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Wildlife sightings 2020

Mid-September, Paulton and Radstock – Maggie Edwards reports Ivy Bees, Colletes hederae, nesting in a steep slope that gets plenty of sun in her garden in Paulton. Deborah and Stephen have been watching the same species foraging at ivy, the bee’s primary pollen source, in theirs. This species of Plasterer bee is the UK’s only true Autumn solitary bee, and usually nests in aggregations

18 September – Hallatrow – Frank. Peregrine over Hallatrow being mobbed by assorted members of crow family? Could not be 100% certain of ID but seemed likely by process of elimination. Large grey and white raptor. There is a female Sparrowhawk around here, but this was too big and flying too high. There have been Hobbies sighted here but again this was too big – bigger than the Rooks that were among the crows mobbing it.

29 August, Haydon – Angela spotted a Sparrowhawk near Haydon Batch

29 August, Haydon – Gary and Deborah saw a Barn Owl flying on Haydon Batch on the Moth- trapping event. The people present saw and asssortment of moths and other invertebrates – 24-spot ladybird; spiders;  a dung beetle; parasitic wasps;  Bush crickets; a Harvestman; Caddis flies, craneflies, and other flies – a list will be published when completed

26 August, Haydon – Diana saw a Sparrowhawk in her garden and managed to get a photo before it flew

26 August, Hallatrow – Frank reports Red Kite up high  Garden Warbler down in the garden. First Painted Lady of year and first Small Copper since mid-July (only a few seen here this year).

24 August – Haydon. Neale spotted Vipers Bugloss and signs of rabbit on Haydon batch and reports recent Hen Harrier sightings.

Mid-August, Midsomer Norton High Street – Stephen reported Shaggy Soldier, an urban plant that is an uncommon and exciting find. The only former record in our area is from Falkland last year.

12 August, Haydon Batch – Diana photographed a White-letter Hairstreak on the batch today, a butterfly that is a UK BAP Priority Species due to national decline – the third such species recorded this year on the batch.

09 August, Lower Whitelands, Radstock – Stephen reported several Oxybelus uniglumis nesting in a sand pile, a first for Lower Whitelands.

09 August, Haydon Batch insect event – Diana, Gary and Deborah saw the very attractive migrant butterfly, Clouded Yellow and some marvellous fresh female Brown Argus along with Common Blue, Small Heath and other butterflies . Diana managed to get a photo of a second generation Dingy Skipper – the first time a second generation of Dingy Skipper has occurred in this location! Deborah found some very bleached and old male Red-tailed bumblebees foraging – not so long ago, the males did not emerge until August. A member of the public walking the batch reported seeing a toad earlier today and previous sightings of slow worms on the batch.

22 July, Haydon Batch – Deborah recorded the butterflies, Essex Skipper (photo confirmed), Small Skipper, Commmon Blue, Small Copper, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown; the moth 6-spot Burnet; Meadow, Field and Common Green grasshoppers; the Bush crickets, Roesel’s Bush cricket and Long-winged Conehead;  and several species of bumblebee.

20 July, Lower Writhlington –  Kingfisher, Dipper, 6-belted Clearwing and 6-spot Burnet moths, Villa cingulata bee-fly, the butterflies Small Skipper, Large Skippers and  Clouded Yellow, plus an assortment of bees and wasps, with Swallows, Buzzard and Raven above.

19 July, Lower Writhlington – Gary recorded Bullfinch and Yellowhammer.

31 May, Lower Writhlington – Sarah and Gary saw a stoat near Bridge 33 on the Colliers Way route (cycle path)

27th March, Welton – Judy reported seeing in the last week a Brimstone  and the heart-warming sight of a pair of goldfinches on a lavender bush on the edge of the patio

26th March, Paulton – Margaret saw 4 Brimstones, 3 Small Tortoiseshells, and 3 Commas

Week beginning Monday 23 March, Radstock (Lower Whitelands) – the first of the nomad bees to show was Fabricius’s Nomad bee (Nomada fabriciana); also seen for the first time this year in the garden were Smeathman’s Furrow bee (L. smeathmanellum), the cleptoparasitic Bare-saddled Blood bee (Sphecodes ephippius), a rather large Queen bumblebee of the B. lucorum complex (B. lucorum/cryptarum/magnus), Small tortoiseshell, at primrose, Comma, and the Ashy mining bee (A. cineraria).

