19 September 2014

More Whinchats at the patch

On Staines Moor today; another 3 Whinchat flycatching in the NW corner (its been an excellent autumn for Whinchat - see below), 3 Stonechat in the NW corner, 5 Yellow Wagtail by the Colne around the cattle, 1 Sedge Warbler along the Colne, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Common Snipe on the east pool, 2 Little Grebe on the Colne (first of the winter), 1 Cetti's Warbler seen briefly in the NE corner along Bonehead Ditch, 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk. 2+ Kestrel, 1 Reed Bunting. Overhead: c20 Eurasian Wigeon E, 3 Barn Swallow, 1+ Common Buzzard N and 1 Pied Wagtail NW. Lots of mating pairs of Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum ovipositing, and a male Common Blue Polyommatus icarus also noted.

Stanwell Moor produced 1 Reed Warbler, 2+ Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 5+(1H) Chiffchaff and 1 Goldcrest in a tit flock.

Autumn 2014 has seen large numbers of Whinchat passing through both coastal and inland sites (yes, even in Surrey!). On 6
September Rob Innes had 11 on Staines Moor, equalling the highest site count of 11 on 10 September 2002, and an amazing
 14 were reported at Richmond Park, Surrey on 1 September.
(BirdTrack: http://blx1.bto.org/bt-dailyresults/results/s354-20-14.html (Accessed 19 September 2014))

17 September 2014

Still too cold for moths

Continuing low night-time temperatures and moonlit nights have kept moth numbers and diversity low at the light. Highlights from the last couple of weeks have been:

Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa - 1 on 11/12 September
Orange Sallow Xanthia citrago - 1 on 10/11 September
Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa - 1 on 4/5 September
Copper Underwing Amphipyra pyramidea - 1 on 10/11 September
Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata - 1 on 9 September
Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes - 1 on 11/12 September
Flounced Rustic Luperina testacea - 1 on 11/12 September
Meal Moth Pyralis farinalis - 1 on 11/12 September
Oak Hook-tip Watsonalla binaria - 3 on 4/5 September

Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa, 12 September

Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa, 5 September

Copper Underwing Amphipyra pyramidea, 11 September - the orange restricted to the rear of the underside of the inner hindwing is
apparently a reliable feature to separate from the very similar Svensson's Copper Underwing Amphipyra berbera

Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes, 12 September

Meal Moth Pyralis farinalis, 12 September

14 September 2014

More autumn migrants

With the north-easterlies continuing there was a little movement still in evidence at Staines Moor today (14 Sept). Migrants on the ground: 1 very showy 1st winter Spotted Flycatcher beside the Colne at the north end (associating with 2 Chiffchaff), 3 Whinchat, 4 Stonechat, 1+ Willow Warbler, 1 Common Whitethroat, 2+ Blackcap, c7 Chiffchaff, 52+ Meadow Pipit (mainly in the NW corner), Overhead: 2 Yellow Wagtail S, 2 Common Snipe (1S, 1N), 1 Sand Martin, c30 Barn Swallow, 26 Eurasian Wigeon E, 7 Northern Shoveler E and 1 Common Buzzard S.

Also on Staines Moor: 1 Red-legged Partridge on the west side (my forth patch record), 1 Little Egret, 3 Kestrel (including a 1st yr male), 2 Eurasian Sparrowhawk (including a ringed 1st yr male), 1 Red Kite, 4 Reed Bunting, c13 Linnet and 1H Cetti's Warbler. Lots of Migrant Hawkers Aeshna mixta around, a few Banded Demoiselles Calopteryx splendens still, and lots of Tasteless Water-pepper Persicaria mitis in flower on the west side, along with some Redshank Persicaria maculosa (thanks to Rob Innes for the info).

On Stanwell Moor 1 Red Kite was noted.

Today's 1st winter Spotted Flycatcher - nowadays the Surrey patcher's RB Fly!

1st winter Spotted Flycatcher at the north end today

13 September 2014

Light autumn passage at the patch

Grounded migrants today (13 September): 3 Stonechat in the NW corner (first of the autumn), 9+ Yellow Wagtail around the cattle and horses, 1 Whinchat in the SE corner, 1 1st winter Northern Wheatear around the fence along the Colne, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap and 2H Chiffchaff.

Overhead: 26 Eurasian Wigeon E (and 5 W later), 14 Northern Shoveler E, 1 Common Snipe, 2+ Sand Martin, 4+ House Martin, 37 Barn Swallow (mainly lingering over the Colne), 2-3 (inc. 2S) Common Buzzard and 5 Skylark N.

Also noted: 1 Lesser Whitethroat still in the hawthorns in the NW corner (a local breeder I think), 1+ Hobby still, 4 Little Egret along the Colne, 1+ Kingfisher, 2 Grey Heron, 17+ Linnet, 2 Eurasian Sparrowhawk (inc. 1 immature), 2 Kestrel and c200 Eurasian Starling in the NW corner around the livestock. A few butterflies about - 4 Speckled Wood, 3 Green-veined White, and several Small Heath.

