Monday, 20 July 2015

Bude Wildlife - July 12th to 18th

Sunday 12th July and it was off to the caravan at Bude for the week. While packing up the car in the misty drizzle I saw a fledgling herring gull in the small car park across the road, I thought it may have been the bird I saw in the front garden a few days ago but then noticed that the chimney stack fledgling had gone. I also found another tick on my leg from my trip to Ashclyst Forest the previous day - it must be a good (or bad) year for ticks this year or I am just particularly tasty.

The weather at Bude wasn't particularly great, I managed to get the moth box out for 2 nights and had a small but varied haul of moths. Highlights were poplar hawkmoth,  Brussels lace, drinker, rosy footman, buff tip, shoulder striped wainscot and buff arches. Best of all was my first privet hawkmoth since seeing one many years ago as a boy in Suffolk and my first small mottled willow.

 Shoulder Striped Wainscot

Rosy Footman

 Privet Hawkmoth

 Privet Hawkmoth

 Small Mottled Willow - an immigrant moth from The Continent

 Small Mottled Willow

Small Mottled Willow

I also saw my first (faded) grass emerald on the cliffs along with a female ghost moth and a hummingbird hawkmoth.

 Grass Emerald - a faded individual

Ghost Moth - female

A few butterflys were seen - ringlet, meadow brown, gatekeeper, red admiral, speckled wood, comma and a large fritillary flying along the clifftop, probably a silver washed.


Maer Lake was full but with some muddy margins and over the week I saw a lapwing, a common sandpiper, 2 black tailed godwits, 2 greenshank, 1 whimbrel, 1 redshank and 3 eclipse plumaged teal amongst the mallards. A sedge warbler was heard singing along with a chiffchaff and a flyover sparrowhawk caused a bit of a panic.

Offshore a few gannets and fulmars were seen and on an early morning walk on the 16th I picked up a loose feeding flock of 100+ Manx shearwater some distance out. They were resting on the sea, flying around and plunging in to the water in small groups but despite searching I couldn't see any cetaceans amongst them. However a scan closer in to shore revealed at least 2 harbour porpoise in their usual blink and you'll miss it surfacing views.

My sister Vik and her family were staying at Blagdon Water near Holsworthy for the week, having hired a stationary boat to stay on. We headed over one evening for a BBQ and I kept a look out for barn owls which frequent the area but with no luck. A bonus though were 2, possibly 3, reeling grasshopper warblers and I managed to see one in a bramble bush before it flew off.

Emperor Dragonfly - ovipositing female at Blagdon Water

Other highlights were :- 3 hares in the cow fields along the lane on an evening walk; sticklebacks in the stream and a common darter basking in the sunshine at Crooklets Beach along with a moulting adult summer plumaged Mediterranean gull; and sadly a kestrel and a vole squashed on the road near Northcott Beach, presumably the kestrel had caught the vole and then was hit by a car.

 Male Stickleback

 Mediterranean Gull

 Mediterranean Gull

Common Darter

And so not the best of weather and not the best wildlife watching trip I've had at Bude but a nice break away - and with some new moths, and some time spent with Vik and Nik and Jack and Clara, I can't complain.

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