A Naturalist in Northumberland


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Moth.

 Its been all birdy for weeks now and I am eager for some variety when the weather gets a bit warmer. Soon it will be time to dust off the moth trap and get some early spring moths caught, but for the minute cold, dull weather means birds will still be the way to go.

As a taster of things to come I was pleased to see this small Many plumed Moth in our house last night, my first moth of 2021 on MapMate...

Many Plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla beside a drawing pin for size.

 Last night dusk was around 4.45pm as I took Peggy out. It was just about light enough to look for a Barn Owl over the back field but it seemed quiet. Then a movement caught the periphery of my view . In the gloaming, a Buzzard, a male, was in full hunt pursuit of something just behind the hedge line. Then I got my eye on the victim, a bird, very unusual... made even more so when I saw the bird was a Sparrowhawk. You would think it could easily out pace a lumbering Buteo, but its surprising what a run it gave. The hawk had to switch and flip before plummeting like an arrow into some small Scots Pines beside the village hall. the Buzzard followed the same route straight in with such a clatter. The hawk emerged from the other side and off across the road, but it was now too dark to see the Buzzard again.

This shows that these large carrion, worm, and vole eating raptors are more active than you might first think. The Sparrowhawk should thank its lucky stars.





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