Monday, 26 May 2014

Orchids and Butterflies

A few trips out and about locally since returning from Northumberland have produced some nice sightings despite the occasional downpours.

Wembury was looking beautiful in the warm sunshine on May 18th with 2 whimbrel being the best sighting as they fed amongst the rocks at low tide and occasionally flew around giving their lovely whistling call. 6 Canada geese was a high count for the time of year and a cirl bunting was heard singing.


Silver Ground Carpet, Wembury Toilet Block

A walk along the River Plym and around Saltram Park on May 22nd and I found a very nice scalloped hazel moth in the orangery, only my second ever sighting, and some southern marsh orchids were flowering in the grassy border by the orangery. Along the River Plym a lone Canada goose was with just 1 gosling while a pair were later seen with 4 goslings and a little egret was seen flying over.

Scalloped Hazel, Saltram House Orangery

A walk at Wembury on May 24th and it was cool and cloudy and I got soaked in a prolonged heavy downpour. I did see 2 whimbrel again, maybe the 2 seen on the 18th, along with 2 Canada geese, 6 shelduck, 13 male and 2 female mallard and 3 oystercatchers along the beach. A cirl bunting was again heard singing and it was nice to see 5 fledgling wren being fed by their parents in a bush near the main beach. A pair of stonechats were with 3 fledglings on rocks on the main beach with a pair seen on the beach near the sewage pipe. 3 swifts screaming overhead was nice to see and hear. A large dead drinker moth caterpillar was found on the footpath and Depressia daucella caterpillars were found in the hemlock water dropwort flowerheads by the footpath near the sewage farm. I couldn't find any rock pipits, they do seem to be thin on the ground this spring following the horrendous gales we had over the winter as highlighted on the Cornwall bird watching society webpage. There was also no sign as yet of the sea kale that grows on the beach, maybe another victim of the bad winter weather.

On the way home and despite being soaked I had a look around Blagdons Meadow by the River Plym and it was nice to see male common blues flying around with a few green veined whites. 3 burnet companions were disturbed from the grass and southern marsh orchids were coming in to flower as the early purple orchids begin to go over. 2 whitethroats were singing with a skylark and 8 swifts flew over screaming and chasing each other. A little egret flying downriver and a pair of mallard were also seen but best sighting was an orange footman which flitted about before landing in a tree, only my second ever sighting.

 Orange Footman
 Southern Marsh Orchid
 Burnet Companion
Pyrochroa serraticornis

And I have finally had the moth box out in the back yard for the first time this year - nothing exciting or unusual catch wise but I did have 3 variably marked marbled minor aggregates which shows how differently patterned they can be.

 Marbled Minor Agg., Number 1
 Marbled Minor Agg., Number 2
 Marbled Minor Agg., Number 3
Common Pug?

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