Friday, 26 October 2018

Scilly 2018 Moths, dragonflies and birds!

Staying at the fantastic Watermill Cove area with my father 8th to 17th October, lots of very rare moths thanks to a strong southerly airflow from the Canary Isles. We were out dawn till dusk most days looking for birds as well as after dark looking for moths, so it was fairly full on and very enjoyable!
The following is a quick photo record of my trip to the Scillies. (I did a fuller write up, but when I pushed publish it deleted the this is a slimmed down version)

Marvelous moths!!

Silver Striped Hawkmoth, 1st for Scilly! I netted this moth while it was being chased by a bat... I thought it would be a convolvulus hawkmoth, so when I saw it in the net I got the surprise of my life, what a moth!

Herpetogramma licarsisalis 15th for uk!
Porters Rustic
Uresiphita gilvata- like a cross between a leggy Rusty Dot Pearl and a large yellow underwing!
Many Lined 47th for UK
Standard Flame Shoulder (for comparison)
Radfords flame shoulder (note the difference to above picture regarding the continuous pale costa leading to the patagia)
Wedgling- 3rd for UK, caught by Dave Grundy on St Agnes

Box-tree moth 1st for Scilly! (a 'true migrant')
A very good start to the trap when you can see this!

Dark Mottled Willow

Tawny Pinion

Bordered Straw
Palpita vitrealis
Scarce Bordered Straw
Hummingbird Hawkmoth
Pearly Underwing
White Speck
Notable moth species (for me) recorded during my stay 8/10 to 17/10.
(peak means most specimens found in one night)

Blairs shoulder knot 4
Box-tree 1st for Scilly
Cosmopolitan 1 on several nights
Cyprus Carpet 9 peak
Dark mottled willow 1
Deaths head hawkmoth 1
Delicate 10 peak
Four spotted footman 1
Gem 1
Golden twinspot 1
Herpetogramma licarsisalis 15th for UK
Many lined 1
Opogoma omoscopa lots
Palpita Vitrealis 22 peak
Pearly underwing 1
Porters rustic 1
Radfords flame shoulder 2
RDP 75 peak
Rush vaneer 18 peak
Scarce bordered straw 3 peak
Silver striped hawkmoth 1st for Scilly
Small mottled willow 5 peak
Tachystola acroxantha 4 peak
Tawny pinion 1
Uresiphita gilvata 2
Vestal 9 peak
Wedgling 3rd for UK D. Grundy
White Speck 74 peak

 The moths were certainly pretty amazing, so it was great to continue the rare insect theme with dad and I finding a dragonfly hawking the strand line at Pelistry bay. The dragonfly was clearly a yellow colour all over with yellow tints to the wings and had an interesting flight pattern with lots of short glides, quite unlike a migrant hawker, then on a close flyby in binoculars I could clearly see an unmarked side of the thorax....VAGRANT EMPEROR! It soon disappeared over the bushes, but I soon relocated it perched and obscured in the middle of the field, it did confirm the long yellow pterastigmas to further the identification... a new odonate for me!

 ...And birds.
The birds were not quite as good as they could have been however I did manage a fairly respectable list during my stay.
Barred Warbler
lots of Yellow Browed Warblers
several Firecrest
Tawny Pipit
Red Backed Shrike
Greenish Warbler
Probable Aquatic Warbler (looked very good to me!)
Siberian Chiffchaff (self found)
Black redstarts
Ring Ouzels
Red-Breasted Flycatcher (self found)
Eastern Yellow Wagtail (probable) (partially self found- heard calling near accommodation and reported as possible EYW)
....and probably more that I have left off by accident

Potential Eastern yellow wagtail

'standard?' yellow wagtail

Greenish Warbler


Monday, 7 May 2018

American Bittern

On 24th April I decided to go and have a second look at the American Bittern. I did see it in flight with a Great Bittern the day after it was identified, however a flight view was not quite sufficiant for me. 
I started work at 5am so had the latter part of the afternoon off. It rained the whole way to Carlton Marshes until I parked! I arrived at the small crowd and learnt that the bittern had been seen in flight briefly a few times in the past 4 hrs but not very well. Things didnt sound great. I got to the ditch that the bird had been showing in the previous few days and set up my scope, lifted my binoculars and found the bittern staring back at me.. result! it then walked straight towards us fishing as it went, then swam accross the ditch and started walking away. In all I was watching it for about 25mins and it offered fantastic views. If it had of ben a great bittern showing this well I'd of been very happy, but the fact that this was an American Bittern was even better!
I got back to the car and it started raining again, it did so all the way home too! 
So as twitches go it was pretty much perfect, great weather, zero waiting time, point blank views and some nice photos to show for it all.

In other news.... I found my third Savi's Warbler at Strumpshaw Fen on Saturday morning from Fen Hide, my first bit of birding on the reserve in ages without a group and I was very kindly rewarded!!