Monday, July 29, 2019

The Biggest Catch here...

 A quick summary of catch at Howick 28/07/19

I went out at midnight and the whole place was leaping with moths with a 'landing pattern' circling in the light beam above the trap high into the night.
Despite the massive numbers ( a total record smashing catch for my 125w Robinson in the 10 years operating) there were no big surprises.
Anyway the numbers are 1209 moths of 121 records. There must have been thousands hiding in surrounding vegetation because spuggies are still catching moths this evening.
A massive 214 Common Footman.
3 Dingy Footman
1 Blood Vein
My second Dingy Shears ( the other was still in the fridge)
My 3rd and 8th county Othotelia sparganella that flew as I was potting it.
The 20th county record of Endothena quadrimaculana.
8 Painted Ladies quietly roosting in the egg trays.
I'll be leaving the light off tonight and must wash the trap before I next put it on...
Coleophora species (Coleophora sp.) 1
Common Rustic agg. (Mesapamea secalis agg.) 91
Marbled Minor agg. (Oligia strigilis agg.) 4
Yponomeuta malinellus/cagnagella sp. (Yponomeuta malinellus/cagnagella) 2
15.015 a moth (Aspilapteryx tringipennella) 1
16.001 Bird-cherry Ermine (Yponomeuta evonymella) 2
18.001 Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella) 56
19.001 a moth (Orthotelia sparganella) 1
28.010 Brown House-moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella) 1
32.032 a moth (Agonopterix angelicella) 2
39.001 a moth (Blastodacna hellerella) 1
40.004 a moth (Mompha propinquella) 1
41.002 a moth (Blastobasis adustella) 33
41.003 a moth (Blastobasis lacticolella) 1
44.001 Many-plumed Moth (Alucita hexadactyla) 1
49.025 Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix (Pandemis cerasana) 1
49.026 Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix (Pandemis heparana) 3
49.109 a moth (Agapeta hamana) 5
49.127 a moth (Aethes cnicana) 1
49.156 Marbled Orchard Tortrix (Hedya nubiferana) 1
49.161 a moth (Celypha striana) 1
49.166 a moth (Celypha lacunana) 2
49.193 a moth (Endothenia quadrimaculana) 1
49.252 a moth (Epinotia tedella) 1
49.265 a moth (Eucosma cana) 1
49.341 a moth (Cydia splendana) 2
59.024 Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) 8
62.058 a moth (Phycitodes binaevella) 2
63.005 a moth (Pyrausta despicata) 1
63.033 a moth (Udea lutealis) 4
63.037 a moth (Udea olivalis) 1
63.038 Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis) 24
63.057 Garden Pebble (Evergestis forficalis) 1
63.064 a moth (Scoparia ambigualis) 5
63.066 a moth (Scoparia pyralella) 1
63.067 a moth (Eudonia lacustrata) 8
63.080 Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella) 18
63.089 a moth (Agriphila tristella) 67
63.093 a moth (Agriphila straminella) 20
63.100 a moth (Catoptria margaritella) 1
63.102 a moth (Catoptria falsella) 8
65.009 Buff Arches (Habrosyne pyritoides) 2
66.010 Drinker (Euthrix potatoria) 2
69.003 Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi) 2
70.011 Single-dotted Wave (Idaea dimidiata) 2
70.013 Small Fan-footed Wave (Idaea biselata) 26
70.016 Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) 2
70.016 Riband Wave [non-banded form] (Idaea aversata ab. remutata) 3
70.029 Blood-Vein (Timandra comae) 1
70.045 Shaded Broad-bar (Scotopteryx chenopodiata) 1
70.059 Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata) 1
