April 2014

 

Wednesday 30th April

A Hobby over the A1067 near Foulsham was my first this year. Not many moths today but Spectacle was new for the year.

 

Tuesday 29th April

A day off today so I headed up to Burnham Overy. First interesting bird was a Common Scoter swimming rapidly up channel towards the staithe - it got almost as far as the staithe before stopping, the first time I've seen one here that wasn't on the open sea. I've been wondering recently how easy it would be to see 100 species in a day here and today I got my answer - fairly easy! I reached 101 by the time I left at around 2-ish and missed several easy ones. The morning was enjoyable with plenty of birds to see including a good scattering of migrants: 3 Cuckoos, at least 19 Wheatears, Whinchat, 4 Yellow Wagtails, at least 25 Swallows through, 4 Willow Warblers, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, at least 15 Whimbrel, etc. In one five-minute 'purple patch' I found a fine male Black Redstart, a female Common Redstart and a new Ring Ouzel. The Garganey was still on Holkham Freshmarsh and I saw one of the 'old' Ring Ouzels that were still near the staithe. A Spoonbill was glimpsed flying into the colony area, there were still at least 18 Fieldfare present, a pair of Barnacle Geese and I heard a Mediterranean Gull. As I headed back to the car I located the Goosander in the channel which John W had seen yesterday.

Non-avian highlights were my first Cinnabar of the year, my first Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella of the year, the striking red-and-black froghopper Cercopis vulnerata and a chorus of Natterjack Toads.

Before heading home I stopped briefly at Choseley where 4 Dotterels were remaining and near Raynham Lake where a selection of moths included 30 Plain Golds Micropterix calthella, another Feathered Bright Incurvaria masculella, Skin Moth Monopis laevigella, 25 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana and 2 Pearl Dwarfs Elachista apicipunctella. Also a couple of larval tents of Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella. I also stopped at the patch briefly where I didn't see any birds of note but one moth netted seems to have been Pointed Groundling Scrobipalpa acuminatella, though it requires dissection to be sure (update December - Jon's done the deed and it is so).

A few moths at home tonight included two new for the year: Common White Wave and Angle Shades.

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Black Redstart, Burnham Overy, 29th April

 

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Ring Ouzel (left) and Whinchat (right), Burnham Overy, 29th April

 

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Lesser Whitethroat (left) and Wheatear (right), Burnham Overy, 29th April

 

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Willow Warbler, Burnham Overy, 29th April

 

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Dotterels, Choseley, 29th April

 

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Pointed Groundling Scrobipalpa acuminatella, Rawhall GPs (left) and Skin Moth Monopis laevigella, Raynham Lake (right), 29th April

 

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Angle Shades, Bawdeswell, 29th April

 

Monday 28th April

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Goldfinch, Thornham, 28th April

 

Sunday 27th April

A Garden Warbler was the only bird of note on the patch this afternoon but a few minutes with a net at Creaking Gate Lake produced several good moths including no less than 3 that were completely new to me. Best of these was one that took me literally hours to identify having not even been able to work out which family it belonged to - in the end I believe it's Bittersweet Smudge Acrolepia autumnitella (update December: and thanks to Jon for gen detting to confirm). The other two were commoner: Red Birch Midget Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella and Dark Gorse Piercer Grapholita internana. Also of interest was another White-bodied Midget Phyllonorycter joannisi (this site is only a stone's-throw away from the Bittering site I recorded these at on Thursday) and a Dark-barred Tortrix Syndemis musculana. At least 4 Grey Gorse Piercers Cydia ulicetana were new for the year and nearby I found another Common Birch Bell Epinotia immundana.

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Dark-barred Tortrix Syndemis musculana (left) and Bittersweet Smudge Acrolepia autumnitella (right), Creaking Gate Lake, 27th April

 

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Red Birch Midget Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella (left) and Dark Gorse Piercer Grapholita internana (right), Creaking Gate Lake, 27th April

 

Saturday 26th April

A Cuckoo flew over the Fakenham bypass as I headed up to Burnham Overy, later than intended. There I found Common Sandpiper by the car park and 2 Ring Ouzels in the field by the staithe - a good start but the morning was abruptly interrupted by a call from a properly excited Connor Rand who'd just discovered an Alpine Accentor at Holme! I wasn't far from the car and having missed the Overstrand bird I headed off to Holme post-haste. On arrival Connor showed me crippling frame-filling photos on the back of his camera but alas that was all he could show me, as the bird had disappeared never to be seen again. What a stonking good find for Connor though - well deserved! Holme gave me Peregrine and Tree Pipit, plus a Cuckoo on the way out.

