Saturday, 12 September 2015

Quiet on the Migrant Front

Wednesday 9th September and a sunny day, but a planned day out on the beach at Cawsand went out of the window when the ferry across Plymouth Sound to Cawsand from The Barbican was cancelled due to the strong easterly breeze. Instead we caught the ferry across to Mount Batten and went to the beach at Jennycliff where it was more sheltered from the wind. The view from the beach was as stunning as usual especially as it was high tide (if you ignored the flotsam and jetsum litter along the high tide line).

2 noisey kingfishers flew past low over the water towards Bovisand with 1 bird later seen flying back towards Mount Batten - maybe an adult setting up a winter territory and chasing off a young bird? 2 gannets were seen circling around Plymouth Sound and along the beach some alba wagtails dropped in to feed on the seaweed mass including a nice winter plumaged male white wagtail - I never knew that white wagtails moult at the end of summer before migrating and therefore have a shorter moulting period than pied wagtails.

White Wagtail, Jennycliff Beach

Heading home and 4 Sandwich terns were noisely flying around The Cattewater and a juvenile sparrowhawk flew across the water from The Citadel, passing a few feet above my head near Mount Batten Castle as it hunted for dinner despite being harrassed by a noisey swallow.

The following day and I had to visit the dentist in the afternoon to sort my tooth out and so I caught the bus out to Wembury in the morning for a quick walk. Stagecoach have taken over the route from First Bus and have axed the Sunday/Bank Holiday service again - hopefully there won't be any other changes. It was a sunny day again with the strong easterly wind still blowing and the day felt promising but it didn't really deliver.

A male wheatear and a male whitethroat at Wembury Point, a juvenile wheatear in the horse field, a few swallows overhead, and chiffchaffs and blackcaps heard calling in the bushes were the only migrants noted.

The toilet block held a few moths - a magpie moth, 2 flounced rustic, a large yellow underwing, a plume moth and a (late) single dotted wave. 2 silver Y were seen in the valley to the beach as well.

Single Dotted Wave, Wembury

I had the moth box out in the back yard for National Moth Night and on the morning of the 11th I had a nice haul of moths, the best being a treble bar, a male and female four spotted footman (migrants or late residents?) and a clay triple lines which is a new moth for me and one that caused a few ID issues as I thought it could have been something rarer like a Blairs mocha.

 Clay Triple Lines

 Male and Female Four Spotted Footman

Treble Bar

September 11th and a walk along the old railway line from Princetown to Meldon Quarry on Dartmoor was overcast and breezey but the views were quite stunning. A few birds were around including at least 2 juvenile wheatears, a sparrowhawk, meadow pipits, pied wagtails and swallows.

 Wheatear, Princetown


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