Sunday, 21 August 2016

Fenham Flats 21st August

Today was my monthly WeBS count, the weather was warm and sunny but there was a blustery wind, not ideal for counting. However it did get off to a good start with a Greenshank in front of Elwick Hide and it continued at a pace with next a group of 19 Ruff, 3 of which were larger males and one had the remnants of his ruff. Moving further on a stunning brick red Knot was added to the list followed soon by 2 flocks of Whimbrel totalling 22 birds, breeding plumaged Grey Plover numbering 96 birds added a touch of class which was followed by 170 Bar-tailed Godwits some still in breeding plumage. On reaching Guile Point I began counting Oystercatchers and soon ran out of fingers when the number reached 699, other waders, ducks and gulls were added to the list on what turned out to be a much better day than I had expected. On the return journey I noticed something reddish/brown about 50 yards in front of me and heading in my direction, it turned out to be a Fox feeding on scraps along the high tideline, so I sank down into the long grass and waited, sure enough about 5 minutes latter it had come within 4 metres of me and only then realised I was there, at which point it shot off like Usain Bolt in the opposite direction, a fitting end to a super day.    

Monday, 15 August 2016


We had an early morning walk around the ponds with the dog, it's always a good time of day to see Adders before the have really warmed up. It paid off today when we found 3 basking at different points around the walk, what was even better was a group of 3 Slow Worms huddled together for warmth on a sunny bank. It has been a great year for Slow Worms, we have found a number around the ponds, but what is also interesting is the number of dead ones on the roads around the village has almost reached double figures, which surely means we are only seeing a relatively small proportion of the overall numbers.

Thursday, 4 August 2016


Return passage of waders seems to have started and there is few better places to check it out than the flash at Low Newton. One of the first birds we came across on arriving there was a lovely clean looking juvenile Little Stint showing well with summer plumaged Dunlin. Larger waders in slightly deeper water included Ruff and 11 Black-tailed Godwits in vastly differing plumages. Next our attention was focused on the call of a Greenshank, it was soon located along with a second bird, as we watched 2 more Greenshanks flew overhead and headed off towards the pools, our wader watch was completed with the addition of 1 Common Sandpiper,1 Green Sandpiper plus several Ringed Plover and Redshank. It wasn't all about waders, a single Yellow Wagtail hunted for insects around the water's edge and a pair of Stonechat's called noisily from the fence line. A walk out to the point proved unproductive but we did hear later that a Wood Sandpiper had been seen at the roadside flash at Charlton Mires. 

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.