Your Sightings

What wildlife to look for in September 2017

The weather has been a mixed bag since I wrote the last newsletter article. Wet, cool conditions have meant a damp summer. This has probably resulted in a good end to the breeding species. In the House Martin nests at 5 Front Street, Glanton, The margarine twins eventually fledged with one of the youngsters roosting each night in the rebuilt nest. There was a lot of twittering each morning, as the adults tried to evict the youngster. Eventually, the chick left but the adults decided not to finish the nest. In nest 2, the eggs hatched and there is a lot of noise coming from the nest. It is hoped that the pair will successfully fledge their chicks before the autumn weather gets too cool.

There are a lot of species currently on the move both over land and sea. Recently, Hen and Marsh Harriers have been on the move. Moulting summer plumage waders are appearing daily on the coast including Curlew Sandpipers, Knot, Ruff and Black-tailed Godwits.   In the hills, the Heather is looking resplendently pink and there is a good crop of Bilberry. These berries will help warblers and especially Ring Ouzels put on the necessary reserves for migration.

What to look for in September: Migrating insects

There are three species of insects that can commonly be found including in your gardens: Migrant Hawker Dragonfly, Painted Lady Butterfly and Silver Y Moth.

Migrant Hawker Dragonfly: This migrant hawker is mostly dark brown and black in colour. The male has pale blue spots and yellow flecks all along the body, dark blue eyes and pale yellow and blue patches on the thorax. The female has yellowish spots and brownish eyes. The black-and-blue hawkers are a tricky group of dragonflies to identify. The migrant hawker is smaller and has more brown on it than the other large species (e.g. common, e and southern hawker).


Painted lady butterfly: The Painted Lady is a long-distance migrant, which causes the most spectacular butterfly migrations observed in Britain and Ireland. Each year, it spreads northwards from the desert fringes of North Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia, recolonising mainland Europe and reaching Britain and Ireland. In some years it is an abundant butterfly, frequenting gardens and other flowery places in late summer. This is a very distinctive species with orange-brown wings with black and white spots on forewing. Undersides mottled with brown with spots.

Silver Y moth: Medium-sized, silver-grey moth with white y-shaped mark on the forewing. Found in most habitats. Probably the UK’s most common immigrant moth. Each forewing has a conspicuous unbroken metallic silver Y-marking. Usually most numerous from late summer into autumn, it can occur in any month with those in the winter generally associated with warmer southerly winds.

All of these species can fly significant distances especially with favourable southerly winds.

Here is hoping that there is an Indian summer on the way that allows us to see all three species close at hand in our gardens.

Jack Daw

Send all sightings to: Ian & Keith Davison, The Bungalow, Branton, Powburn, NE66 4LW Or by email to

If you have wildlife queries you can email them to redsquirrel@alnwickwildlife – and they will be forwarded to an appropriate member who will try to answer them. No promises, mind – none of us are great experts!