May 2013

 

Friday 31st May

A lunch-break stroll up Bunker's Hill near Anmer produced the usual Treecreepers, several butterflies and a Common Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana.

After work I had a look round a few sites on the patch noting the continuing Ringed Plover and Avocets along with 3 species of damselfly. Also a few moths, one of the first of which was a good one, not recorded annually in Norfolk: a Ragwort Bell Epiblema costipunctana at Creaking Gate Lake. Other moths were 3 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana, Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella, Brindled Flat-body Agonopterix arenella, Grey Gorse Piercer Cydia ulicetana, Hook-streaked Grass-veneer Crambus lathoniellus, Common Swift, Chinese Character, Green Carpet, Cinnabar and Silver Y.

Not so many moths at home: White-shouldered House-moth Endrosis sarcitrella, Parsnip Moth Depressaria heraclei, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, Mottled Pug, Common Pug, 3 Brimstone Moths and Flame Shoulder.

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Mottled Pug (left) and Parsnip Moth Depressaria heraclei (right), Bawdeswell, 31st May

 

Thursday 30th May

The Avocets are still on the patch - now at a different site where I wonder if they'll settle down to breed. Would be a great local record if they do, although they have bred at Pensthorpe recently so not unprecedented in the valley. Mind you, they're late starting with coastal breeders having been at it for weeks already - I imagine these are failed breeders from elsewhere, perhaps looking to try again. Some of the local Lapwings already have chicks and I suspect the LRPs won't be far behind if the foxes don't get them. Another good local bird was Ringed Plover - Dave found it last night, a good get-back for him as he missed the one I saw earlier in the spring. Hell Pit had an unusually large selection of wildfowl with Shoveler, Gadwall and Tufted Duck joining the resident Mallards.

 

Tuesday 28th May

Tonight's moths were White-shouldered House-moth Endrosis sarcitrella, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, Currant Pug, Common Pug and at least 7 Brimstone Moths.

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Brimstone Moth, Bawdeswell, 28th May

 

Monday 28th May

Spent a bit of time birding on the patch today catching up with a pair of Avocets which seem to have taken up residence. The escaped Ruddy Shelduck remains as does the probably not much wilder Red-crested Pochard. A Four-spotted Chaser was my first dragonfly on the patch this year and 4 species of moths included 2 that were new to me: Pearl Dwarf Elachista apicipuncta and Swan-feather Dwarf Elachista argentella (the other 2 being Grey Gorse Piercer Cydia ulicetana and Cinnabar).

Moths at home this evening included 2 Common Pugs, Brimstone Moth and Common Wave.

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Pearl Dwarf Elachista apicipuncta, Creaking Gate Lake (left) and Swan-feather Dwarf Elachista argentella, Beetley (right), 27th May

 

Saturday 26th May

A few moths at last, though nothing very exciting: Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Green Carpet, 5 Brimstone Moths and Scalloped Hazel.

 

Friday 25th May

Just 2 moths tonight: Brown House-moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella and a Red or Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (one of those red ones with a notch which according to some sources can't be identified on external features).

 

Thursday 24th May

A Cuckoo was calling away at Thornham in my lunch break. Popped into the patch on the way home and scored Hobby and Little Owl at Bittering.

 

Wednesday 23rd May

On the way back from Luton airport in the early hours of this morning I was pleased to see a Badger cross the road in front of me, near Swanton Morley. Had I not seen one in Spain over the weekend this would have been my first live badger for many years. Given the number of roadkill Badgers that litter my route to work, and given my frequent nocturnal driving, it's surprising I don't see more.

 

Thursday 16th May

I was surprised to hear a Reed Warbler singing away from the hawthorn hedge beside my garden this morning - an unexpected house-tick. Flew to NE Spain this afternoon for a long weekend birding with Dave and Rob. More on that later.

 

Wednesday 15th May

Popped in to South Creake in my lunch break and located Monday's leucistic Mistle Thrush - it allowed me a couple of record shots before flying off.

Dave texted to inform me he'd found a Reed Warbler on the patch, our first for this new patch. I had thought today would be a day for a rare wader to turn up and nearly texted a response instructing him to stop worrying about Reed Warblers and find a rare wader. I didn't send it but he must have got the message anyway as he called me a bit later to tell me he'd found a Temminck's Stint! 15 minutes later after another call to say it had flown off and then a text to say it was still there after all, I arrived to find it had walked out of view. Fortunately it hadn't gone far and after walking round I got distant views. Subsequently it allowed close approach and I got the best views of Temminck's Stint I've had for a long time. A Turtle Dove was next up, our first on the patch this year.

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leucistic Mistle Thrush, South Creake, 15th May

 

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Temminck's Stint, undisclosed private site, 15th May

Note: I know there are one or two readers of this diary who would have liked to have had the chance to see this Stint. Some of the sites on our patch, including the one that hosted this Temminck's Stint, are dangerous working sites with hardly any parking and no permitted public access whatsoever. There was no way to view the Temminck's Stint site from any public road or footpath and even those of us who watch the site regularly restrict our visits to reduce the very real risk of having our future access prevented. We don't like suppressing news of good birds like this but in view of the circumstances we don't really have many options.