Stanwell Moor produced 1 Red Kite E, 1H Cetti's Warbler and another 4(3H) Chiffchaff.

26 Eurasian Wigeon heading east today

1st winter Northern Wheatear

1 September 2014

Moth numbers fall as temperature drops

A sharp drop in temperature over the last couple of weeks producing cool nights, along with clear skies and a bright moon, have resulted in some poor moth trapping sessions at home. Just a few immigrants noted and very small numbers common moths. Best of a very sparse bunch have been:

Old Lady Mormo maura - 1 on 24/25 August
Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum - 1 on 24/25 August
Silver Y Autographa gamma - 1 on 30 August
Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata - 1 on 24/25 August, 30/31 August, 1 on 31 August
Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla - 1 on 24 August
Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba - 1 on 28/29 August, 2 on 30/31 August
Flounced Rustic Luperina testacea - 1 on 30/31 August
Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa - 1 on 24/25 August, 1 on 28/29 August, 1 on 30 August
Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum - 1 on 28/29 August
Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria - 1 on 24/25 August, 1 on 30/31 August
Bird's-nest Moth Tinea trinotella - 1 on 28/29 August
Tachystola acroxantha - 1 on 27 August
Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella - 2 on 30/31 August
Also, several Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe, Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis and Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata.

Old Lady Mormo maura, 25 August

Bird's-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, 29 August. Really liking the English names being given to micros now

A beautifully patterned Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba, 29 August

Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa, 25 August - quite similar to the one below (for a change)

Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa, 29 August. Check out the huge variation shown by this species here.

25 August 2014

Washout at the patch

My first visit to the patch this morning for months turned out to be a complete washout, but it was great to have Rachel and good friends Andrew Proudfoot and Sam Woods along for soaking. 'Highlights' in the short period before the monsoon started and we were forced back home were 1 Hobby N, 6 Northern Lapwing SW, 3+ Barn Swallow over Stanwell Moor, and 1 Whinchat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Blackcap (all in the NW corner), 2 Eurasian Teal over, 1 Kestrel, c.60 Goldfinch, 3 Blackcap, a few Meadow Pipit and 1 Grey Heron at Staines Moor. The water level on the Colne is very high and the iris channels are also holding plenty of water - surprising for this time of year. On a negative side, it was depressing to find that the Himalayan Balsam Impatiens glandulifera is making rapid gains in its invasion of Stanwell Moor.

4 August 2014

Gypsy Moth

Bogged down at the moment building new websites for both REGUA and Beddington Farmlands. No time for birding or the patch, as I'm aiming to have the new REGUA website live before the Birdfair in two weeks. Rather a tall order, but I'm making good progress now and I'm learning a lot of new code.

Much cooler nights over the last few days have seen moth activity around the light very much reduced. The highlight was a male Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar on 2/3 August. No idea if this is an immigrant or locally introduced breeder, but a stunning moth all the same. Thanks to various people on Twitter for confirming the identification.

Male Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar, 3 August

Male Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar - immigrant or local breeder? The English race has been extinct since the early 1900s, but some
appear each year from the continent. However, since 1995 some larvae, probably accidentally introduced from the continent, have
been found in parts of London and the home counties, though apparently have not become established.

Also amongst the other species caught over the last few nights:
Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum - 1 on 31 July/1 August
Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria - 2 on 31 July/1 August, 1 on 1/2 August
Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae - 6 on 31 July/1 August
Lime-speck Pug Eupithecia centaureata - 1 on 31 July/1 August
Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla - 1 on 31 July/1 August
Small Rivulet Perizoma alchemillata - 1 on 2/3 August
The Lychnis Hadena bicruris - 1 on 2/3 August
Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana - 1 on 1/2 August
Lilac Leafminer/Privet Leafminer/Common Slender Gracillaria (Caloptilia) syringella - 1 on 2/3 August
Flame Carpet Xanthorhoe designata - 1 on 1/2 August
Marbled Beauty Cryphia domestica - 3 on 31 July/1 August, 1 on 1/2 August
Single-dotted Wave Idaea dimidiata - 1 on 31 July/1 August
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe - 2 on 31 July/1 August
Cherry Fruit Moth Argyresthia pruniella - 1 on 31 July/1 August and 1 on 2/3 August
Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis - 1 on 2/3 August 2014
Phlyctaenia coronata - 1 on 31 July/1 August
Blastobasis adustella - Quite common at the moment

Lime-speck Pug Eupithecia centaureata, 1 August

Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, 1 August

Lilac Leafminer/Privet Leafminer/Common Slender Gracillaria (Caloptilia) syringella, 3 August

Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana, 2 August

Flame Carpet Xanthorhoe designata, 2 August

The Lychnis Hadena bicruris, 3 August

Cherry Fruit Moth Argyresthia pruniella, 3 August. Presumably it was the larvae of these species that I found in some of the plums
I stoned for my other half the RAW Baker last month?

Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum, 1 August

Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis, 3 August. Mainly found in southern Britain, the larvae burrow into the bark of ash
(Fraxinus) trees and can kill the tree if present in large numbers.