Wednesday 26 July 2023

Head Streaking!

 Second-summer Yellow-legged Gull - Coastal Waste recycling centre.

I was a bit taken aback by the amount of head streaking now exhibited by the resident YLG - prompting thoughts of 'Azores' Gull, though the throat appears to be unstreaked. I've always felt there was something a little different about this birds, aside from its proclavity for Exmouth. I think there are probably too many missing features in its younger plumages to tie it to the Azores but perhaps it has originated from somewhere in the Atlantic? Who knows? Below are a few photos of it over the last two years:

September '21.

October '21 - first-winter (1st cal yr). Head streaking looks extensive here.

October '21

July '22 - first summer (2nd cal yr). No sign of any 'shin-pads'.

26/7/23 - second-summer (3rd cal yr).

Monday 24 July 2023

Tree-lichen Beauty

Tree-lichen Beauty - a much-anticipated garden first.

Tree-lichen Beauty was possibly a migrant species. Also trapped - 21 Silver Y, 3 Rusty Dot Pearl and a 
Yponomeuta rorrella. Other species last night incuded Common Emerald, Maiden's Blush, Single-dotted Wave, Riband Wave, Ruddy Carpet, Common Carpet, Double-striped Pug, Clouded Border, Scorched Carpet, Brimstone, Swallow-tailed Moth, Willow Beauty, Barred Red, Poplar Hawkmoth, Elephant Hawkmoth, Brown-tail, Dingy Footman, Common Footman, Rosy Footman, Heart and Dart, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Least Yellow Underwing, Double Square-spot, Square-spot Rustic, Bright-line Brown-eye, Lychnis, Knot Grass, Dark Arches, Cloaked Minor, Twin-spotted Wainscot, Uncertain, Nut-tree Tussock, Willow Ermine, Zelleria hepariella, Bryotropha terrella, Brown House Moth, Beautiful Plume, Common Plume, Crocidosema plebejana, Synaphe punctalis, Endotricha flammealisDioryctria abietellaAgriphila geniculeaAnania coronata and Box-tree Moth.
Not much bird news but a couple Arctic Skuas were off the seafront late morning, along with 8 Common Scoters.
Mudbank counts included 115 Mallard and 13 Shelducks (2 adults, 11 juveniles).
Yesterday there were three juvenile Peregrines play-fighting over the house.

Willow Ermine Yponomeuta rorrella.

Brown Ash Ermine zelleria hepariella.

Cinerous Neb Bryotropha terrella.

Least Yellow Underwing.

Maiden's Blush.

Twin-spotted Wainscot - another garden first.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the garden yesterday.

Wednesday 19 July 2023

Arctic Skua

An Arctic Skua scythes into the gull flock, off the seafront, early this morning. Another day of activities but hotter weather and fewer birds to look at. A late pm look off Mudbank revealed 44 Mallard, 2 Whimbrel and 7 Sandwich Terns.

Finally, good views of a beautiful juvenile Yellow-legged Gull on Exmouth beach this morning. One of just two seen today, as the gull flock was positioned much closer to the Warren.

Tuesday 18 July 2023

Activity YLGs

It's activities week at school so I've been down at Exmouth beach all day, whilst a number of our key stage 3 students have been paddle-boarding and kayaking. Note the gull flock behind the kids in the above photo. As luck would have it, the flock contained at least 4 juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls and several Mediterranean Gulls, so I was able to combine a bit of birding with work. A Common Sandpiper was on rocks below the point and 2 Greenshanks were off Mudbank early morning.

Greenshanks - Mudbank.

Monday 17 July 2023

Cattle Egret, Painted Ladies

The second-summer Yellow-legged Gull is back in the recycling centre, fighting for scraps.

Mudbank is starting to get better - off there today - 3 Greenshank, 2 Redshank, 1 Cattle Egret, 4 Sandwich Terns, c220 Curlew, 21 Whimbrel, 8+ Mediterranean Gulls, 26 Mallard, 6 Canada Geese, and 10 Shelduck. A Kingfisher off the Imperial was a sure sign that autumn is round the corner.

