Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer passes...

Another busy weekend with scarcely a lift of the binoculars. It was our village show on Saturday so all day was spent with that leaving today to have a bit of a rest before work tomorrow.

Still, the moth trap and garden always provides interest.
The whole weekend threatened storms but we only had an odd heavy shower.

Above is a Scalloped Oak I was positioning on buddleia for a photo when a tiny flower bug came out to feast on the moths damaged wing! Very odd behaviour...

Rosy Minor, a late summer marker and my first of the year. 

This boring looking one, is actually the moth of the weekend, being a Depressaria badiella. Its the 10th for Northumberland and the first since 2013. Its my garden second though...

Our Village Hall, venue for the coveted village show.

Victoria Sponge category...

The best photo this weekend was this tiny saucer of fruit in some light through the window, looking lovely...

 So now with August upon us, its getting time to throw off the summer shades and get back out birding!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Creatures of the night.

It seems like ages since I've done any proper birding, but I make no apologies. There will be plenty of time for that after mid-August when things start to pick up. Then it'll be all eyes to the weather forecast and keeping fingers crossed. In the mean time, I like to spend mid Summer with the insects, in particular, lepidoptera. 

We have had a pretty poor summer this year so far but this week has seen an increase in temperature and a rise in moth activity to match. Without much time to trap during the week these days, I used two traps in my garden on both Friday and Saturday nights with excellent results. I used my own Robinson trap and a Skinner on loan from Roger Forster for the first time this year. Both burn 125w MV bulbs, so the place was well lit.

On Friday I had 415 moths of 91 species, of which 137 were in the Skinner, and this trap also accounted for 13 species not in the Robinson. Whether they would have found their way in had only the usual trap have been used, remains to be seen. Saturday was the same set up with even better results. This time I had 518 moths of 104 species, my first treble figure count of species this year.

So without further ado, here are a few from this weekend...

Double Lobed

Lime speck Pug

Gold Spangle 

Lempke's Gold Spot

Only my second ever Small Yellow Wave.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Floral Interlude.

First of all a Starling roost update. We have a mystery. On Thursday night at about 11.30pm I was taking the dog out, when a Barn Owl came from one of the conifers where the starlings roost. It flopped onto another tree across the track, flushing one or two birds, but there were thousands in there. Later, I was woken by the dog at 3.45am, wanting me to take her out. As we walked around the corner near the trees, it was silent. Not a bird in there. And that was about it. They've not been back. I am amazed that a visit by a Barn Owl can move on 4000 Starlings so easily. Its probably for the best, but we are quite sad to see them go, their chattering calls through the night was quite reassuring.

This morning began wet breezy and cool, more like October than July.

I met John at Homebase and noted that all three plans for today were scuppered by the weather. Plan 1 was to go over the south Cumbria looking for butterflies, the weather there was too poor. Plan 2 was to go looking for Large Heath butterfly in Northumberland, but again, weather too cool. Plan 3 was to go up to Holy Island looking for Orchids with the off chance of a butterfly. Not worth it.

In the end we just pottered around our usual haunts at Warkworth. Before that, we did a quick check of the pond next to the A1 at Charlton Mires where a Green Sandpiper was the highlight.

Then down to the Coquet Estuary. Here waders are on the increase, but its just a shame that so far it is nearly all one species -Redshank. We did dig out 35 Dunlin, 5 Common Sandpipers, 1 sum plum Knot and 2 flyover sum plum Grey Plovers.

As it was getting brighter and warmer we popped along to the dunes to check out the flora. This can be lovely at this time, and today was no exception. There were various species of hawkbits, harebells, maiden pinks, ladies bedstraw, birds foot trefoil, wild thyme, meadow vetchling, restharrow and vipers bugloss all over. Attracted to the floral scene were a good range of butterflies with 4 Dark Green Fritillary ( our first at this site), 25+ Small Skippers, 3 Small Heath, 2 Common Blue, 10+ each of Ringlet and Meadow Brown. Added to a few Narrow bordered 5 spot Burnet Moths, Latticed Heath and Yellow Shell moths, the day was salvaged quite admirably I think...

Narrow bordered 5 spot Burnet Moth

Dark Green Fritillary

Latticed Heath moth

Maiden Pinks

Small Skipper on Thyme.

Wild Thyme

Floral dunes at Warkworth

Warkworth Dunes.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Decade of BB...

Just in the nick of time I remembered that my blog is 10 years old today!

A decade of wildlife in Northumberland and beyond.

Social media has diluted the blog somewhat but it has an unbroken record so I am keeping it up, who knows where it will go ( not far I expect) but you never know. When I started this, the whole social media / blogging thing was in its infancy. I was inspired by Graeme Catleys. 'Pewit' Blog ( and still am), but best of all its having contact and conversaions with total strangers who become 'friends'. Some people knock this friends theory but I genuinely do enjoy the contact with people I would never have met as they live in far flung corners of the UK.

So, if you are thinking of commenting or asking me something, don't hesitate, I really do like the contact!

Thanks all for all the kind comments and advice over the years, here's to the next 10...

Kingfishers at Boulmer taken in November 2006.
A Corn Bunting at Boulmer in 2006, my very first blog post. How many new birders need that for the County?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Some moths...

Its a while since I've had some garden moths on here so here goes...

The view from the garden as night falls...

True Lover's Knot

Ingrailed Clay

Green Pug

Buff Arches ( you have to take its photo every year...)

Clouded Brindle
Its been a poor mothing year in the garden. I cant get the trap on as often as usual due to morning work commitments, then we've had cool wet and windy weather since early May, but its still nice to see some old favourites returning again...

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Garden Starlings...

Our neighbour has 3 conifers in her garden. From mid summer until late autumn they attract a small roost of up to 500 starlings with numbers decreasing as winter arrives. I wonder if they move off with continental starlings coming in from the east?

Anyway, this year the starling roost has gone mad! There are thousands of them. I like them but wonder what will happen if numbers continue to increase in the winter? If they get moved on during a cold spell it wouldn't do the poor things any good...