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Archive for the ‘Abney Park latest changes.’ Category

A couple of notable butterflies have been seen in Abney Park Cemetery in July and the beginning of August. One, the Silver-washed Fritillary, may be breeding in Abney (information here from Tony Butler). The other is the Purple Emperor, here photographed by Paul Lister in his garden, just over the wall from Abney. My thanks to Paul for allowing me to add them here….

Purple Emperor Butterfly

Purple Emperor Butterfly with folded wings.

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The sparrowhawks have managed to raise 2 or 3 chicks this year. The number of chicks is due to not seeing more than 2 together, but there seemed to be 3 slightly differently looking chicks. These excellent photos are by Chris Farthing, and my thanks to him….

Sparrowhawk parent bird

Sparrowhawk Chicks

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Chris has also sent me this photo of a juvenile male great spotted woodpecker, which I thought should have wider viewing.

great spotted woodpecker

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Another first for Abney was this Current Clearwing Moth, seen on 26.6.2015.

Currant Clearwing, Synanthedon tipuliformis, Female, 26.6.2015

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After not going round Abney for a while, and missing it, I have had a couple of magic moments, almost as a welcome back. A hoverfly in my path was giving me the once over. I put my arm out and he landed on me. Unfortunately I put my right arm out so could get a photo, next time I will put my left arm out. I have done this many times and not had anything actually land on me, so this felt special. To be trusted by a creature that small, even as far as that, is a rare thing.

Then today two blackcaps were having a territorial dispute in a bush about 4 foot away from me. They were so focused on what they were doing that they carried on as if I wasn’t there. They had a sing-off for over 5 minutes, with one eventually being intimidated and flying away, pursued by the other one. The music was jaw dropping. Wonderful. Again no photo, too many leaves in the way.

The only photos of birds I have got are of a robin on a regularly used observation post, and a mallard displaced from the local park in this breeding season. He stood on the path as if he was simply another Abney user.

Mallard male 22.04.2015

“Robin 23.4.2015

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Next Saturday is an open afternoon at Abney, 2pm to 5pm. All manner of information and activities are planned. There will be people there who understand the complexities of the battle against the Sainsburys and flats development in Wilmer Place. What is being fought for is the peace and quiet and retreat of Abney; the right of a nature reserve to not be overshadowed and so degraded; the wrongness of a monstrous buliding overshadowing the listed from buildings in a conservation zone; the welfare of the environment.

I know it is over the other side of Abney but this recent photo shows the quiet country feel that exists throughout Abney. This is worth fighting for.

Abney Park, London UK, 13.8.2014 (1)

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I’ve seen many a dog in Abney with these seeds lodged about their fur. While it is not the only seed to want to be spread like this they do have an amazing structure. The hooks on the outside do the initial damage, catching onto fur or clothes, then the hairs round the actual seed make them hard to remove. A good bit of adaptive structure.

 

 

THe original flower

Photos of flowers in Abney are here.

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I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get a photo of the chicks and failed. They are half hidden by the ivy covered branches around the nest, and getting a good clear shot without the right photographic equipment is difficult. So it was a great delight to find Yael with this photo on her phone.

Sparrowhawk chick a few days ago.

The chicks are a bit more advanced now. Their feathers are not all white and they are trying wing stretches in the nest.

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For about a week now peacock butterfly caterpillars have been out and about in the nettle patch to the west of the chapel. A couple of large skipper butterflies have been basking in the same nettle patch this week (again today) and a red admiral has now joined in. A small tortoiseshell has added her eggs to the tops of some nettles this morning, this species seems to be doing a lot better this year. A white letter hairstreak butterfly, newly emerged, climbed down through the grass a the front of the nettles to drink form the moisture she needed near the more shaded roots. This patch is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Ochlodes venata, Large skipper butterfly 20.6.2014

 

Ochlodes venata, Large skipper butterfly 20.6.2014

 

Aglais urticae, Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly, egg laying on nettles 26.6.2014

 

Aglais urticae, Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly, egg laying on nettles 26.6.2014

 

Satyrium w-album, White-letter Hairstreak Butterfly, 26.6.2014, climbing down into the damper grass to drink.

 

Vanessa atalanta, Red Admiral Butterfly, 26.6.2014

 

Inachis io, Peacock Butterfly, caterpillars on nettle, 20.6.2014

Butterflies and moths in Abney has more photos.

 

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I bring you bad tidings, the mother of the 4 chicks has died. She was found last Saturday evening with an injury. The last time I saw her was when she was sitting too low in a tree apparently sound asleep.

Tawney Owl Female, 20.6.2014

The cause of her demise is unclear. Earlier in the week some salt had been spread along some paths. It was removed ASAP, but salted dead and dying slugs and large beetles were along the path as it was cleared. The salt may have been there overnight from Saturday to Sunday, and a busy Mum hunting for her 4 hungry chicks may have eaten of the slugs with a high salt content. This could have contributed to her being unwell and then having a flying accident. She was found with head injuries.

Abney Map salt cleared from...

The male bird is currently hunting for the chicks, which so far are OK.

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Tawney Owl Chicks, (Strix aluco), 19.6.2014

There has been a good breeding season so far this year. The Tawney Owls are feeding 4 chicks that are now sitting around in the tree tops being fed by Mum and Dad. Tony Butler showed me 2 this morning that are a long way off, but are somewhere in the middle of my photo. The Green Woodpeckers have a family that they managed to entice out of the nest last Monday, with the young being fed now out of the nest towards the NE area of Abney. The sparrowhawks have a platform built and eggs apparently laid, they won’t hatch for a while yet. There have been more than the usual number of robin chicks around for a while now. It looks like a very good season for birds all round.

Robin on a noticeboard, 2.6.2014

Photos of June 2014 in Abney.

Photos of Birds in Abney

More photos of the owls are in the Abney Trust Website.

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Just inside the front entrance is a flowering Tulip Tree, Liriodendron tulipifera. I noticed the flowers yesterday and don’t remember seeing them before. They are on the left at the back of the grass lawn at the start of the lawn. Worth having a look….

Liriodendron tulipifera, Tulip Tree fllower 9.6.2014

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I have been skulking about in the path edges indulging in some voyeuristic photography of the tiny creatures living there. The number of parasitic wasps and flies has surprised me. Each parasite has a preferred range of prey. Also it is astonishing how many creatures are maimed and missing body parts. Death is continuously an instant away.

The range and number of invertebrates (no backbone) is a wonderous thing. I have put some of my favourites in this post. I don’t know what they all are. Many have to be dissected to understand the exact species, and I am just working from photographs. My species list so far is here.

Miris striatus, a mirid bug, 12.5.2014. It is tiny, 9 to 11 mms long.

 

Sawfly, Tenthredinidae, 24.4.2014. Another tiny creature, but I can’t find anything like it on the internet. It looks like it is put together from a kit of parts.

Torymidae species wasp 30.4.2014. Many species in the family Torymidae are parasitic on the gall forming insects. It’s a rather fetching metallic green. A tiny pink mite is just in front of it.

 

Trochulus hispidus, Hairy Snail, 13.5.2014. I just love a snail with hairs on the outside of its shell. I can’t get past the question of why?

….. and the list is constantly growing.

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