Wednesday 31 May 2017

May Moths and a July One


Cypress Carpet - a month earlier than expected according to 'Waring and Townsend' which states that it's on the wing in late June/July and October/November.
Trapped last night, in order of appearance - 8 Common Pug, 1 Flame, 2 Brimstone, 1 Scorched Wing, 5 Common Marbled Carpet, 4 Lime-speck Pug, 3 Green Pug, 3+ Vine's Rustic, 17 Heart and Dart, 1 Small Seraphim, 7 Small Magpie, 1 Common Swift, 2 Garden Carpet, 4 Silver Y, several Light Brown Apple Moth, 3 Ruddy Streak, 1 Eyed Hawkmoth, 1 Peppered Moth, 1 Orange Footman, 1 Figure of Eighty, 1 Southern Bell, 1 Coastal Pearl, 1 Freyer's Pug, 1 Pale Tussock, 1 Ringed China-mark, 2 Olive Pearl, 2 Meadow Grey, 1 Marsh Grey, 6 Flame Shoulder, 4 Treble lines, 3 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 1 Narrow-winged Grey, 1 Lychnis, 2 Middle-barred Minor, 3 Small Square-spot, 3 Minor Agg, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 3 Rusty-dot Pearl, 1 Large Yellow Underwing, 1 Cypress Carpet, 1 Small Dusty Wave, 1 Ruddy Carpet, 1 Angle Shades, 1 Grey Pug, 1 Common Carpet, 1 Willow Beauty and 1 Mottled Rustic.

Freyer's Pug

Middle-barred Minor

Scorched Wing

Common Swift

Figure of Eighty

Orange Footman


Large Yellow Underwing

Ringed China-mark

Marsh Grey - Eudonia pallida

Silver Y - a noticeably pallid individual and one of 4 in the trap last night. The only other immigrants were 3 Rusty-dot Pearl.

Olive Pearl - Udea olivalis  - a common and distinctive micro.

Small Seraphim

Common Pug


Sheildbug sp

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Pottering Locally

I set the moth trap last night for the first time in ages. A reasonable number was caught but it was all pretty common stuff, but nice to see all the same. Species included Common Swift, Flame Carpet, Garden Carpet, Ruddy Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Green Carpet, Rivulet, Lime-speck Pug, Common Pug, Grey Pug, Green Pug, Yellow-barred Brindle, Brimstone Moth, Scalloped Hazel, Willow Beauty, Common Wave, Light Emerald, Eyed Hawkmoth, White Ermine, Heart and Dart, Flame Shoulder, Small Square-spot, Angle Shades, Minor Agg, Treble Lines, Vine's Rustic, Mottled Rustic and Snout. Otherwise just a bit of time spent wandering on Lympstone Common and Bystock.
Off Mudbank late this evening - c40 Bar-tailed Godwit, c30+ Turnstone and c250+ Black-headed Gull.
As is becoming customary there are a few unidentified insects below. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Small Square-spot

Ruddy Carpet

Fulvous Clothes Moth

Minor Agg - probably Marbled Minor

Eyed Hawkmoth

Scalloped Hazel

Green Pug - the quest for Sloe Pug continues........

Common Spotted Orchid - one of several on the Bystock reserve. Still tonnes of Heath Spotted Orchid on Woodbury Common too.

Bumblebee sp - possibly Tree Bumblebee? - Bystock

Dragonfly sp - Bystock - possibly Keeled Skimmer (female)?

Female Common Blue - Bystock Reserve

Male Common Blue - Bystock Reserve

Beetle sp - Bystock Reserve - possibly Garden Chafer?

Beetle sp - Orcombe Point (yesterday)

Meadow Brown - hiding in the grass in overcast conditions.

Spotted Flycatcher - good to have these breeding locally. First discovered by Spencer a couple of weeks ago.