After giving up at Holme I returned to Burnham Overy where a fair scattering of migrants included at least 23 Wheatears, my first Little Terns (and Common Terns) of the year, at least 19 Whimbrel and 2 Greenshank, my first Reed Warbler of the year. A drake Garganey was on Holkham Freshmarsh, visible from the east end of the dunes. A Tawny Owl hooted in the pines at 1.53 pm, a Mediterranean Gull was heard calling and Red Kite seen. A flock of 25 Fieldfare reminded me that winter wasn't quite gone. Interesting insects were harder to find but another Feathered Bright Incurvaria masculella appeared at the edge of the pines. When I returned the Ring Ouzel 'flock' had increased to 3.

On the way home I stopped off at Syderstone Common where I had found the rare Phyllonorycter on Wednesday. I checked a few tree trunks and discovered another 15 Scarce Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter kuhlweiniella, along with 8 Common Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter quercifoliella and 36 White Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter harrisella (and a Common Oak Purple Dyseriocrania subpurpurella).

A short footpath into Helhoughton Common has always taken my fancy as I've driven past in my lunchbreaks but is too muddy and overgrown to attempt in work clothes. I tried it today and found it a bit disappointing, smelly stagnant water around about and fenced off part way down. Nevertheless it did produce a few moths including a Coarse Hazel Pigmy Stigmella floslactella - one of a large family of moths which are nearly always recorded as leafmines - this was my first adult of any species. The rest were Phyllonorycter: 9 harrisella, 1 blancardella and 1 maestingella.

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Cuckoo, Holme, 26th April - Cuckoos are bad news for Meadow Pipits and this one knew it!

 

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Ring Ouzel (left) and Morel (right), Burnham Overy, 26th April - at least I think it's Morel...?

 

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Common Scoter, Burnham Overy/Holkham Bay, 26th April - there has been a massive flock (variously estimated at 6000-7000) off the west end of the pines recently: this was a bit of it

 

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Scarce Oak Midget Phyllonorycter kuhlweiniella, Syderstone Common (left) and Coarse Hazel Pigmy Stigmella floslactella, Helhoughton Common (right), 26th April

 

Friday 25th April

A Cetti's Warbler was singing by the bottlebank at Thornham during my lunch break, along with both Whitethroat species. Also a Greeshank flew over.

Not many moths at home tonight but the few included another Waved Umber, my first Least Black Arches for the year and my first ever Lunar Marbled Brown.

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Lunar Marbled Brown, Bawdeswell, 25th April

 

Thursday 24th April

Popped in to see Jon after work and while I was chatting to him saw what proved to be a Common Cosmet Mompha epilobiella fly by.

Had a quick look on the patch after that - didn't see many birds but heard my first Cuckoo of the year. Some interesting moths though, including some more success from looking on tree trunks (Norway Maple this time). The highlight was a total of 7 White-bodied Midgets Phyllonorycter joannisi. Although not nearly as rare as yesterday's this is nearly always recorded as leafmine or larvae - there is just a single record on the Norfolk moths database that involves an adult. It's another quite beautiful species but one that's very rarely seen in all its adult glory! A Long-streaked Midget Phyllonorycter salicicolella was new for the year, having re-identified the one I erroneously reported as this previously. Finally a Little Ermel Swammerdamia pyrella was also my first.

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White-bodied Midgets Phyllonorycter joannisi, Bittering, 24th April - commoner than yesterday's rather similar species but almost always recorded as mines or larvae - only one recorded as an adult in the Norfolk Moths database

 

Wednesday 23rd April

A very productive lunchtime spent at Syderstone Common where I made one of my most significant moth discoveries so far. After finding a Smoky-barred Marble Lobesia abscisana, a common species but one I've only encountered once before, I started finding lots of Phyllonorycter on tree trunks. Most were White Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter harrisella but there were also a couple more Common Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter quercifoliella and a blancardella-type, and a couple of other very interesting insects. These two were very beautiful and distinctive, but unfamiliar to me. I had my suspicions but it wasn't until I got home and conducted some research that I became confident - they were Scarce Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter kuhlweiniella!