Sunday 22 March, Radstock – Slow worm and 3 lizards (2 x female and 1 from last year’s batch of young) in the garden – a lovely treat; also the first Garden bumblebee (B. hortorum), at primrose, Red-tailed Mason bee (Osmia bicolor), the Dotted Bee-fly (Bombyllius discolor), and Hairy-legged flower-bees (Anthophora plumipes) whizzing about. Deborah

Monday 16 March, Radstock – Saw the first of the year’s Early bumblebees (B. pratorum), at Lungwort, Dark-edged bee-flies (Bombylius major), and a female Brimstone in the garden. Deborah

Wednesday 11 March, Radstock – Brimstone (male) and Peacock butterflies, Buff-tailed bumblebee (B. terrestris), Queen Common Furrow bee (Lassioglossum calceatum) and the first Gwynn’s Mining bee (Andrena bicolor) males seen in Lower Whitleands gardens. The Buff-tailed bumblebee’s parasitic cuckoo, the Vestal bumblebee (B. vestalis) was also observed emerging from hibernation. Deborah

Sunday 1 March, Radstock – A pair of Red Kites and a Buzzard were seen over the Colliers Way mixed-use route east of Lower Whitelands by a trio returning from Sustrans Conservation volunteering further down the track

Friday 28 Feburary, Radstock – Deborah saw a group of five Ravens flying low over Lower Whitelands gardens, cronking and doing aerial acrobatics, possibly breeding behaviour

Tuesday 25 February, Radstock – Red Kite flying over Mill Rd – RP

Saturday 25 January, Welton and Midsomer Norton: two sightings by Judy.

8.30am – a jay in my back garden at Welton, Midsomer Norton. I hopped about in the apple trees, then came down onto the grass and hopped along towards the patio.  First time I have seen one actually visiting the garden, so I was thrilled to see it.  

9.45 am – A Little Egret in the River Somer near Somervale School in MN – opposite the Esso garage.  I was surprised to see an egret in the town, but Peter tells me he has seen them along the river near his home off the Radstock Rd, and near his house, so maybe they are living around our area and not just lost on their way to the Levels!

Wildlife sightings 2019

In July, a pair of Hobbies at Hallotrow regularly sighted.

On 15th September, on Ivy in Haydon at the entrance to The Cue Club, Allotments and Haydon Batch, Diana spotted the Belted hoverfly, Volucella zonaria the largest Hoverfly in the UK, a southern hornet-mimic that is spreading northward and Deborah spotted the UK’s only true Autumn solitary bee, the Ivy Bee, Colletes hederae. Both were feeding at Ivy.

On Haydon Batch

Between 24 June and 15 September members spotted the butterflies Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath (UK BAP Priority Species), Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Small White and Large White; the moths Six-spot Burnet, Chrysoteuchia culmella (one of the grass moths) and caterpillars of the moth, The Cinnabar; a number of Rutepela maculata, the Yellow-and-Black Longhorn beetle, some Oedemera nobilis, the Swollen-thighed beetle/Thick-legged flower beetle and Oedemera livida; Araneus diadematus, the Diadem spider; the bumblebees Red-tailed bumblebee, Common Carder bee and either White-tailed bumblebee or Buff-tailed bumblebee (workers); Sympetrum striolatum, the Common Darter (on of the smaller dragonflies); Field grasshopper, Meadow grasshopper, Roesel’s Bush Cricket and Long-winged Conehead.

At Goosard Reserve

On 22 June, Hawthorn mining bee, Impunctate Mini-miner, Fabricius’ Nomad Bee, Tree bumblebee, Buff-tailed bumblebee, Early bumblebee, Garden bumblebee, Vestal bumblebee (a cuckoo bumblebee) and the wasps, Symmorphus gracilis and Argogorytes mystaceus, plus the sawfly Tenthredo mesomela, the hoverflies Eristalis horticola, Eristalis pertinax, Syritta pipiens, Platycheirus albimanus and Melangyna labiatarum, the Notch-faced Cleg, the Broad Centurion (a soldierfly), the butterflies Large Skipper, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown, Beautiful demoiselle. And the beetles Common Grammoptera, Yellow-and-black Longhorn beetle, Thick-legged flower beetle and the Welsh Chafer.

On 15 July, Common Yellow-face Bee, Green Furrow Bee, Common Furrow Bee, White-footed Furrow Bee, Bronze Furrow Bee, Short-fringed Mining Bee, Yellow-legged Mining Bee, Trimmer’s Mining Bee, Blue Mason Bee, Patchwork Leafcutter Bee and the wasps, Cerceris rybyensis and Ectemnius continuus; the hoverflies Sphaerophoria scripta and Cheilosia soror; the butterflies Small Skipper, Small White, Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and the moth, The Snout; the Common Blue Damselfly and the Beautiful Demoiselle; the Thick-legged flower beetle; Meadow grasshopper, Field grasshopper and speckled Bush cricket; and the spiders Common Candy-striped Spider and Metellina mengei.