Monday 29 May 2017

Alder Kitten

Alder Kitten
When Martin Wolinski casually mentioned that he'd trapped Alder Kitten amongst a big haul of moths last night, my ears pricked up. It's a species I've always wanted to see, so I was delighted when he invited me out to his rural retreat, near Kentisbeare, to take a look.
Closely related to the other 'Kittens' - Poplar and Sallow, Alder Kitten has a dark blackish-grey central cross-band rendering it quite distinctive. The larvae feed on Alder and Birch, neither of which have been particularly plentiful in areas that I've trapped in before.
Amongst a very varied catch were Elephant and Small Elephant Hawkmoth, Least Black Arches, Small Angle Shades, Pinion-streaked Snout, Blood Vein, Clouded Silver, Flame, several Poplar Hawkmoth, Silver Y, Red-green Carpet, Buff Ermine, White Ermine, Ingrailed Clay, Minor Agg, Middle-barred Minor, Iron Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Pebble Prominent, Miller, Alder Moth, Clouded-bordered Brindle, Clouded Border, Flame Shoulder, Figure of Eighty, Common Pug, Grey Pug, Straw Dot, Green Carpet, Silver-ground Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet and Brown Rustic.
Martin has a stunning place in idyllic surroundings, with a beautiful garden that attracts large numbers of insects, thanks to a variety of flowering plants. Consequently the list of species that he traps is extensive. Many thanks Martin!
Least Black Arches
Small Elephant Hawkmoth
Painted Lady - some compensation for the lack of birds on Orcombe this morning.

Sunday 28 May 2017

Bottle-nosed Dolphins, Small Grass Emerald and Fox Moth

Red Kite - one of 7 or 8 seen heading east, from the back garden, yesterday. Their wander-lust takes them all the way down to west Cornwall only to return almost immediately, presumably back to the home counties.
The birding has hit a summer trough here in Exmouth so it was nice for Nick and I to sit and watch a pod of c10+ Bottle-nosed Dolphins off the seafront this morning, thanks to the heads-up from Lee. They were milling around out in the bay, more towards Dawlish then Exmouth, but decent scope views were had. With Lu and the kids spending large amounts of time down at Exmouth festival I was able to get out on the commons with the dog. Not much in the way of birds but two day-churring Nightjar and a family party of 4 or 5 Mistle Thrushes were noted. I spent very little time looking but a single Red Kite was seen today from the garden - tracking north upriver.
Yesterday at least 7 Red Kites were seen from the garden and off Mudbank there were 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Grey Plover and 6 Whimbrel. A quick squiz off the seafront produced 4 Sandwich Tern, a single Common Tern, c15+ Common Scoter, 4 Sanderling and 4 Guillemot.
The day before, on the 26th, I had 1 Great Northern Diver, c20+ Common Scoter, 8 Manx Shearwater, 2 Shelduck, 1 Sanderling, 1 Sandwich Tern and 2+ fs Mediterranean Gull off Orcombe Point, but I managed to spectacularly miss a Black-browed Albatross by a few minutes! Nice one Spencer. I'll get over it one day!
Small Heath - Woodbury Common - one of several on the wing today.

Small Grass Emerald - good numbers of these beauties on the wing on Woodbury Common today. Similar numbers of Common Heath were seen too.

Presumed Swollen-thighed Beetle?

Honey Bee

Buff-tailed Bumblebee - worker. Thanks Nick.

Juvenile Nuthatch

Fox Moth - a male and my first one ever despite having seen numerous larvae.

Presumed Lead Belle - flight season a better fit for this species and zigzag outermost cross-line is well defined. I'd feel happier if the central spots were more tear-shaped but I reckon it's probably Lead rather than July Belle, which should be on the wing from mid June according to Waring and Townsend.

Brown Silver-line

Thursday 25 May 2017

48 Red Kites

A single flock of thirteen Red Kites passed rapidly over Mudbank at 0650. I begrudgingly headed home to get ready for work, fairly certain that they wouldn't be the last to pass westwards. Once at work I pleasantly surprised to discover that my year 11 class would be in a GCSE maths exam so I nipped back home and set the scope up in the garden. Almost immediately I picked up 4 more birds flying low towards the river and they were followed by groups of 8, 4, 1, 3, 2, 6 and 2 before I once again needed to head back to work. All birds were relatively low and all were heading west, most roughly towards Starcross/Cockwood, but a few further upriver. This afternoon, following a call from Keith, I picked up a further five birds, the last one actually heading north upriver rather than west. Many thanks Keith.
So a personal tally of 48 birds by about 5pm but hundreds of birds must have passed through Devon today. I only wish I'd been able to sit and watch for longer. The birds caused very little consternation amongst the local gulls with most groups slipping purposefully but silently west. No doubt there will be numbers building in Cornwall.
The only other raptors noted today were a single Peregrine and 3+ Buzzards.