The significance? This species was not recorded in the UK between 1949 and 1982 when a population was discovered in south Norfolk. Subsequently it was recorded in south Norfolk only up until 1996 and has been looked for since but not found. There have been 3 Suffolk records, the last in 2002. There have never been any records in north Norfolk. So it seems I've uncovered a hitherto unknown population of a Red Data Book moth that has been looked for but not found for over a decade even in the places where it was once known to occur.

A few moths at home this evening too. Highlights were another Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella, my first Heather Tortrix Argyrotaenia ljungiana and Common Grey Scoparia ambigualis of the year, Streamer, 3 Currant Pugs and 3 Waved Umbers.

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Scarce Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter kuhlweiniella, Syderstone Common, 23rd April - first in Norfolk since 1996 - have there been any British records since the last in Suffolk in 2002?

 

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Smoky-barred Marble Lobesia abscisana (left) and White Oak Midget Phyllonorycter harrisella (right), Syderstone Common, 23rd April

 

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Streamer (left) and Waved Umber (right), Bawdeswell, 23rd April

 

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Heather Tortrix Argyrotaenia ljungiana, Bawdeswell, 23rd April

 

Tuesday 22nd April

A quick look along the road south of Thornham orchard produced a leucistic Linnet and a Wheatear. A good selection of moths at home including Ruby Tiger and Waved Umber plus 4 species new for the year: Small Magpie Anania hortulata (another one that's changed genus recently), Scalloped Hazel, 2 Shuttle-shaped Darts and Pale Mottled Willow.

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Yellowhammer, south of Thornham, 22nd April

 

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Scalloped Hazel (left) and Pale Mottled Willow (right), Bawdeswell, 22nd April

 

Monday 21st April

Headed up to Burnham Overy early but didn't have as long as I would have liked as I had to be back late morning. Still enough time to see a few migrants - a flock of 5 Whimbrels flew over, Ring Ouzel in the dunes with what sounded like a different bird calling, 6 Wheatears and a nice Tree Pipit. There were a few Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail through, a Lesser Whitethroat singing and the odd Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler but generally it was quieter than last visit. A couple of Spoonbills flew over and a total of 3 Mediterranean Gulls seen.

After finishing the stuff I had to be back for I joined Rob at Foxley Wood where we found a few interesting moths. Best was my first Vetch Piercer Grapholita jungiella. There were lots of Plain Golds Micropterix calthella on the sedges and we found Common Slender Gracilaria syringella (not Caloptilia any more), Pearl Dwarf Elachista apicipunctella and Common Birch Bell Epinotia immundana, all of which were new for the year for me. Lots of Phyllonorycter were knocked out of trees or found resting on tree trunks - most were White Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter harrisella but there was also Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella and my first 2 Common Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter quercifoliella.

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Tree Pipit, Burnham Overy, 21st April

 

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Dunnock, Burnham Overy, 21st April

 

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Brown-tail larvae, Burnham Overy (left) and Early Purple Orchid, Foxley Wood (right), 21st April

 

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Vetch Piercer Grapholita jungiella (left) and Plain Gold Micropterix calthella (right), Foxley Wood, 21st April

 

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Common Slender Gracilaria syringella (left) and Common Oak Midget Phyllonorycter quercifoliella (right), Foxley Wood, 21st April

 

Sunday 20th April

Had a look round the patch early this morning. The escaped Ruddy Shelduck was still there but much better was a Bar-tailed Godwit. A new patch bird for me, so a good start to Easter Sunday. I returned later with a view to making it a brief visit before heading up to the coast. Remarkably there were 3 Mediterranean Gulls there today, an adult, a second-summer and a first-winter bird. The adult and second-summer seemed to be paired and the first-year bird bore a yellow ring (but I failed to read the ring number). I looked for the Tree Pipits Dave had seen during the morning, but couldn't find them (which wasn't surprising as he didn't think they had stayed) - I did see one of the Wheatears he'd seen. Both Whitethroat and 3 Lesser Whitethroats were singing on the patch and as it started to brighten up I considered the fact that there had been hardly any migration reported at the coast and decided to stay at the inland patch.

