Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Tufty And Two New Moths...

A lone female Tufted Duck swimming about on Lower Bruckland Ponds this morning is the best bird sighting I can report. I've just come back from my monthly woodland bird survey, lots of Long-tailed Tit flocks about, so it looks promising for a stripey little one next month : )

Have had the moth trap out over the past two nights. Each night has rewarded me with a 'new for the garden'. Today's was the smartest...

A Frosted Orange - great name!

Yesterday's first was this...

Blair's Shoulder Knot

Yesterday's haul was 32 moths of 9 species: 19 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 4 Large Yellow Underwing, 3 Large Ranunculus, and singles of: Willow Beauty, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Square-spot Rustic, Green Carpet, L-album Wainscot and the Blair's Shoulder Knot.

Today gave me 50 moths of 16 species: 21 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 5 Large Yellow Underwing, 5 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 4 Common Marbled Carpet, 2 Large Ranunculus, 2 Light Emerald, 2 Lunar Underwing, and singles of: Dark Sword Grass, Brimstone, Snout, L-album Wainscot, Green Carpet, Garden Carpet, Vine's Rustic, Cypress Pug and the Frosted Orange.

Monday, 28 September 2009

An Eventful Few Days

The title of this post has nothing to do with birding... if it had been something to do with the birding on patch of late it would read "A Dull And Boring Want To Stay In Bed And Drink Coffee All Day Few Days!"...

I will start with the birds....it won't take long! Today's highlight flew over whilst I was watching 14 Common Scoter loafing about in the bay mid morning, it was my first Siskin of the autumn. Yes - that really was the highlight of today.... in fact it's my birding highlight of the last four days!!!

I have to say, tonight did see a minor improvement during an estuary wander. Still very few waders about, with just five Lapwing, one Ringed Plover, two Barwits, one Blackwit and two Green Sands (along with the usual Redshank, Snipe, Curlew and Oystercatchers). Three Shoveler, 27 Wigeon and 60+ Teal represent the interesting wildfowl on the river today. But I am pleased to report that the large numbers of Gulls of late have finally pulled in a Med Gull - a colour ringed adult was north of Coronation Corner tonight. It was a bearing a red colour ring, but remained too distant to read. Arse!

So with the birding so poor, what do I do for photos.....well it's simple! Either take a mediocre photo or two of a relatively common bird, like this....

We are graced with lots of these lovely birds...they rarely stop still for long though!

Or take a photo NOT of a bird at all...

'Red sky at night' over the River Axe from Coronation Corner

Anyway, back to the title. It has been eventful indeed.... mostly because yesterday was my 24th birthday!!! : )

It was an excellent day! I spent part of the afternoon jumping up and down on a trampoline in James McCarthy's back garden, and enjoyed a yummy carvery in the evening with 13 others at the Hare and Hounds. I've got a wonderful selection of cards, and thought I'd share my top three with everyone....

At three....

I have to admit it took me a while to 'get' this one!...

In second place....

Nothing special... until you try and open it...

I was actually confused for a very short while! And when I did open it...

Very funny!

But top spot goes to this one, bought by fellow Co-op 'inmate' Jess, it made me laugh and laugh and laugh...

Genius choice in card!! : )

The fact it was my birthday wasn't the only thing to make the last few days eventful...

The moth I mentioned in my last post, the one that no one could ID, I sent it off for a closer look... It was indeed a Square-spot Dart. Quite a rare species - especially on the south coast of Devon.

Lastly, and in a totally different league of seriousness, Kym and I witnessed a nasty car accident on Saturday night - though amazingly no one was hurt!

Kym was driving me home from Sidmouth Carnival, we were driving up the steep and dark hill out of Sidford towards Seaton. Suddenly we could see a figure dressed in all dark jump out the way of an oncoming car, then that car rolled and landed on it's roof....right in front of us! We were both ****ing ourselves! If we had been a few second later.... or if the rolled car had continued to roll down the hill....

