Saturday, 25 June 2016

Not the Right Weather

Saturday June 25

The day started with our best overnight moth catch of the year. 83 macros of 35 species - and many - as yet unidentified - Micros. 
For me, the best was this breathtaking Gold Spot in pristine condition, photographs don't do it justice.

Amongst the others were:
Pale Prominent 

Privet Hawk-moth

Small Blood-vein

Silver Y - another pristine example amd a migrant too.

The hot sunshine encouraged us to visit Hickling NWT reserve - the dark clouds appeared as we drove !
This reserve seems to have a rota of officious volunteer helpers. Our permits were closely scrutinised, then questioned as there was only one (they  were back to back in the case), npot having a year date, just April - our fault? I don't think so. I was not happy when I departed - most ungracious reception and typical of this reserve. A young warden stood beside her, gave us permission to drive to Whiteslea Lodge and tried to gently point her in the polite direction. She needed a bulldozer. 
The rain started, not heavy but persistent, with large drops. We sat in the car listening to Garden Warbler, Blackcap and  Willow Warbler, seeing the most Swallows of the year skimming the car park and reeds. 
The drops lessened and we walked directly to the aptly named Bittern Hide, Pam swishing her butterfly net in the verge-side vegetation. Only catching flies and one Damselfly. The Bittern boomed as we approached the hide and did so several times during the hour we spent in the hide. We did have a flight view after half an hour. Sharp-eyed Pam spotted these caterpillars on the way in. Peacock Butterflies in waiting I believe.

We saw at least six different Marsh Harriers, none close enough to photograph,  a female Black-tailed Skimmer, a Blue-tailed Damselfly and two pairs of Bearded Reedlings. Enough to keep us going but very slow under a black sky.
On the return journey, Pam saw this hairy beast, a Garden Tiger caterpillar, very shy, it kept curling up and dropping to the bottom of the vegetation. 

Yes !! Wales beat Northern Ireland and are through to the last eight of the European Championships.Not a good football match, too cagy but, a win.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Mothing at Strumpshaw

Wednesday June 22

David N has taken over the task of organising Moth group field trips this year. We missed the first outing to Strumpshaw RSPB as we were in Scotland. To-day's started late for us as I had a dental appointment in Stalham at 9.00, we missed the first half an hour. Anything 'good' would have been kept for us, a possible Gold Swift was the only candidate - and it wasn't one.
The Strumpshaw warden is a moth trapper, Ben ?, this session was especially for us, there are other organised sessions which have an entry fee. He put a collection box out to-day.
It was a good catch but with nothing untoward for us. 
Later the plan was to try and lure some Red-tipped Clearwings, day flying moths,  using pheromones, which David had ready. Pam and I hadn't quite reached the area of bramble on the left after the trail to Fen Hide, too busy looking at insects, when David called to say he'd found one. No pheromones needed. Lovely little things and a scarcity. These photos were taken with my Canon bridge camera.

The return journey was even slower as we kept finding things. Bees, Beetles, Spiders, a Common Lizard

a Large Skipper

and a small mouse which Pam managed to photograph, I didn't.
A strange call from above, alerted Pam, Andy and I  to a displaying Marsh Harrier. It sounded like a Lapwing chick. He circled, dipped and mini dived for ages, uttering this wimpy cry all the while. We met Ben in the car park who then told us that the bird had been displaying, to no avail, for the last five weeks. Either a young bird or one who'd arrived late at the reserve. One female had taken an interest but he'd chased it off. Idiot.
Andy D departed, we ate lunch whilst watching a Norfolk Chaser dragonfly patrolling the overflow car park. Lucky we did. Andy screeched back in - a Micro moth he and Steve had long wanted to see had been netted by Steve and brought back to the Centre.
It was a little beauty. A strathmopoda pedella whch we all photographed in the pot. 

What a lovely day and a very successful one too. We have another session booked for the end of July. Holme next Wednesday.
There were still a few past their best Bee Orchid spikes in the Centre area, no sun for the Swallowtails we were hoping for.


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Mothing at Holme

Wednesday June 8

Last Wednesday's cancelled meet due to bad weather, re-arranged for to-day at Holme NOA. Sophie wasn't there, Steve was warden for the day. Inland was warm and sunshine, the coast under a thick layer of haar. JG had to borrow an extra layer from M. 
Two traps to be opened , a Robinson and one permanent home-made one near the obs which I christened a Heath Robinson. 
A very enjoyable morning, eight regulars with the addition of DH and partner - invited by JG. - and some very nice moths.
Our first Cinnabar of the year.

Two Small Elephant Hawk-moths - we don't get these at home.

 The following were all new for us.

Sand Dart

Grass Rivulet -John G's photo

Small Waved Umber

It escaped the eggbox before anyone could see it. It was seen flying pretty high onto a trunk and Pam found it, using her binoculars. This photo is greatly cropped from a bridge camera zoomed lens.

 Sharp-angled Peacock

 Yellow Belle - this a beautiful day flyer found in the grass at the Obs by DN. It flew into a tree, I held a branch back so everyone could photograph it. When it was my turn, I had my camera poised when 'helpful' and very contrite MH moved another branch and it flew away. Pam has a photo which I will post later.
Several new micros too, I should be getting a list from Andrew. 
After refreshments, we met the P's in the car park who, like us were off to find the Man Orchid clump in the dunes to the west of the NNT Centre.
Two Orchids in partial bloom, photography not helped by the rusty metal frame protecting the clump. This is the better of the two spikes. 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

More Fog

Saturday June 4

It's getting ridiculous. Moth-ing leaves us with long weekends only to do a day's birding. This week, we had to be in for the stonemason on Monday and out to lunch with A on Friday. Next week has four days moth-ing already booked. We'll probably do some birding after moths at Holme on Weds and after moth at Foxley Woods on Saturday. Not sure about Moth Night at Natural Surroundings on the Sunday yet. It is enjoyable if time consuming.
Saturday was forecast to be dry and sunny. The fog waited until mid afternoon when the sun broke through for us. That, plus the lowest of low tides at Snettisham, finishing at 4.30 after a 10 a.m start (moths) did not make for a big June list.
I love Brown Hares, we saw many to-day, all too far away to photograph. I couldn't resist this well hidden chap.

The highlights were two Grey Wagtails very actively food collecting at Sculthorpe Mill. The eggs must have hatched.

The first Yellow Horned Poppies at Snettisham

An orchid we haven't yet identified at Holme and 

A Red Kite in the Gun Hill area was a through the car sunroof sighting.

Our first Green Woodpecker sighting of the year was of a youngster on the lawn across the road. We have heard them in the area and often have young on our lawn, not this year yet