Saturday, 9 April 2011

Bon Voyage

Avid and long-term readers of this blog will know that every winter I usually enjoy a birding trip to Norfolk with some of my fellow 'patchers'. Last winter this never happened, but instead, tonight we are driving up to Scotland for some birding fun! There's no lifers up here for me, but I've just not been to Scotland for 8 or 9 years - a return trip is definitely overdue!

Anyway, before I go, I really should update this blog with what little birding I've had chance to do over the last week...and I have two nights of moth trapping to update everyone on- wooopeee!

Birds first, and let's re-wind a week to last Saturday when Bun and I enjoyed an afternoon stroll through Black Hole Marsh and Colyford Common....

On Black Hole Marsh, a Little Ringed Plover (found by Ian Mc earlier in the day) showed on a spit from the hide. The only other summer migrants we noted were 20 Sand Martins and a Swallow.

The LRP - our second of the spring so far

From Colyford Common hide, a redhead Goosander on the river was a bit of a surprise - we couldn't enjoy it for long though as it soon swam up river and out of sight.

Sunday was a day of work, with no birding. Though I was very pleased to hear the Iceland Gull had returned, with Phil getting this cracking photo of it (see HERE). You can see what I meant when I said it still had quite a dusky and well marked head!

On Monday and Tuesday, well I can't actually remember what I did! So I can't have seen any decent birds!

Wednesday morning I spent a couple of hours on Beer Head first thing - it was dire!! Later on in the day, only my second House Martin of the year flew over my front garden. Swallows suddenly got a lot more obvious too. A couple of Sandwich Terns were fishing off the sea front early afternoon.

Thursday morning was another Beer Head morning, with the light northerly wind I knew it was going to be decent even before I got there.

Unfortunately I didn't have all that much time, so spent all the time I did have on the east side of the head - around all the bushes. The highlight was without doubt the two Redstarts (one of each sex) that were in The Summit bushes. The male quickly flew off north, and I caught up with him at first in The Sheepwalk, then again in The Dell. He was never approachable though, which is why the best photo I have of him is this...

Stonking bird!

Phylloscopus warblers were passing through in force too, with 50 Willow Warblers and 15 Chiffchaffs noted during my hour and a bit I was here. I just wish I had more time to look - I reckon there must have been a Pied Fly lurking somewhere!

Yesterday, an hour's birding revealed very little - and today I have/will be doing none. So that's the birding up to date :-)

Before I write about my two moth catches, butterflies are out in force now. Over the last few days I've seen my first Comma, Brimstone and Orange-tips, as well as plenty of these...

Small Tortoiseshells

Ok, it's time to clean up the moths! Last Friday night (1st April) I caught 30 moths of 11 species. No new species for this year, but several new for the year:

1 V-Pug
1 Streamer
2 Oak Beauty
1 Dotted Border
1 Early Thorn
16 Common Quaker
1 Twin-spotted Quaker
2 Small Quaker
2 Hebrew Character
2 Clouded Drab
1 Early Grey

Here are a couple of photos...

Streamer

V-pug

Last night, I trapped 34 moths of 8 species, same goes - no new ones but a couple new for the year:

1 Early Thorn
1 Brindled Beauty
1 Lunar Marbled Brown
8 Common Quaker
7 Small Quaker
8 Hebrew Character
2 Clouded Drab
6 Early Grey

Right, that's enough laptop work...time to get packing! Expect a bit of a monster post on my return....

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