a few herring gulls. The Caspian hybrid is an interesting bird (thanks to Carl for the photos on Twitter) - keep an eye out for any more Caspian types out there.
A red kite was seen over Phase 1 on Thursday morning, a peregrine has been hunting over Phases 2 and 3 recently and regular marsh harrier sightings have been keeping us entertained over the last few weeks.
However the ornithological highlight of the past couple of weeks has to undoubtedly be....a great white egret that turned up on Phase 2 yesterday (Saturday 30th). The bird was found early morning and was viewable looking south from the viewing screen on the Cromwell Trail. The bird was seen again this morning (Sunday 31st) and is the first record of this species on site for over a year. Definitely a great white delight!
Some insect news now, we are equally delighted to report the rediscovery of white-letter hairstreak on site by Carl Cornish on the 14th July. The butterfly was seen by Carl on elm at the edge of the woodland next to Sustrans Route 64. Keep an eye open on elm trees in the vicinity for others over the next 2-3 weeks. The purple hairstreaks are on the wing too and have been seen on their favourite ash tree above the modular board near the car park. They come down quite low, so take the opportunity to come and have a look at these lovely little creatures.
And finally, as I was browsing our Twitter feed yesterday, I was pleased to see an interesting photo taken on the public footpath by Roger of a large green longhorn beetle. This is Aromia moschata, or the musk beetle. Named after their ability to produce a pungent smell, they are most definitely one of the largest of the longhorns and like many beetle species, can also audibly squeak! They are fairly widespread in distribution, but are by no means common and this is the first reserve record of this stunning species - fabulous!
Great white egret - nice! Mike Langman (rspb-images.com)
What a glorious sight overhead - red kite. Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)
Just to let everyone know that we will be having some work done on a fallen tree this morning on the public footpath through the woodland. The work won't take long, but is urgent due to removal a dangerous bough that has fallen over the footpath yesterday afternoon.
We apologise for any inconvenience and the path we be re-opened this afternoon.
The Langford Team (01636 893611)