Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Listen, there's more...

This morning before work a quick listen for the YBW was fruitless, but a few Redwings were dropping in plus a Song Thrush or two, so I decided to walk Bunty along the back hedge in the field behind our house. Sometimes I get habitat blindness in autumn and have to focus on sallows and sycamores, leaving other habitats aside. So, with reports of Great Grey Shrikes and Barred Warblers everywhere, I thought the old straggly hawthorn hedge would be a better bet.

Only a few yards along and a single bird broke cover about 10 yards ahead. Hawfinch! and it called a loud 'tchick' as it hurled its barrel belly skywards ( I've got a nerve!). It flew back on me and went back in to the thorn further along. Being a considerate soul ( well mostly) I decided to let it recover in peace where it, no doubt, spent its time crunching up haws with that massive heavy bill. A Hawfinch doing what it says on the tin.


This one appeared on my bird table in April 2005. I nearly keeled over!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Remember last week when I heard a Yellow browed Warbler calling from the Village? Well, I was pleased to finally get it on to my OFFH list this afternoon.

As there had been a good show of migrants all up the east coast over the past day or two, I finished work early to check out the local area.  No sooner had I gone to check out the copse next to our garden, the familiar psswissp call drew my attention. There it was, quite well up in the joining twigs between a sycamore and an ash, flitting through the foliage, never still, only giving time enough to see the broad supercillium and wing bars before it moved on. Blink and you have to search to refind it, but it stayed faithful to the spot for several minutes enabling me to get a good, if composite, view.

Yellow browed Warbler. On the list.

Also in here 2 Chiffchaff, 1 male Blackcap, 10+Siskin, and a few Brambling.

Onwards, I walked south to check the Howick Dene. On route were 2 Wheatear, another male Blackcap and several Brambling flew over.

Once I got into the broad shelter of the trees in the dene things became more difficult. The trees here are huge, mixed with large sallows spreading over the stream sides. Soon, another call drew my attention. This time, 2 Pied Flycatchers, looked comfortable in mature beech trees, wing flicking at me in an agitated fashion. Another addition to the list.

In the densest cover one or two Blue and Coal tits were picking at twigs when another bird appeared in with them. I had expected a Chiffy, but in the bins another cracking bright stripey Yellow Browed Warbler. I was lucky to find this silent individual in this jungle, but it showed very well, low down. This was the very same bushes that held last years two firecrests. Worth noting for the future, that.

On  the return journey home it was largely quiet broken only by a nice female Redstart flushed from a manure heap and seen well on a fence line before flying off.

Well worth the early finish I'd say.

Last nights moth trapping -

A quick summary of catch -

Burnished Brass seems late, and my first Chestnut of the autumn makes an appearance. Things have gone full circle now, Chestnut was my first moth back in the snows of January...

1764 Common Marbled Carpet (Chloroclysta truncata) 1
1913 Canary-shouldered Thorn (Ennomos alniaria) 1
2107 Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 6
2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum) 2
2134 Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa) 2
2245 Green-brindled Crescent (Allophyes oxyacanthae) 2
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 1
2264 Yellow-line Quaker (Agrochola macilenta) 3
2270 Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa) 1
2361 Rosy Rustic (Hydraecia micacea) 7
2364 Frosted Orange (Gortyna flavago) 3
2434 Burnished Brass (Diachrysia chrysitis) 1
2441 Silver Y (Autographa gamma) 1

31 Moths of 13 species.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Back to reality....


After a very strong N wind yesterday and a good few Sooties and Bonxies around I made the effort, despite backache.

Watching from the coast path from 07.30 - 08.30 had -

Barnacle Geese 120, 15, 20, 300, 70, 80, 130 (735N)
Pink footed Geese 80, 49 (129N)
Red breasted Merganser 1N
Red throated Diver 4N 2S
Sooty Shearwater 4N
Manx Shearwater 1N
Sanderling 20N
Wigeon 2, 25, 12 (39N)
Common Scoter 2,3,1 (6N)
Velvet Scoter 7 males in one flock N
Arctic Skua 1 distant chasing.
Bonxie 1 loafing then drifted S
Arctic Tern 1 fw N
Golden Plover 50, 17 (67N)
Teal 1,2 (3N)

Plus reasonable numbers of Gannets and Kittiwakes but no Fulmars. A good few auks moved N too with all those specifically identified being Guillemots.

