Friday, 30 August 2013

Moths and Migrant Birds

The weather overnight has been pretty good for mothing over the past week but due to work commitments I couldn't get the moth box out until the night of the 26th August. The following morning I had quite a haul of moths after a warm, humid and still night - at least 70 moths of 31 species (I gave up counting the light brown apple moths as they were very numerous and flighty in the trap). A garden rose tortrix was a new moth for me with 2 diamond-back moths, a purple bar, 4 Jersey tigers, an old lady and 3 male and a female four spotted footman being the highlights. I also had 4 pug species (double striped, cypress, currant and golden rod) and 4 yellow underwing species (large, lesser, broad bordered and lesser broad bordered).

 Garden Rose Tortrix
 Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing
 Cypress Pug
Pyrausta aurata

I headed off to Wembury on the 27th August for a quick walk along the coast path and it was warm, humid and hazy. The toilet block held a few moths for a change with a flounced rustic and a dingy footman being the highlights.

Dingy Footman

As I walked away from the main beach towards The Point I heard the distinctive call of yellow wagtail and looked up to see a brief view of 2 birds before they disappeared from view. They appeared to land in the fields behind the horse stables so I headed up there and managed to get some nice views of the 2 of them feeding amongst the horse turds before they flew off inland. 6 curlews were also feeding in the fields as the tide was high so I quickly headed off to The Point where a flock of oystercatchers were roosting on the beach. I was hoping to get to The Point before anyone disturbed the roosting birds but I failed as a man with 2 dogs walked right along the beach just as I got there! I did manage to see a whimbrel as it flew away with the oystercatchers but some smaller waders were pushed along the beach towards me and I did manage to get some nice views of a redshank, a common sandpiper, 8 ringed plover, a dunlin and 2 turnstones. Later I saw three common sandpipers together flying low over the waves along the shore.

I had a good chat about birds and moths with a fellow birder I met along the path before heading off to search the brambles at The Point where I had a brief view of a whinchat before it flew off and seemed to just disappear amongst the bushes. A pair of stonechat were feeding with at least 2 fledglings, whitethroats were flitting about in the bushes with chiffchaffs while a chiffchaff sang from the pine trees, and swallows and house martins flew overhead. 2 wheatears were feeding along the beach amongst the rocks and a (brown headed) blackcap was seen feeding amongst the bushes in the valley to the beach.

Offshore a few single gannets and fulmars were seen along. A single Manx/Balearic shearwater flew East with 2 birds later seen flying West. I could not make out any white underside plumage but they were distant, it was hazy and misty and I only had my binoculars with me, The single bird flying East had the more languid looking flight of a Balearic especially when compared to the 2 birds seen flying West but it may have been down to differing wind conditions at sea.

While sitting at the bus stop waiting for the bus home I heard a great spotted woodpecker calling before eventually finding it feeding in some dead trees in a nearby garden. 2 painted ladys were feeding on a buddlea bush and as I got on the bus I heard a yellow wagtail again as it flew over heading inland. A Jersey tiger was also seen flying by as the bus passed The Odd Wheel pub.

Having failed to find any Autumn lady's-tresses at Blagdons Meadow on the 19th August on my trip back from Wembury I had a quick look again on the 29th August after finishing work and I found 5 in flower, 4 fully open and the fifth just beginning to open.

 Autumn Lady's-tresses
Autumn Lady's-tresses

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