Monday, 25 July 2016

Old Ladies

When checking our moth trap last night we found an Old Lady hanging around, so we potted her up and placed her in the fridge to settle down. Before anyone contacts age concern about ill treatment of a pensioner it must be stressed that this Old Lady is a large chunky brute of a moth, so much so that the call rang out "I think we need a bigger pot". Although not rare it is a first for our garden and is quite scarce in this area, it continues a run of "not scarce but nice " moths which we have had over the last few weeks. This is a big change from earlier in the season when any moth was a bonus, the warm humid nights have helped and lets hope this continues into the autumn.
Old Lady          

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Wader counting.

WeBs count at Fenham le Moor was a matter of importance today.  A falling tide is never the best to count - never mind.  Highlights on the mud included 8 Little egret, 587 Dunlin, Whimbrel 2, Curlew 529, Knot 15 and Greenshank 1.

A female Marsh Harrier was feeding in fields around Fenham le Moor and a juvenile Wheatear was on the shore.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Sunshine at last ..........

It is good to get and do some fieldwork especially when the sun is shining.  A walk down the River Glen was no exception today.  There was a reasonable selection of birds with 2 Green Sandpipers, 6+ Common sandpipers and handfuls of Oystercatchers and lapwings gracing the edges of the river. Other birds include Kingfisher (1), Goosander (1) and a female Tufted duck with a brood of three.

Passerines seen were Blackcap feeding young, Reed bunting, Sedge warbler (male singing) and Lesser redpoll (4+).

Other species include a Southern hawker dragonfly, Large red damselfly, several Speckled wood butterflies and a good selection of common butterflies.  There were a good number of reasonably sized Sea trout in the larger pools with Grayling and Sticklebacks seen in other parts of the reach.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

AWG Moth Trapping at Branton... 02/07/16.

As part of a mixed Bioblitz, several of us spent the night and early morning catching moths at Branton Gravel Pits near Powburn.

We used 5 traps on a clear and cool breezy evening, but we still managed a reasonable total of 362 moths of 75 species.

The following species were recorded including Coronet only the 5th for VC68 and the first since 1997. Mr Fairclough added to the moth trapping list with a few colephoras etc.
Coleophora species (Coleophora sp.) 1
Marbled Minor agg. (Oligia strigilis agg.) 4
02.001 a moth (Dyseriocrania subpurpurella) 4
03.003 Map-winged Swift (Korscheltellus fusconebulosa) 1
03.005 Ghost Moth (Hepialus humuli) 1
35.040 a moth (Bryotropha terrella) 1
37.006 a moth (Coleophora gryphipennella) 1
41.002 a moth (Blastobasis adustella) 1
41.003 a moth (Blastobasis lacticolella) 3
49.025 Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix (Pandemis cerasana) 2
49.026 Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix (Pandemis heparana) 1
49.031 Timothy Tortrix (Aphelia paleana) 10
49.091 a moth (Pseudargyrotoza conwagana) 7
49.156 Marbled Orchard Tortrix (Hedya nubiferana) 4
49.157 Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana) 1
49.166 a moth (Celypha lacunana) 4
49.292 a moth (Notocelia cynosbatella) 2
49.298 a moth (Notocelia trimaculana) 6
63.037 a moth (Udea olivalis) 1
63.064 a moth (Scoparia ambigualis) 7
63.066 a moth (Scoparia pyralella) 10
63.067 a moth (Eudonia lacustrata) 4
63.080 Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella) 4
63.093 a moth (Agriphila straminella) 5
65.010 Figure of Eighty (Tethea ocularis) 1
69.003 Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi) 10
69.016 Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) 3
70.054 Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata) 45
70.059 Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata) 2
70.061 Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata) 5
70.068 Beautiful Carpet (Mesoleuca albicillata) 1
70.093 Barred Straw (Gandaritis pyraliata) 10
70.100 Green Carpet (Colostygia pectinataria) 6
70.176 Freyer's Pug (Eupithecia intricata arceuthata) 1
70.183 Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata) 1
70.190 Grey Pug (Eupithecia subfuscata) 2
70.207 Clouded Border (Lomaspilis marginata) 22
70.226 Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) 10
70.252 Peppered Moth (Biston betularia) 2
70.265 Mottled Beauty (Alcis repandata) 7
70.277 Common White Wave (Cabera pusaria) 4
70.278 Common Wave (Cabera exanthemata) 7
70.283 Light Emerald (Campaea margaritaria) 17
71.021 Coxcomb Prominent (Ptilodon capucina) 4
72.002 Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis) 2
72.003 Snout (Hypena proboscidalis) 3
72.019 Buff Ermine (Spilosoma lutea) 2
72.020 White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda) 1
72.026 Garden Tiger (Arctia caja) 1
73.001 Spectacle (Abrostola tripartita) 1
73.016 Beautiful Golden Y (Autographa pulchrina) 14
73.047 Coronet (Craniophora ligustri) 1
73.102 Brown Rustic (Rusina ferruginea) 10
73.114 Small Angle Shades (Euplexia lucipara) 2
73.147 Small Dotted Buff (Photedes minima) 2
73.154 Dusky Brocade (Apamea remissa) 5
73.156 Clouded-bordered Brindle (Apamea crenata) 5
73.156 Clouded-bordered Brindle [melanic form] (Apamea crenata ab. combusta) 1
73.159 Small Clouded Brindle (Apamea unanimis) 1
73.162 Dark Arches (Apamea monoglypha) 2
73.176 Middle-barred Minor (Oligia fasciuncula) 3
73.264 Pale-shouldered Brocade (Lacanobia thalassina) 4
73.267 Bright-line Brown-eye (Lacanobia oleracea) 5
73.281 Lychnis (Hadena bicruris) 1
73.298 Clay (Mythimna ferrago) 1
73.317 Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) 3
73.328 Flame (Axylia putris) 5
73.329 Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) 8
73.332 Purple Clay (Diarsia brunnea) 10
73.342 Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 9
73.343 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (Noctua fimbriata) 1
73.351 Double Dart (Graphiphora augur) 4
73.353 Dotted Clay (Xestia baja) 1
73.361 Double Square-spot (Xestia triangulum) 16
73.368 Gothic (Naenia typica) 1

