Monday, 26 April 2010

Moth trap results April 2010

Results from Haslington..

1x  Herald 2469 Scoliopteryx libatrix

3x  Early Grey 2243 Xylocampa areola

8x  Hebrew Character 2190 Orthosia gothica

4x  Clouded Drab 2188 Orthosia incerta

16x Common Quaker 2187 Orthosia stabilis

3x  Small Quaker 2182 Orthosia cruda

2x  Early Thorn 1917 Selenia bilunaria

3x  Double Striped Pug 1862 Gymnoscelis rufifasciata

1x  Amblyptilia acanthadactyla 1497 Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

1x  Twenty-plume moth 1288 Alucita hexadactyla

1x  Diurnia fagella 663 Diurnia fagella

Not a bad mix.. the Herald was probably the most delightful of the lot.

A very pretty moth.

France Part 2

Ended up spending 6 days on the Isle d'Oleron - the weather improved - the wind dropped and the temp rose so that on the last day we went down to the beach and round the rock pools.

Apart from the amusing session watching a coach driver trying to navigate a 55 seater coach around a single lane roundabout (with cars parked all the way round the outside) and which was only 3m in diameter, it was a pretty uneventful - very pleasant, but uneventful afternoon.

There was a crowd of schoolkids with their teachers (escapees from the coach) on the beach, it was quite something to see the real interest and the dedication of the teachers explaining what they had found and how it all fitted together. I can't remember ever seeing this sort of interest from UK classes, mind you, I left school nearly 40 years ago.

Not being a birdwatcher, I couldn't fail to notice hundreds of these watching me - by far the most common bird that I saw on the island.. I think they are Turnstones coming to the end of their overwintering.

In the rock pools, I spied the usual beasts, but what really caught my eye was this...

Not sure what it is, but the colours were outstanding.  Also manged to find a couple of hermit crabs, both of which made brief appearances.. This was the better more photogenic of the two..

I am really quite pleased with that image..

Back at the campsite on the last day, the weather warmed up and I tried to count up and identify the butterflies that were around.

The common ones were Small Whites and Brimstone butterflies. There were also a few browns around. I think that this is a 'Wall' butterfly, but the wing markings don't quite match my reference book.

The location is correct (coastal) though.

The other pretty/unusual (to me) was this blue, which I think is a Holly Blue.

Finally, we spent our last night on the Normandy coast, just north of Bayeaux, the camp site was superb, built around a little wildlife park with 3 small freshwater lakes. The only interesting (to me) bird that was watching me was this Pintail. The day we arrived, there was a pair, but the female disappeared the next day.

During out 2 weeks in West Coast France I saw many things watching me, possibly the most interesting were:
  • Little Egrets
  • Various unidentified raptors
  • Red Kites - that was a suprise - on the mainland side of the Isle d'Oleron
  • Curlew (trying to blend in with the Turnstones and failing miserably).
  • Lots of Chaffinches and House Sparrows
  • The usual 'English' moths at Normandy - this Hebrew Character was especially bright.

Thats about it for our overseas trips until August when we are back in France and Italy.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Frogs and France - No connection...

I'm writing this while camped out on a fairly stormy night on the Isle d'Oleron on the Atlantic coast of France. A very quiet island that seems to be shut. We have moved from the western side of the island to the eastern side near the town of Chateau - hopefully it will have slightly more settled weather - so far this has not been the case.

Just before we left home, we were rewarded with a bumper crop of frogspawn in the garden pond. Very satisfying. The spawning started on the morning of the 18th March and came to an end on the 23rd March - with two huge clumps of spawn (morphed from about 15 individual clumps), plus 3 clumps which had submerged - no buoyancy. Sunday the 21st March, I was preparing the camper for the trip to France. The sun was shining so I settled in a quiet spot and watched the behaviour of the frogs. A few photos using a 300mm lens and most important, a tripod and remote release.

I brought the Moth trap with me, much to wifes disgust.. Nonetheless, our first night on the Island resulted in 4 moths captured. 2 were Barred Umbers - however, these were very golden in colour and had very slightly different markings than those illustrated in my moth identification book. They were absolutely beautiful.  Also had another moth which I couldn't identify (and which subesquently escaped), plus this one, below. So far I have been unable to identify it, if you recognise the moth, please let me know.

The reason for the lost moths.. During the night a huge storm landed and blew the lid of the trap off. This set the scene for the next 4 days with a mixture of sunshine and showers and a total absence of moths. In fact, I've just brought the trap in as the next set of showers has started again.. (00:00 local time).
The island is very quiet - in fact I don't think anything opens here until the summer. Main industry seems to be farming Mussels and Oysters in marine beds that seem to take up most of the eastern side of the island and are fed by marine tidal canals.. Lots of marine bird life, but not my specialist area... (must try harder).

Friday, 19 March 2010

Moths are back in town

It's been a while since I updated this blog. However, I have not been totally idle. The trap has ben out on several occasions since the New Year and I was rewarded last weekend with my first for 2010, a very tatty micro Acleris notana - Bradley 1045. Last night, the trap was out again and I captured 4 macro moths, an Oak Beauty, a Satellite, a Hebrew Character and a Chestnut. The Oak Beauty and the Hebrew Character are both new to me.

Oak Beauty

Hebrew Character

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Burrs Country Park

Went away for the weekend last Friday and Saturday - came back home on Sunday. We stayed on a Caravan Club Campsite just North of Bury (North Manchester), Burrs Country Park. The park is located on the site ruins of an early 19th century mill which used water from the River Irwell as the source of power. A reasonably complex set of canals and ducting routed the water from the river high point above a weir to drive water wheels etc. Enough of the mill foundations remain to make it historically quite interesting.

From a wildlife point of view this area has some real potential - even to a novice like me. I ventured out around the park on Saturday and Sunday morning and was rewarded with my first kingfisher sighting. A glorious flash of blue/turquoise in the subdued sunlight was a real treat. Even managed a highly pixelised photo through a 300mm lens. I never managed to get close enough for a proper photo though. However, I did manage to capture this pair of Goosander taking off. Really quite pleased with this one.

Last night (Wednesday), while driving from Sheffield to Manchester over the Snake Pass, I spotted a Black Grouse by the A57 at the very high point. According to my Bird watching book this is just about the furthest south that this bird is spotted, so quite chuffed with that as well.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Moth trap - no results

I had the trap out again on Friday Night and Saturday night. No Moths seen or captured, but did get a few small flies. A couple have been hijacked for further analysis.

Weather is getting milder again after the recent cold snap. At Chateau Martyn, minimum temperature last week was a +2C and maximum was +10C with about 15mm of rain. Much better, although the exotic birds that visited the garden have not reappeared despite tempting them with an assortment of fruit.. However, it has returned a little colder in the past 24 hours or so with a light dusting of snow over the higher moorland.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Snow going

Although the snow is disappearing fast (it's been raining most of the day), we have had quite a few different types of birds in today. The Greater Spotted Woodpecker and the Redwing was back at lunch time and this afternoon, a flock of blue tits, great tits and long tailed tits took advantage of an impromptu birdbath in the guttering around the conservatory. This was despite the fact that I had put fresh water out for them in a bowl sitting on the ice on the traditional bird bath. This was much better though, hiding behind the curtains in my daughters bedroom, I really enjoyed their antics. Sadly, the light was too poor for any decent photography, but I did manage to get a couple of snaps which hopefully, I will post later.