Sunday, 5 June 2016

Two Trips to Wembury and Dusting Off the Mothbox

Monday May 30th was warm and sunny but with it being a Bank Holiday and having a dreaded night shift looming that night I had a quick walk along the coast at Wembury with David. It was quiet on the bird front as expected - 2 Canada geese, 2 shelduck and a little egret along the beach, whitethroats singing and songflighting everywhere and chiffchaff and blackcap heard along with 2 cirl buntings.

The toilet block came up trumps though with 4 moths - woohoo! A common swift, a silver ground carpet, a brown silver lines and a pug sp. were found and released outside.

 Silver Ground Carpet

 Brown Silver Lines

Pug Sp.

A few butterflies were also seen - a small copper, a wall, 2 red admiral, a large white, male orange tips, green veined whites and a large skipper. Bloody nosed beetles were very noticeable again, they seem to be having a very good year this year, but it must have been too hot for common lizards as none were seen basking on the wooden fences.

A pasty and coffee for lunch while sitting on the beach was heavenly but it was crazy busy, not helped by being high tide, and so we left for home so I could psych myself up for my 2 night shifts - I rarely work night shifts now which makes it even harder to deal with them when I do.

Having survived my nights and a quick turn around to a day shift it was off to Flavourfest in the city centre on a beautiful day on Friday 3rd June, the food festival having been moved from August. Had a great time as usual in the sunshine and ate, drank and spent too much as usual but it was just what I needed after my busy week.

Saturday 4th June was another glorious day and it was off to Wembury again to look for butterflies especially green hairstreaks at Wembury Point. However within 30 minutes of arriving it clouded over and remained that way until I caught the bus home and the sunshine returned - typical!

As a result there were few butterflies on the wing - 2 red admirals, a speckled wood, a small white, a large white and green veined whites but there was no sign of any green hairstreaks.

Red Admiral

There were quite a few speckled yellow moths flitting about at Wembury Point despite the overcast conditions and I saw my first 6 spot burnet on the wing along with 3 caterpillars on birds foot trefoil. 3 lackey moth nests were found in the sloes and a diamond backed moth was disturbed from the grass - there has been quite the influx of these little moths from the Continent this week. I also found at least 3 Elachista argentella in the grass, a new species of micromoth for me, and all of these moth sightings made up for a complete lack of moths in the toilet block.

 Elachista argentella

 Lackey Larva

 Speckled Yellow

 Diamond Back Moth

Six Spot Burnet

Bird wise it was quiet again - a shelduck and male mallard along the beach with oystercatchers, 2 raven being mobbed by 2 carrion crows overhead, a male stonechat with 2 fledglings, lots of whitethroats songflighting again with quite a few seen carrying beakfuls of food to their nestlings, a song thrush, gannets and fulmars offshore and cirl buntings which were very showy and vocal, at least 2 females and 4 males.

 Male Cirl Bunting

Male Cirl Bunting


Raven being mobbed by Carrion Crow - noticeable size difference

Bloody Nose Beetles - don't they ever stop!

Arriving back in Plymouth and we had another bash at Flavourfest and that evening I decided to dust off the mothbox and put it out in the backyard for the first time this year. There were quite a few diamond back moths disturbed from the vegetation as I set things up and in the morning there were quite a few in the trap and surrounding vegetation. Otherwise the catch was pretty poor for the time of year, this spring has not been kind to moths, but I did have a bee moth, a light brown apple moth, a garden carpet, a yellow barred brindle and 2 heart and dart.

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