Staying there brought some rewards, though not the migrant birds I was hoping for. A Green Hairstreak was a surprise find - I had no idea they were present anywhere near here although having now checked the Millenium Atlas I see there are dots on the map not far away. There were a few moths on the patch too, all common species but two were new for the year, Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana and Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella while one was my first ever Feathered Bright Incurvaria masculella.

After this I decided to check out nearby Honeypot Wood, an NWT reserve that I'd driven past a few times but not quite got round to visiting. Nothing remarkable seen there but from the variety of wildflowers I suspect it would prove good for moths given a more careful search (the sun having gone in didn't help today).

A cracking good night for moths at home, which was very welcome after a generally poor week (last night I just got 1 moth for instance). Two species were new for the house: Common Oak Purple Dyseriocrania subpurpurella and 2 White Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter harrisella - the latter were my first ever though it is a very common species. Other micros included Golden Lance-wing Epermenia chearophyllella and another Brown-spot Flat-body Agonopterix alstromeriana. Commoner, but new for the year, were Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella and probable Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella. Although I see the species quite often I've only had 1s and 2s before so 3 Brindled Flat-bodies Agonopterix arenella was a record count.

Some good macros too. Nicest was a Pebble Prominent, only my second at home. Perhaps more interesting but far uglier as it was almost devoid of scales was a Small Brindled Beauty, also my second here. That species should have finished flying weeks ago so it is no surprise that it was in such a poor condition - the orange-brown feathered antennae in combination with the size and shape seem to leave no other options and the few scales that were left in a small patch on the costa of one wing were consistent with this ID. Other macros of note were 2 Chinese Characters and Waved Umber while common species recorded for the first time this year included Garden Carpet, 3 Common Pugs, 2 Brimstone Moths and Flame Shoulder.

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Bar-tailed Godwit, Bittering, 20th April

 

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Mediterranean Gulls, Bittering, 20th April

 

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Feathered Bright Incurvaria masculella, Bittering (left) and Wood Anenome, Honeypot Wood (right), 20th April

 

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Oil-seed Rape, adjacent to Honeypot Wood, 20th April

 

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Pebble Prominent (left) and Brimstone Moth (right), Bawdeswell, 20th April

 

Thursday 17th April

I continue to get confused with Wormwood Pug vs. Currant Pug but I think tonight's were 2 Currant Pugs.

 

Wednesday 16th April

Just 3 species of moth tonight but two of them were new for the year: 2 Streamers and Waved Umber.

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Streamer, Bawdeswell, 16th April

 

Tuesday 15th April

The morning started with a Red Kite at Tattersett en route to work. Had a bit of a doh! moment at lunch time when searching again for the scarcer Eriocrania species. I knew they are all Birch feeders while the commoner subpurpurella is an Oak feeder, but for some reason I've been looking among oaks! it wasn't until I found more of the common species that it dawned on me that I was targeting the wrong tree for the moths I was looking for, and by then it was too far through my lunch break to find somewhere with Birches growing. A Green-veined White was my first this year.

Paused at the patch on the way home. In addition to the breeding species of wader there are still 3 Green Sandpipers present. Another Nut-tree Tussock was one of just 2 moths tonight.

 

Monday 14th April

Plenty of warblers (Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs) singing at Syderstone Common in my lunch break. A quick hunt for day-flying moths turned up some Common Oak Purples Dyseriocrania subpurpurella. A Shoulder Stripe was the best moth at home tonight.