70.061 Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata) 1
70.069 Dark Spinach (Pelurga comitata) 1
70.074 July Highflier (Hydriomena furcata) 2
70.093 Barred Straw (Gandaritis pyraliata) 5
70.131 Twin-spot Carpet (Mesotype didymata) 1
70.132 Rivulet (Perizoma affinitata) 4
70.133 Small Rivulet (Perizoma alchemillata) 2
70.138 Sandy Carpet (Perizoma flavofasciata) 2
70.141 Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata) 1
70.160 White-spotted Pug (Eupithecia tripunctaria) 1
70.173 Lime-speck Pug (Eupithecia centaureata) 3
70.190 Grey Pug (Eupithecia subfuscata) 2
70.205 Magpie Moth (Abraxas grossulariata) 1
70.207 Clouded Border (Lomaspilis marginata) 1
70.226 Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) 1
70.237 Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria) 4
70.241 Scalloped Oak (Crocallis elinguaria) 3
70.243 Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria) 1
70.258 Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria) 1
70.264 Satin Beauty (Deileptenia ribeata) 1
70.265 Mottled Beauty (Alcis repandata) 3
70.278 Common Wave (Cabera exanthemata) 1
70.283 Light Emerald (Campaea margaritaria) 1
71.012 Iron Prominent (Notodonta dromedarius) 1
71.013 Pebble Prominent (Notodonta ziczac) 2
71.017 Swallow Prominent (Pheosia tremula) 1
72.002 Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis) 6
72.003 Snout (Hypena proboscidalis) 6
72.013 Yellow-tail (Euproctis similis) 1
72.024 Ruby Tiger (Phragmatobia fuliginosa) 5
72.026 Garden Tiger (Arctia caja) 11
72.044 Dingy Footman (Eilema griseola) 3
72.045 Common Footman (Eilema lurideola) 214
72.053 Fan-foot (Herminia tarsipennalis) 1
73.001 Spectacle (Abrostola tripartita) 1
73.002 Dark Spectacle (Abrostola triplasia) 2
73.012 Burnished Brass (Diachrysia chrysitis) 4
73.015 Silver Y (Autographa gamma) 8
73.017 Plain Golden Y (Autographa jota) 5
73.084 Marbled Beauty (Bryophila domestica) 2
73.092 Mottled Rustic (Caradrina morpheus) 1
73.096 Uncertain (Hoplodrina octogenaria) 2
73.097 Rustic (Hoplodrina blanda) 5
73.107 Old Lady (Mormo maura) 1
73.123 Rosy Rustic (Hydraecia micacea) 2
73.131 Flounced Rustic (Luperina testacea) 1
73.147 Small Dotted Buff (Photedes minima) 3
73.155 Clouded Brindle (Apamea epomidion) 1
73.160 Slender Brindle (Apamea scolopacina) 2
73.162 Dark Arches (Apamea monoglypha) 134
73.163 Light Arches (Apamea lithoxylaea) 15
73.171 Rosy Minor (Litoligia literosa) 2
73.222 Dingy Shears (Apterogenum ypsillon) 1
73.254 Antler Moth (Cerapteryx graminis) 12
73.267 Bright-line Brown-eye (Lacanobia oleracea) 5
73.290 Brown-line Bright-eye (Mythimna conigera) 1
73.291 Common Wainscot (Mythimna pallens) 30
73.293 Smoky Wainscot (Mythimna impura) 86
73.298 Clay (Mythimna ferrago) 6
73.313 White-line Dart (Euxoa tritici) 3
73.317 Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) 1
73.325 Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) 3
73.334 Small Square-spot (Diarsia rubi) 4
73.342 Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 98
73.345 Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) 4
73.348 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (Noctua janthe) 3
73.353 Dotted Clay (Xestia baja) 16
73.358 Six-striped Rustic (Xestia sexstrigata) 15
73.359 Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum) 1
73.361 Double Square-spot (Xestia triangulum) 7