At Mells Yard

On 20 April, the bees Blue Carpenter-bee, Red-tailed Mason-bee, Common Furrow-bee, Common Green Furrow-bee, Chocolate Mining bee, Ashy Mining bee, Grey-patched Mining bee, Gooden’s Nomad bee and Buff-tailed bumblebee; the butterflies Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Orange-tip, Holly Blue and Peacock; the tortrix moth, Grapholita jungiella; Dark-edged bee fly; and Common Lizard

On 7 July, Phil Hall spotted the butterflies, Brimstone, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Large White, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Green Veined White, Small White, Comma, and the moth, The Cinnabar

On 22 August, the butterflies Green-veined White, Common Blue and Brown Argus; and the dragonfly, Southern Hawker.

At Braysdown

The butterflies Small Blue, Small Heath, Painted Lady, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Large White and Small White.

In various places in our area:

At various places and times, the moths, Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Scarlet Tiger, Silver Y, and the Cinnabar; caterpillars of the moths, Pale Tussock, Yellow-tail moth and Mullein moth; the Ivy Bee

Wildllife sightings 2018

Among the things that members have seen on Cam Valley Wildlife Group events this year are a Black cap singing at the start of the trip to Long Wood on 22nd April and Orange-tip butterflies (photos courtesy of Gary Kingman) and a brown hare photographed by Jon Crouch in the setting sun on the Camerton walk of 25th July. Phillida contacted the group with a sighting of a possible Muntjac deer at Ammerdown on 31st October.

Wildlife sightings 2017

Wildlife sightings, August 2017

18-08-2017. Susan Haines. We had a slow worm in our garden yesterday, Chilcompton Road Midsomer Norton.  

02-08-2017 to 10-08-2017. Stephen and Richard Porter saw lizards in the garden (Lower Whitelands, Radstock) on 2nd, 4th, 5th (two) and 8th. One of them was dark and greenish, the other lighter and more brown. Beth Porter saw two lizards basking together on 10th in the same garden.

Wildlife sightingss, July 2017

26-07-2017 – Stephen Porter. Saw common lizard basking in our garden at Lower Whitelands.

23-07-2017 – Richard Porter. Saw Common lizard in the garden at Lower Whitelands, Radstock, today and yesterday.

Wildlife sightings, June 2017

14-06-2017 – Emily Malik. I saw a Red kite over Greyfield Woods at about 1pm today, circling and then moving further over the woods. First definite sighting for me in this area so very exciting! I was watching it from Greyfield Rd.

13-06-2017 – Bob Ladd. Red kite, High Littleton

12-06-2017 – Andre Fournier. Just found Nicrophorus vespillo in an empty fruit bowl on the window ledge.

[Editor’s note: Nicrophorus vespillo lives off and breeds in rotten carcasses. This 12 to 22 mm beetle has a very good sense of smell and is reputed to be able to smell a carcass up to two miles away. It can be identified by the combination of orange antennal clubs, an interrupted anterior red elytral band, the presence of golden hairs on the fore margin of the pronotum, and the hind tibiae being concave on the inside edge. It is widespread and frequent in central and southern England and Wales, but very local further north].

Wildlife sightings, May 2017

19-05-2017 – Bob Ladd. Red kite, Colliers Way cycle path nr Kilmersdon

07-05-2017 – Judy Hampshire. Sunday 7 May, 7.30 am at Welton, Midsomer Norton. 

Opening the curtains this morning I saw a solitary female roe deer in the open field opposite. Her neck was stretched out as if eating. Strangely she stayed in this position for a while, so I looked through binoculars and saw she was licking something – I saw a pair of tiny ears and then the baby was up and suckling. Had it just been born? The mother continued to lick and nuzzle the baby, who started exploring. The mother remained hyper vigilant, continuously looking around. After a while the mother led him to the field boundary hedge where they wandered up and down together, the baby bounding along beside her like a rabbit! A male deer appeared, but showed no interest in the baby. Eventually they all disappeared through a gap in the hedge, but several times the baby reappeared, bouncing along the field edge. The mother would burst through the hedge after it. In all, I was able to watch the mother and baby for about 45 minutes, my longest ever sighting of a young roe deer and a wonderful wildlife experience.

04-05-2017 – Deborah Porter. Swifts arrived at Lower Whitelands, Radstock, today. The two tall ranks of cottages host a nesting colony of these summer visitors.

Wildlife sightings, April 2017

25-04-2017 – Phil Gait. Lots of green winged orchids flowering in the four Edford Meadows fields – have been for over a week – earlier than last year!