After I dialled 999, we were relieved to see the driver clamber out of the car with only a small cut. I was impressed with the emergency services; Ambulance within three minutes, Police and Fire another two minutes later. We waited around for 40 mins to give our statements, then continued home for a much needed cuppa!

And that's then end of this 'eventful' post...

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Pec Sand Revisited And A Few New Moths

Ian Seward kindly sent me these fantastic images of the Pec Sand on Blackhole Marsh last week.

I said there would be some much better photos than my lousy record shots, and these are them...


Stunning photos of a stunning bird! Thanks Ian : )

The birding of the last few days has been flat, Meadow Pipits seem to be on move but little else. So time to turn to moths....

Have had the trap on every night over the past three nights. Firsts for the garden include....

Lunar Underwing; I caught another two this morning, neither of them looking anything like this one!

Dark Spectacle

And than there's this... No one really is sure what this guy is, I have a hunch and hope my hunch is right! But whatever it is, it's a first for the garden as I've not seen one before....

White-line Dart/Square-spot Dart/something else!?...

And here's the catches in full...

Tuesday 22nd; 22 moths of 18 species: 10 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 9 Large Yellow Underwing, 7 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 6 Angle Shades, 3 Willow Beauty, 3 Light Emerald, 3 Snout, 2 Small Square-spot, 2 Vine's Rustic, 2 Common Marbled Carpet, and singles of: Square-spot Rustic, Dusky Thorn, L-album Wainscot, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Brimstone, Lunar Underwing, Flounced Rustic and Large Ranunculus.

Wednesday 23rd; 24 moths of 12 species: 7 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 4 Light Emerald, 3 Silver Y, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwing, and singles of: Large Yellow Underwing, Brimstone, L-album Wainscot, Vine's Rustic, Snout, Square-spot Rustic, Dark Spectacle and the unknown thingy!

Today; 38 species of 10 species: 14 Setaceous Herbrew Charcter, 6 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 5 Silver Y, 4 Large Yellow Underwing, 2 Lunar Underwing, 2 Vine's Rustic, 2 Light Emerald, and singles of: Angle Shades, L-album Wainscot and Pine Carpet.

I've caught six L-album Wainscot in the past ten days. Which I'm very pleased about as they are lovely little moths! Also, on a totally different note, I see our Glossy Ibis eventually wound up at Dungeness RSPB - well at least five of them did anyway!

I hope the birding scene picks up soon.... and next week I've got three whole entire days off work, excellent! : )

Monday, 21 September 2009

Hmmmmmmmmm....

Guess what I saw in the garden yesterday?.....

Only the second one I've seen here since we moved in 18 years ago.... was it a bird?... was it a bug?...

NOPE - it was this....

Soooooo cute!

As you may have guessed from the cable in the back ground of the above photo - and the fact that I was in the garden at night - I had the moth traps out last night. I didn't have much to show for it though, just 46 moths of 15 species. This did include two new for the gardens though, one was this migrant that I've been waiting for...

Pearly Underwing; it really does have a pearly underwing too!

The other first for the garden was this...

A lovely moth - a Large Ranunculus

I had another of these, but as you can see from the following photo it was quite different, being smaller with a nice (albeit jagged) black cross-line. I was hoping it was going to turn out to be a Black-banded...

....no such luck though... Large Ranunculus number two!

The rest of the catch was made up of: 14 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 6 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 5 Snout, 4 Square-spot Rustic, 3 Large Yellow Underwing, 3 Light Emerald, 2 Vine's Rustic, 2 Silver Y, and singles of: Angle Shades, Dusky Thorn, Common Marbled Carpet, Shuttle-shaped Dart and Common Wainscot.

I spent lots of time out in the field today, I FINALLY have had a day-off!!! : ) To sum it all up though... I saw BUGGER ALL!

