Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Plymbridge Woods 31st May 2011

I have joined the Back Garden Moth Community forum online and I posted photos of the unknown caterpillars I found at Wembury last week and I have had a reply ! Apparently they are Depressaria daucella, a micro moth species that feed on water dropwort. It isn't in my guide books and doesn't have an English name and is also not recorded in the Devon Moth Group annual report for the last 2 years so I guess it is quite a find although there were loads of the caterpillars on the plants.

Depressaria daucella on water dropwort, Wembury, 25/5/11
Anyway, after working five busy days over the Bank Holiday weekend of which 4 days were early shifts, I was feeling quite knackered but tonight I decided to head off to Plymbridge Woods to see nightjars on an organised walk with the National Trust. I was meant to go on the walk on the previous Thursday, having asked for the day off which I duly got. However I was then put on an early shift on the Friday so gave up on the idea before remembering that the walk was also organised for the following Tuesday.

I caught the bus to Marsh Mills and walked up to Plym Bridge for the start of the walk at 9pm. Usually on the walk we head off to the viaduct to see the peregrines first but this time we headed straight to Cann Woods. A lot of the plantation trees have been cleared over the winter due to a fungal infection so it looked very different to the usual walk. Within a few minutes we heard a nightjar churring and over the next hour we heard 2 males churring as we stood in an area between the 2 territories. Brief views were had of the birds in flight when the white markings in the tail and wings were seen but they were very fast and difficult to see in the fading light. A possible third bird was also heard churring but it could have been one of the 2 birds already seen and heard.

Also seen were 2 ravens, blackcaps and a very pale buzzard. Song thrushes were very vocal and a tawny owl was also heard. Swifts were seen hawking over the trees before it became too dark, they seem thin on the ground over Plymouth this year. Also seen was a confiding male Mandarin duck with male mallards along the river near Marsh Mills roundabout.

Mandarin Duck

David was very nice and picked me up at the car park at about 10:45pm so I didn't have to walk back through the woods in the dark to catch a bus at Marsh Mills. A glass of wine on getting home helped warm me up as it was a surprisingly cool night and I flaked out into a deep sleep on the settee until 2am!

The next day on a walk around The Hoe I heard a singing sedge warbler in the grounds of the registry office which was a surprise. And at the allotment David found a 2-spot ladybird which I have never seen before.
2-Spot Ladybird

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