Tuesday 31 May 2022

Geese and White Stonechat

This pair of Egyptian Geese was off Mudbank, early morning on the 29/5. They made an awful barking noise before flying off upriver. I've recorded very few of these in Exmouth but five flew past Orcombe Point earlier this year, on the 4th of January.

Off Mudbank today - 3 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 6 Sanderling, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 29 Canada Geese, 100+ Black-headed Gulls and a fly-over Grey Wagtail.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose - there are still three of these off Mudbank, along with a single Pale-bellied Brent Goose.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose.

Lackey Moth caterpillar  - taken yesterday morning along Bournemouth seafront.

A couple of flowers were photographed growing, apparently wild, along Bournemouth seafront. I can't put a name to either so any suggestions would be appreciated. Edit - above - French Lavendar - many thanks to both Gav and Neil for the identification.

Sulphur Cinquefoil - thank you Neil!

Stonechat (presumed juvenile) - Blackhill Quarry. Rupert told me about this striking, pure white bird a couple days ago. Would like to get closer views but it stuck resolutely to the edge of the lake, within the quarry.

Common Spotted Orchid.

Red Kite - Blackhill Quarry.

Speckled Wood.

Green Hairstreak.

 Bee Orchid.

Saturday 28 May 2022

Bird's-nest Orchid

At long last I managed to find a Bird's-nest Orchid! Just the one but, having spent many hours looking, it feels like an accomplishment. I'm not actually sure how scarce these are in Devon but it feels like they are pretty rare to me! Not quite as local as I'd have liked but, nonetheless, very welcome, especially as loads of other stunning orchids were encountered along the way. I saw my first Bird's-nests in Buckinghamshire, almost a year ago today. See here. They were of the rarer 'pallida' form. I also saw some 'gone-over' plants in Gloucestershire, later in the year. They seem to be much more common elsewhere, but not so in Devon. Apparently these orchids are named after their tangled root system, which taps into a particular fungi, in order to steal nutrients (Bird's-nest Orchids have virtually no chlorophyll for photosynthesis, hence the need to parasitize the fungi).

Early Purple Orchids were seen in good numbers today. Some have gone over whilst some look just great!

Common Twayblade. Found in quite dense, shady woodland, as well as more open areas.

Common Spotted Orchid.

Greater Butterfly-orchid.

Common Spotted Orchid.

Common Twayblade.

Greater Butterfly-orchid.

Small Grass Emerald. Lots of these on the wing today, on local heathland. This one has an attractive orangey tinge to it.

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.