Friday 31 July 2009

Double The Effort...

...double the reward!

Last night the front garden looked like this...

My Skinner trap

And the back garden looked like this...

The Robinson - daddy of all moth traps!

And what a haul I had to go through this morning! 154 moths in all of 42 species, exactly 100 in the Robinson and 54 in the Skinner. I added some stunning new species to the garden list, six in total. I'll start with the rarest, a 'Nationally Scarce A' according to Waring and Townsend...

A Four-spotted Footman - with a Common Footman for comparison

Head on - he was in the Skinner

Side on - what a beast!!!

Then there was this beauty...

Ruby Tiger - from the Robinson

Just check out those red trousers!

The other four firsts were...

Pebble Hook-tip - from the Skinner

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing - from the Robinson; I caught four Yellow Underwing sp.

Flame Carpet - from the Skinner

Lychnis - from the Robinson

I'll combine the totals from both traps to complete this list of moths from this morning. Here it is: 15 Common Footman, 11 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 11 Common/Lesser Rustic, 9 Silver Y, 7 Riband Wave, 6 Dark Arches, 6 Large Yellow Underwing, 6 Bright-line Brown-eyes, 5 Nut-tree Tussock, 5 Early Thorn, 5 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 5 Single-dotted Wave, 5 Buff Ermine, 5 Willow Beauty, 4 Small Fan-footed Wave, 4 Flame Shoulder, 4 Rosy Footman, 3 Magpie, 3 Rustic, 3 Uncertain, 2 Purple Thorn, 2 Dingy Footman, 2 Spectacle, 2 Cabbage Moth, 2 Beautiful Hook-tip, 2 Buff Arches, 2 Common Carpet, 2 Ear Moth sp. and singles of: Lesser Yellow Underwing, Double Square-spot, Small Emerald, Snout, Small Rivulet, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Brussels Lace, Brimestone, Poplar Hawkmoth and Pug sp. (it escaped before i could ID or photograph it!).

And breathe...

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Looking South

There's been plenty of photos on here of late hasn't there? So I think I can justify a photo-less post....

I just had to try a sea watch this morning, I watched from the shelter of the beach hut in the company of John Chambers.

05:40 - 08:30 produced: 15 Common Scoter (4 on sea), 1 Mallard, 216 Gannets, 8 Fulmar, 13 Manxies, 4 Balearic Shearwaters (all singles), 12 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Med Gulls (ads, both sat on sea close in and were joined by a juv Kitt), 9 Kittiwakes, 5 Sandwich Terns, 7 Commic Terns, 2 Oystercatchers, 1 Curlew and 5 Whimbrel. Most of these flew west, but for 6 of the Commics, 2 Sandwich Terns and a handful of Gannets.

Wouldn't mind this wind to ease now as I could do with doing some serious mothing! That is unless the wind can give me a Pom and maybe a large Shearwater or two....?

Monday 27 July 2009

A Big Brown Bird...

No, not a Great Bustard, but a juv Yellow-legged Gull! I came across it during a high tide sweep of the estuary at 11am

As juv Yellow-legged Gulls go, it's a very dark headed individual (in my eyes anyway), but all the features are there. Some good flight views confirmed it all, dark inner primaries and brilliant white tail with a tidy black band. It was a hefty bird too and noticeably thick-billed.

Note the all black tertails with narrow white tips, no obvious notching; long-winged too

Note the small white patch at base of bill

Big boy!!

I guess the fact it is quite dark headed may indicate that it is very VERY young, even younger than the usual pale-headed juvs that we're are used to seeing? Gav and Karen came for a look, making this a local patch twitch!

After all the Gulls flew off north thanks to a small boat, Gav and myself went over to Blackhole Marsh. At least nine Green and four Common Sands and a Blackwit were the best of the selection on this wonderful bit of habbo.

Now to Moths! I put the trap out last night but wasn't expecting much as rain was set in for the whole night. I was right, only caught 30 species and no new for the gardens.

I have still added a species to the garden list though today, thanks to the reappearance of the Carpet sp. which flew away from me a few days ago before I could ID or photograph it. I disturbed it today near to where it disappeared on Saturday - in the conservatory! It's this...

A Red Twin-spot Carpet

Won't be putting any traps out tonight, but may do tomorrow night depending on the weather. Stay tuned...

Saturday 25 July 2009

Trap Number Two

I've doubled up on moth traps! I now also have this brilliant Robinsons trap, and it is BRILLIANT! It holds the moths so much better than my Skinner-type. Here she is....