18-04-2017- Deborah Porter. A Holly Blue male visited our patio today to suck moisture from some freshly-watered strawberies in a box. After it had finished, it sat on the ivy for a while. As with Maggie’s sighting – it was small, and very  blue!

18-04-2017- Deborah Porter. Saw a Red Kite low over Tying Batch and ‘Upper Whitelands’ north of Tyning Hill, Radstock, this morning – the first one I have seen near Whitelands.

18-04-2017- Stephen Porter. The Swallows at Radstock Sewage Works have been joined by House Martins

15-04-2017- Stephen Porter. The Swallows have arrived at Radstock Sewage Works

09-04-2017 – Maggie MacMillan. (The hot weekend!) We saw a blue butterfly in our garden in Carlingcott – small and definitely blue!

06-04-2017 – Owain Jones. Saw a Barn owl approx 2 pm Thursday 6th April coming out of a Barn owl nest box – on our farm – nr Farmborough Common.

06-04-2017 to 10-04-2017 -Deborah Porter. Solitary bee sightings at Whitelands in two gardens.  6th April – saw the first (female) Lathbury’s nomad bee, Nomada lathburiana in our garden. This bee is parasitic on the Ashy mining bee, like the Dotted beefly, and is also dependent on good populations of its host to persist. Nomad bees are one of the genera (genuses) of cuckoo-bees and are cleptoparasitic. On 7th April there were several firsts of the year in a garden ten doors away – Gooden’s nomad bee (female) , Nomada goodeniana, male Yellow-legged mining bees, Andrena flavipes, and female Common Green furrow-bees, Lassioglossum morio. A female Common furrow-bee, Lassioglossum calceatum, was caught at Rosemary flowers by our house. On 8th April, Blue Carpenter bee males emerged from their bramble stem nests in the colonies in our garden – this is always an exciting time for us, as this small rare bee is mainly restricted to some parts of South-east England. Finally, a female Buffish mining bee, Andrena nigroaenea, was disturbed from her rest in the afternoon of 10th and a male Orange-tip butterfly visited the greenhouse.

05-04-2017 – Owain Jones. Swallows have been flying over Priston for a few days now – is this early?

02-04-2017 -Deborah and Stephen Porter. A sparrowhawk chased a blackbird right in front of us at Radstock Road Allotments today. The blackbird dived into brambles on an adjacent property and after an unsuccessful attempt to grab it, the Sparrowhawk flew off to perch in a nearby tree.

01-04-2017 -Deborah Porter. Saw the first (female) Small nomad bee, Nomada flavogutta, today in the garden.

01-04-2017 -Deborah Porter. Saw my first female Tawny Mining bee of the year today, Andrena fulva, at Blackcurrant flowers in the garden – a magnificent and unmistakable bee. Quite a few Dotted bee-flies about now.

Wildlife sightings, March 2017

27-03-2017 to 31-03-2017- Stephen and Deborah Porter. Sightings in and from our garden. Saw the first Dotted bee fly, Bombylius discolor, of the year in the garden on 27th. Dotted bee fly is parasitic on the Ashy mining bee, A. cineraria, and needs good populations of its host to persist. Ravens were calling over Whitelands on 29th and Great spotted woodpecker were drumming and calling in and around it on 30th. 30th was a good day for bees – there were 7 species of bumblebee, mostly at lungwort. They including a queen Garden bumblebee, Bombus hortorum;  a queen Red-tailed bumblebee, B. lapidarius, at dandelion; a queen Tree bumblebee, B. hypnorum; a queen White-tailed or Cryptic bumblebee  (B. lucorum sensu lato – either B. lucorum or B. cryptarum, which can only be separated by DNA analysis); the first Red Mason bee of the year, Osmia bicornis, a male; the first female Ashy mining bee of the year, Andrena cineraria;  and female Fabricius’s Nomad bee, Nomada fabriciana (the feamales of this genus emerge before the males). On 31st, a female Green veined White, Pieris napi, had to be released from the greenhouse and Dark-edged Beeflies, bombylius major, were about in numbers.

27-03-2017 – Deborah Porter. Skylark heard singing from Haydon allotments, Radstock.

27-03-2017 – Judy Hampshire.  Between 8.30 and 9am: Pair of grey wagtails, and dipper on Wellow Brook at Welton. (One morning last week, I saw a pair of dippers there but usually only see one at a time.) A wren accompanied me up the footpath at back of MN leisure centre car park, then on the broadwalk at back of Sun Chemical I saw a female goldcrest. ( A few weeks ago I saw a male goldcrest at the same spot, who actually hopped towards me along the metal fence, until it was level with my head! A magical moment!)

