Wednesday 7 April 2021

Green year list additions and fish on the path!

This year I am trying a green year list for the first time. I'm not much of a yearlister, but given the lockdowns and staying local I thought I'd see how many species i can see without using fuel/burning carbon. Seeing as I rarely go too far away from the local area it makes sense to keep a green list. Being able to cycle to Buckenham and Cantley has certainly been very much appreciated in the recent lockdowns, adding a lot of species I dont see at home or Strumpshaw Fen. Yesterday while opening the sluices at the fen (large flood!) I managed to catch up with a number of migrants for my greenlist- Garganey (at least 6), Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, house and Sand Martins too. This brings me up to 110 species, which is not bad considering I still have a few easy ones to add. The fen has suffered after the strong Northerly winds have produced classic conditions for a North Sea surge tide. This is not great timing for all the marhs harriers who have been busy nest building or for the bitterns that have been booming well recently. Bitterns like a nice stable water level at this time of the year so that they can be happy that their nests wont flood out, so hopefully I can get the water levels down and bittern bums can go down. It is quite a shame that we flooded so badly as the path was just about getting into a decent condition after the worst winter for flooding in recent years made it pretty much impassable for Jan-Mar. While opening the sluices I managed to see Pike, Rudd, Roach and Gudgeon all happily swimming along the path as well as several pairs of mallard riding the path torrent!

Monday 5 April 2021

Its been a while, but its time to get the blog back up and running!

After a break since October 2018 I have decided to have a go at blogging once again. Its been a pretty awful year for many reasons, but I would like to focus on the positives so will spare the summary and just start from now. As before I will try to focus on the wildlife I see while out and about, mostly in the Yare Valley. One difference is that my camera is now gone, so its just phone shots for the forseable future. Yesterday I was on duty at Strumpshaw and despite the nice sunny day there were surprisingly few people about so I had time to look at the nectar garden, apart from seeing a large ammount of ground elder which has not been presnt before, I saw two shieldbugs. The shieldbugs turned out to be pied (a fairly common species associated woth white dead nettle) and also a bordered shieldbug, this tiny shieldbug measures just 3.5mm and is associated with bedstraws. Both of these shieldbugs are new to me and also proved to be the first records of each species for the reserve too. Just after I saw these I also managed to see my second Strumpshaw Fen orange underwing moth of the year. With lots of migrant birds now arriving I hope that there will be much to write about in the coming weeks and months.

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