Monday 28 June 2010

More moths

Whilst I was watching last night's Ghost Moth spectacular a Robin was calling from next door's garden, now that really is an autumn bird here.

My moth trap overfloweth this morning, especially with micros which I've kept some of to photograph (the ones that didn't escape) but I'm having enough trouble with macros truth to tell. One very interesting micro was a tiny (3mm) grey metallic, silver affair shaped like a supersonic fighter jet, if the Devil were to be in moth form then I was visited by ON himself. Also a large grey micro with white squares and marks, photo below.

Whilst I was sorting all this out a text came through, summer plumage Brunnich's Guillemot on Hoy. Unfortunately I had work appointments today, let's see if it is relocated, the observers are highly reliable so I've no doubts this is a good one.

Spectacle's spectacles


Udea ovialis (thanks Stewart)

Or this (about 7mm)

Plain Rustic I reckon

Dance of the Ghost Moth

Sat outside with a cup of tea after I'd set the trap at about 10.45 p.m. My eye was taken by a moth hanging in the air just a foot or so above the ground dancing back and forth. A swish with the net and the twinkle-toed one was confirmed as male Ghost Moth. Several more then appeared and then some females too. My attempts to photograph the dancing moths failed but some then went to mate. Standing near the dancers they seemed to use me as a reference point, fascinating.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Moths, Eiders and Arctic Terns

Eiders and chicks

Beautiful Golden Y

Could this be Campion?

Bright-line Brown-eye

Plain Rustic I think

Common Wave

Plenty of moths about at the moment. Prowling around the garden either side of midnight on Friday and there were plenty of crepuscular goings on (it's still quite light here at that time). Mostly Garden Carpet but also Brimstone, Common Wave and Sandy Carpet, (just hanging on) I think Silver-ground Carpet as well, still puzzling over that one. Set the trap and got quite a haul including Beautiful Golden Y (3), various micros and three Noctuidae that took a bit of sorting. One seems to be Campion rather than Lychnis, one in the end turned out to be Bright-line Brown-eye and the other was (I think) a Common Rustic.

Today there were three Red Admirals in the garden, a Small Tortoiseshell on the track, plenty of Large and Green-veined White everywhere.

On the bird front it's still all breeding news. There were at least ten Eider broods around Bay of Skaill, Birsay; a pair of Red-throated Divers there have no doubt failed. Out at Birsay itself a large Oystercatcher chick was found just in front of the cafe and on the geo there were a pile of tern chicks. The adult Arctic Terns were bringing in plenty of small fish and some sand eels, I counted 41 chicks but there were certainly more around the blind side.

Back at home an Arctic Tern flew over the house and the Linnets have a fledged brood. The Sedge Warbler is singing slightly closer to the garden but still hasn't made the "from the garden" list. It's singing from a clump of docks but they are partially obscured from the garden, time to take the scope upstairs perhaps.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Summer Solstice and Leszek Mozdzer

A very cool way to celebrate the solstice, went to listen to Leszek Mozdzer - phenomenal.

and lots of moths out on the way home so the trap's out now, even though it's not really dark.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Chicks and various moths and things

Various micros from recent days, any ideas on ID gratefully received.

Pug sp, any ideas would be handy please.

Silver Y

Red Admiral in the conservatory

This garden Tiger was raised from a caterpillar collected locally, nice

Ellen with the Clouded-bordered Brindle of the standard form, see below.

Birds? This Curlew chick stopped traffic (well my car anyway) as it trotted down the track.

The gull chick conundrum was resolved when three Common Gull chicks appeared to be fed by ... a Common Gull dispelling my morphing theory having watched three Black-headed Gull chicks flying around The Shunan earlier in the afternoon. Shellducks are down to 5 but Gadwall are still on 7 and there are three pairs of Coots with chicks with a pair sitting. At least four pairs of Redshank, possibly more, Snipe are at two and Curlew at three probably, Oystercatchers probably at least four, I think the silage cutting got a few of them. I still can't quite figure out the Dunlin situation but they surely must be breeding.

The worst moment of the day was popping down to Loch Harray and having three Kittiwakes fly by. Didn't think they were a realistic hope from the garden. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of Scotland it's been a soft day, rain and mist, impossible to even see Loch harray from the garden today, let alone any birds on it.

Thursday 17 June 2010

Autumn is here

A flock of returning Dunlin were on The Shunan this evening with Ringed Plover and a Grey Wagtail flew over.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Late for work

Well, later than I like to be. Have to stop at the Shunan though, even if it's just for a bins scan. What's this? Common Tern. Erm, later for work and a tick for the garden list or ..... No competition. The car was turned around in the gateway and back up the track I went. Leaping out ... the tern was nowhere to be seen. Various expletives. But then, in the distance a familiar shape hove into view and it was back hovering and diving over The Shunan, nice one and 84.

Saturday 12 June 2010

In the ditch

Ellen and I went for a cycle ride and then decided that a ditch full of Red Campion was a fine place to look for moths and other inverts.

Ellen quickly found a couple of Bembidions, (lovely, tiny little Carabids) that I rapidly lost again. Then she noticed all these micros in the buttercups; very nice.

