Sunday, 12 April 2015

10 April 2015 - Kent

Spent two and a half hours trapping in East Kent - first session of the season. Target was Barred Tooth-striped (following success at the same site last year), which duly appeared for the assembled audience (well, both of us). A respectable 145 moths of 20 species.

Barred Tooth-striped
Mottled Grey
Water Carpet

Acleris cristana
Acleris cristana
Diamond-backed Moth (2 caught)
Herald Moth

Saturday, 11 April 2015

11 April 2015 - Leybourne Lakes Country Park

A wander round the country park with family (Jenny, Max, Marc and Yasmine) produced a Swallow in addition to Slow Worms and Water Vole - nice.

Water Vole
Hoverfly spp - I think...
Slow Worm
Slow Worm - a longer, smiller, faster one
Slow Worm

Friday, 10 April 2015

10 April 2015 - Pulborough Brooks RSPB

I enjoyed Wednesday's visit to this fine reserve so much that I thought I'd go back and have another look... News of the Scarce Tortoiseshell showing on Thursday afternoon meant it had to show today, didn't it? Even Captian Slow and his wife saw the ruddy (OK, orangey) thing!

Alas, our quarry had other ideas... Some (but not much) consolation was had by an Adder and a distant Osprey.

Adder (male? - it was tres skinny)
House Sparrow
Another Small Tortoiseshell

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

8 April 2015 - Pulborough Brooks RSPB

The lure of a three-hour Scarce Tortoiseshell yesterday was to great... This morning I found myself staring at butterflies in West Sussex, hoping to see yesterday's mega. Alas, this most pleasant of trips failed to produce the birdie - or butterfly for that matter...

Bee Fly spp on Primroses
Peacock - complete with blade of grass in the wrong place
Small Tortoiseshell - common today and certainly not scarce at all...

Small Tortoiseshell - sans body hair

Sunday, 11 January 2015

11 Jan 2015 - Chilham, Kent

Managed to escape this afternoon and pop to Chilham to see the Great Grey Shrike - always great to see these fantastic birds. This one caught a large rodent spp, just after narrowly missing being hit by a car, and took it to its larder where is was hung up and and then revisited several times over the next hour.

No pics - kept assuming it would come closer, which it never did!

Friday, 9 January 2015

4 Jan 2015 - Stream dipping in East Malling

Did some steam dipping with Max - when we caught this wee chap, European Bullhead (Cottus gobio). A brilliant little thing - not sure if they are common, but they seem to be widespread. If nothing else, they look a lot better than you average Stickleback!

European Bullhead, 4//1/15, East Malling, Kent

European Bullhead, 4/1/15, East Malling, Kent

Saturday, 27 December 2014

December 2014 - BadgerWatch

Have been trying a few bits of video from the camera trap. Think the results are a wee bit better than the stills taken with the same camera. Both viseos taken in early December.



Friday, 26 December 2014

26 December 2014 - Foxy video for Christmas...

Collected in the camera trap to see what had caught itself on the camera trap. Not quite BBC eh..?



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?
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 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.

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

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.

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...