She is at least 34 years old, and the bulb hasn't been changed once!

Last night didn't look good for moths, they just didn't seem to be about. Still, this baby caught me 88 moths plus loads of micros.

There were a couple of 'new for the gardens' in the catch...

A V-Pug

Dingy Footman - I had two of these

The rest of the catch was made up of: 11 Common Footmans, 7 Buff Ermines, 6 Riband Waves, 5 Flame Shoulders, 5 Bright-line Brown-eyes, 4 Small Fan-footed Waves, 4 Common/Lesser Rustics (1 looked good for Lesser), 3 Early Thorns, 3 Buff Arches, 3 Large Yellow Underwings, 3 Shuttle-shaped Darts, 2 Silver Ys, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 2 Rosy Footmans, 2 Single-dotted Waves, 2 Swallow-tailed Moths, 2 Uncertains, 2 Dark Arches, 2 Pug sp. (still to look at them up close!), and singles of: Engrailed, Small Rivulet, Peppered Moth, Black Arches, Jersey Tiger (a nice surprise!), Nut-tree Tussock, Magpie, Willow Beauty, Coronet, Rustic, Common Carpet, Spectacle, Dunbar, Ear Moth sp. and a Carpet sp. (got away before I could snap it!). Amongst the micros were two Mother of Pearls and Small Magpie.

A first for the garden in a much smaller catch the previous night with the Skinner was this...

A Nutmeg

Having a moth break tonight but hope to fire both traps up tomorrow night!

I shall finish this post with the highlight of a very productive ringing session on Colyford Common yesterday...

Common Sandpiper - in fact we caught three of them!

Wednesday 22 July 2009

The List Grows...

A much smaller catch last night, probably something to do with the strength of the wind. Only had 43 moths of 27 species, but six of these were new for the garden.

I'll start with my favourite...

Black Arches.... more white than black I'd say!!!

This is a Pebble Prominet

Here it is again from above

A worn Crescent Dart

Knot Grass

Dunbar - overdue!

Rustic - equally overdue!

Another first for the garden was this micro, which really shouldn't be a micro 'cuz it's HUGE!...

...huge for a micro anyway! In fact it's Britains largest micro - Mother of Pearl

The rest of the haul was made up of: 6 Bright-line Brown-eyes, 3 Buff Arches, 3 Silver Y (where have they all gone?!), 2 Double Square-spots, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, 2 Uncertains, 2 Heart and Darts, 2 Peppered Moths, 2 Buff Ermines, 2 Small Fan-footed Waves and singles of: Rosy Footman, Snout, Dark Arches, Riband Wave, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, Scalloped Oak, Single-dotted Wave, Common Footman, Buff Footman and a Common/Lesser Rustic.

Need an decent sleep so I won't be trapping tonight, normal service will hopefully be resumed on Friday... (weather permitting that is!)

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Beware Of The Leopard

Despite the rain during the night and this morning, it was another good catch with 84 moths of 31 species. I put the trap in the front garden again for the first time in well over a week. There are more flowers and plants here, where as the back garden has larger trees including four fruit trees.

It's a bit weird really, because on Sunday night I wanted a Peach Blossom - on Monday morning I got one! Last night I wanted a Leopard Moth, and this morning I got this...

WOW! A Leopard Moth!

This wasn't the rarest of the catch though, not by a long way! I also had one of these...

WOW WOW WOW!!!! A Dewick's Plusia!

And this was another attractive first for the garden...

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing - bit of a mouthful really!

The more mundane first for the garden were...

Buff Footman - I had five of these!

Small Rivulet

And a worn Dot Moth

The rest of the catch was made up of: 16 Silver Y's (nice to have these as the commonest species), 7 Uncertains, 6 Shuttle-shaped Darts, 6 Heart and Darts, 5 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Dark Arches, 4 Buff Ermines, 4 Small Fan-footed Waves, 3 Peppered Moths, 2 Swallow-tailed Moths, 2 Bright-line Brown-eyes, 2 Smoky Wainscots and singles of: Grey Dagger, Poplar Grey, Purple Thorn, Common Footman, Spectacle, Clay, Flame Shoulder, Buff-tip, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Small Fanfoot, Scalloped Oak, Common Rustic and Light Arches.

Finally a couple more photos...

I love all the Thorns - this is my second Purple Thorn

This is the first tidy Swallow-tail I've caught! All others have had at least one 'tail' missing!