Axe Cliff was quite exciting this morning, well, it was if you like Meadow Pipits! Fortunately I LOVE Meadow Pipits, so it was great! There were large flocks moving west; some going straight over, others gradually hopping from field to field. COOL! There were a few alba Wags and single Grey and Yellow Wags in with them. Also a few Skylarks and Linnets hanging about in the fields, which is promising! In the bushes - migrants wise - there were plenty of Chiffs, one Willow Warbler, a few Blackcaps, and nowt else...

Not much new on the river, well nothing new in fact! Two Bar and six Black-tailed Godwits, five Ringed Plovers and three Dunlin.

That's it really! I'm off to bed now, good night all...

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Anyone For Ibis?

.................................GET IN!

At 07:10 this morning, Nick phoned to say Clive had got SIX GLOSSY IBIS on Blackhole Marsh. FLIPPING HECK!!!!!!...............

Ten minutes later I was on site and had a patch tick under the belt : ) After about 15 minutes or so, they took off and flew low over the tram line and across the river. Soon afterwards they were relocated below the farm gate. Great find Clive - well done!

I had to pop into work this morning, but mid morning I went to the farm gate to get more of them! What superb birds....and about BLOODY TIME! Year after year after year we've being saying "we must get a Glossy Ibis this year..."

Here are some photos from this morning, starting with part of the view from the farm gate...


Can you see them? Between the near hedge and that narrow strip of water...

All six of them... and a Blackwit!

And here's a few more snaps of the birds...

Stunning birds! And they look so at home here!

Nice to see some friendly faces this morning. After I'd been studying the birds, I turned around and momentarily thought I had been transported to Somerset....

THE Somerset Boys.... accept no imitations!

Normally you can squeeze three cars in at the farm gate, that went out the window this morning...

I guess it will only get worse.... oh well - plod drove past several times without stopping!

This happens a lot here, we get a good run of scarce birds, then a real goodie appears (or six in this case!). Let's just hope the run continues....

Friday, 18 September 2009

Some More Exciting Birding....Or Not

I hate work.... I don't hate my work (well mostly I do, but not always!).... I just hate work because it gets in the way of all the important things.... like birding!

But whilst I've been stuck in the shop have I been missing much???... Going by what I have seen when I have been out over the last two days... NO! Which is the right answer : )


Yesterday, my 12 hour day didn't start 'til 10am, so I started the day with a seawatch. There were no 'sea birds' on the move, but plenty of passerines. Swallows, House Martins and Meadow Pipits were streaming east through the bay, along with a nice Hobby. A Teal flew west with two Shelduck - but that was as good as it got over the waves. On the beach was this nice Wheatear...

All Wheatears are nice (especially if the are black and white... even more so if they are just Black!!!)

I then gave Blackhole Marsh a quick scan. The Pec Sand was still there, and at least 260 Teal represented a very good count for the patch... still no Blue-winged... or Garganey even!

Now to today, which should be my day-off... I'm going to work in a minute : (

Seawatching was as bad as it was yesterday, and made even poorer by much fewer passerines on the move. A beach walk made things a bit better with seven Ringed Plovers, five Dunlin and two Wheatear. A visit to Blackhole Marsh failed to show the Pec Sand (has it gone?), but nine Ringed Plover were here. No Dunlin though!?

A look along the estuary after the tide had dropped revealed the Barwit still, along with another one! Also three Blackwits. I love Barwits! Yes Blackwits are a bit more colourful in flight, but just look at this beaut...

Soooooo sweet!

This one must have a stray Cattle Egret gene in it somewhere 'cuz it's doing something odd with its head/neck!

I just watched the 'Tour of Britain' thingy which came through Seaton. It was over in a bit of a flash, but exciting never-the-less! If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about/want to know more about it/are fed up of my blog and what to get to a different website VERY quickly, then click HERE.

Half of the Devon and Cornwall Police came though with them too, so today would be a good day to rob a bank!!! If you are that way inclined....

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A VERY Beneficial Shopping Trip!

Still have very limited time for birding at the moment - all a bit crazy really!! Mid morning I realised I desperately needed a trip to Tesco, so off I went. I wasn't in here long, only about ten minutes, but got what was needed. And no Gav - it wasn't just doughnuts and cakes!!!

