Thursday, 13 August 2020

Dark Crimson Underwing

Dark Crimson Underwing - a new one for me but not totally unexpected. It's the third one to be recorded in Devon this week, but there have been many more further east. Am immigrant species and one which all 'mothers' should be on the look-out for as they can turn up pretty much anywhere.
Moths grabbed today's headlines, with very little in the way of migrant birds on Orcombe. Totals included just 3 Wheatear, 6 Swallow, 1 Stonechat, 2 Tree Pipit, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat and 6 Chiffchaff.
Off Mudbank - 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 1 Mediterranean Gull and 3 Wigeon.
Yesterday morning on Orcombe - my first Redstart of the year and 3 Tree Pipit.

The Dark Crimson Underwing was quite willing to play dead (thanatosis) but less keen to reveal its crimson underwings...

Gem - an immigrant species that I don't often catch. Other immigrants were 2 White Point, 4 Turnip Moth, 1 Vestal, 12 Silver Y, 4 Rusty Dot Pearl and 1 Dark Sword-grass.

Adder's-tongue - Dawlish Warren.

Carline Thistle - a very quick trip, in sweltering heat, to Dawlish Warren to see this yesterday. For some inexplicable reason it's one I really wanted to see. I now know why it took so long - it's small!

Small White and Green-veined White - Duckaller Farm, Dawlish.

White-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila latistria - Nick trapped this beauty in Budleigh last night, and kindly popped in with it this afternoon. It's only my second, following one about a year ago that Nick also trapped. It's a very localised species that I've yet to record in Exmouth.

Nick also trapped this Bedstraw Hawkmoth last night. Incredibly it's a different individual to the one he trapped just over a week ago! He's noticed significant differences in the shape and thickness of the black underwing markings. Great work Nick and thank you for bringing it over.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Ruff and Straw Underwing

Juvenile Ruff - Orcombe Point. I was chuffed to find this on the slurry pit early this morning. The slurry pit is famously bad for waders. In over twenty years of watching Orcombe Point I've recorded just single figures of Green Sandpiper and a fly-over Greenshank there. Each time I approach it, it's with the full assumption that there'll be nothing there!
On Orcombe Point this morning - 1 Wheatear, 1 Tree Pipit, 2 Willow Warblers, 6 Swallow, 1 House Martin and a juvenile Ruff. Nearby, on Maer Rocks, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin and 1 Turnstone.
Off Mudbank - 7 Teal, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Wigeon, 188 Mallard and 32 Whimbrel.

The only migrants trapped last night were a couple Rusty Dot Pearl, so it was a nice surprise to stumble upon this Vestal, in cliff-top grass, on Orcombe Point.

Straw Underwing - Martin trapped this beauty last night near Kentisbeare. It's a new one for me and a rare moth in the county, though it's more frequently recorded in other parts of the country. Thank you Martin.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Scarce Bordered Straw

Scarce Bordered Straw - an immigrant species and the best of last night's catch. Otherwise migrants were 3 Silver Y and 3 Rusty Dot Pearl.

Five Teal off Mudbank. Also 3 Wigeon off there but little else.

Unidentified micro. This has both Barry Henwood and Phil Stirling stumped (thank you both) so it's either aberrant or rare!

Dandelion-type weed. I don't know what this is but it feels like it should be identifiable with its whitish petals (striped bluish underneath) and purple-tinged leaves.

Mouse-ear sp? Photographed a couple of weeks ago but still not identified. The hairy leaves are distinctive but similar species I've seen online have orange stripes on the undersides of the petals.

Sunday, 9 August 2020


Three Wheatear, a juvenile Whinchat and a fly-over Green Sandpiper recorded on Orcombe this morning. Nearby, on Maer Rocks, 1 Redshank, 1 Turnstone and 1 Dunlin.

Wigeon - yesterday's bird again present with the Mallard flock off Mudbank.

Pebble Hook-tip

Spindle Knot-horn Nephopterix angustella.

Oak Eggar - two trapped last night. Dozens again on Orcombe, day-flying.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Grey Poplar Bell

Grey Poplar Bell Epinotia nisella. I'm close to both Poplar and Sallow so frequently trap this highly variable species - see below too.
Bird-wise today the only sighting of note was my first returning Wigeon - picked up in flight having been flushed by Paddle-boarders off Mudbank.

Flame Carpet - last night's catch was nothing to write home about but good numbers of Shuttle-shaped Dart, a single Least Yellow Underwing and Oak Nycteoline were perhaps noteworthy. The only migrant - a single Rusty Dot Pearl.

The Fan-foot

Golden-ringed Dragonfly - I record these fairly frequently on Orcombe. This afternoon's male Banded Demoiselle was far more of a surprise, perching twice on barbed wire but not long enough for a record shot. Otherwise masses of day-flying Oak Eggar moths and an almost certain Silver-washed Fritillary.

Friday, 7 August 2020

Brown-veined Wainscot

Brown-veined Wainscot - both forms trapped in good numbers on the River Otter last night, with Nick. The foodplant is Common Reed which is why neither Nick nor I has recorded it as a garden moth. Always lovely to see a new species and to get both colour forms was a bonus. Some nice variety last night included Southern Wainscot, Dark Spectacle, Bulrush Veneer (Calamatropha paludella), White Ermine and Dun-bar. Read Nick's account of the evening here.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Autumn Lady's Tresses

I've been looking forward to seeing Autumn Lady's Tresses (at Dawlish Warren) all summer - the last of the orchids to emerge. Kev texted me yesterday to say they were out, and I was going to wait until more had emerged, in a week or so's time, but in the end I just couldn't.
Apparently you can find these orchids in Exmouth but they're growing on peoples' lawns. I've set myself a little target of finding some accessible ones locally.
 Great to see Alan, Dave and Lee this morning.

I have to say I think this is my new favourite orchid - it's just stunning! Apparently the flowers open sequentially, bottom to top, to avoid self-pollination by insects. The way the plant is delicately twisted adds to its appeal and gives rise to the Latin name Spiranthes spiralis.

Perennial Glasswort

Cirl Bunting

Marsh Helleborine - I wasn't expecting to see these still going strong.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Dolphins, Fox and Cubs

Common Dolphin - one of an estimated 20-30 heading east past Orcombe Point early this morning, not far offshore. I don't often see cetaceans off Orcombe but that's probably because I don't spend much time looking for them. Flat-calm conditions this morning made searching an awful lot easier. I generally see more Bottle-nosed than Commons.
An early morning walk around Orcombe was 'hijacked' by the dolphins but I recorded at least 3 Willow Warblers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and a fly-over Dunlin. Small numbers of Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcap were presumed local breeders.

Orange Hawkweed - also known as Fox-and-cubs. I've been hoping to stumble across this gorgeous 'weed' for ages. Found on a local trading estate whilst killing a bit of time before a dental appointment.