Monday, 29 August 2016

Teal Influx and Lesser Whitethroat

Juvenile Whinchat - Orcombe Point
The whistling of Wigeon whilst emptying the moth trap this morning persuaded me to check Mudbank before Orcombe Point. An influx of 56 Teal was notable among c200+ Mallard, 2 Pintail and 20 Wigeon, although I suspect there were more as part of the flock was just out of sight. Also present - at least half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls and 3 Whimbrel. Two north-bound Tree Pipits and 2 Grey Wagtails got me jumping in to the car and heading up to Orcombe Point for 7am.
It was quieter than expected up there but a two hour wander, followed by a brief mid-afternoon return visit, produced the following: 15+ Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 5 Tree Pipits, 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 'Alba' Wagtails, 1 Redstart, 5+ Yellow wagtails, 1+ Willow Warbler, 3+ Whitethroats, 5+ Chiffchaffs and 1 Lesser Whitethroat.

Juvenile Whinchat with Dawlish Warren in the background.

The first Redstart of the autumn on Orcombe Point.

Wheatear - 15+ was probably an absolute minimum count. Some birds were seen going straight over quite high up and there were at least a dozen still knocking around this afternoon, which may have been different to those counted this morning.

Record shot of the Lesser Whitethroat. I never have any luck photographing this species. They are scarce migrants on Orcombe and invariably very elusive. This is probably the first photo of one featured on this blog.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Red Underwing

Red Underwing
The species list for last night included Orange swift, Blood-vein, Small Dusty Wave, Common Carpet, Purple Bar, Lime-speck Pug, Double-striped Pug, Yellow-barred Brindle, Brimstone Moth, Dusky Thorn, September Thorn, Willow Beauty, Light Emerald, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Small Square-spot, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Square-spot Rustic, Clay, Feathered Ranunculus, Angle Shades, Flounced Rustic, Rosy Rustic, Vine's Rustic, Red Underwing, Straw Dot, Snout, Garden Pebble, Rusty Dot Pearl, Mother of Pearl, Elbow-striped Grass-veneer, Common Grass-veneer, Garden Rose Tortrix, Beautiful Plume and a few other unidentified micros.

Dark Sword Grass - trapped yesterday

Silver Y - a tiny one.

Rosy Rustic

Thursday, 25 August 2016


Pied Flycatcher and Wheatear
It was good today by Orcombe standards. So good in fact that following an early morning visit (0645 - 0855) I went up again mid-afternoon. The majority of birds were recorded early on but combined totals for the day included 3+ 'Alba' Wagtails, c35+ Yellow Wagtails, 17+ Tree Pipits, 20+ Wheatears, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1+ Sedge Warbler, 6 Whitethroats, 5+ Grey Wagtails, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 9+ Willow Warblers, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1  Reed Bunting, 1 Snipe and 1 Whinchat.
Most of the wagtails and all of the Tree Pipits went straight over but a mobile and very skittish flock of 15 Yellow Wagtails was grounded, despite the absence of any cattle up there at the moment. Grey Wagtail, Green Sandpiper, Snipe and Reed Bunting were all autumn 'firsts' for Orcombe and, incredibly, today's Willow Warblers were the first I've recorded since the spring!
Off Mudbank there were 12 Mediterranean Gulls, 11 Common Gulls, 12 Wigeon, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Knot and 1 Whimbrel.

Maiden's Blush - immigrant species trapped last night included 18 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Silver Y, 3 Rush Veneer and 1 Diamond-back Moth

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Pied Fly

Pied Flycatcher - found feeding along the lane to the Bristol Schools Camp. Never guaranteed on Orcombe but the second this year following one in April.
I should have done Orcombe this morning but after a late night mothing (see previous post) I wasn't quite up for it. I did however manage to get out early afternoon, and logged 1 Pied Flycatcher, 7+ Wheatear and a steady passage of Swallows north-westwards. I've had a couple Yellow Wagtails go over today, whilst out and about, and a Tree Pipit flew north over the garden this morning.
Yesterday Nick and I logged a mini flock of 5 Tree Pipits on Orcombe Point and a single Wheatear.
There were 4 Black Swans distantly off Mudbank too.
Several Vapourer Moths have been bombing through the garden today and other sightings have included Clouded Yellow, Silver Y and Rush Veneer.

