Sunday 31 July 2022

Small Mottled Willow

Small Mottled Willow - this immigrant species accompanied 3 Silver Ys, and a hatful of Rusty Dot Pearls, the night before last (30/7). I've caught a small number of these over the years but this was the first in a long, long while.

Numbers of common wildfowl continue to build off Mudbank. Today's counts included 142+ Mallard, 74 Canada Geese and 18 Mute Swans. Also today - 1 Greenshank, 42 Whimbrel, 175 Curlew, 3 Common Gulls, c5/600 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Common Terns, several Sandwich Terns, and 2 Mediterranean Gulls.
Compare with yesterday's counts of 103 Mallard, 55 Canada Geese, 1 Greenshank, 30+ Whimbrel and 170+ Curlew. The first two Kingfishers were back yesterday - my first Exmouth sighting of this species since the winter.
The first-summer Yellow-legged Gull was again frequenting the recycling centre, early this morning.

Maiden's Blush.

Satin Wave.

Ringed China-mark. I catch this species regularly. Not so the other China-marks, with just 1 Small China-mark making it to the garden so far.

Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana.

Twin-barred Knot-horn Homoeosoma sinuella.

Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana.

Common Yellow Conch Agapeta hamana

 September Thorn. Three trapped Friday night, along with a single Early Thorn.

Small Rivulet.

Spruce Carpet.

Small Seraphim.

Ruby Tiger.

Common Drill Dichorampha petiverella.

Common Emerald - a very common moth but I rarely see them in as perfect condition as this. The checked fringes rapidly wear away and the green fades.

Mocha - always on the cards but this was a first for the garden, here in Exmouth.

First-summer Yellow-legged Gull - recycling centre. I'm glad this bird is around because I've had no success tracking down any juveniles as yet. Should be some in August though...

Friday 29 July 2022

Common Terns, Bordered Straw

One of two very vocal Common Terns off the Imperial recreation ground, first thing.

Off Mudbank today - 30+ Whimbrel, 68 Mallard, 1 Common Gull and 1 Mediterranean Gull. Nearby, off the Imperial - 2 Common Terns and several Sandwich Terns. The first-summer Yellow-legged Gull was in the recycling centre.

Sandwich Tern.

This adult Mediterranean Gull was with a juvenile bird and a handful of Black-headed Gulls, on the beach, yesterday morning.

Amazing how site-faithful this first-summer Yellow-legged Gull is - perched on the Coastal Waste  Recycling Centre roof first thing.

Possible Brown-veined Wainscot in the trap this morning - a bit worn and battered and I have to admit to feeling more than a little uncomfortable about the identification. Can Twin-spotted be ruled out, or even Common/Lesser Common Rustic agg?

My first Six-striped Rustic of the summer. Other species trapped last night included Silver Y (just the one), Canary-shouldered Thorn, Cloaked Minor, Ear Moth, White-spotted Pug, Maple Pug, Pebble Hook-tip, Mullein Wave, Black Arches and Portland Ribbon Wave. A probable Peacock escaped before I could photograph it, which was extremely annoying!

Portland Ribbon Wave.

Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella.

Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella.

Mullein Wave.

Maple Pug. I used to trap this species at my in laws', near Topsham, but this is the first one I've had in the garden, here in Exmouth.

Pebble Hook-tip.

Two Small Red-eyed Damselflies were 'site firsts' on a small pool, above Blackhill Quarry. In fact, I'm pretty sure they're the first I've seen on the pebbled heaths. Entirely anticipated though.

Painted Lady. One of two feeding on Buddleia.

This migrant Bordered Straw was flushed from rough ground whilst looking for dragonflies.

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Back Local

The first-summer Yellow-legged Gull was back in the recycling centre, first thing this morning. Later it was off Mudbank. Need to spend some time looking for juvs...

Counts from Mudbank today - 40 Whimbrel, 66 Mallard, 14 Mute Swans (inc 7 juvs), 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Common Gull, 1 first-summer Yellow-legged Gull, 42 Canada Geese, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 25+ Sandwich Terns and 1+ Common Tern.


White-spotted Pug.

Canary-shouldered Thorn.

Least Carpet.

 One of at least three locally fledged Little Ringed Plovers.

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Orchids, Wales

Aberystwyth - a first time visit for Lu and I. A couple days away, without the kids (who were both working) to look at some special orchids - primarily Irish Lady's-tresses at the Dyfi National Nature Reserve, a few miles up the road from Aberystwyth. Wales was fantastic. Our trip took us through the Brecon Beacons and the breath-takingly beautiful Snowdonia National Park - so wild and unspoiled - loved it! We spent Sunday night in Aberystwyth, Monday night in Bangor and travelled home today, via Wrexham (for Dune and Green-flowered Helleborines).


Irish Lady's-tresses - Dyfi National Nature Reserve. Special arrangements have to be made to see these wonderful orchids. They're only found in North America and at a small number of sites in Ireland and Scotland. They're absent from the rest of Europe and Asia, which makes this tiny, isolated Welsh poulation all the more special. Weirdly, a small colony once persisted on the edge of Dartmoor. A big 'thank you' to Sue, and members of the Hardy Orchid Society, for facilitating the viewing, and to the warden, who discovered this population only recently.

Aberystwyth - looking south from the war memorial.

Lu and I spent a short while on the Great Orme, looking for Dark-red Helleborine. We found just one spike but sadly it had gone over. Another target for another day...

I'm not sure what this species is - growing on the limestone cliffs. Possibly Goldilocks Aster?

Grayling - a sub-species unique to the Great Orme - Hipparchia semele ssp thyone - smaller and on the wing a little earlier apparently.

Lu and I didn't spend much time searching for other stuff, but this Great Orme Berry, a species of Cotoneaster, was in the rock garden on the summit. Found on the Great Orme and nowhere else in the world.

A cable-car and tram both ferry visitors to the summit of Great Orme. Lu and I took the less exciting option and drove up. What a place!


Rock Rose.

A toll road skirts the Great Orme - accessed from Llandudno.

Bloody Crane's-bill.

Alyn Waters, near Wrexham - a fantastic site for helleborines. A huge thank you to Steve Tandy for all the site information. We'd have really struggled without it.

Some of the Broad-leaved Helleborines at Alyn Waters were impressive - really putting the Exmouth specimens to shame.

The Broad-leaved Helleborines were lovely but what drew us to Alyn Waters was the Dune Helleborines - a brand new species for us and, although past their best, fantastic to see...

Dune Helleborine. The flowers on this species are small and the leaves are narrower and lighter green than BLH, held upwards at an angle.  The outer part of the lip (called the epichile) is broader than long and its tip folds downwards. We found hundreds but most had gone over. 






Was a little surprised to see the odd remaining flower of Common Spotted Orchid. Even more surprised to fine 'well past it' Common Twayblades.

Having seen just a handful of Green-flowered Helleborines in Gloucestershire last summer, it was wonderful to find good numbers at Alyn waters. Again, thanks must go to Steve Tandy for all his help. I feel like I've now got a good appreciation for this species but I'm not at any level where I can detect hybrids yet.





Aberystwyth Pier - a glimpse of the sun after heavy rain.