It went quiet by 8.15am...

That dutch bloke hasn't been to Blakeney Point has he? ;)

Friday, September 24, 2010

HeeeHeeee the Lancy is a Meadow Pipit hahahahaha....

oooooohhhhhhhooooooooo and the Whitethroat  er Spectacled Warbler I mean, is a Whitethroat. Its easy to get confused when you have been in a Dutch cafe having 'cakes'....

I cant stop looking at the images. 5 Saunders Gulls, Brown headed, Silver and Laughing are all Black headed Gulls.

A Dutch Dim Wallace...More string than a tramps vest.

Oh man I have just stolen this from Green Withens cos I think it needs further distribution. This bloke's photos from Holland are funnier than Honey Buzzards breeding in Northumberland!

You must check out his Sunda Whistling Thrush...and the Alpine Acc, oh and those Lathams Snipe....If you think that you are crap and they look just like Blackbird, Dunnock and Snipe, then please check out the others...

Be prepared here.

Blue Chaffy indeed...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autumn moths n that...

Some nice ones in the trap this morning -

Green brindled Crescent. One of my target species and a real stunner. Look at the sparkling green irridescence.

Red Line Quaker

Brick ( what a name?)

Total 71 moths of 25 species

0453 Honeysuckle Moth (Ypsolopha dentella) 1
0874 Blastobasis lacticolella 1
1042 Rhomboid Tortrix (Acleris rhombana) 1
1048 Garden Rose Tortrix (Acleris variegana) 1
1076 Celypha lacunana 1
1760 Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata) 2
1764 Common Marbled Carpet (Chloroclysta truncata) 2
1769 Spruce Carpet (Thera britannica) 1
1913 Canary-shouldered Thorn (Ennomos alniaria) 1
2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) 1
2107 Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 14
2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum) 7
2134 Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa) 3
2199 Common Wainscot (Mythimna pallens) 1
2245 Green-brindled Crescent (Allophyes oxyacanthae) 1 NEW
2262 Brick (Agrochola circellaris) 1 NFY
2263 Red-line Quaker (Agrochola lota) 1 NFY
2265 Flounced Chestnut (Agrochola helvola) 1
2270 Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa) 2
2350 Small Wainscot (Chortodes pygmina) 2
2353 Flounced Rustic (Luperina testacea) 1
2361 Rosy Rustic (Hydraecia micacea) 14
2364 Frosted Orange (Gortyna flavago) 7
2441 Silver Y (Autographa gamma) 3
2477 Snout (Hypena proboscidalis) 1

I took Bunty out before work this morning. In the back field a Buzzard over a kill on the ground was being mobbed by an adult Peregrine, that was very vocal. I think the Buzzard might have usurped the Peregrine from its breakfast.
From the road I heard a Yellow browed Warbler call twice from the copse next to our garden. I hurried back, dropped Bunty off and went to investigate but I got neither sight or sound of it again. It makes you doubt your own ears when that happens...  As a result its not going on the OFFH list...
I hope its still in there to give me a second chance.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


An excess of accrued flexi time came in handy this afternoon. I finished work at noon and ADMc and myself drove the hour south to sunny Teesside where the adult Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was on show straight away, poddling around the edge of Greatham Creek with the local Redshanks.

At scopable distance ( just as well as I had forgot my bins!) we watched for 10 minutes until a Peregrine fancied itself a chinese takeaway and piled into the birds. Luckily it was a half hearted effort and all remained unscathed. After a flight around, the bird landed in a closer position for good views for all of another five minutes before being coaxed off to high tide roost with the locals.

It was quite a distinctive bird, clearly taller and leggier than Pec Sand. A worn adult and not as dark or well marked as the ones we saw in China.

A nice addition to the list edging me ever closer to the 400 mark ( yes, I should get out more).

