Friday, 11 June 2010

Exminster Marshes - Twice In Two Days!

I'll start with this morning, and news of a female Red-footed Falcon on the RSPB reserve proved just too tempting...

I collected Karen, and as as we rolled up at Exminster Marshes, Brian H had it perched up in his scope for us....what a bird! It remained distant, but we enjoyed prolonged views of it sat on various trees/bushes/posts. As the air warmed up it began hawking insects over the main lake with two Hobbies. What a fantastic looking bird, soooooo cute! Despite the huge distance I tried to take a few snaps, this is as good as I got...

Although it is little more than one pixel, it STILL manages to look cute!

I'm very much looking forward to seeing Brain Heasman's pics of it, he had it much closer earlier in the morning. I don't know what it is with Exminster Marshes, I twitch very rarely, but it seems I have to come here at least once a year... Little Crake, American Golden Plover and Wilson's Phalarope being the most recent reasons for me coming here.

Before mention yesterday's trip to Exminster Marshes, I shall finish all the bird-related topics I have to talk about. There has been a mega Swift movement of late, with some large groups passing over Seaton all day yesterday. I see on Birdguides 5000+ have flown over Durlston this morning so the movement is still going!

A bit more local bird news, and again for yesterday, Fraser had a late Wood Sand over Blackhole Marsh - June records for this species are few and far between.

On Wednesday morning, I added a new species to my ringing list. At the end of the year I am hoping to progress to my 'C' permit...which basically means I will be a fully fledged ringer! Excellent! But when applying for an upgrade, the BTO like you to have a good variety of species 'under the belt'. After Mike and I heard about an 'easy to get at' Herring Gulls nest at a house in Seaton we just had to do it. I know most Seaton residents would have preferred us to ring their necks, but it would be fantastic if one gets recaptured at a rubbish tip somewhere up country...

Me ringing one of the three chicks - thanks to Catharine Willerton for this photo :-)

Whilst sorting out moth photos on my laptop yesterday morning, this fell on the doormat...

Look forward to reading it!

I really like the fact they have gone for a hand drawing on the front cover, not a photo as usual. And what a stunning drawing it is of a stunning bird - one of my best birds of 2009 for sure. This Portland report is always one of the best illustrated reports, with countless superb pictures.

Ok, now it is moth time! :-)

Early yesterday I had to go into Exeter, so I went a little further, this was my first visit to Exminster Marshes I mentioned in the title. I joined Nigel Pinhorn and his moth trap, and was very VERY pleased to see a couple of rare species that can be found in this area...

One of two lovely Water Ermine

Cream-bordered Green Pea

I got a third moth lifer, though not as rare as the previous two, with this...

Four-dotted Footman

Many thanks Nigel!

I returned home to sort my catch out. When I went to sleep on Wednesday night, the conditions for mothing were absolutely perfect, but when I fell out of bed at 4am Thursday morning, a blustery northerly wind was whooshing through the garden! Enough so that the white sheets in the front garden were nowhere near where I had left them the night before!!

The few hours of good conditions were enough though for me to have 181 moths of 42 species to look at!

This included three firsts, one of which, Sandy Carpet, flew off as I first peered into a moth trap - bugger! Oh well, at least it wasn't a rarity! The other two new ones were...

Clouded Brindle

Mottled Rustic; yeah I know - pretty drab isn't it!

The rest of the catch looked like this: 87 Heart and Dart, 11 Vine's Rustic, 7 Common Marbled Carpet, 5 Flame Shoulder, 4 Small Square-spot, 4 Treble Lines, 4 Marbled Minor, 4 Middle-barred Minor, 4 Silver Y, 3 Green Carpet, 3 Poplar Hawkmoth, 3 Brown Silver-line, 3 Bright-line Brown-eye, 3 Straw Dot, 3 Spectacle, 2 Rivulet, 2 Common Pug, 2 Pug sp., 2 Willow Beauty, 2 Brimstone, 2 Flame, and singles of: Common Swift, Pebble Hook-tip, Small Phoenix, Silver-ground Carpet, Broken-barred Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Flame Carpet, May Highflyer, Foxglove Pug, White-pinion Spotted, Elephant Hawkmoth, Pale Tussock, Scalloped Hazel, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Large Yellow Underwing, Shark, Knot Grass and Uncertain.

Well, that's one mega post done and dusted! Now I'm going to watch the opening game of the World Cup... I do hope South Africa win this match, with all the effort they've put in getting everything ready in time for all the football hooligans to descend upon them!!!

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