5th June

Since my last post and the drying up of the floods I must confess that I've  hardly been out to the Meadow. To be honest the hoards of people that are getting their exercise there make it a less pleasant location to visit and without the incentive of some good birds to find I've not made the effort. Still there have been a couple of snippets of bird news to report. The first was a real stroke of good fortune. One Sunday a couple of weeks ago I was relaxing with the family up in the bedroom on the top floor when our daughter, who was facing the Velux window said "Oh look, there's a big bird!". I popped my head out of the window and to my astonishment there was a Crane circling low over the house. It did a complete circuit at quite a low height before heading off to the south west. I can't say for certain but I didn't notice any rings on its legs as it circled. Either way it's an excellent record! Now we have had one record of a Crane last year in May up at the Wolvercote end so this isn't the first for the site but it's the first that I've personally seen.

The second good bit of bird news was a Little Owl which Ian Curtis saw at 7 a.m. one morning along the north end of Burgess Field in the Willows. This species is recorded less than annually on the Meadow so I'm very pleased to have it on the list.

My lack of visits to Burgess Field mean that I've not been keeping track of the butterflies there. We should be getting Marbled Whites and Ringlets in flight  now as well as the various Skipper species (we're lucky enough to get Essex and Small Skipper in Burgess Field). The trouble is that now that I'm working (albeit from home) during the week, it's harder for me to pop out during the day. Still there's been plenty of Odonata action from the Trap Grounds. Indeed Nicola Devine (the local Dragonfly whisperer!) has been excelling herself once again when she found the site's first ever Downy Emerald in trees around the Heron Pond. This species is rather localised in the county and hard to catch up with so it's great to have one added to the list. That now makes a total of 21 out of the possible 33 Oxon species that have been recorded in the Trap Grounds - a great statistic!

Downy Emerald courtesy of Nicola Devine
All the other regular species, including a couple of Hairy Hawkers, have been seen in good numbers in the Trap Grounds, all taking advantage of what is perfect weather for them. You can enjoy loads more photos of them on the Trap Grounds Wildlife blog. Please note, my understanding is that sightings will soon be moving to a new dedicated website here.

Four-spotted Chaser
For my part I've been enjoying my garden mothing, even adding a few new species to my modest garden list. There's not been anything spectacular in my catches though I've had three Poplar  Hawkmoths which are always impressive beasts to catch.

Popar Hawkmoth