Friday, 28 August 2015

Underwing hell

The Safari was able to put the big light out on the moth trap but only due to sad circumstances, the lovely elderly lady next door passed away peacefully the night before last. Our neighbours on the other side are away on holiday both events allowing the use of the big light. An excited night followed but with hindsight we needed have been so eager to get down stairs and have a look at first light. At least we spotted the Common Wasp on the top egg box and that made us turn the others slowly and warily, there were two others lurking within. For the moths underwings out-numbered all-comers 24, of the three common species but mostly Lesser Yellow Underwing, to eight, three of which were micros, the very common Light Brown Apple Moth (2) and Codling Moth (1)
All of which somehow reminded  us that we've had a couple of Patch 2 ticks this week we've forgotten to tell you about, namely three Teal (P2 #61) and Common Sandpiper (P2 #62) along with some good skua action which included a possible Pomarine Skua yesterday seen circling very high northwards, only trouble is we had a it down as a Bonxie and the group of far more experienced seawatchers and better telescoped birds a little way to our south thought it was Pom - final verdict? Skua sp, dohhh! Far more easily IDd was the really close Arctic Skua giving a Sandwich Tern a mild bit of grief, one of the best views of an Arctic Skua we've ever had; too close for the scope really, bins woulda been better.
Wifey had to work this morning but we had a day off as we're another year closer to our telegram today so went down to the northern estuary for a shuffy at the waders. We got there a little late as the tide was well up but it couldn't be helped. The normal wader roosts were already almost underwater and most of the waders had been washed off. The nearest patch of mud held a couple of dozen Lapwings and a small bird hidden among them, was this what we had come for? No, the Lapwings were forced to walk up the bank a little by an incoming wavelet and our mystery bird turned into a Little Ringed Plover, a nice find, never seen one of those here before. A wander past the yacht club had us find all the smaller waders - about a flippin mile away on the far bank!!! Time to give up and go elsewhere, we'll try again another day over the holiday. although the tide will be even higher then and will probably flood over the road.
Our elsewhere turned out to be the nature reserve. We walked in from the north very briefly seeing the first Goldcrest of the autumn at the site work its way down the ancient hedge along the original bank of the pre-1741 mere.
The warm sun was tempered by a rather strong south westerly wind, we'd been sheltered from it on the estuary but in the lee of the denser patches of scrub Common Darters chased each other around their shadows on the path being easier to see than the insects themselves. Occasionally they'd land on the path and present a photo opportunity but they spotted our movement miles off and were gone in a flash. There were Brown Hawkers in abundance too along with a few Migrant Hawkers, one of which almost settled long enough for a pic. 
Concentrating on the eastern end we scoured the scrub for the elusive Garden Warbler without success, there were plenty of Woodpigeons in there and a lone Blue Tit.
Can't string this into a Garden Warbler
The scrape looked promising but there wasn't so much as a feather on it from which ever angle we viewed it from. Don't let the blue sky in the pic above fool you, we got a drenching from a heavy shower which we just knew must have dropped something so we went round to the embankment to look over the mere for a Black Tern or something similarly exotic - nowt, there was zilch there out of the ordinary.
Studying the water we counted 13 Shovelers, a couple of Teal well tucked away in the edge of the reeds and right at the far end a pair of Gadwall were found. From the reeds to our left a Cetti's Warbler fired up and we heard another round by the 'Panoramic' Hide a little later. A couple of Reed Warblers scooted across the reed tops but other than the 'regular stuff there wasn't much else, then Wifey phoned for her lift home - her car was in for a service. On the way back to the Land Rover we had enough time for another look at the scrub where we found our first Shaggy Ink Caps of the year and not more than a yard away a big clump of another Coprinus sp fungus.

Back at Base camp we turned on the puter to input our moth sightings on to our spreadsheet and our bird sightings on to Birdtrack, then we had a peek at the FBC website to see if there was owt about - beejeeezuzzz wouldya look at that - how'd we miss those Little Ringed Plovers? Must have flown almost right over our head - and we didn't even see TS!!! We just knew that shower would drop something! Does that count as a dip?

We put our sighting on later but before riting this blog - obviously...
It all goes to prove you can't see everything all the time, but it was a tad miffing!
Wifey's  car was ready at 5 o'clock and as the sun was still out we decided to walk down to the garage to collect it rather than both of us go in the Land Rover, much more sustainable...and we saw our first Painted Lady flying low along the roadside grass verge - wouldn't have spotted that from the driving seat! So not such a miffing day after all.
Seeing  as it's our buffdy here's a sort of relevant song, guitar played by a local lad from not far up the road near the in-laws

Where to next? Might try an early start on the nature reserve in the morning providing there's not too much quaffing of quality ales this evening.
In the meantime let us know what's missed is mystery in your outback.


Phil Barnett said...

You're not the only one to suffer 'underwing hell '
Great blog by the way

cliff said...

Some good birthday sightings there, glad the wildlife turned out for you.