Thursday, 26 May 2022

Climbing Corydalis

Climbing Corydalis - I hope I've got that right. I was delighted to find a sizeable patch of this on open, bare ground, on local heathland this afternoon. A new one for me and one I always assumed I'd discover in a hedge.

Plain Gold Micropterix calthella not for the first time, this tiny micro moth species was found crowding out a Buttercup.

Early Marsh Orchid - these are out in numbers now.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Grass Vetchling YLG

Grass Vetchling - an absolutely stunning, jewel-like little flower and one of my favourites.

After having not seen it for a few days, it was good to see the first-summer Yellow-legged Gull, back in the coastal waste recycling centre. Otherwise just the usual 3 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and single Pale-bellied Brent Goose off Mudbank, along with 1 Bar-tailed Godwit.

Yellow-legged Gull - flanked by an adult Herring Gull and a first-summer Great Black-backed Gull.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Bits and Pieces

Shoulder-striped Wainscot.

Very quiet still, on the bird front. Three Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a single Pale-bellied Brent Goose remain off Mudbank, and a Cuckoo is still advertising its presence from the Bystock reserve. A couple Nightjars burst into some day-churring and, nearby, a Red Kite was watched distantly from Blackhill Quarry. 

Heath Spotted Orchid on a damp Woodbury Common last night. Below - an equally soggy Early Marsh Orchid.

Early Marsh Orchid.

Heath Spotted Orchids.

This albino Rabbit ran around me in circles before diving into some Brambles, on East Budleigh Common. Reckon it's somebody's ex pet.

Some delicate, white Heath Spotted Orchids. Absolutely masses of these out now. I just love them.

The vast majority of local Common Spotted Orchids are still not out. It won't be long though...

Bee Orchids are hard to find in Exmouth at the moment. I'm not sure it's going to be as good a year as last year, but I suppose it's still a bit early.

This afternoon's Green Hairstreak and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary were both 'firsts of the year' for me.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Breeding Stonechats

Stonechats breed on higher ground around the fringes of Exmouth but, as far as I can recall, I 've never had breeding birds on Orcombe Point before. At least 3 juveniles were noted this morning, alongside both parent birds.

Two of the three juvenile Stonechats.

Woundwort Shieldbug - many thanks to John for the identification.

My first Common Spotted Orchid of the spring.

Black-tailed Skimmer.

Common Blue.

Painted Lady.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Early Marsh Orchid

Lu and I walked the dog on the pebbled heaths this afternoon and discovered a number of Early Marsh Orchids in bloom. It's wonderful to see them again. This particular magenta-pink subspecies is called pulchella and is the form found in acidic bogs. Kev and I saw the salmon-pink incarnata and the redder coccinea forms in damp, sand dune habitat, south Wales, last summer.

Not much bird news today but 3 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were with a single Pale-bellied Brent Goose off Mudbank. Also off there - 5 Sandwich Terns, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 7 Whimbrel and 17 Curlew.
The drake Tufted Duck was still on Bystock Pool and the Spotted Flycatcher was still there, hopefully on territory.

Small Heath.

Heath Spotted Orchid.

Pale Dog-violet.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - Mudbank.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Bloxworth Snout

Bloxworth Snout. Presumably just out of hibernation, this is by far the smartest example of this species that I've ever seen. Discovered at work.

The Bonaparte's Gull was again off the Imperial this evening. It was there when I popped down, just before 8pm, this evening but gone again by about 815pm. Not sure what direction it flew in but I doubt it went far. Also on the lower part of the river this evening - 3 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, c60 Black-headed Gulls and a Sparrowhawk.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Early Bonaparte's

First-summer Bonaparte's Gull (right) - Duck Pond.

I had a quick look off the seafront first thing but could only manage a single Great Northern Diver. I then tried to track down the Bonaparte's Gull as the tide slowly crept in, picking it up off Mudbank, briefly, before it moved into the Duck Pond area. I watched it until about 7am, when I had to leave to get ready for work.
Also in the estuary - the 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese still, 15 Turnstones and 3 Dunlin.
Lu and I went for a walk on Withycombe Raleigh Common, after work, where a fly-over Red Kite was noted. Nearby, at Bystock Pool, a drake Tufted Duck still, and a confiding Spotted Flycatcher. The Cuckoo could be heard calling distantly, possibly over towards Squabmoor.
Got soaked this evening, fully expecting more views of the Bonaparte's but sadly it wasn't to be. Some compensation with a Little Tern, 6 Sandwich Terns, 2 first-summer Mediterranean Gulls, c40 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 15 Whimbrel and a Peregrine. The first-summer Yellow-legged Gull spent the evening at the recycling centre and adjacent rugby pitch. Despite the Bonaparte's 'no show' it was lovely to see Mark, Dave, Andy, Tom and Paul.

I made a right mess of photographing the underwing but this shot at least shows that bright, white underside to the primaries - the easiest to way to pick out a Bonaparte's Gull at a distance.

Third from left with Black-headed Gulls.

Red Kite - Withycombe Raleigh Common.

Common Blue.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Bonaparte's Gull

A quick look off Mudbank, after dinner this evening, was initially disappointing. I thought there'd still be some mud exposed but there wasn't. Quite soon however, I realised there were some Black-headed Gulls feeding way out in the middle of the river, so I grabbed the scope and checked through them, quickly clapping eyes on a first-summer Bonaparte's Gull. Unfortunately, in the evenings from Mudbank,  you're looking right into the sun, so it was never easy to pick out. I was joined by Derek and we moved round to the Imperial recreation ground, but it was still distant and difficult to pick out. At one point it disappeared for quite a while  and was eventually picked up,  sat on the water, well away from the main feeding flock. It was too tricky for a photo, even by my standards, so I scribbled some sketches. Also in the flock - 10+ Sandwich Terns and at least 1 Mediterranean Gull. A big surprise was the sudden appearance of 2 Goosanders that flew through the scope view whilst watching the gull. I think there's a reasonable chance it'll hang around, as others have tended to do, and will try from the Imperial rec before work tomorrow morning.
Nearby, the first-summer Yellow-legged Gull was again in the recycling centre.

Bithynian Vetch is now in flower along the cycle path.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Rosy T

Red Kite - a very tatty individual over Bicton Common this morning.

I had a look off the seafront this morning, from the raised beach huts, between 0540 and 0730. The easterly breeze had clearly encouraged quite a few birds into the bay. As well as the expected Gannets and Kittiwakes, I logged 2 Great Northern Divers, 7+ Manx Shearwaters, 1 Balearic Shearwater (east), 20+ auk sp, 5 Guillemots, 17+ Black-headed Gulls, c50 Common Scoters, 1 dark phase Arctic Skua, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Fulmar, 4 Sandwich Terns, 1 Common Tern and, best of all, a Roseate Tern. The Roseate Tern ranged widely in the bay but stuck with 3 or 4 Sandwich Terns.
A wander round Bicton Common and Blackhill produced 4 Tufted Ducks, 2 Sand Martins, 1 Red Kite, 1 Nightjar and a couple Swifts.

 Amazing how the colours of this Painted Lady perfectly mirror its surroundings. Two Silver Y Moths were found on local heathland this morning. A bit of migration underway?