British List - 394

Blog posts have been scarce lately as I have been uploading my moth catches onto mapmate, a natural history database added to my pc. It'll make life much easier next year.

Last nights catch ( nicely in order, complete with latin names, thanks to mapmate) -

0819 Scrobipalpa costella 1 New Second for VC68
0873 Blastobasis adustella 1
1041 Acleris sparsana 1
1048 Garden Rose Tortrix (Acleris variegana) 2
1760 Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata) 1
1777 July Highflyer (Hydriomena furcata) 1
2107 Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 8
2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) 1
2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum) 3
2134 Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa) 1
2264 Yellow-line Quaker (Agrochola macilenta) 1 NFY
2265 Flounced Chestnut (Agrochola helvola) 2
2266 Brown-spot Pinion (Agrochola litura) 4
2270 Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa) 3
2299 Mouse Moth (Amphipyra tragopoginis) 1
2306 Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) 1
2361 Rosy Rustic (Hydraecia micacea) 13
2364 Frosted Orange (Gortyna flavago) 9
2477 Snout (Hypena proboscidalis) 2

0819 Scrobipalpa costella

2264 Yellow-line Quaker (Agrochola macilenta)

Sunday, September 19, 2010


This little plant is growing in our drive. Its tiny, only about 120mm tall, and looks like one of the pinks. I know its something 'different' because surely I would have noticed such a striking little flower before and this one is new to me. Checking the guides, nearest I can come to is Sweet William Catchfly, a naturalised species in the south of England, but maybe not up here?

I'm hoping someone ( Steve, Nigel, Dean et al) can give me the benefit of their greater experience...   

Sunday, September 12, 2010

For a change...

Out and about with JWR this morning found us down checking the Coquet and Aln Estuaries. A few waders were about with 1 Ruff (above), 4 Black Tailed Godwits, 3 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpipers as well as the usual coastal birds such as Dunlin, Redshank, Ringed Plovers etc. In the car park at Amble Braid this Lesser Whitethroat (above) showed on and off quite frustratingly.

The autumn colour around the shrubs was very nice in the warm sunshine.

There have been quite a few butterflies around over the last two days. Today we had Red Admirals in good numbers, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper, Wall Brown and Large White.

From here we headed up to Alnwick Moor for some dragonflies...

Black Darter (top) and Common Hawker (bottom) were plentiful. Back at home a dozen Common Darters (centre) were on the village pond. I was pleased to find a single Black Darter here too, my first in the lowlands.

I think these fungi are Russula emetica, a common species in coniferous woodland. There were loads in here.  

Oh and 'Lest ye forget'....

Turnip Moth was new in a batch of 86 moths of 21 species last night.

And I said that I had some birds to update -

Wednesday -

In our garden, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat and 2 Willow Warblers. On the coast path 3 Blackcaps, 1 Sedge and another Grasshopper Warbler, 1+ Wheatears. The male Redstart was still present and 1 Yellow Wagtail flew S.

Thursday - 

A lot of the migrants have cleared out but the Garden Warbler was still around our garden. In the back field were 1 Stock Dove, 11 Grey Partridges, 100 Lapwings, 8 Golden Plover and 35+ Meadow Pipits.

Friday -

A good few hirundines have been moving south over the last day or two accompanied by 3 Swifts today. Also, a nice female Redstart showed well in our Village Wood. A Willow Warbler trapped itself in our porch and was rescued by Jane.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Its Black...

Black Rustic. Fantastic or what.

The Crescent. A real suprise hidden amongst the Square Spots.

Pink barred Sallow.

Rush Veneer

Rhomboid Tortrix

Garden Rose Tortrix

A selection of newbies from the last two days. The Black Rustic is one of my most wanted species and I wasn't disappointed. What a belter.

Last night 151 moths of 36 species takes my garden list to 311 for the year.

I have some other bird  stuff to update too honest.  

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Last nights moths...

Flounced Chestnut

Grey Pine Carpet? or is it Spruce?

