Monday 31 May 2010

Ray Mears Eat Your Heart Out

Well this will be my last post for a short while, Kym and I are going on our first camping trip. I'd love to take a moth trap with me... but think that would be pushing it a little too far!! (I don't think she knows I'm taking my binos yet!)

Had the moth trap out last night, it was quite windy when I went to bed so really wasn't expecting much. This morning though I had another two firsts for the garden! :-)

Cream Wave

Pale Mottled Willow; not the most exciting addition to my list!!!

In all there were 26 moths of 15 species, as of late, new species for the year are in red: 4 Heart and Dart, 4 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 3 Common Marbled Carpet, 2 Elephant Hawkmoth, 2 Brimstone, 2 Vine's Rustic, and singles of: Scalloped Hazel, Muslin Moth, Flame Shoulder, Treble Lines, Green Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet and Silver-ground Carpet.

I can't believe it is nearly June already....just where did Spring go???

Anyway, I'm off to wrestle Bears....

Friday 28 May 2010

More New Moths

For the past three days I've had one moth trap out, but haven't been getting up pre-dawn to collect/count anything resting outside the trap. Every night I 've still had at least one first for the garden though, they were...

Light Brocade - one very smart moth!


The Seraphim

Silver-ground Carpet - this one stayed on the side of the house all morning

The full lists for each night are as follows (with new species for the year in red):

Wednesday 26th - 41 moths of 18 species:

7 Brimstone, 5 Muslin Moth, 5 Pug sp., 4 Heart and Dart, 3 Flame Shoulder, 3 Red-twin Spot Carpet, 2 Scorched Carpet, 2 Common Carpet and singles of: Poplar Hawkmoth, Cream-spot Tiger, Common White Wave, Small White Wave, May Highflyer, The Seraphim, Rivulet, Vine's Rustic, Spectacle and Least Black Arches.

Thursday 27th - 47 moths of 20 species:

8 Heart and Dart, 4 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 4 Flame Shoulder 4 Treble Lines, 3 Red-twin Spot Carpet, 3 Muslin Moth, 3 Vine's Rustic, 2 Brimstone, 2 Green Carpet, 2 Pug sp., 2 Hebrew Character, 2 Bright-line Brown Eye and singles of: Eyed Hawkmoth, Oak Hook-tip, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Marbled Minor, Yellow-barred Brindle, Silver-ground Carpet, The Seraphim (a different individual to yesterday) and Early Thorn.

Friday 28th - 31 moths of 14 species - interestingly only one Geometrid, possibly because it was a tad cooler?

9 Heart and Dart, 6 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 3 Treble Lines, 2 Nut-tree Tussock, 2 Flame Shoulder and singles of: Poplar Hawkmoth, Early Thorn, Hebrew Character, Bright-line Brown Eye, Knot Grass, Cabbage Moth, Light Brocade, Spectacle and Silver Y

If this wasn't a moth-overloaded post already, here's a few more photos...

My third ever Eyed Hawkmoth

A Setaceous and a non-Setaceous Hebrew Character!

The second Seraphim - much more faded than the first

And now a non-moth photo, and the last of this post. The moon looked totally stunning last night over the English Channel...


Tuesday 25 May 2010

A Few Nights Off

I last had the moth traps out on Saturday night....I just needed a break! Getting up at half four EVERY morning would be just a little too much for me, though I still had to get up at six yesterday for ringing on Colyford Marsh. This morning was very much a lazy and do sod all morning! Just what the doctor ordered :-)

My last trapping sessions was a success though, with a cracking first for the garden. Finally a Hawkmoth that wasn't Poplar or Elephant landed in my trap... two of them in fact...

Eyed Hawkmoth...coooooooooooool!

In all I caught 52 moths of 22 species: 6 Brimstone, 6 Pug sp., 6 Treble Lines, 5 Flame Shoulder, 4 Muslin Moth, 3 Hebrew Character, 2 Scorched Carpet, 2 Poplar Hawkmoth, 2 White Ermine, 2 Heart and Dart, 2 Yellow-barred Brindle, 2 Nut-tree Tussock, and singles of: Peppered Moth, Knot Grass, Poplar Grey, Pebble Prominent, Green Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Bright-line Brown-eyes, Vine's Rustic and V-Pug. Species in red were new for the year.

Ringing yesterday morning was very productive, with 36 birds processed. This included an impressive 18 Reed Warblers, 3 Sedge Warblers, a Cetti's Warbler (a fresh one too!), a stonking male Reed Bunting and a Meadow Pipit.

The only bird news I have is of three Lapwing on Colyford Scrape this afternoon.

