Friday, 12 December 2014

6 December 2014 - Emsworth, Hants - Sea Slaters

Visited the east Hampshire coast - an obvious (?) place to look for Ligia oceanica, the sea slater. Up to 30 millimetres in length, it is one of the largest oniscid isopods - or marine woodlouse, if you prefer!

Never seen these chaps before - huge (ish) - and certainly worth the whole effort of turning one rock over.

Sea Slater, 6/12/14, Emsworth, Hants

Saturday, 15 November 2014

15 Nov 2914 - Tree climbing badger...

I'd have expected some scent marking from a badger, which would result in other males having a good wiff - but this chap (or chap-ess) seems to be really going for it. Is there another explanation?
Badger
Tree climbing badger

Thursday, 13 November 2014

13 Nov 2013 - camera trap results

2nd set of results from camera trap revealed Badgers, Fox, Grey Squirrel and Blackbirds - how come Simon King always comes up trumps with a flippin Tiger or some previously unknown species of rodent-marsupial-bat?

Of the 10+ badger pictures I got, this is the only one head on - but I do have an extensive photographic collection of Badgers' arses!

Fox
Fox again
and again...
And a badger

Monday, 10 November 2014

10 Nov 2014 - Camera trap

Tried out Adrian Harris' camera trap over the past two evenings near a badger set. First night (Saturday) was wet and the camera set too high - the result was two pictures of grey squirrels investigating the badger sets.

Grey Squirrel - well, a bit of one
Following a repositioning of the trap - lower and pointing down an animal track - bingo! A nice badger trying to show us his best side.

Badger
The system needs a little further refinement, but I think there's a start of something interesting.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

9 Nov 2014 - Reculver Towers, Kent

Popped up to north Kent this afternoon to pay homage to the male Desert Wheatear.

A later than hoped-for arrival (me, not the bird) helped 'warm' our quarry in the fading light. Still, the Wheatear was ultra-confiding for the first two minutes of my stay - then it moved from its favoured rock and never returned!

A Black Redstart with newly replaced tertials on the right wing was an interesting start to the visit.

Black Redstart with asymetric moult in the tertials
Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear

Sunday, 2 November 2014

1 Nov 2014 - Brotton, Cleveland

On 23 October 2009, I was on a pelagic off the Queensland coast of Australia, enjoying a few shearwaters, turtles and Humpback Whales - little did I know that back home my fellow crew were enjoying a First for Great Britain & Ireland in the form of an Eastern-crowned Warbler. The comments from Adam Whitehouse, on my blog post for that day (see here), were amusing at the time and even more amusing today.

That six month trip to Australia and New Zealand, cost me Sandhill Crane and Eastern-crowned Warbler - though I only live and work 20 minutes from the Tufted Puffin, I'm (nearly) certain I wouldn't have got to it in time... I unblocked the Sandhill Crane on 23 Sept 2011 in Aberdeenshire, but still the Warbler niggled me...

Fast forward to Thursday and news broke of an Eastern-crowned Warbler at Brotton, Cleveland - I wanted to see it, but... The 'But' was that it had been Max's 6th birthday on the 29 Oct - and we'd arranged for a woodland camping party for him on 31st - so no Thursday night travelling. With further family events planned for the weekend and a busy few days at work, I wasn't going to be able to travel north - until one very sickly sounding sister phoned to apologise, most profusely, that she'd have to cancel her visit - bloody marvellous!! Ten minutes later and I was on the M20 and on my way.

The drive to Cleveland was thankfully uneventful, but with clear skies I must admit I was feeling less than positive about my chances... Dossing in the car, I was on site and up at first light, trying to get the gen and working out where best to stand. Two groups formed - I positioned myself between them. I saw some movement in the further group so decided to head that way. Sure enough, they'd got the bird - sat there quietly in a Sycamore, snapping at the occasional insect. Clean white underparts, no tertial markings, single wingbar, pale underside to the lower mandible, it then tilted its head forward to reveal a central crown stripe. Nice! Job done.

Given such excellent first views, I kicked myself for not even thinking about the camera on my shoulder - but possibly that's the best way to do things. When later I did try and fire a shot, I realised that there was a fault somewhere with my camera. Particular thanks then to Tony Dixon for allowing me to reproduce his excellent images of today's gem - though quite how he manages to achieve such images by digi-binning, I have no idea!

