Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Trio of Sandpipers, Moths, Rock Pooling and Butterflies.

Saturday August 10th and I headed off on the early bus to Aveton Gifford to visit South Efford Marsh, a Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserve consisting of a marshy/salt marsh field by the River Avon. It was high tide and curlews were roosting on the marsh with a ringed plover, a dunlin and at least 2 whimbrels amongst them. A green sandpiper flew over before landing close by and in full view, the best views I have had of one for many years, I mostly see them flying away! It eventually flew off but a short time later I found a wood sandpiper, a very smart looking bird, busily feeding with a green sandpiper, a redshank and 2 greenshanks. A common sandpiper heard and then later seen by the River Avon completed the trio of sandpipers, all 3 having given some excellent views. A kingfisher perched in a tree along a drainage ditch completed a short but very pleasant visit.

That evening I headed off to Mount Edgcumbe just across the River Tamar from Plymouth in Cornwall for a moth trapping night , being run as part of National Moth Night by the Cornwall Moth Group. It was a warm, humid night but the moths were not very forthcoming with about 30 odd species being seen. I did see 2 new species though - a pretty chalk carpet and a false mocha, the latter apparently being rare in Cornwall.

 False Mocha
Black Arches - Mount Edgcumbe Moth Night

With family visiting, including my 9 year old nephew, it was time to go rock pooling again. At Bude on the 12th August there were plenty of Celtic sea slugs amongst the honeycomb worm casts on the rocks with shanny, green shore crab and gem anemone found in the rock pools.

 Celtic Sea slugs
 Honeycomb Worms

The next day at Wembury we added cushion starfish, a pipe fish, chitons, snakelocks anemone and hermit crabs to the list along with a smart adult Mediterranean gull in winter plumage feeding along the main beach.

 Snakelocks Anenome
 Chiton species, Wembury
Corkwing Wrasse? caught at Wembury
Green Shore Crab

A nice sighting at Bude was my first humming bird hawkmoth of the year, found by David at rest on the caravan awning, while the toilet block had a first for the year hedgehog-like drinker moth sat on a window sill.

 Hummingbird Hawkmoth
Drinker Moth doing a non prickly Hedgehog impression

A solo trip to Wembury on the 19th August after the family visit had come to an end was very pleasant in the warm sunshine and brightened up by plenty of butterflies including my first clouded yellow for 3 years. Another non avian flying highlight was a golden ringed dragonfly ovipositing in the stream in the valley to the beach, my first sighting at Wembury.

 Clouded Yellow
 Ovipositing Golden Ringed Dragonfly
Mating Bloody Nosed Beetles at Wembury

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