Sunday, 11 October 2015

Late Mothing

The weather has been pretty good since our return to the UK (as it was while we were away) and so my thoughts had turned to getting the moth box out in the back yard, especially after a trip to Bude to put the caravan to bed for the winter on October 9th.

It was a beautiful day - sunny, warm and still - and the Outlaws were busy with medical appointments so the two of us were able to get twice as much done in half the time. While packing up the annexe 2 ravens flew over croaking along with a steady stream of calling meadow pipits and skylarks. A flyover reed bunting had my heart racing as it gave a very yellow wagtail like call. A wood mouse and a toad hiding under the ground sheet in the annexe were as startled at seeing me as I was them and a smart peacock butterfly flitted past.

A flat calm sea was birdless save for a few gulls and along the river flowing over Summerleaze beach a 2nd winter and an adult winter Mediterranean gull were amongst the black headed gulls, the adult bird having a yellow ring on its right leg but it was too distant for me to read it.

Mediterranean Gull with yellow leg ring

A quick look around Maer Lake revealed 9 lapwing, 11 black tailed godwit, 32 wigeon, a curlew, a pair of shoveler, teal, mallard and moorhens with herring and black headed gulls busily bathing.

The toilet blocks came up trumps for moths with 3 lunar underwings, 2 plume moths, a large yellow underwing, a common wainscot, a setaceous hebrew character, a rosy rustic and a feathered ranunculus being found. Nettle taps were also found on the daisy flowers behind the caravan.

 Lunar Underwing

 Feathered Ranunculus

 Feathered Ranunculus

Rosy Rustic

That night I had the moth box out in the back yard although I was surprised on waking in the morning to find it raining heavily, not what was forecasted. However the trap had a good selection of moths for my back yard at this time of year - 3 large yellow underwing, a brimstone moth, a shuttle shaped dart, a garden carpet, a setaceous hebrew character, a square spot rustic, a feathered ranunculus (one of my favourite moths) and a light emerald (new for the back yard).

Light Emerald

After sorting out the soggy trap and eating breakfast it was back to Bude again for the day, this time with the Outlaws, to finish packing up the caravan. The day was totally different, it was grey and cool and breezey, but we managed to get everything done fairly quickly. I checked out the toilet blocks again and added another lunar underwing, 2 more plume moths and another feathered ranunculus to the previous days sightings.

A quick look again at Maer Lake didn't add anything new to the previous days sightings except for 10 Canada geese and 20 curlew. I did however rescue a shrew from a cat but unfortunately it was injured and had bite marks on its flanks so despite placing it in cover I doubt if it will survive.



Blackbird, Maer Lake

October 11th and we headed off to Wembury for a walk despite the grey skies. It was quite mild though with little breeze and misty, murky conditions offshore. A very nice looking green brindled crescent was found on the toilet block windows, only my second ever sighting of one, along with a brimstone moth.

Green Brindled Crescent

Birdwise it was quiet again with 6 little egrets, a singing chiffchaff, a juvenile wheatear, a single house martin hawking over the cliffs at Heybrook Bay, a kestrel and 2 adult lesser black backed gulls amongst the herring gulls roosting on the beach being the highlights.

A common lizard was trying to warm up in the occassional shafts of sunlight and a small copper, 4 large white and a red admiral were still on the wing.

And so autumn is well and truly here and so far it seems to have been very quiet on the bird front but it has been nice to see a good range of moths.

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