Thursday, 25 June 2015

Moths and Orchids and a few Birds

We are finally getting some mild nights and so I had the old moth box out in the back yard on the night of June 19th and in the morning I had a nice haul of moths - 15 species with the highlight being a very smart Figure of Eighty.

 Figure Of Eighty
 Figure of Eighty - showing how it gets its name (when viewed from the right)
Figure of Eighty - not quite so obvious how it gets its name (when viewed from the left)

That afternoon we headed off to Wembury for a quick walk and things were as expected rather quiet. A dead common swift moth in the toilet block and a dead oak eggar moth caterpillar on the footpath were sad to see but 6-spot burnet were on the wing along with common blue, large skipper and meadow brown.

Large Skipper

Large Skipper

Best birds were 2 Mediterranean gulls feeding on the seaweed mass on the beach - a very smart adult in summer plumage and a 2nd summer bird. Whitethroats, blackcaps and chiffchaffs were still in song and house martins and swallows flew overhead. A cirl bunting was singing at Wembury Point and a little egret was feeding amongst the rock pools.

Mediterranean Gull - adult in summer plumage

June 23rd and after 2 boring days stuck in the office at work I needed to get out for a walk on returning home at 4pm especially as it was sunny and warm and humid. I headed off to Billacombe Railway on the bus to have a look for pyramidal orchids and on getting off the bus at CDS I found a single plant in flower in the grass verge right by the footpath - result!

 Pyramidal Orchid by the roadside
Pyramidal Orchid

I had a walk along the Railway and I found another 6 plants in flower but these were quite small and weedy looking due to being a bit overgrown by the nearby vegetation.

Pyramidal Orchid - a weedier looking plant along the Railway

Burnet companion and 6-spot burnet were flying around with small tortoiseshell, large white, speckled wood and a cinnabar moth, and I found just 2 slow worms under the felt squares due to the hot and sunny conditions. A raven flew over being mobbed by a carrion crow giving a good opportunity to compare their differing sizes and a bullfinch was heard calling in the hedgerow.

Walking over to Blagdons Meadow and I found another pyramidal orchid in another grass verge by the footpath - this verge had recently been trimmed and the orchid had taken a bashing but hopefully the flowers will still set seed for next year.

Pyramidal Orchid - a strimmed plant by the roadside

At Blagdons Meadow I found another cinnabar moth along with a flyby Jersey tiger moth, a straw dot and 6-spot burnet. A lone small heath and a male common blue were also seen and house martins were hawking low over the grass.

The Southern marsh orchids were starting to go over but the bee orchids were still flowering well.

 Bee Orchid
Bee Orchid

Arriving home and a common emerald was a nice surprise on the kitchen wall, the windows had been open all night and it must have flown in when the lights were on.

Common Emerald

June 24th and we headed off for a walk from Mount Edgecumbe to Cawsand, catching the ferry from Stonehouse to Cremyll. It was sunny and warm but with occasional cloud and marbled white, ringlet, common blue and meadow brown were all on the wing.

 Marbled White
 Marbled White

Blackcap, chiffchaff and whitethroat were all heard singing and azure damselflys were seen flying around the small pond in the garden at Mount Edgecumbe.

 Azure Damselfly
Azure Damselfly

While sitting on the beach at Cawsand waiting for the ferry back to Plymouth a hummingbird hawkmoth buzzed over the pebbles and along the rocky cliff capping off a very pleasant day.

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