Saturday 23 April 2011

More moths!

Well I survived my 7 days at work, exhausted by the end and the weather has been increasingly hot and sunny which has added to the general feeling of tiredness. However it is done and Thursday (21st April) we headed up to Bude to help the outlaws sort the caravan out for the summer. It was a beautiful day and it became very hot in the afternoon, more like a heatwave in August than April. Birdwise at least 4 singing sedge warblers were a nice sound with 2 seen and chiffchaff and whitethroat were also seen and heard. Male orange tip were flitting about everywhere and a comma was a nice find.

Moth wise I found 5 moths around the toilet blocks, caravan site toilet blocks are always such good places to find moths enticed into them by the lights burning bright all night long. 3 were new moths for me, a nut tree tussock, a pebble prominent and a least black arches. The last moth I almost dismissed as a micro moth, a group I have not paid a lot of attention too as I have enough trouble identify macros at times, but it looked very pretty on the outside wall of the toliet block next to a light so I caught it in a pot and photographed it, realising what it was when I got home and was flicking through the guide book.
Least black arches
Nut tree tussock

V Pug
On returning back to Plymouth I put out the moth box in the back yard and by morning amongst the catch I had a pebble prominent and a Hebrew character, both new for the garden, along with a male muslin moth, a knot grass and a yellow barred brindle amogst others.

Pebble Prominent - a strange looking  but pretty moth

Hebrew Character

Knot Grass
The next day was Good Friday (22nd April) and we were actually off work! First time for ages that that has been the case! We popped into Tesco at Lee Mill on the way to Yarner Wood, I having enticed David to take me there in the car with the promise of cake at Bovey Tracey. Tesco was bombed and we grabbed a few things and the ingredients needed to make a simnel cake before escaping, it really was packed out and quite unpleasent inside the store.

Yarner Wood was lovely, an oasis of calm and resplendent in the warm sunshine. Brimstone butterflys were everywhere as were pied flycatchers singing and collecting nesting material, both male and female were seen and a female was watched entering a natural nest hole in a tree with leaf litter. 3 tree pipits were singing and songflighting on the heath. A great spotted woodpecker was watched excavating a hole in a dead birch tree behind the visitors centre, flicking out chippings from inside the hole, but I didn't find a lesser spotted woodpecker to compare, I've never seen one at Yarner yet.

3 wood warblers were heard singing with 2 seen, 1 briefly and 1 very well, they are such beautiful birds, one of my top 10 birds, but are becoming so much more uncommon. The first time I saw wood warblers was at Plymbridge Woods just outside Plymouth back in the 1980's and I saw and heard at least 10 whereas now there are none, the last time I saw one there was in 2007. The same has happened at Grenofen Woods. It would be such a shame to lose these birds from the UK yet the reasons for their decline seem to be a combination of things from climate change to loss of habitat in their wintering grounds in Africa. I hope they hang on in there.

Cake at The Brookside Cafe in Bovey Tracey was a delight, I had coffee and walnut which was to die for and David had toffee and almond pavlova which was delicious. David even took a piece of the coffee and walnut home to have the next day. Not a bad couple of days with 4 new moth species and a couple of returning summer migrant birds, year total for birds now 138.

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