September 2014


Saturday 6th September

Went to Burnham Overy for dawn, getting Kingfisher and Greenshank as I walked out. Some really huge flocks of Greylag Geese have been gathering in the fields south of the road recently - must have been about 2000 in the air at one point - and weirdly several hundred Mallards among them too. I was a bit surprised to see a line of 99 Egyptian Geese heading out to join them (plus at least 2 up there already) - don't often see that many in a single flock. There were a few migrants around - 2 Pied Flycatchers, at least 1 Redstart, 3 Whinchats, 10 Wheatears and an early Goldcrest. An Arctic Skua went by and a juvenile/first-winter Mediterranean Gull was at the rivermouth. Non-avian highlights included Grayling butterfly and Carnation Tortrix Cacoecimorpha pronubana.

Back at home the moth trap produced a new moth for me, Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella. Otherwise Bee Moth and Scalloped Hook-tip were unseasonal and the rest included 2 Poplar Hawkmoths and Square-spotted Clay.

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Pied Flycatcher (left) and Redstart (right), Burnham Overy, 6th September


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Blue Tits, Burnham Overy, 6th September - it's not all about rarities you know!


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Bee Moth Aphomia sociella (left) and Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana (right), North Elmham, 6th September


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Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella (left) and Common Marble Celypha lacunana (right), North Elmham, 6th September - don't often see the dark form of lacunana


Friday 5th September

177 moths of 39 species tonight. They included a second-generation Flame, a species that normally flies just once in the year from June to July. Golden Argent Argyresthia goedartella, White-headed Ermel Paraswammerdamia albicapitella, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana, 2 Ringed China-marks Parapoynx stratiotata, Dark Pine Knot-horn Dioryctria abietella, Grey Pine Carpet, 2 Dusky Thorns, 2 Poplar Hawkmoths, 2 Copper Underwings and Svensson's Copper Underwing. Some of the more numerous moths were 9 Garden Rose Tortrices Acleris variegana, 11 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 6 Chinese Characters, 7 Blood-veins, 20 Brimstone Moths, 33 Large Yellow Underwings, 10 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 14 Square-spot Rustics, 8 Flounced Rustics and 9 Snouts.


Thursday 4th September

Had the day off today so went up to Burnham Overy early to find some migrants. A Yellow Wagtail by the staithe and a young Hobby flying up the river were a good start. A feeding frenzy in the channel consisted of 30 Little Egrets and several Grey Herons in a small area - can't recall seeing such a gathering of feeding herons in this country - it was like being in the Everglades (well, maybe not quite). Greenshank, Kingfisher and Bearded Tits all called and Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper flew over as I headed down to the dunes. The bushes by the boardwalk held a few migrants including 2 Pied Flycatchers and a Whinchat, so I thought I might be in for a good day. I'd have probably done well to turn round and go back at this point, as the next few hours slog didn't deliver a great deal more! About 4 Wheatears, another Pied Flycatcher in the bushes east of the boardwalk and 2 more Pied Flycatchers at the far west of Holkham Pines were it.

In the evening I popped up to Cromer to get a piece of the Caspian Gull action. On my arrival the adult Yellow-legged Gull was the easiest bird to pick out, but I managed to get on an adult Caspian Gull without too much trouble. The juvenile/first-winter Caspian Gull was also there, and was especially educational as it wasn't as white-headed as I expected. Also a Mediterranean Gull. Another small-headed, dark-eyed older-immature (3rd winter?) Caspian Gull candidate was intriguing. Some features don't seem to add up though, and whichever way I read the primaries (given they are in moult) I can't make all of them right for Caspo.

Tonight's moths included Rhomboid Tortrix Acleris rhombana and Pebble Hook-tip, both new for the house, and 2 Frosted Oranges. Making up the numbers were 28 Large Yellow Underwings.

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Wheatear, Burnham Overy (left) and Caspian Gull, Cromer (right), 4th September


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Caspian Gull, Cromer, 4th September


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Gull sp., Cromer, 4th September - though Caspian tends to have a longer bill apparently females don't have to and the small almost Common Gull-like head look a bit promising for Caspian Gull; most Herring Gulls of this age have a paler eye but I think Caspian Gull would normally have finer streaks on the neck. The legs are very pink, not insipid as one would hope on a Caspian, but I'm not sure that's a problem at this age, and the ventral bulge is supposed to be a Caspian features. I'm not certain which primary is which as it's clearly in moult, but although the distal new-generation primary (excluding the hardly-grown one) has a long grey tongue I don't see any primaries that look like P5 normally should on Caspian


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Rhomboid Tortrix Acleris rhombana (left) and Frosted Orange (right), North Elmham, 4th September


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Eupeodes latifasciatus (left) and Shore Sexton Beetle (right), North Elmham, 4th September


Wednesday 3rd September

Tried Thornham again in my lunch break and once again failed to find any passerine migrants in the bushes by the bottle bank, although I heard a Whimbrel calling. While waiting I started to become aware of larger than usual numbers of Curlew, Little Egrets and other birds flying around the saltmarsh. They seemed restless, like there was an overhead predator in the area. I moved forward down the track so that more sky was in view and lo and behold there was an Osprey circling. It carried on circling for a while before starting to move west, and then looked as though it was hunting at Thornham harbour (flushing an additional flock of 20 Little Egrets) before continuing west. A nice bit of lunchtime action.

The moth trap was heaving tonight - better than I expected! Among its inhabitants were 42 species including Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, Gold Triangle Hypsopygia costalis, 3 Chinese Characters, Peach Blossom (a very late example - supposed to fly in June & July though records throughout August and into September aren't unprecedented), Maiden's Blush, 5 Blood-veins, Sharp-angled Carpet, White-point, Centre-barred Sallow and 5 Burnished Brasses. Numbers (162 moths in all) were swelled by 6 Garden Rose Tortrices Acleris variegana,13 Brimstone Moths, 36 Large Yellow Underwings, 8 Lesser Yellow Underwings and 16 Flounced Rustics.

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Osprey, Thornham (left) and Blood-vein, North Elmham (right), 3rd September


Tuesday 2nd September

Another reasonably good night for moths with 132 moths of 40 species. I await confirmation of one's identity, but to my eyes it looks an awful lot like Bryotropha basaltinella (sorry, not sure what its English name is as it's not on NorfolkMoths which is where I normally get them from). Will be a first for Norfolk if it is, but quite possibly there will be a less exciting explanation. The rest included Small Birch Bell Epinotia ramella, Nut Bud Moth Epinotia tenerana, Brown China-mark Elophila nymphaeata, 4 Blood-veins, Sharp-angled Carpet, 3 Dusky Thorns, Turnip Moth, Mouse Moth, Rosy Rustic and 2 Frosted Oranges.

Update 8th: Jon has gen detted the Gelechiid and consulted with a leading Gelechiid expert, and they've concluded that it was indeed Bryotropha basaltinella - a new moth for Norfolk!

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Bryotropha basaltinella (left) and Nut Bud Moth Epinotia tenerana (right), North Elmham, 2nd September


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Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, North Elmham, 2nd September


Monday 1st September

At least 7 Spoonbills on the saltmarsh at Thornham in my lunch break.

A better night for moths than I expected with 114 moths of 37 species. They included Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana, Small Birch Bell Epinotia ramella, Brown China-mark Elophila nymphaeata, Canary-shouldered Thorn, 2 Dusky Thorns, Iron Prominent, Pale Prominent, Old Lady and Rosy Rustic.

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Pale Prominent (left) and Canary-shouldered Thorn (right), North Elmham, 1st September


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