Tuesday, 28 August 2012

More Orchids

Back yard mothing continues as the weather and work shifts allow - still usual fare being caught including a very nice square spot rustic, an initially plain looking moth but quite attractive on closer inspection.

Square Spot Rustic

I headed out to Wembury on the 24th August to look for migrant hawkmoths but with no luck. I did find a flounced rustic which caused some ID confusion until I had some help from the Back Garden Moth Forum, and a nice bloodvein.

Flounced Rustic

Other insects seen were a male long winged cone head, a comma, a wall, 2 red admirals, lots of meadow browns and a Volucella zonaria. 7 young, very small and dark coloured common lizards were basking in the sun on the fencing by the path along with 2 normal sized and brown adults.

Long Winged Conehead - male without ovipositor

Volucella zonaria

Bird wise I kept an eye out for a wryneck as quite a few have been recorded in the UK recently but with no luck - however on checking the sightings pages that night one was reported at Wembury Point that morning - never mind! I did see 3 chiffchaff, a whitethroat and a female blackcap with a damaged wing (although it still seemed able to fly ok) along with a lone whimbrel feeding along the beach. 33 oystercatchers and 3 curlew roosted at Wembury Point and 32 mallard were seen - 7 female and 25 eclipse plumaged male.

I had my telescope with me and even though the sea was flat calm and there was little wind I spent some time scanning the sea  to practise using the scope and tripod. I saw gannets, fulmars, shags and gulls offshore and also found 3 dunlin, 1 flying West and 2 East, and 3 distant Manx shearwater flying West. While scanning the sea I also had a brief view of the dark back and dark falcate dorsal fin of a bottle nosed dolphin near The Mewstone but despite further scanning I couldn't relocate it.

Swallows were feeding young on the barbed wire fence of the horse field before noisely mobbing a flyover sparrowhawk.

Juvenile Swallows

On the way home I stopped off at Laira Bridge and walked to Blagdons Meadow, seeing a wrecked boat with swallows flying in and out to feed some unseen but noisey young. Out on the mudflats 3 juvenile shelduck were feeding amongst the gulls and 3 little egrets were seen. House martins were feeding overhead and a chiffchaff called noisely from a hedgerow.

Boat Wreck on the River Plym hiding a swallows nest with noisey young

A mother of pearl, six-spot burnets, silver Y and a new moth for me, a rush veneer, were seen along with a speckled wood, a red admiral, meadow brown, small heath and common blue. A female long winged cone head with a large ovipositor and a Helophilus pendulus were also seen.

 Silver Y
Small Heath
 Long Winged Conehead - female with ovipositor
Helophilus pendulus
Rush Veneer

I had a search for Autumn Lady's Tresses and eventually found about 6 flowering plants, far fewer than I found at this time last year and showing how fickle orchids can be, but my 7th orchid species for the year.

 Autumn Lady's Tresses
Autumn Lady's Tresses

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