391 Glyphipterix simpliciella Cocksfoot Moth

As we were grovelling around a familiar call came to my ears - "wet-my-lips" - Quail, excellent.

Bonxie alert!

A member of our household hadn't fully appreciated the Bonxie hazard. Thus a pleasant tramp around Yesnaby turned traumatic when Louise strayed a bit too close to a breeding pair. Attack mode was swiftly engaged and Louise discovered that lying in the brae with her rucksack over her head with a Bonxie making repeated and persistent strafing runs was none too pleasant... More caution may be engaged in future. For those of you who have never had the pleasure Bonxie's tend to come in at eye level and they aren't bothered about making contact, indeed making contact is highly desirable as far as they are concerned.

Interestingly the waders can be quite threatening at the moment. A pair of Oystercatchers has young near the school playing field and yesterday morning at football practice time the spectators were getting a bit of harassment, let alone deafened by the persistent pair. The male dive-bombing and the female carrying out a full "broken wing" distraction display.

Now for the moths from 10th June.

The Shears


I think this is Clouded-bordered Brindle of the melanistic form combusta
(any comments on ID gratefully received)

1126 Ancylis badiana - 3
1728 Garden Carpet - 2
2060 White Ermine - 3
2147 The Shears - 1
2173 Lychnis - 1

and maybe:
2326 Clouded-bordered Brindle (combusta)
Also three more of the black and white micro that I've got nowhere with so far.

Down on The Shunan the Shelduck chicks are growing and there is a brood of Gadwall. The Sedge Warbler is becoming a little more extrovert but still is failing to make the garden list.

Monday 7 June 2010

More chicks, more moths

Brimstone Moth

Progress down the track came to a halt yesterday as Shelduck pair and six chicks had right of way. A stop this morning by the Black-headed Gull colony on the way to work found quite well grown chicks there too. Oystercatcher, Curlew and Lapwing were all into aggressive distraction display late afternoon as I walked back down the track.

My attempts to get Sedgie on the garden list are showing progress but so far no bananas. The specially imported wind up model (song-flight version) has lured one to the Shunan hawthorn hedge but sadly it's an introvert, singing persistently quietly from deep in the cover. Meanwhile the Bosquoy bird continues to choose a song post which is just out of sight from the garden - darn!

Moth trapping last night included some interesting micros, I'll give them a go, as well as:

White Ermine - 8
Brimstone Moth - 1
Sandy Carpet - 6 (and one this after' by The Shunan)
Garden Carpet - 2
Common Pug (pug sp) - 1
The Shears - 1
Flame Shoulder - 2
Silver Y - 1
(a yet unID sp), see below. Lychnis - 1
1126 Ancylis badiana - 4

+ various other micros

Flame Shoulder

Garden Carpet

Not sure about this one (and above). It looks like The Shears again, but I had one of them and it was smaller than this, doesn't seem quite right, bit confused (no it's not The Confused). Lychnis.

About 8mm

1126 Ancylis badiana

1184 Epiblema scutulana?

Help with any of the unidentified will be greatly appreciated, thanks.

Sunday 6 June 2010

Last night's moths

I haven't had the trap out for a while, partly because I was getting bored with the haul of Hebrew Character and nothing much else and also because of circumstance and it being a bit cool. However, conditions were good last night and it was well worth the effort. Now of course I'm struggling to ID the catch. Any help gratefully received, TIA.

Pebble Prominent - smart

White Ermine - northern colour form

I think this is Sandy Carpet - very pretty

This is The Shears, thanks Andy and Julian. (Could this be Barrett's Marbled Coronet? I haven't researched this very carefully at this stage, I think it's too big for Lychnis or Grey?)

Common Pug var. vulgata

Initial list:

Sandy Carpet - 6
Brimstone Moth - 1 (no pic cos it escaped)
Common Pug var vulgata- 1
White Ermine - 12
Pebble Prominent - 1
The Shears - 1

Saturday 5 June 2010

Back in action, just about

Hover, I should be able to ID this, we'll see.

Sitting in Inverness airport on Friday morning waiting for departure and I got a text, Gt White Egret in/off Birsay. This just had to be a wind up as the texter had taken considerable delight in directing Louise to this species almost exactly a year ago when I was in Yorkshire. But no it turned out to be real, just elusive as it has yet to be refound.

In the garden Red Admiral made its first appearance of the year and there were a bundle of hoverflies which I'm attempting to photograph and then (perhaps) ID. Down at Bosquoy there was a Silver Y.

Various fluffy oh, ah bundles were seen today including a brood of 8 Tufties on Bosquoy where there were also Curlew and Mallard chicks. Young Redshank and Lapwings were evident on The Shunan. Arctic Terns on Bosquoy were getting very aggressive indicating breeding and I flushed a Common Sandpiper off a likely nest (right by the path). Also around Bosquoy many Northern Marsh Orchids.

The sea fret was coming and going all day but never quite made it to Harray, although it did discourage coastal visits. The Starlings have largely fledged during the week and are now making a serious racket where ever they set up their stall.

On the negative side a pair of Red-throated Divers were new on Bosquoy, most likely indicating breeding failure, the same probably also applying to the pair of Pochard there.