Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A trip to France, 5th-7th October 2012, and Bon Jour to a Merveille du Jour

A weekend trip on Brittany Ferries to Roscoff in France was a cool, wet and windy affair this year but we had a good time despite the weather. Highlight was a tatty looking hummingbird hawkmoth feeding on flowers along the river side in Morlaix.

Watching the shoreline from the bed room at the hotel in Roscoff small flocks of up to 10 meadow pipits were seen flying in off the sea before heading off inland while curlew, oystercatcher, redshank and turnstone fed amongst the rocks with little egrets.

Catching the ferry home on Sunday morning and the weather had improved. As we left port at least 11 Sandwich tern were seen around the boat along with 2 adult winter plumaged Mediterranean gulls. A flock of around 20 common scoters were flying around offshore as the ferry sailed away from the French coast. Plenty of gannets were seen on the crossing including quite a few dark juveniles and a juvenile kittiwake was also seen. 11 great skuas were seen including 2 within sight of Plymouth along with 6 distant petrel sp. heading North towards Plymouth, flying fast and low across the waves with their distinctive fluttery flight before being lost from view. Meadow pipts and a white wagtail were seen flying around the boat as we crossed The Channel. Unfortunatley there were no cetacean sightings this year.

High humidity, total cloud cover, very little breeze and mild temperatures helped in providing a good haul of moths in the back yard overnight on the 8th/9th October, 19 moths of 13 species including a new moth for me and one I have been hoping to see for some time, a Merveille du Jour, a very beautiful moth looking like a marbled green on steroids. A Vines rustic, an L-album wainscot , 3 large ranunculus and 2 feathered ranunculus were the best of the rest. Hopefully it won't be the last time I have the moth box out in the back yard this year.

 Merveille du Jour
 Merveille du Jour
Feathered Ranunculus

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