Driving home, I always go the estuary way, and I nearly never drive past the 'Farm Gate' near Axmouth without stopping for a quick scan. I did just that. With the bins I could see a small wader on the river below, so got the telescope out to inspect... it was a Common Sand. I pulled the scope up a little to have a look over Blackhole Marsh, though it is about half a mile away from the Farm Gate!

I could see a Lapwing, and something else with it... hmmmm....

Almost immediately I knew something wasn't right, and when it started moving - I REALLY knew something wasn't right. It was starting to look like (a very distant!)
Pec Sand! I jumped back in to the car and zoomed round to Blackhole Marsh - much to my annoyance though I must add as I really didn't have the time!

I ditched the car, ran down the track, scope out...a cracking juv PEC SAND! : ) I put the news out and waited 'til the first birder arrived - which was Gav - then had to promptly leave. I'm glad to say it stayed put all day, and plenty of birders have been over to see it.

Before Gav arrived I fired off some record shots. They are VERY bad record shots, I'm sure there's lots more better photos about, but it's gotta be done...

I said they were bad!! My seventh on patch Pec

It just shows though, even the briefest of looks can reveal a goodie.... you just never know....

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

All Work And No Play

I've been working far too much! And have far too much work on the horizon!

The only birding I have managed was a quick whizz up the river yesterday morning, where this Bar-tailed Godwit was the highlight - my second of the autumn...

Look how over-exposed that Black-headed Gull is!!

I had the moth trap out on Sunday night, and was rewarded with an OK catch. It gave me 81 moths of 16 species, one of them was this darn smart moth...

L-album Wainscot - a south coast speciality - and what a great name!

The rest of the catch was made up of: 31 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 10 Large Yellow Underwing, 10 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 6 Angle Shades, 4 Brimstone, 4 Snout, 3 Light Emerald, 3 Square-spot Rustic, 2 Dusky Thorn, 2 Silver Y, and singles of: Vine's Rustic, Willow Beauty, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Green Carpet and Garden Carpet.

Still awaiting my Convolvulus...

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Another Portland Ribbon Wave

I've been working lots over the weekend, so haven't had chance for much birding at all. On Friday night though I had the moth trap out. When I went to bed the conditions were perfect, but when I woke up at 6am on Saturday morning there was a gale force NE blowing!!!

Only caught 80 moths of 20 species. But as the title suggest, one of them was another of these...

Subtly differently marked than my first one - Portland Ribbon Wave number two!

I did have a first for the garden too...

Centre-barred Sallow

The rest of the catch was made up of: 29 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 12 Large Yellow Underwing, 10 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 4 Willow Beauty, 4 Brimstone, 3 Silver Y, 2 Square-spot Rustic, 2 Common Marbled Carpet, 2 Garden Carpet, 2 Vine's Rustic, and singles of: Green Carpet, Purple Bar, Small Fan-footed Wave, Common Wainscot, Smoky Wainscot, Small Square-spot, Knot Grass and Snout.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Today's Birding Antics And The World's Best Chocolate Bar

I'll split this post in two, not Birds and Moths though....but Birds and Jibberish! I didn't bother with the moth trap list night, as a catch the night before was totally rubbish! Am trying again tonight though as it's fairly still.

Anyway, back to this post, and I will start with...

BIRDS

Seems to be lots happening at the moment. I joined Ian M and Gav at Blackhole Marsh mid morning, and returned here mid afternoon. Hirundines, Meadow Pipits and Yellow Wags were flying about left right and centre, with a Hobby seen over the valley on both visits. At least three White Wags were feeding on the islands in the afternoon.

It's clear there's been some duck movement recently too, with an impressive flock of c150 Teal whizzing about in the sky after a Chinnock went over in the morning. This afternoon a drake Gadwall was feeding in the corner of the marsh, I had seen it earlier in the day flying over the estuary with a Mallard.