 

Tuesday 14th May

Still struggling on the moth-front at the moment. A Garden Carpet was all I could muster up tonight.

 

Monday 13th May

A Grey Wagtail called as I drove over the bridge between Burnham Norton and Burnham Overy during my lunch break, then a Mole ran across the road running south from Burnham Overy - it's years since I last saw a live Mole! At South Creake I noticed one of a pair of Mistle Thrushes showed a predominantly white head. I'll go back on Wednesday to get some photos if I get a chance. No moths again tonight.

 

Sunday 12th May

Wednesday's Wheatear was still present this morning and then I found a new Wheatear at Creaking Gate Lake. Other than that not much doing on the patch - a Cuckoo heard was about the best. One moth netted looks like it might be my first Blackthorn Slender Deltaornix torquillella, but I'll need to get that one confirmed (update Jan 2014 - its naughty bits have been checked and sadly it's just a Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella - thanks Jon!). No moths at home this evening.

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Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella, Creaking Gate Lake, 12th May - confirmed by gen. det. (J Clifton)

 

Saturday 11th May

I didn't have long today but just enough time to make an early visit to Sheringham in the hope of some vis mig. In fact very little was moving - a few Swallows, 17 Swifts, but apart from them it was just single birds of about 6 species! One of these was a Tree Pipit though, a bird I don't see all that often, so it wasn't all bad. On the way home I popped in to the local patch where the only thing worth noting was a Garden Warbler at Creaking Gate Lake, the first on the patch this year.

No MV again tonight but the bedroom lights didn't draw anything in at all. (Edit: a White-shouldered House-moth found Sunday afternoon presumably arrived Saturday night).

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House Martin, Sheringham, 11th May

 

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colour-ringed Stonechat (left) and Linnets (right), Sheringham, 11th May

 

Friday 10th May

A Muntjac in the field just behind the house was, I think, my first from the house. I forgot to put the MV light on this evening but the regular bedroom lights still attracted a few moths: probable Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, 3 Yellow-barred Brindles and Least Black Arches.

 

Thurdsay 9th May

Another quick visit to the patch on the way home from work produced nothing better than a Little Ringed Plover (yes, just 1) and a Canada x Greylag Goose hybrid. The moths at home weren't much better with just Waved Umber and Least Black Arches, two species that seem to be having a good year.

 

Wednesday 8th May

Popped into the patch on the way home from work - a Greenshank was at Rawhall and elsewhere the singing Yellow Wagtail remained along with Wheatear and Common Sandpiper.

A few moths at home included a nice Water Carpet. Others were Brindled Flat-body Agonopterix arenella, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, 2 Red or Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, 2 Garden Carpets, Yellow-barred Brindle, Waved Umber and Least Black Arches.

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Common Sandpiper (left) and escaped Ruddy Shelduck (right), private site, 8th May

 

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Water Carpet, Bawdeswell, 8th May

 

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Yellow-barred Brindle (left) and Red or Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (right), Bawdeswell, 8th May - until recently I think the right hand carpet would have gone down as Dark-barred Twin-spot on account of the notches in the leading edge of the reddish bar, however this feature has apparently now been shown to be unreliable; if I understand it rightly individuals showing a combination of the notches and reddish colouration cannot be identified without dissection now

 

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Least Black Arches, Bawdeswell, 8th May - we seem to be having a good year for these (and Waved Umbers)

 

Tuesday 7th May

A quick wander at Syderstone Common in my lunch break produced a single moth, my second ever Small Phoenix. Few moths at home this evening: Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, Garden Carpet, Shoulder Stripe, Streamer, Early Thorn, 2 Waved Umbers, Least Black Arches and Early Grey.

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Willow Warbler (left) and Small Phoenix (right), Syderstone Common, 7th May

 

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Waved Umber (left) and Early Thorn (right), Bawdeswell, 7th May

 

Monday 6th May

The new local patch consists of a number of sites spread along a valley and we normally move from one site to another by car. This morning Dave and I decided to park one car at each end and walk the whole length of the patch, starting at first light. So despite not getting to bed until about 1.15 am after last night's mothing I was up at 3.45 am and soon heading off to meet Dave. I would like to say the early start was worthwhile and we saw loads of good birds, but that woudn't quite be accurate. Eventually we did find some good birds though, by far the best being a surprise Short-eared Owl which I picked up flying low towards me at the ancient site of Little Bittering. This was very unexpected and I think the first time I've seen one anywhere near the Wensum valley. Otherwise migrants consisted of Common Sandpiper, Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear, but it was pretty slow going and after walking the length of the patch we'd amassed a mere 72 species. A couple of interesting moths were noted along the way: Common Oak Purple Eriocrania subpurpurella and Latticed Heath.