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Common Oak Purple Dyseriocrania subpurpurella, Syderstone Common, 14th April

 

Saturday 12th April

Another thoroughly enjoyable morning spent at Burnham Overy. On the way down to the dunes I notched up a couple of adult Mediterranean Gull, Short-eared Owl, 7 Sedge Warblers and the first of 4 Willow Warblers. The dunes held 2 Red Kites, a Hen Harrier and a couple of Wheatears. But it was the viz mig that was where most of the action was. I learned a bit about how viz mig works at this site, I think. The last few visits I've noticed that I've seen very few birds moving until I reach the point past Gun Hill, and then it all kicks off. It seems that birds move west over the dunes and the beach, but mainly the seaward side of the dunes, and then funnel through a narrower line at Gun Hill before crossing to Scolt Head. Walking along the landward side of the dunes you just don't see as much going through as you do from the seaward side, although there are probably more grounded migrants on the landward side. From Gun Hill a party of 12 Redpolls flew west while streams of Meadow Pipits, Linnets and Goldfinches poured through. I notched up 12 Swallows and 9 Yellow Wagtails, and a notable count of 50 Carrion Crows but the true number of birds moving through must have been way higher - I reckon I spent less than 5% of my time in the flight path of the majority of Yellow Wagtails I saw. Best birds moving were an early Tree Pipit and a group of 3 Whimbrel. A Sandwich Tern was also new for the year and I eventually heard a Ring Ouzel at the east of the dunes. I couldn't see it at first so I moved over to some other birders who pointed it out- a nice male in the top of one of the pines and then another male (a different bird, I was assured) on the deck nearby. The non-avian highlight this morning was larval tents of Brown-tail moths - there were loads of tents in the Sea Buckthorn patch and also on Hawthorns near the boardwalk - must have been many thousands of caterpillars. Must be one of the commonest moths I've not yet seen as an adult.

As I drove inland I passed a singing Whitethroat in one hedgerow and when I reached the patch I discoved another new bird for the year, a House Martin. It was pretty cold on the patch though so I didn't give it long before heading home. Not many moths at home tonight but among them were 2 Nut-tree Tussocks - a species I sometimes record in numbers when out and about but don't often see at home - less than annual here.

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Red Kite, Burnham Overy, 12th April

 

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Hen Harrier, Burnham Overy, 12th April

 

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Wheatear (left) and Willow Warbler (right), Burnham Overy, 12th April

 

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Brown-tails, Burnham Overy, 12th April - here on Hawthorn but more tents on Sea Buckthorn

 

Friday 11th April

Having heard that the Crag Martin had disappeared from Yorkshire earlyish I nipped up to Hunstanton to look for it there in my lunch break. I didn't see it, because it was still at Flamborough. I did see a Yellow Wagtail fly north and 2 Wheatears though.

 

Thursday 10th April

Nothing more unusual than a Red Chestnut and a Brindled Flat-body Agonopterix arenella tonight, but a couple of early records of note. First up was a Red Twin-spot Carpet, my earliest by nearly 2 weeks. Also my earliest ever, and by an even bigger margin, was Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana. Lots of county records of the latter this early so odd that I don't normally get them until later, but the carpet does seem to be a genuinely early record.

 

Wednesday 9th April

Just a quick look round the patch on the way home tonight, producing 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Green Sandpipers and 6 Sand Martins. More unexpected was a large (perhaps 200) flock of Golden Plovers, flying around very distantly. Such large numbers this late seems unusual - haven't seen this many on the patch even during the winter this year.

Not all that many moths tonight but some interesting ones. A Purple Thorn was the first time I've had one here and 2 Brown-spot Flat-bodies Agonopterix alstromeriana were good, my second and third this month but one I had never recorded until last September. 14 Many-plumed Moths Alucita hexadactyla was a good count. An Engrailed was interesting as it sported a pair of dark square spots which, if you go by the textbooks, should make it a Square Spot. That would be a first for Norfolk, so it demanded a bit more care and after checking a few images online I remained of the opinion that it was just an Engrailed - the dark square does not extend as far as the next cross line which it does on all images I can find of Square Spot. The only other difference referred to in the book is the relatively clear broad crossband on Square Spot but for this individual it seems to be within range of either species (but less distinct than on most Square Spots). Judging from the internet images there seem to be other minor differences that seem to be consistent to a lesser or greater extent and if they are valid features then they also point to Engrailed. A few images of other Engraileds, including one or two taken in Norfolk, show similar dark spots, so I've no doubt it's within normal variation.

