Sunday, 24 September 2017

Some birds and some beasts

Autumn is here again and last weekend the first uncommon bird of the year put in a patch appearance, Ring-necked Duck on Loch of Bosquoy. Most likely this is the individual from previous yeas that I first found on Loch of Skaill and has turned up on the patch a few times before, but maybe not. Two subsequent searches for it have produced blanks. On Monday, 18th, I walked the hound early and a good reward for being the early bird was a calling Yellow-browed Warbler in the Sycamore by our gate, the earliest here by a long chalk. This bird was still present the next day. Goldcrests and Robins are in the garden, duck numbers on Bosquoy are  impressive, what's next? Having bemoaned the lack of raptors of late, Hen Harriers and Buzzards have been in evidence but more autumnal in flavour have been four Sproghawks, including three today and a likely Merlin that evaded ID by whipping behind the landscape after flushing all and sundry.

I've published the Stonechat piece on a new page in the blog. The piece was recently published in the Orkney Bird Report. Unfortunately, and this could well be my own fault, the final edit (was I asked to check this? I can't remember) went a bit skew-whif. So this version is a personal edit of my original submission (and will therefore have some errors), however, it does retain the spirit of what I intended originally. (I was aiming for something a bit warmer in tone (no this is not a weather pun) than  turned out in the previously published form.) Of late the Stonechat family that has been present for quite a few weeks is regularly seen around the track, although they vanish for days. I'm still counting at least five, there could feasibly still be seven.

Best moth of late another Small Autumnal. I was intending to trap tonight but it has continued to rain. Maybe tomorrow, I would be hopeful of something on these SE winds.

A few hoverflies buzzing about, Syrphus I've taken specimens of, but I hoped this male would be identifiable, unfortunately the considered opinion is the definition is just not good enough to prove absence of black hairs on this yellow section of the femur (that would = S. vitripennis).

Syrphus sp

I did get this female Melanostoma scalare correct though.

I've been shying away from black, yellow, white bumblebees, I knew they were complicated. A bit of a Facebook chat renewed my interest and I took a few photos, I hope I've got this one correct (they are complicated devils) as Bombus lucorum agg.

Despite some shocking caterpillar violence, and retribution on my part, removing them and sticking them by the bird feeders, cabbage was enjoyed tonight. Try slicing up and cooking in butter and beer, yummy.

I'm not getting very far identifying what is causing these leaf mines in the pea leaves and pods though, suggestions welcomed.

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