Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A Summary Of The Last Week

Well I think we can safely say there's been a shift in the weather. We've had some pretty intense thunder storms and showers during the nights this week, and along with the full moon I thought this would have made for some good wader passage. It certainly started well on Sunday, but has flat-lined since and there's not been anything obviously new in.  All the birding time I've had in the past week I've spent it at either at Black Hole Marsh or on Seaton Beach. I'll start with what the beach has given me, and I'll start with this morning...

For the first time for weeks and weeks, the sea wasn't flat calm. This was thanks to a southerly wind which felt really good, and I was hoping it would do something. It didn't. In half an hour I had (all west): 28 Common Scoter, three Sandwich Tern (incl. my first juv) and two Med Gulls (ad and juv).

Yesterday morning amongst the gulls on the beach (and there have been loads) were singles of juvenile Med and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (both my first of this age for the year). Offshore very little was moving, although a flock of nine Manxies came from nowhere and flew into the bay, before heading off east.

The previous morning (Monday) two adult Med Gulls were offshore, with two Little Egrets in off, 16 Common Scoter east and a few Gannets west.   

Black Hole Marsh has been graced by a stunning male Ruff since Sunday afternoon, no photos of it here but there's plenty around on the usual local photography blogs. There's also been four Little Ringed Plovers (two ads, two juvs - also present since Sunday), up to 13 Dunlin, three Greenshank, two Green Sandpipers and the usual Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwits and Common Sands.  Lots of Black-headed Gulls are still using Black Hole as a high tide roost site, regularly bringing in Med Gulls, of which I had four of (three second summers and an adult) on Monday.  In the past week allowing for duplication I can safely say I've seen at least 18 Med Gulls on patch, hopefully a sign of things to come for us.

I wrote the above paragraph yesterday, and this morning Black Hole Marsh was empty! No Dunlin, Ruff of Little Ringed Plovers.  I can only assume a bird of prey (or something else?) flushed everything just before my arrival.

I've got some house/garden birding news too.  Since my last post I've added two species to the house list, both heard only though.  On 17th (last Wednesday) just after 22:00 I heard a/the Little Ringed Plover call twice on Black Hole Marsh, and on 20th 2+ Crossbill flew over (east I think)!  On Monday evening from the bedroom I thought I'd check and count the Little Egret roost. By 21:20 I'd notched up 57 Little Egrets, but sadly no other species.  Worthwhile though as that's a decent count for us.

Lastly, well for the birdie bit of this blog post, obviously the ultimate juv Yellow-legged Gull ID guide is on Not Quite Scilly, but have a look at the following link. In particular the lower photo showing the open wing of a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull (the bird in flight), and I suspect by total fluke, a juvenile Herring Gull too (the bird on the water). Subtle but conclusive...

Right, time for some moth pics and updates now! There's four traps full of moths to talk about, so I'll try and condense it and make it as pretty as possible.

First of all I'll talk about my night of mothing at a new site near Colyford on the night of 13th/14th. It's basically a large garden, high up, on the edge of mixed farm land and not far at all from woodland.  The weather was perfect for mothing and in the morning I had 287 moths of 58 species.  This included a new species for me...

Cloaked Carpet

And there were plenty of other highlights...

Scallop Shell

Scarce Silver-lines

Drinker moth

Peach Blossom - not rare but always great to see

Just for interest, a White Ermine in front of a Buff Ermine

The other three nights of moth trapping have been at my usual site, Mum and Dad's garden.  The most recent attempt, last Sunday night, was cut short. Shortly after darkness fell we had the most horrendous rain storm, so the trap had to be turned off. At 2am though the rain had passed so the trap was turned back on. 

As it wasn't a full night I didn't count everything as I usually do, but I was surprised how much was in there. The highlight being a first for the garden!  This is exciting as I don't get many any more, and it was quite a nice one too...

Blue-bordered Carpet

It was also good to see some new species for the year, with at least six of these...

Rosy Footman

And one of these...

Ruby Tiger

The other nights I trapped were the 14th when I caught 176 moths of 41 species and the 16th when I caught 184 moths of 48 species.

Thie highlights were...

Scorched Carpet - I don't catch many of these

Female Ghost Moth, again I catch very few of these

My second Small Elephant Hawkmoth of the year

Beautiful Hook-tip - common but my first of the year

Scalloped Oak - again common but my first of the year

 Hopefully I'll have some notable birds to blog about in the near future, even a Wood Sandpiper would do!

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