Sunday, 18 September 2011

Weekend wildlife 17th-18th September

Headed off to Wembury on the bus on Saturday 17th. It still feels like the end of October, not the middle of September. Lows continue to pile in across the Atlantic bringing wind, rain and cold but at least they are also bringing some rare American birds especially waders. The leaves on the trees are turning brown and falling in the strong winds, so not like the Indian summers we normally have at this time of year.

Anyway, at least the wind blows away cobwebs. Wembury was quiet, the wild weather keeping people away. The toilet block held a flounced rustic, a square spot rustic and a double striped pug, all caught and released outside. The crysalis remains suspended in the window frame, I think it is a peacock butterfly.

Wembury in a brief sunny spell

A pair of blackcap were seen feeding greedily on blackberries and elder berries near the pine trees at Wembury Point. While watching them a coal tit was seen and heard calling in the pines with blue and great tits and then first surprise bird of the day arrived in the form of a great spotted woodpecker which flew silently between the pines before disappearing amongst the foliage, never to be seen again. This is my first sighting for Wembury.

The pines provided a small area of shelter from the wind and when the sun came out it was surprsingly warm and pleasent. A female common blue, 2 small coppers, a wall, meadow browns, speckled woods and large whites also made use of the still air and warmth and fluttered around the small protected area.
Speckled Wood

The tide was heading out and a little egret fed on the rocks with oystercatchers and curlew. An adult gannet headed West offshore and a juvenile flew West between the shore and the Mewstone. Second surprise bird of the day was a great northern diver flying East, passing out beyond the Mewstone and then lost to sight, again the first one I have seen at Wembury.

Common lizards were seen on the wooden fence posts trying to warm up in the patches of sun, again there were a variety of sizes and colours. Parasol mushrooms were fruiting in the old HMS Cambridge site. No yellow wagtails were seen in the cow field again but a small flock of flighty buntings along the sewage farm hedge included 2 female yellowhammers amongst the cirls, with the male cirls having poorly marked head patterning presumably due to moulting?

Parasol Mushroom

David duly arrived in the car and we had a coffee and a pasty sat on the steps leading to the beach before heading home just as the next torrential shower hit.

Sunday 18th, the weather was still pretty poor and David was working a long day so I headed out to Marsh Mills for a quick walk. The spotted sandpiper showed well again in the same place that I saw it on Wednesday along with a common sandpiper. 2 kingfishers and 2 grey wagtils also showed well under the A38 bridge and a total of 12 little egrets were counted. The 4 greenshanks were seen in the same area as on Wednesday in company with a redshank. A little grebe was seen resting in a mass of floating seaweed in the river.

In the underpass at Sainsburys I found a lesser yellow underwing and a rusty dot pearl along with a large noctuid moth that flew away before I got a chance to get a good look at it.
Rusty Dot Pearl

Hoping to get the moth box out tonight, it is supposed to be dry but the weather and the forecast is pretty hit and miss at the moment so fingers crossed it does stay dry!

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