Monday 20 July 2009

A Bit Of Both

A slightly smaller catch than usual last night, with only 53 moths of 27 species. Probably something to do with the less than ideal conditions; it wasn't warm and remained windy through 'til dawn.

I still had four new for the gardens though, one really REALLY lovely one....

Peach Blossom

....And from another angle

Talking of angles.... a Small Angle Shades

A Poplar Grey

And my fourth Emerald sp. for the garden - a worn and rather small Common Emerald

Other moths recorded included: 10 Dark Arches, 5 Buff Arches, 4 Bright-line Brown-eyes, 3 Common Footman, 3 Riband Waves, 3 Scallloped Oaks, 2 Buff Ermines, 2 Shuttle-shaped Darts, 2 Heart and Darts, 2 Silver Y and singles of: Early Thorn, Double Square-spot, Small Fan-footed Wave, Snout, Small Emerald, Uncertain, Heart and Club, Elephant Hawkmoth, Small Fanfoot, Common Rustic, Peppered Moth, Lesser Yellow Underwing and Minor sp.

That wasn't it though for moths today. Later on, whilst mowing the lawn I disturbed another first for the garden from the front hedge...

Yellow Shell - common but pretty!

Later on, I had a look about the estuary and Blackhole Marsh. Wader totals were fairly similar to yesterday: 1 Lapwing, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Blackwits, 2 Greenshank, 2 Dunlin, 5 Common Sands, 4 Green Sands and the LRP still. I hear the Cattle Egret is still with us too.

Sunday 19 July 2009

An Excellent Evenings Birding

I haven't been out birding for ages! Not even stopped to look at the estuary, but news of a possible Cattle Egret at Colyford Marsh yesterday tempted me out this evening.

The birding Gods welcomed my return to the birding scene with this stunning visual display as I wandered down to Colyford Common...


From the hide, I soon found the Cattle Egret - and it was a Cattle Egret, a juv one! And before anyone moans, it wasn't born anywhere near here, so I think it's safe to release the news. It remained distant but I still attempted some photos...

Note the mostly dark bill - I wonder where it has come from?

And why does this species always have to do something odd with its neck!?

I then wandered over to Blackhole Marsh.... WHAT A PLACE! Fraser has dropped the water levels by 6 inches, and in a few weeks he is going to drain it fully - this will be awesome! The best of what this new lagoon had to offer tonight was this....


And again

The full wader list was made up of: 1 Lapwing, the LRP, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Blackwit, 2 Greenshank, 3 Dunlin, 9 Green Sands and 3 Common Sands. Quite a list!

I'll finish this post with one more photo....

Two of the Dunlin allowed stupidly close approach.... great! : )

Moth trap's going out again tonight for the first time in a few days, fingers crossed for a goodie....

Friday 17 July 2009

A Day Late

Yesterday morning I sifted through another moth catch. Caught about 91 moths of 34 species.

Firsts for the garden included...

Iron Prominent - what a gorgeous insect!

July Highflyer - there were two of these

Double Square Spot

Beautiful Hook-tip

Lesser Yellow Underwing

Cabbage Moth


Small Fan-footed Wave

An Ear Moth sp.

The rest of the catch were made up off: 18 Common Footman, 9 Dark Arches, 7 Buff Ermines, 6 Scalloped Oaks, 6 Bright-line Brown-eyes, 5 Riband Waves, 5 Small Emeralds, 4 Buff Arches, 3 Willow Beauties, 3 Heart and Darts, 3 Uncertains, 2 Coronets, 2 Sycamores, 2 Early Thorns, 2 Buff-tips, 2 Rosy Footmans (lovely!), 2 Grey Daggers, 2 Poplar Hawkmoths, 2 Flame Shoulders, and singles of: Fern, Brimestone, Small Square-spot, Elephant Hawkmoth, Spectacle, Peppered Moth, Snout, Double-stripped Pug and a Common/Lesser Rustic.

Another Small Magpie and this gorgeous thing was the highlight of the micros...

Lozotaeniodes formosanus... not that I know that! Thanks Matt : )

After I sorted through this lot I joined the Axe Estuary Ringing Group at Colyford Common. It was a success with 23 birds ringed including: 2 Kingfisher, Cetti's Warbler, House Martin, 2 Reed Buntings, 12 Reed Warblers and a Sedge Warbler. Got to ring a good deal of these... all counts as I'm still on the quest for my C permit!