Sunday, 16 October 2011

weekend round-up

First of all the full moon this week came up big and bold, the Hunter's Moon I'm told, whatever, it reduced the numbers of moths in flight for a few nights!

On Wednesday we went into darkest Sussex, and enjoyed a walk through the Forewood, during which we saw few birds, but the beginning of autumn colour was good, and it was a beautiful day, a pleasure just to be out

Some colour too at Wanstone, lots amd lots of winter thrush food

And so, right on cue, the fitst Fieldfares were coming in on Friday morning

This morning it seemed as though the world was about to end, rather than day break!
  Enjoyed some dramatic cloud photos

And a single late Wheatear above Fan Bay

  A nice balloon flight for someone, and an advert for Shepherd Neame

And finally, this chap has been posing on our chimney top for several days now, my goodness he certainly thinks he is the bee's rollerskates - come and get me, girls!!

No apology for these pics, he's a handsome chap isn't he - if Starlings were rare we'd travel a long way to see one, and it reminds us in a delightful way not to take common birds for granted

Monday, 10 October 2011

Wot - no pictures - oh, all right then

Went out Saturday morning for a look-see what's about, immediately upon setting out from the car all the woodpigeons on the stubble lifted off, accompanied by some corvids, 3 of which started to give a larger bird of prey a dusting. As I watched it became clear the bop was a ringtail Hen Harrier and 2 of the corvide were Ravens, a spectacular sight
In the valley I found John Clements attending to his nets, and remembered as he put a ring on a very noisy Great Spotted Woodpecker that I had forgotten to take my camera
As he worked and I watched a Firecrest came by, skilfully avoiding his nets, a beautiful little bird, followed shortly afterwards by a Merlin over the sycamore wood chasing House Martins at high speed. Then there was one of my favourite autumn sights, Swallows and Redwings in the air together. And as I returned to my car there were 3 Wheatear and a flock of some 50 or so Skylarks on the stubble to enjoy - a good couple of hours I reckon

Couldn't blog without any pics after all, so here's a reminder of why the birds fly south, and of what's to come again, apparently due to extra ultra-violent light!!

PS - if anyone knows how to set the clock on this blog business I'd be pleased to know, I uploaded it at 20.42 and it says I did so at 12.42!!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Autumn and all that jazz

First of all, thanks to Tony Morris for kindly allowing me to pinch this picture of a Pale Tussock moth from his Flickr collection. On 22nd, 25th and 30th May this year there were singletons of this species in my moth trap, but for some reason I didn't photo them. The story now continues...

This thing appeared on the side of the compost heap on Friday afternoon, and a quick check in Chinery identified it as a Pale Tussock caterpillar, which we assume was looking for somewhere to pupate
Spectacular and beautiful, isn't it?

Lately in my trap have been these autumn species, first an L Album Wainscot, possibly a migrant, possibly not, maybe you can make out the white "L" in it's wing
 Dark Sword Grass next, not common in my garden, and impossible to see on a dead branch or in the frass under the hedge - well, it should have been, but as Tony pointed out, this is a Blair's Shoulder Knot, one of 3 this autumn, and a new one for me. As for the Sword Grass, the pic is in a folder on my computer somewhere, but I can't find it!!

Difficult to get more autumnal than this Autumnal Rustic, I reckon

This one is a Brick, presumably the colour leads to it's name 

This one is a Large Wainscot, about an inch long, and therefore large by wainscot standards

And now to day fliers, like thisSiver Y, which was one of two in the trap this morning

Later in the afternoon, as the sun was getting low in the sky, this Hummingbird Hawkmoth appeared at the Verbena bodensae flowers as we all sat at dinner  - there has been one around all the last week

Still on the subject of Autumn, finches are beginning to dominate the species being caught in the mist nets, and flying up the South Foreland Valley. Redpoll, like this one, Siskin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, and even 3 Crossbill this morning, and a possible single Woodlark

Later, about half-past One, an Osprey appeared from the South (must have flown directly over Tony Morris' garden!) and went purposefully off towards Ringwold, not all that high up either - sorry Tony