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Purple Thorn, Bawdeswell, 9th April

 

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Engrailed (left) and Early Grey (right), Bawdeswell, 9th April - the dark squares look more prominent in life than they do in the photo

 

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Brown-spot Flat-body Agonopterix alstromeriana, Bawdeswell, 9th April

 

Tueseday 8th April

Just 2 moths again tonight. One of them was another Phyllonorycter and this time I did (I think) a better job with the ID. I think this one and the one from last week are both Common Thorn Midgets Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae. They would need dissecting to be 100% sure.

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probable Common Thorn Midget Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae, Bawdeswell, 8th April

 

Monday 7th April

My first Swallows today - a total of 6 at Hunstanton in my lunchbreak, mostly moving south. Nothing much on the patch in a quick look on the way home - just 1 Green Sandpiper. Just 2 moths tonight but one was a Ruby Tiger. This species is much more numerous in its second generation - I've seen over 40 between July and September but this was only my second spring record.

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Ruby Tiger, Bawdeswell, 7th April

 

Sunday 6th April

Still 3 Green Sandpipers and a Little Ringed Plover on the patch today but the highlight was a pair of second-summer Mediterranean Gulls flying over Hell Pit. I finally got my first hirundines of the year - 18 Sand Martins at one site. Dave got a better look than I did at an orange flying insect - he was sure it was a moth not a butterfly, in which case it was presumably an Orange Underwing.

It was a good evening for moths at home. Pale Pinion was the first I've recorded at home but the best moth was my first ever Streaked Flat-body Depressaria chaerophylli. Other highlights were Chinese Character and Wormwood Pug, both of which were my earliest ever records, and another Red Chestnut.

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Streaked Flat-body Depressaria chaerophylli (left) and Chinese Character (right), Bawdeswell, 6th April

 

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Pale Pinion, Bawdeswell, 6th April

 

Saturday 5th April

I started early at Burnham Overy hoping to find some migrants. As I walked from the staithe I saw the Barn Owl again and my first Sedge Warblers of the year - there were at least 4 singing along the dyke. A Mediterranean Gull called overhead, and eventually provided views, and then I found a male White Wagtail. It was singing (albeit a bit half-heartedly) - the first time I've heard one sing in Norfolk I think.

Reaching the boardwalk bushes I was surprised to see a Great Grey Shrike pop up on a bush in front of me. I hastily turned my digiscoping camera to the correct settings and went to take some pics but it had vanished! I couldn't see it anywhere, so after photographing 2 Barnacle Geese that were flying around I continued on towards Gun Hill. 3 Redpolls flew west and I started to notice the odd corvid moving too, and a couple of Great Tits, but viz mig didn't seem to be as volumous as I'd expected. I rounded Gun Hill and as I started back the Great Grey Shrike appeared again. Got more prolonged views this time, which was a relief as I'd already put news out based on what was a couple of seconds of a front-on head-only view and I'd started to wonder whether I had adequately ruled out other shrike species! Next up were 2 Spoonbills flying around but after that things slowed down a bit. The dunes to the east were quiet, save for my first Yellow Wagtail of the year flying over and a Stoat. By now twitchers had started turning up for the shrike, which had gone missing. It was relocated nearer the road after I'd gone and judging from the number of updates I think it must have been the most twitched bird in Norfolk today! Apparently it's the first to be reported this spring and there weren't any overwintering birds this year, so I guess it's one for the year-listers.

I was happy I'd come here first but I was supposed to be meeting the group at Sculthorpe Moor this morning and I was already well and truly late. By the time I joined them I had missed a showy Water Vole which was a shame, but I'd also missed the worst of the disruption caused by an Easter Egg hunt event! A few Brambling and Bullfinches were among the birds in front of the hide, and a Marsh Tit briefly. A Bank Vole showed frequently here too, which was nice (if not as good as the Water Vole would have been). We continued to the river bank where a group of photographers were watching another Water Vole! I had a second chance! They weren't happy because it wasn't fully out in the open, but all the Water Voles I've seen before have been in view far too briefly to get a good look, so I was happy with one that was sitting munching away on reed leaves while we all watched on, even if there were a few reed stems between us and it.

Both Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail sped by while we were watching it, but the former was a glimpsed shape in the periphary of my vision and I don't think any of the group got on it at all. Among the butterflies seen today were a couple of female Orange-tips.

