Saturday, 24 August 2019


South-bound Swifts very much a feature of today. At least nine hawking around the house this morning and at least half a dozen zooming around over Orcombe this afternoon. I haven't really sussed out if many more are moving south or if I'm watching the same birds feeding in loops around Exmouth. Also from the back garden this morning - 21 Lesser Black-backed Gull south and c20+ House Martin.
Orcombe totals today included 4+ Yellow Wagtail, c20+ Swallow, 5+ Blackcap, 4+ Tree Pipit, 3+ Grey Wagtail and 6+ Swift.
Mudbank - 9 Common Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Ringed Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 7 Teal and 2 Turnstone.

Friday, 23 August 2019


Small Copper - high numbers at Soar this morning. In fact I can confidently say I've never seen so many, with particularly high concentrations around the ponds and between the ponds and Midde Soar.
I had a job to do in Loddiswell this morning so I decided to make the most of having to travel all that way, and have a mooch around one of my favourite paces - Soar. On arrival it was foggy but it soon transformed in to a beautiful morning, and there were a few migrants around - 1 Willow Warbler, 1+ Chiffchaff, 7+ Yellow Wagtail, 6 Meadow Pipit, c40/50+ Swallow, c30/40+ House Martin, 4+ Blackcap, c10+ Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Jay, 1+ Tree Pipit and 2 Wheatear noted but many areas were unchecked.
Good to see Pete and Ian as always, and nice to see good numbers of butterflies with Small White, Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Small Copper and Painted Lady all recorded.

Rush Marble Bactra lancealana - good numbers of these disturbed from Juncus. They are quite variable in appearance...


Meadow Brown on Common Fleabane.

Sedge Warbler

Grasshopper Warbler

Good numbers of Painted Lady around today.

Small Tortoiseshell

Small White

Green-veined White on Water Mint.

Six Meadow Pipits seen this morning. Haven't had any over Orcombe yet.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Large Fruit-tree Tortrix

Large Fruit-tree Tortrix (male) - Archips podana
Still struggling bird-wise in Exmouth and there wasn't too much in the moth trap either. An early morning stroll on Orcombe produced nothing more than 3+ Tree Pipit, c20/30+ Swallow and 6+ House Martin.
The best thing off Mudbank was a Snipe that was flying around calling before heading off east. Also eight Common Gull off there and at least 8 Common Tern in with 20/30+ Sandwich Terns.

Yponomeuta sp

Common Toadflax - many thanks Neil!

Rush Veneer

 Straw Conch - Cochylimorpha straminea

Common Marble - Celypha lacunana
Sparrowhawk on the back garden fence.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Brown Hairstreak

A fabulous trip up the M5 to Netherclay  Community Woodland this morning, just this side of Taunton, with my good friend and neighbour Neil, for Brown Hairstreak. We had to put a bit of work in but it was well worth it, with two beautiful females on their foodplant, Blackthorn. Good to meet Dylan (who got us on to the first individual) and to see Dave Land who's knowledge and expertise is superb. After a bit of sitting this female started to creep downwards along the stem of the blackthorn, feeling with her abdomen for suitable areas on which to lay eggs.
Two Black-tailed Godwits were the highlight off Mudbank this morning. Also present on the incoming tide - 2 Turnstone, 2 Redshank, 3+ Whimbrel, 1 Knot, 1 Ringed Plover and the escaped White-cheeked Pintail in with the Mallard flock for its third day.
Yesterday - 2 Teal, 4 Turnstone, 5 Common Gull and 18 Common Tern noted.

Honeysuckle - lots of this growing at Netherclay - a fantastic reserve beside the river Tone.

Common Darter

Pearly Underwing - a scarce immigrant species that I've only trapped a couple of times before. In its company - 2 White-point, 2 Silver Y and a two or three Rusty Dot Pearl. Migrant lepidoptera on Orcombe this afternoon included Rush Veneer, Painted Lady and Clouded Yellow. One Wheatear on the dung heap.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Red Underwing

Red Underwing - a very infrequently trapped species.

The 'Dot Moth' version of Common/Lesser Common Rustic agg - perhaps more likely Lesser?

Southern Bell - Crocidosema plebejana

Garden Carpet

One of two White-point trapped last night. The only other immigrant species - a couple Rusty Dot Pearl.

Yellow-barred Brindle

Several day-flying Oak Eggars on Orcombe Point at the moment. This one crash-landed long enough for me to grab a photo. Another one was in the trap this morning.

Holly Blue. Green-veined White, Small White, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Painted Lady all out in reasonable numbers on Orcombe. Two Wheatear the only birds of any note.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Foul Weather Few Birds

Yellow-legged Gulls rarely linger at this time of year, so I was surprised to see yesterdays 'Atlantic coast' French bird loitering around the lifeboat station again this morning.
Poor sea-watching again today, but I'm lucky to at least be back home in two minutes from the seafront when conditions aren't great. A couple trips out produced 4+ Mediterranean Gulls, 6 Whimbrel, 8 Common Scoter, 4 juvenile Lesser Back-backed Gulls, 23+ hirundine sp, 9 shearwater sp, at least 2 Great Skua (possibly four), c30+ Manx Shearwater, 12+ Sandwich Tern, 12+ Common Tern, c10+ 'commic' tern, a constant trickle of Kittiwakes (with much higher numbers earlier on) and a fairly steady stream of Gannets. Yesterdays Yellow-legged Gull (R:0F5) was still around first thing.
Late this afternoon - a good gathering of 'storm-sheltering' birds on Cockle Sands included 15 or 16 Knot, 5 Sanderling, 1+ Dunlin, c30+ Common Tern, Several Sandwich Tern, 1 juvenile Little Tern, 1 juvenile Arctic Tern and a few I had to leave unidentified. Also a couple of Kittiwakes.

High numbers of Grey Gorse Piercer Cydia ulicetana on yesterday's dog walk around Bicton Common. Really hard to photograph though as they tend to only land briefly and then shift position.

Hemp-agrimony. It's gradually dawning on me that if I'm going to get batter at identifying micro moths I'm going to have to get better at identifying plants!

It's unusual to get Sandwich Terns and Kittiwakes resting on Exmouth beach. The weather has to be bad enough to put people off.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

French Yellow-legged Gull - pm Edit!

Think this juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was ringed in the Charente Maritime Department, France - awaiting further details. White ring - left tarsus - R:0F5. It was on Exmouth beach, close to the lifeboat station shortly after 6am this morning. I had a Spanish, green-ringed bird a few years ago but didn't manage to get a read on that one. Offshore -  3 Arctic Skua pack-hunting Kittiwakes, a juvenile Arctic Tern in with a dozen or so Sandwich Terns, 1 Sanderling and at least four Mediterranean Gulls.

 Edit - Thanks to Julien Gernigon for his speedy reply - it seems this bird was ringed (presumably as a pullus, when its identity was apparently 'indeterminate') at Les Portes-en-Ré on the Atlantic coast of France on June 11th 2019. It was noted on the 18/6, 27/6 and 4/7 at Les Portes-en-Ré..