In my opinion a subtly gorgeous duck

The highlight in the wader department today was the three gorgeous Little Stints on Blackhole Marsh this morning, with a small group of Dunlin and Ringed Plover. The light was strong and coming from the wrong direction, but I still tried some photos and am quite pleased with the results. Also singles of Greenshank and Green Sand here.

Stunning little things!

Other waders I've seen in different parts of the river valley today include eight Blackwits and seven Lapwing.

I was treated to an incredible spectacle tonight. Approaching 8pm well over a thousand hirundines went to roost in the crop fields beside Colyford WTW. It really was quite a sight - and sound! I tried to capture it on camera but it was just too dark. This was my best attempt...


This really doesn't do it justice - I urge people to witness it tomorrow night

The only other notable sighting I can report is of a single Whinchat at Lower Bruckland Ponds; only the second one I've ever seen at this site. I'll finish the birdie part of this post with a Little Egret photo I took this afternoon, again the sun was too bright really...

Looking for dinner!

JIBBERISH

This morning, this publication landed on the door mat...

It's the Irish Wetland Bird Survey newsletter (issue 13)

And why do I have this...living in south Devon and all? Well this was page 4...

Anyone recognise something....?

A closer look...

It's CILY! My photo of her too : )

So does this make me an internationally renowned photographer?! If anyone can't remember the journey this bird made, click HERE

Lastly, the second part of the title...

Yesterday we had about 30 cases of these come in...

FLIPPING HECK!

After I tried my first one at about 15:00 yesterday, I've bought twelve of them! And this is why they are soooooooooooooooooooo gooooooooooooooooooood.....

To die for!!

They will only be available for a limited time, so get one while you can! And before I eat them all...

Thursday, 10 September 2009

The Invisible Osprey

Now this is cool!!!

Click on the link here (after you've read the waffle below!): http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/tracking/lochgartenospreys/index.asp

Scroll down the page a little and look at the Google Map. In particular follow 'Rothes' route - look where she was on 12th August.... in BRANSCOMBE! This was after she had flown over/past Seaton. She spent the night here (roosting at 9pm and waking up at 9am) before continuing down the south coast of Devon. AMAZING STUFF!

I think we actually do really well for Ospreys here, and I reckon if we had an all day sky vigil every day throughout the autumn we'd see many many more flying over south without stopping.

I have a theory behind this too. If an Osprey flies down the west coast of UK, it would most likely fly to the southern most point of Wales before crossing the Bristol Channel. This point of Wales is roughly opposite the mouth of the River Parrett. So, it crosses the channel, sees the Parrett and heads for it, then up it. The river finishes at about Bridgwater, so it just plods on heading south from here. And almost directly south of Bridgwater is....Seaton!!! How does that rate as a theory then??

On a totally different note; Dawlish had an Aquatic Warbler today - gripping!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A Poor Night For Moths (In Seaton Anyway!)

I had both traps out last night, but caught only 94 moths of 14 species.

The only first for the garden was this common critter...

Flounced Rustic

The rest of the catch was made up of: 36 Large Yellow Underwing, 23 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 10 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 8 Silver Y, 4 Vine's Rustic, 3 Brimstone, 2 Dark Sword Grass, 2 Common Wainscot, and singles of: Burnished Brass, Green Carpet, Small Fan-footed Wave, Shuttle-shaped Dart and Light Emerald.

I suppose - despite the low numbers - there are some niceties in that list. It was only my third ever Brunished Brass, my first Emerald for ages, and the first time I've caught more than one Dark Sword Grass in a night! Also, I always love seeing a few of these...

Common but fab; one of the Silver Y's

There was also another micro that I just couldn't ignore! This is a Brown China-mark; like all the China-marks the larvae is totally aquatic - so glad we decided to put a pond in all those years ago! : )

Pretty little thing!

Seeing Portland had another fine Hawkmoth last night, along with two Convolvulus for good measure, the trap is out again tonight...

I quick trip to Colyford Marsh mid morning showed five Green Sands, two Lapwing and a Blackwit. Still no Glossy Ibis...