Above - Two views from Corby Crags on route to Branton in dramatic evening light.

The Coronet

Double Dart

The trapping site.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Unusual species in an unusual habitat....

Fieldwork in the College Valley has started in earnest.  Whilst putting our boots on, I could believe my ears - a male Quail was calling from the Bracken to the west of Cuddystone Hall (30th June). The bird was calling for at least an hour as we surveyed the vegetation.  This is the first time that I have heard this species in Bracken.  They are normally a species of cereals and grassland.

Other birds in the area were Whinchat (2), Meadow pipit and Stonechat with young.  Neighbouring plantation held Crossbill (3+), and singing Song thrushes and Willow warblers.  

Dor beetles were out in force with some piles of sheep dung having up to 20 beetles trying to roll balls.  A young Adder was also found.

Some of the upland plants were in full flower.  Where there were shallow soils Thyme, Heath Bedstraw, Mouse-eared Hawkweed and Pignut were in full bloom.  Both Common vetch, Bitter-vetch and Bell Heather were also in flower.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Holystone Woods 22nd May

With warm sunshine and little breeze Sunday morning was ideal for a visit to Holystone Woods before the afternoon's heavy rain. The clear felled area just before the main woodland produced singing Tree Pipit which then indulged in a spot of parachuting, the Oak woods themselves were carpeted with Bluebells, Greater Stitchwort, Dog Violet and a few Yellow Pimpernel. Above in the canopy Nuthatch and Redstart called, whilst in the undercover Spotted Flycatcher flitted around after insects and Treecreepers scurried up the trunks. As we skirted along the edge of a wooded ravine a Green Woodpecker called out from the far side but remained unseen, next to the ford near South Yardhope and following quickly on the trail of our third Red Squirrel of the day we came upon a stunning male Pied Flycatcher, no Wood Warblers but not a bad haul for the morning.

Bolam and beyond.........

Four intrepid souls met in the Bolam Lake Country Park at 10 am on Saturday morning.  Prior to meeting up a Cuckoo was seen on Longframlington Common and a Stoat was watched climbing 4 ft into a tree at the entrance to the car park at Bolam Lake.

The walk around Bolam Lake produced little of interest except for common species.  We discussed the identification features of Western hemlock fir especially its aromatic scent and the merits of some of the plants for lepidoptera larvae.  The main highlight was the discovery of 4 Red-eared terrapins (or slider) on a dead branch in the lake.

We moved onto Corridge Farm and were met by Richard Thompson.  A quick look at the woodland surrounding the parking area produced a Spotted flycatcher, Tree sparrows and a good selection of common resident species.  We arrived at the wetland which was alive with birds.  A female Mute swan was on a nest and there was a good number of Sand martins with a smaller selection of Swallows, House martins and Swifts.  A male Gadwall was a good find and this was a new species for the wetland.  The highlight was a pair of Yellow wagtails that fed in front of the hide.  These were joined by a second male.  There were lots of Reed buntings, Meadow pipits and Skylarks with smaller numbers of Sedge warblers and Willow warblers.  33 species of bird were recorded on our visit to Corridge.

We thanked Richard and the group parted company.  I decided to visit Holystone Wood on the way home.  There I had cracking views at least two male Pied flycatchers.  Other species of interest included at least 2 Crossbills and large numbers of Wood ants.