Back at home this evening moths included 2 presumed Hawthorn Slenders Parornix anglicella, Leek Moth Acrolepiopsis assectella, 2 probable Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana, 2 Many-plumed Moths Alucita hexadactyla, 3 Double-striped Pugs, Least Black Arches and Hebrew Character. I'm still not quite sure why I get as many Leek Moths here as all of the rest of Norfolk's moth-recorders put together.

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Short-eared Owl, Bittering, 6th May

 

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Barn Owl (left) and Willow Warblers (right), Bittering, 6th May

 

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escaped Ruddy Shelduck, private site, 6th May

 

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presumed Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella (left) and Leek Moth Acrolepiopsis assectella (right), Bawdeswell, 6th May

 

Sunday 5th May

A Holly Blue in the garden was my first this year. This evening Rob and I headed off to Marsham Heath for a mothing session. The first moth that came to our lights was new to both of us: the first of 2 Birch Mochas. Others new to me included 26 Common Oak Purples Eriocrania subpurpurella, Dawn Flat-body Semioscopis steinkellneriana and 3 Purple Thorns. Also Early Tooth-striped was only my second. The rest were Brindled Flat-body Agonopterix arenella, Bridge Roller Ancylis uncella, 3 Scalloped Hook-tips, Pebble Hook-tip, Frosted Green, 2 Spruce Carpets, 6+ Narrow-winged Pugs, 5+ Brindled Pugs, Double-striped Pug, Early Tooth-striped, Yellow-barred Brindle, Tawny-barred Angle, 2 Early Thorns, Engrailed, 3 Swallow Prominents, 2 Great Prominents, 2 Small Quakers, 3 Common Quakers, 2 Clouded Drabs and 13 Nut-tree Tussocks.

I didn't get many moths in the bedroom in the meantime: Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, Streamer, Waved Umber and Spectacle.

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Purple Thorn, Marsham Heath, 5th May

 

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Purple Thorn, Marsham Heath, 5th May

 

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Purple Thorn (left, same individual as immediately above) and Early Thorn (right), Marsham Heath, 5th May

 

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Bridge Roller Ancylis uncella (left) and Common Oak Purple Eriocrania subpurpurella (right), Marsham Heath, 5th May

 

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Birch Mocha (left) and Pebble Hook-tip (right), Marsham Heath, 5th May

 

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Spruce Carpet (left) and Early Tooth-striped (right), Marsham Heath, 5th May

 

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Swallow Prominent (left) and Great Prominent (right), Marsham Heath, 5th May

 

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Dawn Flat-body Semioscopis steinkellneriana (left) and Narrow-winged Pug (right), Marsham Heath, 5th May

 

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Frosted Green (left) and spider (right), Marsham Heath, 5th May

 

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Waved Umber (left) and Streamer (right), Bawdeswell, 5th May

 

Saturday 4th May

The jet lag is still preventing me from getting up early - I thought it would have worn off by now! Instead of the planned early start I had a look round the patch at the other end of the day. All the usual stuff really, nothing unexpected. While out birding I netted a couple of moths, both of which were new to me. First at Hell Pit was a Phyllonorycter, which appears to be Brown Apple Midget Phyllonorycter blancardella (may need gen det for confirmation?). Next up at Creaking Gate Lake as Red-brindled Dwarf Elachista rufocinerea. Nearby when it got dark I torched 2 White-shouldered House-moths Endrosis sarcitrella and Red Twin-spot Carpet, followed by Engrailed in the headlights at Rawhall Wood.

Not much at home tonight: 3 Many-plumed Moths Alucita hexadactyla, 2 Brindled Pugs, Waved Umber and Hebrew Character.

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Red-brindled Dwarf Elachista rufocinerea, Creaking Gate Lake (left) and probable Brown Apple Midget Phyllonorycter blancardella, Hell Pit (right), 4th May

 

Friday 3rd May

Spent a little more time at the patch on the way home tonight, though didn't see a vast amount to shout about. A Greenshank was at Rawhall and nearby a singing male Yellow Wagtail was interesting - I can't recall ever hearing these sing on passage before so perhaps it will stick around to breed?

The warmer conditions produced a better variety of moths despite the largely clear skies - easily my best evening so far this year. The best moth, I think, was a Fen Flat-body Depressaria ultimella. Previous Norfolk records consist of one this century, one at the end of last century and three in the 1800s! Also March Tubic Diurnea fagella, Brindled Flat-body Agonopterix arenella, 5 Many-plumed Moths Alucita hexadactyla, Garden Carpet, 2 Brindled Pugs, Early Thorn and Least Black Arches.

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apparent Fen Flat-body Depressaria ultimella, Bawdeswell, 3rd May

 

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Brindled Pug, Bawdeswell, 3rd May

 

Thursday 2nd May

Popped into the patch on the way home - not much to shout about, usual stuff like Little Ringed Plover.

Moths this evening consisted of March Tubic Diurnea fagella, Clouded Drab and 2 Early Greys.

 

Wednesday 1st May

I still await some variety on the moth front... tonight just Common Quaker, Hebrew Character and Early Grey.

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Hebrew Character, Bawdeswell, 1st May

 

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