26-03-2017 – Judy Hampshire.  5.30pm above White City, Welton: skylarks fluttering and singing.

26-03-2017 – Stephen and Deborah Porter. A male oedemerid beetle, Oedemera femoralis, flew into the kitchen in the evening. This elongate testaceous to brown beetle (this one was brown) is the largest of our four oedemerid species and was checked against the Watford Coleoptera Group’s guide to British Oedemerids. It is a local species, but thought to be under-recorded. It flies at dusk and at night. The first male Ashy mining bees (Andrena cineraria) were on the wing in the garden.

15-03-2017 to 25-03-2017 – Deborah Porter. Various insects in the garden – Buff-tailed bumbelbee queens much in evidence; from 15th – queen Early bumblebees, B. pratorum, female Gwynne’s mining bee, A. bicolor, and female Red-tailed mason bees, Osmia bicolor;  from 25th – Comma, Brimstone, Peacock butterlfy, pollen beetles at Colsfoot, a Wren taking bramble leaf nesting mateiral into ivy, female Hairy-footed flower bees, Anthophora plumipes, whizzing about, and the first worked Early bumblebees, B. pratorum.

15-03-2017 – Deborah Porter. Queen Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius), Queen Early bumbelbee (Bombus pratorum), a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, and a rather early and small Dark-edged beefly (Bombylius major) spotted on land north of Whitelands, Radstock, while Blackcaps sang and a pair of Long-tailed tits busied themselves with collecting nesting material. Goldfinches singing from the pines at the base of Tyning batch near Whitelands.

13-03-2017 – Deborah Porter. Male Red-tailed mason bee (Osmia bicolor) and Gwynne’s mining bee  (Andrena bicolor)  have emerged at Whitelands, BA3 3JP. Coltsfoot and Lesser celendine are flowering well. The bumblebees and flower bees are appreciating the Lungwort.

10-03-2017 – Terry Goodall. The first Pipisterelles were patrolling the bare tree line close to Glastonbury Tor at dusk.

07-03-2017 – Deborah Porter. Hairy-footed flower-bee, Anthophora plumipes, nectaring at Lungwort, at Whitelands, BA3 3JP.

06-03-2017 – Stephen Porter. Queen Buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, at Whitelands, BA3 3JP.

Wildlife sightings, February 2017

24-02-2017 – Deborah & Stephen Porter. Pair of Marsh tits calling and displaying in woodland to the north of the bridleway between Radstock Sewage Works bridge and Lower Writhlington. The male called strongly and displayed to the female, that twittered and shook before him in food-begging mode.

18.02.2017 – Terry Goodall. Frog spawning underway in ponds here in Glastonbury. Spring is springing!

16.02.2017 – Judy Hampshire.  8.45am: Treecreeper seen from the broadwalk at the back of Sun Chemical in Midsomer Norton. 5.15pm: Dipper on the Wellow Brook at Welton.

02.02.2017 – 10.02.2017 – Stephen and Andrew Porter. Little Egret sighted three times on the Wellow Brook by Radstock Sewage Works

Wildlife sightings, January 2017

25.1.2017 – Andre Fournier. Flock of approx 50 Lapwings in fields along the B3139 from Odd Down towards Wells . On the right just before you reach Whitnell Corner – (the B3135 cross roads)

24.1.2017 – Andre Fournier. Visiting my garden along the main road through Paulton regularly over last couple of weeks or more: a Gold crest (often breeds in neighbour’s conifer abutting my garden) plus 3 Blackcaps (1 female & 2 male) plus Great Spotted Woodpecker, amongst the usual large flocks of House Sparrow, Chaffinches and Gold Finches and Long Tailed tits plus pairs of Blue tits Great tits, Coal tits, Dunnocks & Wrens and one or two Greenfinch which seem to be getting scarcer. Also have up to 12 Blackbirds feeding of the apples I scatter early in the morning. BUT only a single Starling – Is anyone seeing large numbers of starlings in the area??

24.1 2017 – Andre Fournier.  Flock of about 40 Pied Wagtails on the wires above the settling beds at Paulton Sewage Works.

06.1.2017 – Deborah Porter. Flock of Pied Wagtails in and around the Radstock Sewage Works next to the Colliers Way Cycle path (NCN 24) at Lower Whitelands, Radstock.

06.1.2017 – Deborah Porter. Velvet Shank, Flammulina velutipes, on dead elm, Church Rd, Lower Writhlington, Radstock.

Header: Velvet Shank, Flammulina velutipes.

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