Monday, 25 November 2013

Day saved by Eton Wick

I had big hopes for a good morning on Staines Moor today. Ever the optimist, I was already looking forward to what today could bring as early as last night. 

Staines moor and myself seem to have a love/hate relationship going on - I've had some real cracking days up there, thoroughly enjoyable times watching this years Grasshopper Warbler for example:

Or watching a Barn Owl flying silently over neighbouring Stanwell Moor at first light:

On the flip side, I've never known such a place that you can revisit the very next day and see, quite literally; a few Blue Tits, Great Tits, maybe a magpie or two and at very best, a distant Kestrel over the A30. It can be the full english breakfast of birding one day and a bowl of muesli without the milk the next!

I always park at Hithermoor rd and take the path along the King George VI reservoir, through the gate to Stanwell moor, over the boardwalk to Staines Moor. The sound of a Cetti's warbler bellowing out it's call within minutes of me leaving the car, was a pleasant suprise - it's the first I've heard of one in that area. A few of the usual suspects were flitting about, Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Goldfinches etc but the highlight was actually this rather smart looking Fox:

Quite a nice one, I think you'll agree? It's usually the manky, mange ridden urban foxes that I see wandering around this area, so this was nice to see.

Stanwell moor was exceptionally quiet today with no more than a few Blue tits and the odd Crow hopping around the tree tops. With this lead-up it was with no suprise that as I stepped onto Staines moor, it wasn't long before I knew today 'muesli-without-milk' on the menu! 
I'd like to stress that I am not the kind of person who goes out everytime expecting to find a mega or add 10 lifers to my list on every trip. It doesn't disappoint me that that doesn't happen, what disappoints me is when I go to a great place, a lovely habitat and see...NOTHING. I'm quite happy watching 'common' birds, I enjoy birds! But to not see a sausage is rather frustrating at times.

Anyhow, I couldn't even HEAR much, let alone see anything. A few Fieldfare, couple of Magpies and a Meadow Pipit were the best I could come up with. While I still had time to play with, I made up my mind to get back in the car and head for what was my Plan B: Eton Wick - more specifically, the small area of flooded field to the side of Dorney Common, by Jubille River...

I hadn't made it far onto the common before noticing the neon blue flash of a Kingfisher nipping up stream to a nice vantage point over the water. What a show it put on for me, diving like a mini, blue Gannet into the water, completely submerged for a second before reappearing and settling near by to eat its catch. Absolutely beautiful to watch, I was chuffed already!

I walked on a few more yards before stumbling across this Grey Wagtail:

I also snapped this one as it took flight, I quite like it, nice to see the feathers and rump from a different point of view:

Canada geese are not something I'd normally look twice at, HOWEVER, when they are flying low over head in group 150-200 strong, it's quite a sight. During the next few hours, these geese flew in and out in all different directions...

I'd read a few reports of late, about the numbers of Golden Plover on the floods and so was chuffed to find that most were still about. 35 was the approximate count while I was there, someone had counted 37 earlier - either way, lovely to see:

This site was very good for Chiffchaffs last year, (including a single tristis) so it was quite reassuring to see so many busy, feeding on the masses of gnats and flies that swarm over the water. Surely they will overwinter if still here now?..I don't know but hope so. I counted 5 individuals but there could quite easily be more, they were very lively and hard to keep tabs on at the same time. The odd one or two did look duller and/or greyer than the others but I'm not about to jump to any conclusions. I managed to photograph a few individuals:

A nice little bonus was the Mediterranean Gull which was still on site, although tucked up asleep for pretty much the whole time I was there! Common Snipe seem to pop up from nowhere when scanning the scrape but I'm still yet to see a Jack Snipe here..

All in all I had a bloody enjoyable time out in the chilly northerly wind, watching our wonderful birds. In my element!