Lots of butterfly activity on the garden buddleias today - 2 Painted Ladies, masses of Red Admirals, at least 3 Commas, 2 Peacocks, 1 Brimstone, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Large White plus several Holly Blues and Gatekeepers buzzing around in the short time I was watching. Ten Silver Y trapped last night too.

Monkey Flower - Riverside Country Park.

Saturday 15 July 2023

Purple Hairstreak, Arctic Skuas

 Purple Hairstreak - Mudbank. Many thanks Steph and Rob. I hadn't realised that the Oaks down at Mudbank held this species.

A short, early morning sea-watch from the raised beach huts produced a lovely surprise in the shape of at least 12 lingering Arctic Skuas. No terns present so they were harassing Kittiwakes. One of the skuas was distinctly smaller, and probably a Long-tailed (picked out by Lee at the Warren). Unfortunately the skuas were never close and spent more time sat on the choppy water than in the air. Otherwise 3 or 4 Mediterranean Gulls, a couple Common Scoters and a single Manx Shearwater were noted. A Peregrine made several half-hearted stoops at a passing line of Black-headed Gulls.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Lime Hawk Cat

This Lime Hawkmoth caterpillar was found as I walked out from work yesterday afternoon. Crawling on concrete and imminent danger of being squashed, as it presumably searched for a suitable place to pupate.

After being 'awol' for a while, the semi-resident Yellow-legged Gull was back off Mudbank this afternoon. Hopefully it'll settle back into a routine and frequent the recycling centre again. 

Monday 10 July 2023

Roseate Tern

Barred Red. I only ever trap the odd single of this species - a really gorgeous moth.

A short sea-watch, from 0700 - 0740, from the raised beach huts - 14+ Mediterranean Gulls, 1 juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, 14 Sandwich Terns, 1 Fulmar and 2 Arctic Skuas (both dark).
Another short look, after lunch and in squally drizzle, produced 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 shearwater sp, 5 Kittiwakes, 2 Sandwich Terns, c15+ Common Scoter and a brief  skua sp that was probably a sub-adult Pom. A final look, late evening, produced 11 Sandwich Terns and a lingering juv Yellow-legged Gull.
Off Mudbank on the rising tide - 1 Roseate Tern, 4 Common Terns, c20+ Sandwich Terns, 12 Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 5 Mallard, 17+ Swallows, 2+ House Martins and 1 Sand Martin
Yesterday off Mudbank - 8 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Greenshank.

This juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was sat well out to sea, off Maer Rocks this evening. I do love a record shot!

Nut-tree Tussock.

Scarce Footman.

Thirty-one Broad-leaved Helleborines counted along Wright's Lane - some perilously close to the road.

A faded Gem - other migrants trapped last night included half a dozen Silver Y, a couple Rusty Dot Pearls, 1 Turnip, 1 Dark Sword-grass and a Scarce Bordered Straw.


Scarce Bordered Straw.

Black Arches. Other 'FFYs' last night included Purple Clay, Muslin Footman, Peppered Moth, Shark, Yellow-tail and Spectacle.

Saturday 8 July 2023

Dewick's Plusia

Dewick's Plusia - first record for the garden, here in Exmouth, and only the second one I've seen. Not sure if it's an immigrant but it was sharing the trap with half a dozen Silver Y and a couple Rusty Dot Pearls, so it could be.

Mudbank - c25 Sandwich Terns, 1 Common Tern, 2 Canada Geese, 1+ Ringed Plover and 2+ Whimbrel. Good numbers of Black-headed Gulls, including my first juvenile of the summer, and at least 5 Mediterranean Gulls.

Juvenile Black-headed Gull - Mudbank. Lets hope there are plenty more of these this summer, though I guess it's unlikely given the problems Bird Flu has caused in breeding colonies.

Mediterranean Gulls - Mudbank.

Yponomeuta species.

Yponomeuta species.

Silver Y - the tiny form f. gammina.

Acorn Piercer Pammene fasciana.

Codling Moth Cydia pomonella.

Dusky Pearl Udea prunalis.

Scalloped Oak.

Pearl Grass-veneer Catoptria pinella.

Knapweed Conch Agapeta zoegana.

Common Yellow Conch Agapeta hamana.

Small Grey Eudonia mercurella.

 Privet Tortrix Clepsis consimilana.