51 Moths of 16sp last night.

New for the year, Flounced Chestnut 1 and Grey Pine Carpet 1 ( I think).
Also -

Mouse 3
Frosted Orange 3
Rosy Rustic 5
Brown Spot Pinion 4
Dark Marbled Carpet 1
Centre Barred Sallow 1
Angle Shades 1
Setaceous Hebrew Character 1
Lunar Underwing 2
Square Spot Rustic 9
LYU 16
Lesser Broad Bordered YU 1
Common Rustic agg 1
Blastobasis adustella 1

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A day of two halves...

This morning was very windy with heavy showers, making going out just about impossible. By lunchtime though, the rain had stopped and the wind eased a bit leaving a lovely warm sunny, if still breezy, afternoon.

So it was off north on foot via the coast path to Craster and back.

Although I wasnt lucky enough to find any scarce let alone rares, a nice scattering of common migrants boosted the OFFH list.

Spotted Flycatcher 3
Redstart 1 male
Grasshopper Warbler 1 on the path had me excited briefly until its identity was revealed. Still good to find a none singer...
Wheatear 1
Whitethroat 1
Whinchat 2
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 4 ( included one feeding a new juvenile, very late.)


This Spotted Fly taking its life into its own hands with its latest meal. It can be seen to be a juvenile bird due to the white dots on the lesser coverts and uppertail coverts ( top pic).

The sea was very rough indeed with huge breakers pounding the shore.

OFFH List 147

Monday, September 06, 2010


Its is blowing a gale outside from the SE or maybe ESE. The forecast is for rain, but will it? As my car needs a new wheel bearing, it'll be patch migrants for me. Decision is, to walk north to Craster or south to Boulmer...Ive had good migrants at both sites and in between, so I'll just wait and see how it turns out tomorrow...

A self found Arctic Warbler would be a bit special eh....

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Last nights moths...

Before I start, I seem to have made a cock-up with my White Line Dart id. Mark Skevington and Ian Fisher tell me it is actually a Heath Rustic. Still, a new species for me. I''ve changed the caption on the pic ...Thanks lads...

Autumnal Rustic

This Autumnal Rustic was a new addition to the year list. I only caught a single last autumn so it was a welcome return.

Also of interest -

121 moths of 24sp.

Setaceous Hebrew Character 3
Red Green Carpet 1
Frosted Orange 3
Brown Spot Pinion 8
Centre barred Sallow 4
Rosy Rustic 7

JWR and myself checked Craster for migrants this morning. All we found was a single Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Blackcap and a handful of Chiffchaffs.

More bizarrely, this evening at 9pm I was out with Bunty when I noticed a movement at the phonebox ( the one where I used to catch a few moths, in Howick). I was suprised to see that a bird was hopping about inside. I suspected the local Robin hunting under the street light, but it turned out to be a Wheatear! What it was doing in a phone box in the dark is beyond me....As I opened the door, it flew out under the gap around the base and off into the night.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


Red Kite juv.

JWR found this kite at Buston on the very same road as the male Red backed Shrike earlier this year. Just like the shrike, by the time I got there it had gone...He got these nice photos though to thoroughly P me off!

What with Gary finding Lap Bunts pouring south at Low Newton and this Kite just south of me I am eagerly awaiting my good bird. A Wryneck on me lawn would do nicely....

Oh and I've just had a text from Rob Hopson who has just found a Great Snipe at Spurn, lucky sod...

Right a reality check beckons -

Lunar Underwing. New for the year, species 301.

My second Butterbur of the autumn in the garden...

Ear sp. Probably Large Ear due to the dark crescent on the underside of the wing...

The local female Merlin showed again today coinciding with a large arrival of Starlings into the Village. The flock is now 4 - 500 strong. A Nuthatch on my garden peanuts was a nice record  too... 

Friday, September 03, 2010

The 300

Canary shouldered Thorn - No 299

White -line Dart Heath Rustic (oops) 300!

These two moths caught on Wednesday night mark 300 species in the garden this year. The thorn is new for the year but the White Line Dart is a new species for me.

I have looked at the weather forecast for the coming week and with a spot of luck we might just get a fall. The winds might stay in the east and by Tuesday there is a high over Scandinavia. Add a drop of night time rain and bingo - Migrants!

Or am I just in a daze because I am on holiday now for a week....