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Patch List Catch up...

I haven't done a patch birding update since May, so here goes so far...

After the excitement of Baikal Teal and Baillons Crake in the county, it was back to patch watching in earnest. We always start the year full of vim and vigour but this often deteriorates as the summer arrivals peter out. On a North east coastal patch however, as mid summer beds in, things are only just starting to warm up. We are full of hopes and aspirations of what the return migrations season will be like. Willw e get any fall conditions? Will there be any rare birds? Will the sea watching be classic year? Or, will it all just be a damp squib...that remains to be seen, but a few decent species have been added to the local list since spring...

126. Quail. On 9th June as I stepped out onto our drive, the distinctive 'Whit, whit whit' call sounded only 30 yards into the field but could easily have been in the next field such is the skill in voice throwing that these birds exhibit. It remained until 22nd June when we came back from our Suffolk holiday.

127. In the quiet doldrums of mid summer living near the coast can have its advantages...see here for details on what happened next.

128. On the same crazy seawatch Arctic Tern was added...

129...and Common Sandpipers had already began moving to the coast on 2nd July after breeding.

130. Arctic Skua. After packing up on another seawatch on 7th July a dark phase adult came so close it was almost touchable just over our heads and away north.

131. Later in the afternoon on 7th July, I walked down to the coast patch just to scan for terns and waders and was pleased to see two birds not far out moving north. As I locked on to them one was a Whimbrel and the other, scarcer here, a Bar-tailed Godwit....

132 / 133. The sea is the way to lift the flagging list from now onwards and the hour spent on the 14th July was no different with Little Gull and Common Tern added. The Little Gulls were two birds, one a lovely sooty underwinged adult and a more typical first summer.

134. The most difficult of the breeding terns here, 4 Little Terns flew south just offshore this afternoon as I walked Peggy...

So, 9 year ticks and one a lifer who says mid summer is quiet for birding! With real autumn just around the corner, I am sure there is time to slot in a few more missing common species...a Dunlin or Sanderling wouldnt go amiss...

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Giant Patch Tick!

What a bizarre evening that was.

I was driving home from work when I had a phone call from Gary Woodburn who said the incomprehensible news that Mark Newsome has just had a Giant Petrel fly north at Whitburn.

A what? Giant Petrel? Are they not the things that kill penguins on Blue Planet? In the North Sea?

It was a dark phased bird with a massive white bill.

Giant Petrel has two species, they are Southern and Northern and are incridibly difficult to identify let alone on a fly past at a kilometre range...

Gary was going to wait for news from seawatchers further south and then head to Newton Point. I had already considered a seawatch, as the high pressure out in the Atlantic looked good for a movement of shearwaters and there are a few terns I still haven't had on the patch year list so this news prompted me even more. Gardening would have to wait...

Straight home, changed, snacks and tea packed and out to Cullernose Point by 6.55pm. I was perched halfway down the cliff on a lovely summer evening. The sea was alive with auks, buzzing back and forth in small flocks, razorbills, guiilemots and many puffins. To a back drop of calling kittiwakes on the cliff, whats not to like.

Snacks eaten, tea drunk, and the first 50 Manx Shearwaters were logged. I was studying a winter plumaged diver on the sea that was very Black throated like but just too ar to confirm, when I was joined by Mark Eaton to look seaward. Seeing anyone here is unusual so company and in particular another set of birding eyes was welcome.

The diver was analysed,and I still think Black throated, complete with 'cobra-like' nape shape but its not inked into the notebook.

We commented on how good the visibilty was, Highish up with a flattish sea we could pick out puffins atalmost 2 kms, and at 1 km an 8 inch bird was easily identified, so a 3 foot long, black albatross should be no trouble to connect with, if only...

News came through that a good candidate was seen very distantly at the horizon from St Mary's Island. Ho hum, it was a nice night.

Then a slow motion, quiet, tenseness came as I scanned south from a distant oil tanker when all of a sudden, a huge, black apparition loomed up from the waves and I called to Mark ' There's your Petrel!' scarcely believeing my own words. A short 10 second panic ensued while I stammered out directions, but luckily the oil tanker came in handy as a marker and seen at three quarter distance Mark was on the bird.

The GIANT PETREL, flapped on elastic wing beats, giving the impression of one of those big Fruit Bats or Flying Foxes rather than a bird. It soared and glided seemed too heavy to shear in the calm conditions. This continued for 10 minutes and once it switchbacked south briefly before getting back on track North. We watched as it passed Gannets, Manxies and flocks of auks looking like nothing I've ever seen. The wing tips seemed a bit rounded or ragged maybe giving an 'eagley' look at times, then on down glides it vanished into wave troughs before towering back above the horizon line. it lookd darker than a Sooty Shear but it was the size and jizz that were unmistakeable.

What a bird. It slowly vanished from view. Word was put out by Mark as I had no signal at all and the enormity of the sighting sank in. I was trembling a little bit...

That was certainly some start to the seawatching season...

Oh and even though it cant be identified to a species, I'm having it on my lists!