Saturday 22 May 2010

A Bumper Haul

Had lots of moths to look at this morning, with both traps offering a fine selection. It was by far the biggest catch of the year with 91 moths of 35 species (though yet again, all brown pugs were recorded as just that!).

Firsts for the garden included...

Two lovely White Ermine

Three Scalloped Hazel (all in the same corner of the same trap!)

One Broken-barred Carpet

The rest of the catch were: 16 Pug sp., 15 Brimstone, 6 Flame Shoulder, 5 Nut-tree Tussock, 4 Heart and Dart, 4 Red Twin-spot Carpet, 3 Waved Umber, 3 Vine's Rustic, 3 Muslin Moth, 2 Bright-line Brown Eye, 2 Treble Lines, 2 Common Quaker, and singles of: Poplar Hawkmoth, Pebble Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Pale Tussock, Lunar Marbled Brown, Brindled Beauty, Hebrew Character, Buff-tip, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Least Black Arches, V-Pug, Water Carpet, Small Phoenix, Red-green Carpet, Green Carpet, Flame Carpet, Yellow-barred Brindle, Common Wave, Common White Wave (nice to get this and the previous together) and Small Waved Umber. Also 13 Cockchaffers!!

So a very nice selection, and it was great to have good numbers and a nice selection of geometrids. Here's one more pic from today...

Waved and Small Waved Umber

The previous night (Thursday) I had a bit of a disaster! One of my traps decided to turn itself off during the night...bugger!

The trap that remained on pulled in 37 moths of 16 species. The only species I caught Thursday night that I didn't last night was one of these...

Sallow Kitten - a small one at that!

Thursday 20 May 2010

There's A Tiger In Town

Despite the fact there seemed to be fewer moths about than the previous night, I managed the largest catch of the year. I will try both traps again tonight... so another night of not much sleep for me!!!

Except a few Pugs that were still brown, but looked a little different, there was only one new for the garden. It was this (slightly worn) stonker...

A Cream-spot Tiger - amazing colours on it!

In all I captured 71 moths of 20 species (ish).

Bar the Tiger, the full list looks like this: 20 brown Pug sp., 8 V-Pug, 6 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 5 Heart and Dart, 5 Brimstone, 4 Flame Shoulder, 3 Bright-line Brown-eye, 3 Pebble Prominent, 3 Garden Carpet, 2 Nut-tree Tussock, 2 Waved Umber, 2 Clouded Drab, and singles of: Pale Tussock, Buff-tip, Treble Lines, Green Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Hebrew Character and Foxglove Pug.

This morning I nipped off patch ringing young Jackdaws and House Sparrows. A singing Garden Warbler was a nice treat here.

This afternoon, I had a lovely meal in the Harbour Inn - Axmouth. I tucked into a 'Harbour Burger'... yummy!! Very much recommended for a good nosh up.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Mega Moth And The Levels

As this is a birding blog I should really start with the birdies, but moth enthusiasts, it is certainly worth staying with me as I captured a right beaut last night! :-)

Yesterday morning, I took Karen up the Somerset Levels, it was superb! We had six Bittern sightings, and three more booming males - what an awesome noise! Only views we had were flight views, but some close and most prolonged...

Fine birds! Great to see them doing so well too

Hobbys were numerous as always, with some superb views of these too...

Probably saw 15+ of these in all

Waders were represented by a few Lapwing, six Blackwits, three Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin. The duck selection included the usual Pochards, Tufted Ducks and Gadwalls. We saw and heard at least three Cuckoos, and warblers were plentiful, with three of these....

Garden Warbler

I also wanted to come here to get a couple of Odonata ticks. 'Tarty ones' at that, although I'm sure I've seen them both in my younger days! Most wanted was Hairy Hawker, I managed to see two of these. They weren't very photogenic though, the best I managed was this...

At least it's the best half of one!!!

Variable Damselfly was the other 'tick', they were surprisingly numerous...

Note the broken ante-humeral stripes

Also plenty of the usual suspects in the Odonata department, including several 'new for the year' species for me.

Back on patch, the only birdie news I have is of a pair of Spotted Flycatchers at Horriford Farm this morning, busy building a nest.

Ok moth people, the time has come....nearly!! I'll get Monday night's catch out of the way first...

I had just 17 moths of 9 species. There was one new for the garden though, which was this...

Treble Lines; if only all moth names were this obvious!!

The rest of the moths were: 4 Hebrew Character, 3 Flame Shoulder, 3 Brimstone, 2 Pebble Prominent, and singles of: Water Carpet, Green Carpet, Shuttle-shaped Dart and Common Quaker.

