Sunday 30 June 2019

Little Tern and Slav

Off the Imperial early morning - 1 Little Tern, 2 Mediterranean Gull and the resident Slavonian Grebe - sitting off Starcross.
Otherwise today - a couple hours trying to photograph White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary failed on both counts. Both were seen but neither played ball. Plenty of other lovely butterflies around though...


Small Skipper

Green Hairstreak

Painted Lady - still seeing plenty of these.

Silver-studded Blue

Sunbathing Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Large Skipper

Saturday 29 June 2019

Clouded Brindle and Little Gull

Clouded Brindle - don't really know why it has taken me so many years to see what is essentially a common and widespread species.
A bulging moth trap this morning and the birding wasn't bad either. The estuary, from the Imperial and Mudbank, produced 13+ Sandwich Tern, 3 Common Tern, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Whimbrel, 2 adult Mediterranean Gull and best of all - a first-summer Little Gull - my first in Exmouth this year. Sadly no sign of the Caspian Tern today, but it has been established, thanks to Dave Boult's superb photographic skills, that it was ringed as a chick in southern Sweden, in a place called Oxelosund. Apparently it was ringed in 2016 as part of an on-going conservation project. Fascinating stuff!
Good to see Steve Young this morning. Can't remember the last time we bumped in to each other. Sorry the tern didn't oblige.

Common Slender - Gracillaria syringella

Lime Hawkmoth - don't see too many of these.

A surprise to get two Scarce Silver-lines in the trap this morning, having seen only my second ever just a few days ago.

Sallow Kitten

 Scarce Chaser - plentiful at Lower Bruckland Ponds. Was hoping for Steve's Lesser Emperor but no luck today, although I think I had one briefly before it was chased high in to the sky by an Emperor. A very pleasant hour in a beautiful spot, despite dipping.

Beautiful Snout - a fresh one. I just don't get this species here in Exmouth but thankfully Martin does. Only the second one I've seen but the smartest by a mile!

Gold Spot from Martin's trap. Reckon this one only emerged yesterday. It's in perfect condition.

Friday 28 June 2019

Marbled White

My first Marbled White of 2019 this evening, along the cycle path between Mudbank and West Lodge. Also had my first White Admiral up at Squabmoor Reservoir earlier.

Four of five adult Mediterranean Gulls together off Mudbank this afternoon. At least 16 Sandwich Tern off there too.

Thursday 27 June 2019

Caspian Tern

Crappy field notes taken just after finding it. I'm relieved this wasn't my only documentation of the bird but it would have been better than nothing.
With my GCSE classes long since finished I was able to (but not strictly supposed to) extend my lunch break today and check the river. Shortly after 2pm I was casually chatting to John Swain, scanning Cockle Sands, when I realised the tern I was looking at looked a bit large! The heat 'shimmer' meant the bill looked just dark, but the thing was only a fraction smaller than adjacent Herring Gulls! I voiced my suspicions that it was Caspian Tern to John and it took flight to reveal big dark undersides to the primaries. It looked huge! It immediately dropped down amongst Herring Gulls and I started texting the news out.
Next came some very ropey field notes and then the bird was gone. I picked it up very briefly about ten minutes later, feeding towards Lympstone, but there was no further sign until Kev thankfully relocated it off the viewing platform at Bowling Green.
 I couldn't resist getting better views so I jumped in the car and went to see it. By this time a number of birders had been and gone from Mudbank, but I think most people managed to catch up with it off the viewing platform.
The only other birds of note off Mudbank today were two or three Mediterranean Gulls and the first two returning Redshank.
Although not visible in this photo the bird is wearing a red darvic ring on its left leg.

From its original position on mud off the viewing platform, it flew a short distance down river and landed next to some Black-headed Gulls which it dwarfed.

Four-dotted Footman - my first in Exmouth.

Bordered Sallow - always a joy to find this beautiful species in the trap.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Scarce Silver-lines

I've only ever seen one Scarce Silver-lines before so was delighted when Nick came over with this stunning specimen - 'fresh out the box'. Thank you Nick!

An as yet unidentified caterpillar that was stuck to the outside of the trap this morning.

With all the Painted Ladies and Red Admirals around I had high hopes for the moth trap least night. This Maiden's Blush was the highlight, despite being a bit tatty, with one Dark Sword-grass and a single Silver Y the only immigrant species.

Nick and I headed over to Topsham to see Yellow-legged Clearwing - a truly stunning little moth that you'd probably never see without a pheromone lure.

Banded Demoiselle - male, Topsham

Monday 24 June 2019

Painted Lady Influx and Marsh Grass-veneer

Masses of these around today. Every time I looked out a window at work they were bombing past and a late afternoon walk on the local heathland produced dozens more sightings. Always exciting to see these influxes. They were accompanied by plenty of Red Admirals too.
Marsh Grass-veneer - Crambus uliginosellus - a brand new 'grass moth' for me and a very localised species by all accounts, found in a bog whilst continuing my, so far fruitless, quest for Southern Damselfly.

Painted Lady and Red Admiral on Buddleia in the front garden. No escaping these today!


Dingy Shell in its typical resting posture. My first trapped in Exmouth, following my first ever last year which was trapped in Saint Hill by Martin.

Clouded-bordered Brindle - one of two trapped last night.

Adult summer-plumaged Mediterranean Gull. Three first-summers also present. Also 14+ Sandwich Tern and my first juvenile Black-headed Gull of the summer.

Adult summer Black-tailed Godwit - Mudbank - either very early returning from Iceland or very late arriving. Presumably the former.
Small Elephant Hawkmoth - in the trap this morning with four Elephant Hawkmoths and a heap of other common stuff that included c10+ Dusky Brocade, L-album Wainscot, Treble Brown Spot, Haworth's Pug, Foxglove Pug, Sandy Carpet and a Rusty Dot Pearl - the only immigrant species.

Sunday 23 June 2019

Dotted-margin Bagworm

Dotted-margin Bagworm - Diplodoma laichartingella. According to the 'Field Guide to the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland' the larvae feed on decaying plant matter, fungi, mosses, lichens and dead insects. They live in a larval case.

Sandwich Tern - Mudbank. At least 36 present today, along with two Common Tern and c40+ Black-headed Gulls. This individual is ringed but I couldn't read any details.

Saturday 22 June 2019


Pyramidal Orchid - Berrow - no luck with Red-belted Clearwing at this site today, but a good day out with Dave and Martin looking for moths.

Orchid sp.

Forester or possibly Cistus Forester - Stock Hill, nr Priddy - one of c12+ seen - an absolutely sensational moth and a lifer for all of us. I think size-wise this is likely to be Forester but I'm not confident enough to be 100% certain.

Chimney Sweeper - Stock Hill - one of c10+ seen. Two or three Tree Pipits on territory at this site too.

Stock Hill near Priddy in the Mendips, Somerset. Burnet Companion, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Small Heath, Large Skipper and Common Blue also seen at this site.

On Thyme.

Orchid sp.

The view from Collard Hill, near Street on a quick stop-off to see Large Blue...

Large Blue - Collard Hill - will need to go back for open wing shots... Two or three individuals seen.

Bee Orchids - Topsham - had a quick look at these before picking up Dave and Martin.