Wheatear - one of at least 7 on Orcombe this afternoon.

Exminster Mothing

Beautiful China-mark
Derek, Nick, Martin and I ran a couple traps at Exminster Marshes last night. We were fortunate that conditions were spot on and we recorded a nice selection of species that included a few immigrants  - 2 Silver Y, 2+ Rusty-dot Pearl, 2+ Rush Veneer, 1 Vestal and 1 Vagrant Piercer (Cydia amplana). All four China-mark species were recorded as well as some other marshland species, notably Bulrush Veneer (Calamotropha paludella), Cream-bordered Green Pea and Small Rufous (c10+ individuals). Otherwise the evening's list included Peach Blossom, Blood-vein, Small Fan-footed Wave, Dwarf Cream Wave, Common Carpet, Green Carpet, Scallop Shell, Lime-speck Pug, V-Pug, Double-striped Pug, Treble-bar, Small Seraphim, Magpie, Brimstone Moth, Swallow-tailed Moth, Willow Beauty, Common Wave, Dingy Footman, Jersey Tiger, Flame Shoulder, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Least Yellow Underwing, Small Square-spot, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Six-striped Rustic, Square-spot Rustic, Smoky Wainscot, Common Wainscot, Common/Lesser Common Rustic, Mottled Rustic, Straw Dot, Spectacle, Mother of Pearl, Pale-streak Grass-veneer, Common Marble (Celypha lacunana), Rush Marble (Bactra lancealana), Dark-triangle Button (Acleris laterana), Marsh Grey (Eudonia pallida), Light Brown Apple Moth and presumed Water-mint Conch (Phalonidia manniana).
A big thank you to Derek for organising and Nick for driving.

Brown China-mark

Small China-mark

Ringed China-mark

Bulrush Veneer - Calamotropha  paludella
Small Rufous - this species, Six-striped Rustic and Flame Shoulder turned up in reasonable numbers last night but the most common species was Brimstone Moth.

Gold Spot - at least five of this stunning species was trapped.

Water-mint Conch - Phalonidia manniana or the recently split Loosestrife Conch (Phalonidia udana) - presumably the former?

Depressaria sp

Pale-streak Grass-veneer - Agriphila selasella - it was good to catch a couple clear-cut examples of this species last night. At least I hope they're clear-cut!

Pale-streak Grass-veneer

Vagrant Piercer - Cydia amplana - the best of the immigrant species.


Monday, 22 August 2016


A beautiful juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull on the beach this morning which initially had me thinking Yellow-legged Gull, such was the contrast in plumage tones. Note however the complete lack of moult in the scapulars. Once in flight the dark wings and amount of dark in the tail showed it was just a LEEB.


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Marsh Harrier

Juvenile Shelduck - Turf
A family dog walk and lunch at Turf was very pleasant. The marshes were bone dry and largely devoid of birds but a cream-crowned Marsh Harrier was a very nice distraction. Perhaps the bird that was reported a while back?
Maer Rocks was quiet this morning with just two Common Sandpipers and a Peregrine making the notebook. The latter looking for all the world like a Merlin as it flew low across the sea on fast-flicking wingbeats. It was only when it showed some interest in a Gannet that its size became apparent. It was good to see Tim down there this morning but disappointing not to be able to locate any Yellow-legged Gulls.
A quick look off Orcombe Point late this afternoon revealed c10+ Manx Shearwaters milling around along with 9 incoming 'Commic' Terns and a lingering Arctic Skua.
The Imperial/Mudbank produced just c20+ 'Commic' Tern, 4 Mediterranean Gulls and a single Greenshank.