Sunday, 6 October 2013

A very Late Reed Warbler & Attack of the Ladybirds!


On Saturday I was out ringing again and caught some lovely birds as usual. Sparrowhawks were active again this week and the wonderful clattering of Jackdaws greeted us like last week. We caught quite a number of Blackbirds along with a Song Thrush, and some very fat Blackcaps weighing between 17 and 28 grams. The reason they have put on this much weight is because they are getting ready to migrate, the female we caught that weighed 28 grams had an amazing six of fat. 

Another amazing bird we caught was a Reed Warbler which is majorly unusual for this time of year (the one in the picture is from earlier this year).


On Sunday I visited Haydn's pool with mum . The pool was almost empty and not a single bird was on it so we soon moved onto Neumann's Flash which was much more exciting; seeing at least 200 Lapwings a a variety of gulls. We also had a family group of buzzards circling above us, calling to each other.

Whilst in out trip we were accompanied by loads of dragonfly as shown in the picture below. I think this might be a Brown Hawker from doing some research, but I could do with a bit of help confirming this.

As we were walking down a lane back from Neuman's Flash a lady bird landed on me and I blew it off, then suddenly another one landed on me I blew that off as well. I thought well that's unusual. I looked around and there were hundreds of ladybirds flying into me and my mum all looking completely different. This was the short stretch of path where they were swarming.

When I got home I did some research and found out they were all Harlequin Ladybirds. They are not native and were introduced here in 2004 to eat aphids. Unfortunately they are eating all of our native ladybirds food, not just that though, they are also very aggressive and eat butterfly and moth larvae.

It has been another very interesting weekend

And so once again I would like to say a big thank you to my mum and dad for helping me.

I still feel like the ladybirds are crawling all over me!


  1. nice that your parents take you out and about - and that you recognize that they take time for you. :)

  2. What a shame they were all harlequin's. The Reed Warbler is very late leaving, had it been ringed by you before or was it rang by another group?
    Great images.

    1. It was the first time it had been caught, so I put the ring on yesterday

  3. Sounds like you had another lovely weekend Findlay... thanks for the update on Haydn's Pool I haven't been fit enough to visit for quite a while.
    I bet you dream about Ladybirds tonight lol.

  4. Brilliant weekend, the late Reed Warbler and the Harlequin Ladybird, that is something we don't want.

  5. Sounds like another great weekend, Findlay. You certainly pack them in.

    I'm no expert, and it's hard to tell without some scale, but I think that your dragonfly might be a female Common Darter. I would expect to see blue spots where the wings join the body, and rather yellow looking wings, if it had been a Brown Hawker. If you look closely at your dragonfly image, it seems the yellow appearance is only caused by the shadow under the wings. Where there is no shadow under the wings, they seem clear. A Brown Hawker would be very unusual (but not impossible) at this time of year, but the Common Darter is relatively common at this time of year.

    It's not good news about the Harlequin Ladybirds! I've only seen one, and that was in my garden. Around 40 years ago, there was one summer when there were swarms of Ladybirds everywhere. It seems that food was so short, they took to biting humans. Really!! I'm not joking!! I got bitten by them several times whilst in the garden or working on our allotment. Never before, and never since.

  6. I remember the ladybird invasion Richard - we got covered in them millions of them at Southport open air baths (no longer there) everyone was screaming - I'd have been about Finn's age. Like you I've never seen anything approaching it since.



  7. You should enter your dunnock with ticks pic on the BBC Autumnwatch flickr site's parasites group

  8. So often actions are taken with good intentions but result in unforeseen consequences. Nice find with the Reed Warbler!

  9. I'm pleased that you saw a Harlequin but rather mixed feelings about their presence in our fauna. Good catch of the reewa - late as you say. Tremendous Blackcap weight, I'll bet it flew off slow and low!

  10. 200 Lapwings....and alas, I've never seen one. Of course, it would help if they're here in my part of the globe...I just ogle your photos and dream of seeing one someday.

  11. beautiful bird. But the ladybugs was creepy. :(

  12. The introduction of foreign species to combat a particular pest so very often leads to disaster. For example the cane toads to Australia who, instead of attacking what they were meant to, have now multiplied to plague proportions and are infecting and killing native frogs and wildlife over a third of the continent and spreading.
    I do hope your native ladybirds will survive. An interesting post as always.

  13. Oh that warbler is sweet! We are having similar problems here with the "foreign" ladybugs.

  14. Great post Findlay, I envy you with your ringing, keep it up

  15. Hi there - I would have thought people would have worked out that introducing alien species we as a bad idea by now! As Arija says above you only have to look at Australia for good evidence.

    The eyes of the E. Spinebill are that red - I dont mess with my pictures very much apart from a bit of cropping and sharpening.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  16. Great post. That little Reed Warbler is really cute.