Saturday, 13 July 2013

Pectoral Sandpiper and Moths at Bude

July 6th and we headed off to the Elfordleigh Golf and Country Club just outside Plymouth for our nephews wedding. It was hot and sunny and we had a great day and I got to see some wildlife too. In the evening as dusk was falling I had a walk around the golf course and the surrounding farmland looking for barn owls without any luck but I did see a fallow deer and a few pipistrelle bats. An odd experience was catching a lekking male ghost moth in my cupped hands, it then settled on my tie for about a minute before flying off but unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me. While the moth rested on my tie I heard a nightjar churring briefly from a nearby conifer plantation which was a bonus.

July 7th and we headed off to Bude for 2 nights. The weather was perfect and I had the moth trap out on both nights - I don't like to use the trap 2 nights in a row in the same place but we were only there for 2 nights and the weather was perfect so I made an exception. I had the trap in a slightly different place on the second night and interestingly I did get different moths on each night including a few new species for me - July belle, lobster moth, broom moth, Northern rustic and striped wainscot.

 July Belle
 Lobster Moth
 Broom Moth
 Northern Rustic - plain looking but very smart, one of my new favourite moths
Northern Rustic - a better marked individual

Striped Wainscot

 Common Wainscot
Smokey Wainscot

Other wildlife included a hedgehog snuffling around the caravan after dark, a hare, a wasp beetle, common green capsid, my first ringlet of the year and Celtic sea slugs.

 Wasp Beetle
 Common Green Capsid
 Celtic Sea Slug
Grey Mullet

Bird wise I heard a blackcap and saw and heard chiffchaff and whitethroat. 2 ravens flew over the caravan one morning and offshore I saw a few gannets and Manx shearwaters and a very smart adult summer plumaged Mediterranean gull.

I headed down to Maer Lake on the 8th July to have a look for migrating green sandpipers and I was hopeful I would find one as the water level in the lake is very low with lots of exposed mud. Scanning around I found a greenshank, a redshank and a few roosting curlew. I also found 2 small waders obscured amongst the mud furrows, eventually one revealed itself to be a summer plumaged dunlin and I assumed the second bird was a winter plumaged dunlin. After a few minutes they flew across the mud to feed at the waters edge when I noticed the second bird was noticeably larger than the dunlin and after a bit of puzzlement I realised it was a pectoral sandpiper - greenish legs, unmarked white belly with abruptly ending breast streaking and a short, slightly decurved bill, and in flight it showed similar upperwing and tail markings as the dunlin. It was still present the following day and I had some good views with my telescope and while I failed to find a green sandpiper, a pectoral sandpiper more than made up for it.

The best view of Lundy I have ever had from the clifftops at Bude - despite having been to the Island twice!

Gorgeous sunset from the clifftops at Bude

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