The full list for the few hours I was there is:
  • 40+ Pied Wagtail
  • Grey Wagtail
  • 2 Song Thrush
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Kingfisher
  • 3 Cetti's Warbler (1 seen, 2 heard only)
  • c10 Reed Bunting
  • 5(MIN) Chiffchaff
  • Dunnock
  • Mediterranean Gull
  • 9 Common Snipe
  • c35 Golden Plover
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Greylag goose
  • 3 Greenfinch
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Red Kite
  • 2 Water Rail (heard only, 2 seperate calls)
  • and good numbers of; Teal, Wigeon, Lapwing, Black-headed Gulls, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Goldfinch and Canada Geese.

Friday, 15 November 2013

My Moths of 2013

The year may not be over just yet but the chances of a freak mild night, on a day when I'm off work and free to sit out all night, are now very slim. With that in mind, I'd like to share with you, what I managed to catch or see during my first year of moth-ing.

As far as my listing goes, I didn't take note of counts or the dates species were seen etc, for the reasons that I mentioned in my first post (here) it just isn't practical to do so until I actually have my own garden. When that day comes, I shall make my lists a lot more comprehensive but until then, I've simply listed the species we saw.

Another point I'd like to add quickly is about the 'aggs': Some on the list have an asterix (*) beside them, this indicates that they are an 'agg' species (Daggers, Rustics, etc). So although the species list stands at 135 species, that is give or take a few when the aggs are considered. It is all for my own enjoyment more than anything so I'm not going to cry over losing a few moths from the count but, if anyone notices others which should be "agg'd" then please do let me know, I'm always grateful for advice from those who know more than me.

So, during 2013, this is what I saw:

