Saturday, 16 October 2010

Flying things

Being a birder I suppose its natural to look for anything flying around, and trapping moths also leads to other interesting things. Anyway, we been  rather busy and pre-occupied this last 2 weeks, hence the paucity of blog entries, so this is by way of an update
First, there was this mystery moth, rather attractive and not unlike the white-ish mark of a Silver Y. I emailed a picture to Tony Morris to ask for his help, but I must have mis-addressed the email as he didn't reply. A few days later there were 2 of them in the trap, and being better marked individuals I was able to identify them as Green Brindled Crescent, confirmed the same day by Phil Smith. Imagine my amusement when I read Tony's blog to see he had also had ident problems with this species on 11th October!!!

Also in my moth trap has been this shield bug, I believe it's a Hawthorn Shield Bug - scary, isn't it

On the subject of scary insects, this Assassin Bug was on the conservatory window on Thursday

Have had a clean up in the garage now the Swallows have gone, it was a wet day which kept me indoors for this task, so the light was poor, but their poo was carefully shovelled up and deposited on the compost heap!! After their 1st brood (4 young), the male was clearly visiting the nest frequently but no sign of the female on it, until  after the second brood had hatched - (4 young); in fact, when we peeped in to see how many, we discovered they had built a second nest of their own, on a ledge and a very sparse affair too

This is the original artificial nest which first attracted the swallows some 8 years ago

Thanks to Chris and Gavin Oakley at Wallet's Court, we had another superb flying display by this Spitfire today, grandstand view, what a magnificent airplane!!

At the top of a victory roll, this juvenile Gull came into the frame!

Maybe this picture should be this way up!!


Friday, 1 October 2010

Lovely autumn day - Thursday 30th

Thursday was a superb autumn day, which started with an early walk around Wanstone, where there were mist nets, for a list of 32 species as follows
Skylark - lots, it seems there has been some influx
Robin - ditto, including one in the nets showing the orangey yellow tinge of a continental bird
Blue Tit
Longtailed Tit - a good breeding season for them - incidentally one which brained itself against our neighbour's window in 2009 had been ringed as an adult at Wanstone in 2007
Woodpigeon - large flocks again
Chiffchaff - the ones in the nets this morning showed (or shewed) wing length variations of up to 20%, apparently indicating different populations
Great Tit
Blackcap - one trapped last weekend along with tens of Chiffchaff had been ringed earlier this year as a recently fledged bird somewhere in Belgium, maybe a clue to the origins of all these birds
Song Thrush - very flighty birds showing the greyness associated with continental visitors
Lesser Whitethroat
Starling - beginning to form substantial flocks
Blackbird - very flighty and vocal and associating with the Song Thrushes - incomers?
Green Woodpecker - noisy sod
Meadow Pipit - now present in tens on the uncultivated stubble
Yellowhammer - successful breeding this year for 3 pairs I know of
Carrion Crow
Jackdaw - clowning around in the air along the cliffs, lovely to watch
Wheatear - a single bird, probably the same one as pictured in Tony Morris' blog for Thursday
Sparrowhawk - one was hunting in Langdon Hole, and flushed the next species - another found its way into the net
Ring Ouzel - flushed by the Sparrowhawk, circled high over the bank and was joined by a second, going into bushes under the coastguard lookout
Raven - one was calling and flapping along the cliffs, chased by Jackdaws - a star of BBC Autumnwatch no doubt
Great Spotted Woodpecker - near Langdon hole and miles from the nearest trees, well half a mile or so!
Swallows - still moving through in numbers, later there were 500 or so at Winklands
Snipe - a suprise single flushed from the stubble where the subsoiler had been along turning up last years tramlines
Sand Martin - 2 or 3 among the Swallows
House Martin - ditto

Later at West Cliff I stopped the car to look at a raptor to see 2 Common Buzzards soaring over the road, and about noon there were 5, yes 5, soaring high above the farmyard at Winklands, super super, and they were calling too, oh bliss!

Some super autumn colours already this year

Freshley banded Song Thrush, photo don't do the greyishness justice

That Sparrowhawk, a young male, just a bundle of complete aggressiveness

East Kent Ploughing Match

Last Wednesday was the annual East Kent Ploughing Match, which we were not able to support as much as usual this year. Nevertheless I spent an hour there with Mathew until he became bored, and we  enjoyed a Solley's Ice-cream (made with milk from his Dad's cows incidentally), and made these pictures, starting with this general view - not a good weather day unfortunately

The demonstration steam ploughing as usual earned lots of interest - super machines

I love the steam effects, too

Then there's the vintage section - the tractor not the driver!! For more vintage tractors, have a look at,%20Ickham.htm

This old David Brown was being driven by a Sheila!! Strewth, what next - and the furrows were dead straight, too, of course!!

And there was plenty of modern super-power, too

Do you like the old and new angle - arty, eh!

Horse ploughing was a big attraction, too, super super animals, lovely to watch

More than anything else, though, it is a wonderful place to people-watch - one of my favourite pass-times

And it's also a chance for children to get close to farming, to my mind one of the most important aspects of the show, which is always well attended by local schools

I also like the day because it is unashamedly a place for the agricultural community to get together, to do some business , and have a good old gossip, with no frills or fashionable "country" posing.