Monday, 24 August 2009

Why You Shouldn't Draft A Post Before The End Of Play!

I wrote nearly all of this post before I went out for one last bit of birding. And the outcome of this birding changes the entire focus of this post!

I had a wander down the estuary with Gav and one more (sorry - didn't get the name!) tonight; four Greenshank, the Wood Sand and a few other bits and bobs were noted. Gav plus one turned back, but I carried on. I stumbled upon a nice group of eight Wheatear and a Whinchat, then headed back around Blackhole Marsh. I was walking back up the western shore of Blackhole, and paused roughly where our 'usual' scanning point is.

I was binning north over Colyford Marsh as it was getting dusky, when I picked up a distant Swift; 'oh - that's the first one I've seen for a little while' I thought.

I lined my scope up, but couldn't pick it up, so went back to my bins and soon re-located it. I finally got on to it through my scope and was immediately stunned by a white belly!!!! I steadied myself, and watched it for a little while longer. It was big.....BIG BIG! This was emphasised by the powerful slow wing-beats, which were few and far between the long glides. More checking of the white bit showed it was very clear-cut and view of its upper parts showed they were brown, quite 'soft brown' when it flew in front of a distant hill. Yep - that's a dodgy leucistic Common Swift eliminated... I had an ALPINE SWIFT!!!!

I guessed Gav would be nearest, though I hadn't seen him for twenty-odd minutes, so phoned him. He was still here, in front of Colyford Marsh hide. My phone records tell me I phoned him at 20:14 and remained on the phone til 20:20 when I lost sight of it as it very quickly became very distant. During that time I tried and tried and TRIED to get him on to it, but it wasn't to be. For the whole time I was watching it through my telescope, except for about ten seconds when I lost it as it flew in front of a distant wooded hill. I used my bins to relocate it before switching back to the scope.

I am SOOOOOOO gutted that no one else could get on to it, and am sorry for all the other local patchers who only got a text after I had lost sight of it. I was too intent on getting Gav on it. I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope it re-appears in the morning, it can't have gone far tonight.

Ok, that's over with. I can't be bothered to re-write my entire post, so here's what I had already written.... the post was going to be titled 'A Dip In The Wet And Wild, And Today...'.

So bloggers, what is this...

Answers on the back of a postcard!

This was the view at 23:30 last Friday night from the Axmouth straight, looking over the river towards Seaton Marshes Hide. And the point is???? Well, you see that ultra bright white light below all the distant street lights.... that's my moth trap!

As you will have read on other local blogs it was the EDDC's Wet and Wild Weekend, and I played my part by helping with the 'moths and breakfast' event on Seaton Marshes on Saturday morning. I REALLY did help too.... I must have consumed at least a dozen bacon baps : )

My trap (on the tramline) and another trap (in the Borrow Pit) produced quite a nice haul. My favourite was this beauty in my trap...

Gold Spot

And there were a few of these in the other trap...

Canary-shouldered Thorn

It was while I was going through these that I heard about the Ortolan Bunting on Beer Head. Now, I had a VERY nasty experience with the last on patch Ortolan...I missed it by moments! If that darn jogger had woken up just one minute later then I would have seen it! Anyway, because of this, I vow never to see a Ortolan Bunting on patch. I don't want too! But, well done everyone, and I'm glad most people got to see it. Let's hope we never get another one...

Sunday morning, again I helped with the Wet and Wild fun...I ate EVEN MORE bacon baps!

So, now to today (again!)...

BIRDS

I dropped Kym off at work at 11am, then went down to Blackhole Marsh. A good grilling of the muddy edges revealed the wader situation remains pretty much the same; 6 Ringed Plovers, 25 Dunlins, 3 Snipe, 1 Wood Sands, 2 Green Sands, 7 Common Sands and 1 Blackwit. To complete the wader sightings for today I shall also mention the 3 Whimbrel, Greenshank and Lapwing that I saw on the estuary later on in the day. A very nice highlight at Blackhole was a stunning male Redstart in the field to the south, loosely associating itself with two Stonechat.

It was because of this Redstart that I hot-footed it over to Beer, and went for a wander in the fields behind the cemetery; Bun joined me. I got a surprise year tick here, when a female/imm Merlin powered low overhead - my earliest autumn bird on patch. It was soon obvious that there had been some movement during the previous night, with the totals being: 15 Willow Warblers, 6 Blackcaps, 4 Whitethroats, 3 Spotted Flies, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Garden Warbler. Great stuff!

I then went for an early afternoon wander over Beer Head. Most of the bushes and fields were empty, apart from this one...

The 'Kale Field'

In this field were: several Yellow Wags, 10 Whitethroats, 6 Wheatear (with three more elsewhere), 6 Stonechats, 3 Whinchats plus the usual Finches, Sparrows and Yellowhammers. Luckily all of the Buntings were indeed Yellow, and not nasty eye-ringed ones!!!

To finish the bird sightings off for today, a second-winter Med Gull was below the farm gate mid afternoon and a lone Shoveler was a bit of an oddity at Lower Bruckland Ponds.

MOTHS

Last night I had both traps out. This resulted in a catch of 424 moths of c40 species. 90 were in the Skinner and 334 in the Robinson.

First for the garden were...

Sharp-angled Peacock

And about time! Common Wainscot - I had four of these

The rest of the catch was made up of: 216 Large Yellow Underwing, 43 Rustic sp., 25 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 18 Flame Shoulder, 16 Brimstone, 11 Small Square-spot, 10 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 9 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 9 Willow Beauty, 9 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 8 Double-striped Pug, 5 Jersey Tiger, 5 Silver Y, 4 Dingy Footman, 3 Yellow-barred Brindle, 3 Common/Lesser Rustic, 2 Black Arches, 2 Heart and Dart, 2 Bright-line Brown-eye, 2 Spectacle, 2 Cabbage Moth, and singles of: Angle Shades, Riband Wave, Dusky Thorn, Shaded Broad-bar, Garden Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Cypress Pug, Four-spotted Footman, Rosy Footman, Pale Prominent, Dark Arches, Lychnis and Dog's Tooth.

Here's some of the notable ones from that list...

My second Wood Carpet

My third Four-spotted Footman

A very faded Dog's Tooth

From that list you may also have noted as well as having Common/Lesser Rustic I've lumped Uncertain, Rustic and Vine's Rustic! I guess most of them are actually Vine's Rustics, but I can't get my head around them. Look...

Less than half of them!

And here's some of them up close, any thoughts...



!!??!!


Well what a day!!! Night all....

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