Tuesday, 1 September 2015


Some decent overnight weather and I have had the moth box out in the back yard twice in a week! Usual moths for the time of year - old lady, Jersey tiger, lime speck pug, dusky thorn, knot grass, Vines rustic, etc. - along with the usual increase in numbers of large yellow underwings (or rather blunderwings as they are so skittish and disturb everything in the moth box) with a few lesser broad bordered yellow underwings thrown in. No marbled greens again but a marbled beauty was nice to see. Best of all was a new moth for me, a fern, a little worn and a bit of an ID puzzle initially.


Marbled Beauty

A day trip to Bude on August 26th to check the caravan and cut the grass was a bit disappointing. The recent heavy rain meant Maer Lake was full with no muddy margins, not much use for waders including recently reported wood sandpipers. I did see 2 curlew along with eclipse plumaged teal and mallard and a large flock of 200+ Canada geese which contained a lone bar headed goose. Offshore the bright sun and choppy seas meant the only sighting of interest was a lone gannet but at least the toilet blocks at the camp site held a few moths - more large yellow underwings, a magpie moth, a riband wave and a yellow barred brindle (my first for Bude). 2 oak bush crickets were a nice find too.

Despite being the Bank Holiday weekend we headed off for a walk at Stoke Point on August 29th and the scenery was stunning despite the overcast sky. The sea was flat calm and like a polished mirror and on watching a distant flock of gannet resting on the sea or circling around I found at least 5 harbour porpoise briefly surfacing amongst them. A lone shearwater flew east, probably a Manx but it didn't appear to have white underparts and had a very languid looking flight but it was distant and the lack of wind may have affected its flight manner.

On land it was quiet - a kestrel, a raven, 2 buzzards, stonechats and swallows being the highlights - and the lack of sunshine kept the butterfly numbers down with just a wall, a small copper, a male common blue, and a few gatekeepers and meadow browns being seen. Autumn squill was flowering well in its usual place.



 Autumn Squill

Autumn Squill

I had hoped to see some yellow wagtails with reports starting to appear on the internet of birds along the south Devon coast but there was no sight or sound of any birds. I also hoped to see my first clouded yellows of the year but again no luck, it doesn't seem to be a good year for them this year. I didn't even see or hear a yellowhamer either.

August 30th and despite the rain we headed off for a quick walk at Wembury. It stopped raining as we arrived and remained dry for our walk although the path was incredibly muddy and the sky remained grey.

Bird highlights were a ringed plover calling as it flew east, 2 whimbrel along the beach with curlew, oystercatcher, a little egret and 21 mallards (eclipse males and females), plenty of swallows flying overhead, whitethroats skulking in the vegetation at Wembury Point and a juvenile Mediterranean gull with black headed gulls roosting on the rocks. A singing cirl bunting was unusual and there was a flock of around 9 cirl buntings in the sewage farm hedgerow, a tatty looking male and females/juveniles. 3 juvenile wheatears were amongst the rocks along the foreshore. The biggest surprise was a kingfisher flying over the bracken in the valley to the beach - it flew down the valley towards the beach before banking up and flying back up the valley and out of sight, presumably a young bird dispersing and the first time I have seen one at Wembury outside of the winter months.

The toilet block held a dingy footman but best of all a marbled green, my first of the year. 6 common lizards were trying to warm up on the fence posts in the dull weather along with a male long winged cone head and some bloody nose beetles.

Marbled Green

Common Lizards

Again there were no yellow wagtails to be found and no clouded yellows either but it is still early days. With autumn now in full swing I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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