Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Well that filled our wellies

The Safari had a well attended weekend of National Whale and Dolphin Watches and the Moth and Bat Night at the nature reserve drew a good crowd too. Sadly the weather wasn't good for dolphin spotting with the sea far too rough for observing cetaceans - but you have to try! It was pretty much a birdless desert out there too. Sunday proved to be the best day for birds with a Kestrel going south well out to sea and a little later a Great Skua was seen giving some terns a bit of trouble way out towards the windfarms before giving up on them and heading deep into the bay round the corner and out of sight.
Maybe next year they'll pick a week when the weather is warm sunny and calm!
The moth and bat night we helped out with was disappointing for bats, one flew past quite early on while it was still very light and that tempted us to take the group for a wander up the fields and hedgerows where we've seen loads in the past but we couldn't find any at all - the detectors remained worryingly silent. On the walk back we had two sightings of either one or two Pipistrelles which fortunately everyone in the group managed to see. We kept the detectors on while we turned our attentions to the moths but there were no other sounds to be heard from either of them.
The moths were a little slow starting but after a short while the identifiers were kept busy with a nice selection and fortunately we weren't over-run with a huge number of Large Yellow Underwings. Lesser Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing and Least Yellow Underwing also found the nets..A Gothic was new for us as was a Fen Wainscot. Ruby Tiger, Marbled Beauty and Brown China Mark were pick of the rest with a supporting cast of bright yellow Brimstones, dull brown Common Rustics, Flame Shoulders, Mother of Pearls, pumpkin seed shaped Dingy Footmen and a Common Plume. The Silver Ys attracted to the lamp were much smaller than the one we'd found earlier while pegging out the laundry at Base Camp.
A Yellow Orphion wasp was an exotic looking visitor to the trap.
We were very fortunate to see a Barn Owl fly over the group but they all missed it as they were bent down  concentrating on the moths around the light.
We didn't get a chance to do much wildlife-ing yesterday or today but did manage a Sparrowhawk with a youngster on Patch 1 while out with Monty and a Holly Blue at another site while walking him. Is it just us or are there not so many Holly Blues around this year? The following day we were out on Patch 1 with Monty when the heavens opened and boy did they open it was like the first day of the monsoons. The downpour lasted about ten minutes by which time we'd got under cover of the bigger trees but there was still so much water coming down that it ran off our coat drenched our trousers andd filled up our wellies almost to the brim resulting in a rather squelchy walk back to Base Camp - and Monty? He loved it, ran round like a mad thing and got as wet as a soggy doggy possibly can.
Remember the Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars we didn't weed out last week - sadly we have to tell you they are no more, victims of the tidy-brigade without so much as a by your leave - - and you wonder why there's no butterflies anymore. Fuming we are!!!
Where to next? A welcome day off tomorrow and a trip out planned with CR
In the meantime let us know who's flying over un-noticed in your outback.

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