0230 Monopis crocicapitella
0282 Caloptilia elongella
0284 Caloptilia rufipennella
0366a Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella
0379 Red-belted Clearwing Synanthedon myopaeformis
0385 Anthophila fabriciana
0449 Ash Bud Moth Prays fraxinella
0458 Ypsolopha alpella
0462 Ypsolopha sequella
0464 Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella
0648 White-shouldered House-moth Endrosis sarcitrella
0656 Tachystola acroxantha
0658 Carcina quercana
0706 Agonopterix nervosa
0873 Blastobasis adustella
0969 Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana
0977 Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana
0994 Clepsis consimilana
0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana
1010 Red-barred Tortrix Ditula angustiorana
1261 Codling Moth Cydia pomonella
1288 Twenty-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla
1303 Agriphila selasella
1305 Agriphila tristella
1309 Agriphila geniculea
1313 Catoptria pinella
1316 Catoptria falsella
1331 Water Veneer Acentria ephemerella
1342 Eudonia angustea
1361 Pyrausta aurata
1375 European Corn-borer Ostrinia nubilalis
1376 Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata
1378 Phlyctaenia coronata
1405 Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis
1408 Palpita vitrealis
1413 Gold Triangle Hypsopygia costalis
1415 Orthopygia glaucinalis
1417 Meal Moth Pyralis farinalis
1424 Endotricha flammealis
1425 Wax Moth Galleria mellonella
1454 Dioryctria abietella
1497 Amblyptilia acanthadactyla
1524 Emmelina monodactyla
1646 Oak Hook-tip Watsonalla binaria
1647 Barred Hook-tip Watsonalla cultraria
1653 Buff Arches Habrosyne pyritoides
1654 Figure of Eighty Tethea ocularis
1669 Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria
1690 Small Blood-vein Scopula imitaria
1699 Least Carpet Idaea rusticata
1707 Small Dusty Wave Idaea seriata
1713 Riband Wave Idaea aversata
1716 The Vestal Rhodometra sacraria
1721 Balsam Carpet Xanthorhoe biriviata
1724 Red Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe spadicearia
1728 Garden Carpet Xanthorhoe fluctuata
1742 Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata
1752 Purple Bar Cosmorhoe ocellata
1764 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata
1768 Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata
1825 Lime-speck Pug Eupithecia centaureata
1830 Wormwood Pug Eupithecia absinthiata
1838 Tawny Speckled Pug Eupithecia icterata
1855 Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata
1862 Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata
1883 Yellow-barred Brindle Acasis viretata
1887 Clouded Border Lomaspilis marginata
1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata
1921 Scalloped Oak Crocallis elinguaria
1922 Swallow-tailed Moth Ourapteryx sambucaria
1931 Peppered Moth Biston betularia
1937 Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria
1961 Light Emerald Campaea margaritata
1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum
1991 Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila elpenor
1994 Buff-tip Phalera bucephala
2000 Iron Prominent Notodonta dromedarius
2011 Pale Prominent Pterostoma palpina
2022 Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea
2026 The Vapourer Orgyia antiqua
2034 Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar
2039 Red-necked Footman Atolmis rubricollis
2045 Hoary Footman Eilema caniola
2050 Common Footman Eilema lurideola
2057 Garden Tiger Arctia caja
2060 White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda
2061 Buff Ermine Spilosoma luteum
2064 Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa
2064 Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa
2088 Heart & Club Agrotis clavis
2089 Heart & Dart Agrotis exclamationis
2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta
2102 Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta
2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba
2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes
2110 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriata
2111 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe
2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum
2134 Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa
2155 Dot Moth Melanchra persicariae
2160 Bright-line Brown-eye Lacanobia oleracea
2165 Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea
2173 The Lychnis Hadena bicruris
2193 The Clay Mythimna ferrago
2223 Toadflax Brocade Calophasia lunula (caterpillar only)
2242 Sword-grass Xylena exsoleta
2252 Large Ranunculus Polymixis flavicincta
2255 Feathered Ranunculus Polymixis lichenea
2269 Centre-barred Sallow Atethmia centrago
2270 Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa
2271 Orange Sallow Xanthia citrago
2272 Barred Sallow Xanthia aurago
2283 Dark Dagger Acronicta tridens*
2284 Grey Dagger Acronicta psi*
2291 The Coronet Craniophora ligustri
2292 Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae
2293 Marbled Beauty Cryphia domestica
2297 Copper Underwing Amphipyra pyramidea
2300 Old Lady Mormo maura
2303 Straw Underwing Thalpophila matura
2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa
2318 The Dun-bar Cosmia trapezina
2321 Dark Arches Apamea monoglypha
2341 Cloaked Minor Mesoligia furuncula
2343 Common Rustic Mesapamea secalis*
2384 Vine's Rustic Hoplodrina ambigua
2389 Pale Mottled Willow Paradrina clavipalpis
2421 Scarce Silver-lines Bena bicolorana
2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma
2449 Dark Spectacle Abrostola triplasia
2450 The Spectacle Abrostola tripartita
2452 Red Underwing Catocala nupta
2469 The Herald Scoliopteryx libatrix
2473 Beautiful Hook-tip Laspeyria flexula
2474 Straw Dot Rivula sericealis
2477 The Snout Hypena proboscidalis

...and now for some pics of some from that list;

Agonopterix nervosa:

Anania coronata:

Apple Leaf Skeletonizer - Choreutis pariana:

Ash Bud Moth - Prays fraxinella:

Balsam Carpet - Xanthorhoe biriviata:

Barred Hook-tip - Watsonalla cultraria:

Barred Sallow - Xanthia aurago:

Beautiful Hook-tip - Laspeyria flexula:

Buff-tip - Phalera bucephala:

Carcina quercana:

Copper Underwing - Amphipyra pyramidea:

Coronet - Craniophora ligustri:

Cypress Pug - Eupithecia phoeniceata:

Endotricha flammealis:

Feathered Ranunculus - Polymixis lichenea:

Gold Triangle - Hypsopygia costalis:

Gypsy Moth - Lymantria dispar:

Iron Prominent - Notodonta dromedarius:

Least Carpet - Idaea rusticata:

Orthopygia glaucinalis:

Palpita vitrealis:

Red-belted Clearwing - Synanthedon myopaeformis:

Scarce Silver-lines - Bena bicolorana:

Twenty-plume Moth - Alucita hexadactyla:

The O.glaucinalis is one of my personal faves from the year, what's yours??

I hope you've enjoyed looking and reading through this as much as I've enjoyed finding and studying these beautiful creatures this year, it's been very enjoyable!