Thursday, 17 May 2018

Square Spot

Square Spot - Bicton Common. One male Emperor Moth and a few Common Heath were also seen this afternoon.
An unexpected highlight this afternoon was my first Square Spot. It flew in to me as I was walking around a wooded part of Bicton Common. It's a local species found in southern Britain. Not sure of its status in Devon. Otherwise it's been a quiet week with local Spotted Flycatchers, Firecrests and Nightjars seen, and a single Red Kite over the river at the beginning of the week.

Grey-patched Mining Bee - thank you to Nick for the id.


Spotted Flycatcher 

Friday, 11 May 2018

So, So Quiet

Dunlin and Sanderlings - Maer Rocks - 8/5
I've seen virtually nothing this week. This afternoon off Mudbank, just before high tide - 3 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 4 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel, 4 Great Crested Grebe and 35+ Sandwich Tern.
A brief 30 minute look off Maer rocks revealed a further 10+ Sandwich Tern, 3 Common Tern, 9 Manx Shearwater and a Great Crested Grebe.
On Tuesday there were 7 Sanderlings and a Dunlin on Maer Rocks, and on Monday a Red Kite was watched from the back of our house, thanks to a 'heads-up' from Terry.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Chamomile Shark and Osprey

Chamomile Shark - Nick trapped this moth last night - a brand new one for me and for Nick. The main feature, which distinguishes this moth from the Shark, is the extension of the black forewing streaks on to the fringes of the wing. It also helps that this species is on the wing over a month earlier than Shark. According to 'Waring and Townsend' the larvae feed on Scentless Mayweed, Chamomile, Corn Chamomile, Stinking Chamomile and Feverfew. Nick presumably has one or more of these plants growing close by.
I never got as far as Orcombe Point this morning, but I sat and looked at the sea for a little while from around 0625. Almost immediately the gulls in the area went crazy and an Osprey drifted overhead, circling once or twice just offshore from Maer Rocks before dragging its tail of gulls towards Dawlish Warren. Other species noted included a lingering Great Skua, 4+ Sandwich Tern, 1 Common Tern, 2 Sanderling, 2 Common Scoter, 11+ Manx Shearwater and a Whimbrel.
The Whimbrel count reached 35+ off Mudbank but otherwise just 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin were noted.
Late morning we all trooped up to Yarner for a dog-walk and picnic. Birds noted included a few Pied Flycatchers, Garden Warbler and Redstart, but only 1 Wood Warbler was seen - a singing male that was ringed. Unfortunately the photo below was all I could manage.
Osprey over Maer Rocks at around 0630 this morning.

Singing male Pied Flycatcher - Yarner Woods

Wood Warbler - Yarner Woods. A ringed individual.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Returning Breeders and Emperor Moths

Green-winged Orchid - several flowers out now but not the 'purple carpet' it can be..... yet.

Orcombe was very quiet this morning but my first Common Sandpiper, in Exmouth, this year was on the rocks and a lone Willow Warbler 'willow-warbled' from clifftop sallows.
Maer Rocks produced just a lone Whimbrel with 1 Common Tern and 9+ Sandwich Tern offshore.
The river was hidden by a thick bank of morning fog but I managed to log 25+ Whimbrel off there and little else.
This afternoon I had a wander around the margins of the Exmouth parish and was pleased to find Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher and Dartford Warbler, all back on territory.
On Bystock Common, c10/20+ Brimstone butterflies were on the wing and on East Budleigh Common an estimated 50+ male Emperor Moths were zooming round late afternoon, assuming of course that I'm not counting the same individuals doing laps, which is entirely possible. Martin made it over to see them. Great to catch up with him as always.
It's been a busy week at work this week so I haven't seen much, but on the 1st a 5 minute 'glance' off the seafront produced a Great Skua and 8 Manx Shearwater.

Common Tern below the fog bank.

Holly Blue (above) and Speckled Wood on laurel, in the garden this afternoon. Orange-tip and Green-veined White also seen.

Spotted Flycatcher back on territory.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

A Fall at Last - pm Edit

Was starting to think it wasn't going to happen this spring, as we nudge closer and closer towards the end of April. Grey skies and cool temperatures delivered a nice smattering of migrants on Orcombe this morning - c20+ Willow Warbler, c10/15+ Wheatear, 3 Redstart (2 male,one female), 2 Whinchat, my first two Swift of the year, 8 Swallow and 8+ Whitethroat were logged. Also small numbers of Blackcap and Chiffchaff (quite possibly breeders), and a White Wagtail
Noted offshore were 25+ Sandwich Tern, 1 Common Tern and a Common Scoter.
Not a huge amount of variety but a relief just to see some migrants.
This afternoon I met up with Paul and we had a wander around Maer Valley, finding a Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Warbler in the sallow clump by the stream. The Ring-necked Parakeet flew past us heading in the direction of Douglas Avenue.

Chiffchaff - failed to photograph any of the large-looking washed-out Willow Warblers.

Only managed one shot of the female Redstart. It was accompanying 2 fabulous-looking males on the track down to the Bristol Schools camp.
My first Swift of the year - arriving in off the sea.

One of two Whinchat in the dung field.
White Wagtail.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Bar-wits and Oik 'K7'

Ten Bar-tailed Godwits off Mudbank today, with four close-in enough for some photos. The 'show-stealer' -  a full summer-plumaged bird that will really take some beating for looks. Note the colour-ringed Oystercatcher in the photo below - 'K7' - presumably one of the recently-ringed Warren birds. The only other birds of note off there - 8 Brent Geese that were very distant but presumably pale-bellied birds, and c50/60+ Whimbrel.
Football and family time with my brother and nieces were the priority today but I managed a dawn visit to Orcombe and a quick whip-round late this afternoon. Orcombe today provided 5+ Greenland Wheatear, 2 White Wagtail, 4+ Swallow and a House Martin.
Great to see Mark Bailey on the way home this morning. From the seafront, where Mark had parked illegally, we logged two or three Little Terns, 3 Great Northern Divers, 4 Whimbrel, 6+ Swallow and a Wheatear.
Yesterday - 5 Little Tern, 1 Common Tern, c20+ Common Scoter, 22 Manx Shearwater, 1 diver sp (prob Red-throat) and a Great Northern Diver off the seafront, and c150+ Pale-bellied Brent Goose and 27+ Sandwich Tern off Mudbank.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Greenland Wheatears

Still very little going on in Exmouth but nice to see 3 Greenland Wheatears on the dung heap, with one remaining White Wagtail.
On Monday afternoon there were 5 Little Terns ranging widely off the seafront. A first-summer Mediterranean Gull was also present.
Yesterday afternoon at least 3 Little Terns were still present, along with 2 Common Terns, 22 Manx Shearwaters, c10+ Sandwich Terns and 4 Common Scoter.