Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

I've been expecting you .....

Spring still hasn't sprung in my garden, or at least barely so. Several nights with the moth trap put out have produced just single moths and nothing new for the year until the last couple of nights, and the first Orthosia spp. have finally arrived. Just before it goes baltic again .....

Common Quaker

Hebrew Character

March Moth

Monday, 29 January 2018

More early Moths

Whilst I've not been running the garden trap, a 20W actinic light left on in an old outdoor light fitting is bringing in a few early moths (including Early Moths) and these two:

Dotted Border 25/01/2018

Pale Brindled Beauty 28/01/2018

Yesterday was mild and dry, and the forecast looked well worth a punt out with a couple of moth traps, so I spent a good couple of hours trying to get my gennies running. They've not been run for well over a year (maybe two!) and had been left in the shed with fuel in. They've never been properly maintained, but despite the abuse I always seem to get them going without too much effort. Yesterday was different though, and in the end I had to admit defeat and go to the trouble of completely draining the fuel out of the carb and tank, and then topping up with freshly bought fuel with an engine cleaning additive and some fresh 2-stroke oil. Spark plug was already clean anyway, as was the air filter. So another couple of pulls with fresh fuel and the oldest cheapest gennie was running again - result!

I headed out to Misterton Marsh, and had no intention of giving it more than a couple of hours in the early evening. I ran an 80W actinic and a 125W MV - and in then end I had 12 moths of 4 species: 1 x E. monodactyla, 1 x Early Moth, 8 x Pale Brindled Beauty and 2 x Chestnut. All were in the 80W actinic except for 1 PBB. I potted a couple of the latter for shots, and with the darker individual from the garden they show a good range of variation ..

Pale Brindled Beauty, Misterton Marsh 28/01/2018

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Foggy Moths

So yeah, I've been busy/distracted and done nowt worthy of bothering the blog about.

I have sorted out all of my 2017 garden moth records (381 species including 17 additions, garden list up to 684). I'm also just about finished putting together a garden moth report, quite some time since I last bothered. I've not run the garden traps since November, but I have stuck a 20W actinic CFL into an old outdoor light fitting that was still live and conseqently I've had one or two moths so far this year. Mostly Winter Moths, but also a Scrobipalpa costella and then last night a couple of surprises.

Conditions were far from good, not too cold but certainly not unseasonably warm, fairly still but a quite dense fog early in the night. Quite a surprise then to find two Early Moths and a Grey Shoulder-knot resting on the wall under the pale blue glow of the actinic. Trouble is that it is pitch black when I go to work and the same when I get home, so these are compromised shots using the daylight bulbs I have. Doesn't help when both moths were not playing ball ..... not much use putting winter-flying moths in the fridge!

Early Moth

Grey Shoulder-knot

Sunday, 10 December 2017

"Sunflowers on a snowy day ...

... makes my soul, makes my soul, trip trip trip away". That song by Zoe back in the early 90's was obviously written specfically for this blog post.

We had a bit of snow overnight, maybe 3 inches, certainly enough to bring the whole of the country to a grinding halt and spark fears of being snowed in until after Christmas has finished. Luckily, for the garden avian visitors, I'd topped up the feeders yesterday so no need to wade out into the deep drifts. As usual for my garden visitors, it's sunflower hearts or go somewhere else. I have a had a problem this year with the feeders but that can wait for now. Today with lying snow and persistant tiny flakes coming down throughout the day the regulars were all taking in much needed sustenance. And the regulars are mainly Goldfinches, Starlings, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Collared Doves, Woodpigeons, Blackbirds, Robins, Dunnocks and one or two Greenfinches. No Sparrows. Today we also had a couple of less regular visitors .....

Great-spotted Woodpecker

Roll up, roll up, get yer sunflower hearts here.

Bullfinch pair

Much maligned Starling

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Northern (at the) Lights

Okay, I've not completely fizzled out though it's been slow going lately. And I'm also scuppered at the moment as we're decorating the room that I laughingly call the 'study' - which is actually a room in the extension that was the kids play room when they were toddlers, but is now a junk repository where I happen to have some book shelves and a desk with the PC on. It will more of a video gaming snug / study when I'm done, but for now I have no access to books or the PC ......

So here I am on my phone posting a poor 'off the phone in bad light' shot of a garden tick. And it's one that wasn't on the garden list radar.

Northern Winter Moth
Larger, paler, slightly more well-marked with hind-wing 'petticoats'.

As seen here next to a regular Winter Moth.

I'll have to look more closely at garden winter moths now - this only stood out because it was alongside x4 Winter Moths.

The only other recent news relates to me actually going out birding for a change. I've been out and about seeing Hawfinches at Burbage Common, not seeing Ferruginous Duck at Eyebrook Res but jamming a County Tick Merlin in the process. There's every chance that I'll do some more bird-spotting this winter for a change.

Posting on the phone has done my head in for now so I'm off.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Garden List Redemption

I wonder if anyone reading this post remembers this post, when my daughter managed to strongly suggest that a Woodcock had been in our garden whilst I was out ............

That was nearly seven years ago, and unsurprisingly there has never been any expectation or sniff of one popping up since. Until this week! On Tuesday morning, just in the first throws of proper light, I happened to walk out onto the front drive and go to look under an outside light that I'd left on all night. I was of course hoping that I'd see a moth or two on the wall (I didn't) but the last thing I expected was a Woodcock exploding out of the leaf-litter that has blown up against the wall. It very quickly and pretty directly headed over the neighbours front garden and looked to ditch down in the scrubby embankment, never to be seen again. I was stunned - a feeling something like when this happened.

Meanwhile, I've had a new tortrix confirmed by gen det. It was a Grapholita funebrana from back on 23/08/2017, the 683rd Moth, 365th micro and 108th tortrix for the garden and a full British tick for me.