Wednesday 30 October 2013

Mandarin duck at Wembury and Wryneck at Ford Park Cemetery

Since returning from the trip to Ethiopia I haven't been out and about much, instead I have been catching up with chores (and sleep!) and being busy at work.

With the mild weather I had the moth trap out in the back yard on October 23rd/24th and for my troubles I had 3 moths - a light brown apple moth, a plume moth and a common marbled carpet. I guess it is now time to put the moth box away until the spring.

A trip to the caravan at Bude to put it to bed for the winter on October 15th was pleasantly sunny with a few butterflys flitting about and feeding on ivy flowers including a very smart comma. Nearby Maer Lake had wigeon, teal and shoveler amongst the mallards and a very frustrating view of a distant small wader feeding on its own at the back of the Lake and mostly hidden by grass - it had the jizz of a little stint with one having been reported a few days previously but without my telescope I couldn't be sure.

Comma and Red Admiral, Bude

Unfortunately the Out-laws had forgotten to bring the caravan cover with them so we headed down to the caravan again on October 24th to finish the job. A painted lady was trying to warm itself up in the brief spells of sunshine and a plume moth was found in the waste disposal block. The caravan park has been taken over recently and bizarrely the security light on top of the waste disposal block was on in the middle of the day - maybe next year the light will be back on overnight and I will get some decent moth sightings after a poor showing this year.

Bird wise a flock of around 40 golden plover were flying around over Maer Lake where around 300 Canada geese were noisily roosting and bathing and a sparrowhawk was being buzzed by a small flock of starlings. Best birds were 2 adult winter plumaged Mediterranean gulls which flew over the caravan heading inland, looking beautifully ghostly white in the sunshine.

October 30th and I headed off to Wembury for a muddy and blustery walk along the coast path. It was quiet bird wise with 2 cirl buntings, 2 buzzards, 2 little egrets, stonechats and a grey wagtail being the highlights. However the best bird was a totally unexpected male mandarin duck feeding with mallards amongst the rocks by the sewage pipe, a first for Wembury for me and looking quite out of place on the sea.

 Male Stonechat, Wembury
 Male Mandarin Duck, Wembury
Male Mandarin Duck

 Rusty Dot Pearl, Wembury
 Caterpillar at Wembury, ? a ruby tiger
Red Admiral, Wembury

Arriving home and on checking the sightings page I read about a wryneck being seen at Ford Park Cemetery so I headed off to have a look for it. On arriving at the Cemetery 2 birders were staking out a patch of gravestones and as I watched the area a small group of meadow pipits noisily flew up and away from the grass along with a slightly larger bird which flew in to the nearby hedge. I was reliably informed the bird that flew in to the hedge was the wryneck which they had been watching but I didn't actually get the chance to ID it for myself so I guess it would have to be a half year tick, if a year tick at all. I spent some time wandering around trying to find it again but with no luck and after 45 minutes it began to rain so I headed off home, seeing a noisy flyover raven and around 12 flyover redwing, my first of the Autumn, before leaving.


  1. Stuart, don't give up on mothing yet. This morning (7th November) I had 48 moths in my trap of 11 different species.
    Andy Trout
    P.S. failed to catch up with your Mandarin at Wembury!

    1. Maybe I should have carried on but it is definently too cold now for mothing!
      And the Mandarin at Wembury was a bit of a surprise!