This evening I took the light to Bawdeswell Heath where the first moth to visit it was a Water Carpet, although it didn't settle. At least 10 Nut-tree Tussocks were new for the year, and March Tubic Diurnea fagella was equally numerous, and showing quite a bit of variation in their appearance. Moths I've not seen often before included 3 Purple Thorns, 3 Early Tooth-stripeds, 2 Frosted Greens and another Pale Pinion. Still not tiring of Oak Beauties, of which there were 4 tonight. The best moths was one of three micros that I initially but tentatively identified as Common Oak Purples Dyseriocrania subpurpurella. I was pretty sure about the first two but as I'd been talking to Rob earlier about the need to retain specimens of the other Eriocraniids for confirmation I thought I better hang on to them to check later. Good job I did as while I think my ID was correct for the first two, a closer look at the third revealed an insect with almost entirely purple wings - it appears to be an Early Purple Eriocrania semipurpurella which, if confirmed, will be my first and a worthwhile record.

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Great Grey Shrike, Burnham Overy, 5th April

 

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Barnacle Geese, Burnham Overy, 5th April

 

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Spoonbills, Burnham Overy, 5th April

 

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Shelduck, Burnham Overy, 5th April

 

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Water Vole, Sculthorpe Moor, 5th April

 

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Bank Vole (left) and Scarlet Elfcap (right), Sculthorpe Moor, 5th April

 

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Bullfinches, Sculthorpe Moor, 5th April

 

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Bramblings, Sculthorpe Moor, 5th April

 

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Reed Buntings, Sculthorpe Moor, 5th April

 

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probable Early Purple Eriocrania semipurpurella, Bawdeswell Heath, 5th April

 

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Common Oak Purple Dyseriocrania subpurpurella (left) and Purple Thorn (right), Bawdeswell Heath, 5th April

 

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March Tubics Diurnea fagella , Bawdeswell Heath, 5th April

 

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Frosted Greens, Bawdeswell Heath, 5th April

 

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Nut-tree Tussock (left) and Early Tooth-striped (right), Bawdeswell Heath, 5th April

 

Friday 4th April

Had a look for a large flock of a few hundred Golden Plover I'd seen in my lunch break on Monday - it had surprised me how many there were as most have gone by now. They were a bit harder to find today as they had gone down a bit - well, a lot actually - there were only 3 birds left!

Another Golden Lance-wing Epermenia chrysophyllella among tonight's moths as was my first Phyllonorycter of the year (and by far my earliest ever). [Updated 10th]: Despite my earlier assertion that it keyed out as salicicolella this ID had surprised me as I was expecting it to be a blancardella-type. Now reviewing this in the light of a second individual which also keyed out as salicicolella despite looking equally wrong for that species I have found a better key and researched it a bit more thoroughly. The outcome of that is that it's very probably Common Thorn Midget Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae, although it would require dissection to completely rule out blancardella or mespilella. If confirmed as oxyacanthae it would be my first, although I suspect some of my unidentified Phyllonorycters, and perhaps some that I've tentatively put down as blancardella, are likely to have been this supposedly common species.

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Golden Plover, south of Brancaster Staithe (left) and Great Crested Grebe, Brancaster Staithe (right), 4th April

 

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probable Common Thorn Midget Phyllonorycter oxyacnathae, Bawdeswell (left) and 10-spot Ladybird, Brancaster Staithe (right), 4th April

 

Thursday 3rd April

Among 32 moths tonight was a record count of 22 Common Quakers. Better was a new moth for me, Ruddy Flat-body Agonopterix subpropinquella. Otherwise nothing better than another Parsnip Moth Depressaria radiella.

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Ruddy Flat-body Agonopterix subpropinquela, Bawdeswell, 3rd April

 

Wednesday 2nd April

Fewer waders at the patch on the way home tonight, except 5 Green Sandpipers. Also 8 Shoveler at a site where I don't normally see them was a surprise.

 

Tuesday 1st April

A plethora of waders at one site on the patch this evening, including 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Green Sandpipers and 17 Snipe. Best of tonight's moths was a Brown-spot Flat-body Agonopterix alstromeriana.

 

 

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