As I went to bed last night, it was clear there were loads of moths about. Should have put both traps out really, and I should have woken up earlier than 06:15 this morning! I'm sure the local birds had a right feast before I got up!!! Anway, I still had 34 moths of 20 species - my largest catch of the year so far.

It was nice to have a bit of a rarity, with a species that is on the Red List (it's also a Biodiversity Action Plan priority species - but this might mean the same as 'being on the Red List!). There are very few breeding sites in the UK, all on the south coast between here and Kent. They are present on the cliffs at Branscombe, so I guess this one was a wanderer from there. Great to get one in the garden though...

White Spot; a gorgeous moth!

Had three other firsts for the garden, though they were much more run-of-the-mill...

Early Tooth-striped

May Highflyer

Small White Wave

The other 30 moths were: 5 Pug sp. (still hate the brown ones, prob all Brindled), 4 Brimstone, 3 Nut-tree Tussock, 3 Hebrew Character, 2 Waved Umber, 2 Pebble Prominent, 2 Flame Shoulder, and singles of: Iron Prominent, Pale Tussock, Garden Carpet, Foxglove Pug (I can do these!!), Common Quaker, Vine's Rustic, Heart and Dart, Knot Grass and Muslin Moth. There was also a Cockchafer in the trap. As you can see (if you've been following my mothing antics) there were several new species for the year in this catch.

I'm going to put both traps out tonight, and I must get used to having no sleep!!!

Monday 17 May 2010


Spent the morning with Mr T charging around Holyford Woods with a step ladder! Now I admit this is a rather hypocritical post for me... flowers and woods (not my most favourite things in the world!). But the woods were just fantastic, with stunning scenery...

Nicely positioned dew droplet in the last photo!

And why did we have a ladder with us??? Well for our annual check of the nest boxes.

We only managed to look at half of them in the wood (there are 90 odd), and none of the ones checked were ready for us. Most of the occupied nest boxes contained a nest full of eggs, but a couple of them did look like this...

Really REALLY baby Blue Tits!

So like most things in the natural world this year, Blue and Great Tits are nesting later than usual. Normally we would have rung over a hundred pulli on this date in previous years.

Whilst wandering in the woods, a Tawny Owl was nice too see in the densest patch of holly. Otherwise just the usual Marsh Tit, Tree Creeper, GS Woody, etc...

I had the moth trap out on Saturday night, I didn't bother last night as it was a bit too windy for my liking.

Saturday night's haul was only 9 moths of 8 species. There were no new ones for the garden, but one new for the year. Full list as follows: 2 Pebble Prominent, singles of Waved Umber, Brimstone, Spectacle (nfy), Muslin Moth, Nut-tree Tussock, Common Quaker and Hebrew Character.

Saturday 15 May 2010

A Birding Blog?

Well it ain't at the moment....cuz there are sod all birds about! Well, considering the date there is anyway!

Blackhole Marsh tonight gave just four Ringed Plovers, nine Dunlin, two Whimbrel and four Blackwits. Earlier on today, I saw the first baby Shelduck of the year with four (plus parents) on the river from the farm gate.

At ten this morning, Karen picked me up and we tried for Duke of Burgundys again. We thought we were gonna have to put in a lot more effort than we actually did.... as we wandered into one of the first clearings one was just there in front of us! This pristine female...
As you can see it allowed close approach

But it did get EVEN closer...

On Karen's finger!!!

Didn't see any Dingy Skippers today but three Grizzled. Karen got all excited by the 'most boring looking Orchid in the world' again. To prove how boring it is, look....

It isn't dead folks...this is it at its prime! I had to turn my camera away in fear of the lens cracking!

Anyway, Orchid aside, it was a very sucessful trip. Lovely little butterfly the Duke, but they are tipped to be the next butterfly to become extinct in the UK.... which is not good at all :-(

Back to the patch again, and last night was the first night for a while I've had the moth trap out. It was well worth it with 22 moths of 14 species. This included three new for the garden...

The rarest was this, with just six records for the whole of Devon all last year...


And apologies for the rubbish photos of the next two...

Least Black Arches - a teeny little thing!

Foxglove Pug - yes a very very VERY rubbish photo of it! It flew off before I could attempt any better

The rest of the catch included a few new for the year: 3 Brimstone, 3 V-Pug, 3 Common Quaker, 2 Hebrew Character, 2 Shuttle-shaped Dart and singles of: Poplar Hawkmoth, Nut-tree Tussock, Heart and Dart, Angle Shades, Brindled Pug and Streamer. I'll end this post with photos of two of the 'new for the year'...

My first Hawkmoth of 2010

The Heart and Dart