Eastern-crowned Warbler, copyright Tony Dixon
Eastern-crowned Warbler, copyright Tony Dixon
Eastern-crowned Warbler, copyright Tony Dixon
What next? Tufted Puffin?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

5 October 2014 - Dungeness

Joined Marc at Dungeness for a spot of very cold, moon-lit moffin. The original decision to trap down there was based on a Friday afternoon waether forecast - alas, this changed (alot!) in the 48 hours between then and arrival on site...

A painfully slow session did at least produce half a dozen Feathered Brindle and a fun looking micro - which looked much better in the photographs than it did in the scale...

Feathered Brindle
Feathered Brindle
mini-moff
mini-moff

Thursday, 2 October 2014

1 Oct 2014 - Cliffe Marshes RSPB

Popped 'up norff' to Cliffe for a spot of moffin. The mix of moths was strange for October - but perhaps that's to be expected given the length of the season and the number of second generation species appearing.

Fern
Shoulder-striped Wainscot
Square-spot Rustic - I t hink (I had thought Six-striped....)
Buff Footman
Grey Pine Carpet - I think
Green-brindled Crescent
Barred Sallow
Red-green Carpet
Beaded Chestnut

Saturday, 27 September 2014

26 Sept 2014 - Holborough Marshes

Did a wee spot of actinic moffin last night. 23 spp was OK - ish.

Agriphila tristella
 
Deep-brown Dart
Large Wainscot
Green Brindled Crescent
Burnished Brass - just brilliant eh?
Eudonia pallida - I think...

Monday, 22 September 2014

Clifden Nonpareil

Took a few pictures of Friday's Ye Olde Blue Underwing when I took it back to Orlestone
Forest. I gave it a drop of red wine as a small token of my appreciation...

Clifden Nonpareil
Clifden Nonpareil
Clifden Nonpareil

Sunday, 21 September 2014

20 Sept 2014 - Holborough Marshes KWT

Put an actinic out whilst returning yesterday's moths to Orlestone - first Mottled Umber of the year being the er....highlight.
Mottled Umber

Saturday, 20 September 2014

19 Sept 2014 - Orlestone Forest, Kent

Visited Orlestone Forest last night for some early autumn trapping. With plenty of sugar out and then four lights, my hopes for an interesting night were lessened when looking at the amazing lightening display happening somewhere over the south-eastern horizon (later Bernard told me it was just east of Calais, so why was I worrying?!?).

At 11.50pm Bernard called a Clifden Nonpareil flapping gently down to the ground where the sugar container had been left near the trap - on a quick naff view I confess I thought we'd secured a Red Underwing...that was, until I saw the blue!!

After potting the underwing we returned to the trap 2 metres away, only to find a White-line Snout asking to be seen! Two new moths in two minutes!

And a soon as these two treasures had been found, it started spotting with rain - and then it poured! Moving sharpishly, we threw the unemptied traps in the car - only to spend the journey home being landed on by caddis flies and Oak Lutestrings. All in a night's miffin.

Particular thanks to Bernard for helping me out this night - very much appreciated.
Clifden Nonpareil - a slightly bald one...
Clifden Nonpareil
Ahh...blue underwing indeed.
White-line Snout
White-line Snout
Anania crocealis
Apotomis turbidana
Marbled White Spot

Beetle spp!

Monday, 15 September 2014

15 Sept 2014 - Cliffe Marshes RSPB, Kent

Had a few hours at Cliffe tonight - highlights included Peach Blossom, Old Lady, Burnished Brass, Pretty Chalk Carpet, Dark Spectacle and loads of L-album Wainscot.

And tiny wee micro...


Monday, 8 September 2014

4 Sept 2014 - Orlestone Forest, Kent

Had an interesting few hours trapping in less than ideal condition (clear skies). A few nice bits and bobs - Pale Eggar probably being most interesting from a Kent perspective (I think Orlestone is the stronghold for the species).

Dark Sword-grass and Red Underwing are always pleasant to catch. Oak Lutestring is a personal favourite of that group.

And then there's a few micros to attempt to name later...!

Can't decide which background I prefer: completely artificial or staged??

Pale Eggar
Pale Eggar
Dark Sword-grass
Red Underwing
The red underwing on a Red Underwing
Oak Lutestring
Oak Hooktip
Tawny-barred Angle
Grey Pine Carpet
Maiden's Blush
Dark(?) Marbled Carpet
Micro 1
Micro 2
Micro 3
Micro 4

Micro 5
Micro 6