31 August 2016

Still quiet for moths: 30/31 August

Still very quiet for moths at home in Worcester Park despite the weather remaining warm, humid and calm. Last night there was a southerly wind so I put the moth light on, but the temperature dropped rapidly. No immigrants but a few nice common species though:

1 Small Blood-vein Scopula imitaria
1 Old Lady Mormo maura - very worn
1 Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta
2 Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata
2 Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis
4 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriata - very worn
3 Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria
1 Bramble Shoot Moth Notocelia uddmanniana

Small Blood-vein Scopula imitaria, Worcester Park, 31 August 2016

Bramble Shoot Moth Notocelia uddmanniana, Worcester Park, 31 August 2016

30 August 2016

REGUA meet up at the London Wetland Centre: 29 August

Rachel and I met up with our good friends Nicholas and Raquel Locke of REGUA at the London Wetland Centre yesterday, to see how some of the wetland habitats and infrastructure created at this excellent reserve might be adapted for the REGUA wetland in Brazil.

This was the first time Nicholas and Raquel had been to the London Wetland Centre but in just a few hours we managed to sketch out several ideas for REGUA, including a new air-conditioned viewing tower, a new hide, boardwalks, islands with muddy edges for rails and waders, new reedbeds and maybe even creating some wet grassland at REGUA.

We also managed to squeeze in a little birding. Avian highlights were 1 Hobby hunting over the Grazing Marsh, 2 Common Sandpiper on the Wader Scrape, several Sand Martin, and good numbers of Common Teal, Northern Shoveler and Northern Lapwing. A fantastic female Wasp Spider near the Peacock Tower was my first ever sighting of this Continental species - first recorded in England in the 1920’s and spreading across southern England.

Female Wasp Spider Argiope bruennichi, London Wetland Centre, 29 August 2016

Got home late evening after a four hour meal, where we were joined by another good friend Andrew Proudfoot, to find a superb Vestal Rhodometra sacraria in the living room (photographed this afternoon) - fantastic!

The Vestal Rhodometra sacraria, Worcester Park, 30 August 2016 - the first record for the garden of this immigrant species

26 August 2016

Late summer moths at home: 25/26 August

With warm temperatures and high humidity over the last few days I decided to put the moth light on at home last night. Had some good species but overall things were quiet:

1m Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea - the first record for the garden. Males are strong fliers and so this could be either an immigrant or originate from the introduced population around west London. According to the Forestry Commission website, adult moths are not required to be reported. The caterpillars have tiny hairs that can cause skin and eye irritations, sore throats and breathing difficulties in humans and animals. In Britain it is illegal to knowingly keep, store or sell this species.
1 Waved Black Parascotia fuliginaria
1 July Highflyer Hydriomena furcata
4 Silver Y Autographa gamma (including 1 in the garden today)
1 Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria
1 Dun-bar Cosmia trapezina
1 Marbled Beauty Bryophila domestica
1 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba
1 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe
2m Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria
2 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata
2 Small Dusty Wave Idaea seriata
1 Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis
1 Gold Triangle Hypsopygia costalis
1 Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata
10 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana
1 Ruddy Streak Tachystola acroxantha
1 Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella
1 Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla
1 Brown House-moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella
Several Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella

Male Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea, 26 August 2016

A worn Waved Black Parascotia fuliginaria, 26 August 2016 - a Nationally Scarce B species with adults flying between June and August

July Highflyer Hydriomena furcata, 26 August 2016 - adults fly from July to August

Marbled Beauty Bryophila domestica, 26 August 2015

Weather conditions for immigrant moths are looking good over the next few days, with high pressure systems over western continental Europe bringing south-easterly winds on Saturday. Might be worth another mothing session.

22 August 2016

REGUA's tenth Birdfair: 19-21 August

Birdfair 2016 was something of a milestone for REGUA as well as for Rachel and me personally, being our tenth Birdfair representing REGUA. To celebrate, Nicholas Locke (REGUA President) and Raquel Locke (REGUA Vice President) flew over from Brazil to join the UK REGUA team, for what proved to our most successful Birdfair to date.

REGUA's representation at the Birdfair began in 2007 when the World Land Trust kindly invited Rachel and I to use a single table on their stand. Back then hardly anybody had heard of REGUA and a certain tour company even told us "not to bother, everyone goes to Serra dos Tucanos". But there was a huge amount of interest in REGUA and this encouraged us to return the following year. After four years representing REGUA on the World Land Trust stand, Rachel and I were invited by Rick and Elis Simpson (now of Wader Quest), to share their stand in 2011, before running our first independent stand in 2012.

REGUA team 2016 - (from left) Alan Martin, Sue Healey, Lee Dingain, Rachel Walls, Raquel Locke and Nicholas Locke (Photo by
Edson Endrigo)

REGUA team 2007 - (from left) Rachel Walls, Lee Dingain and Martin Smart

The REGUA stand at the Birdfair over this period has been instrumental in REGUA becoming a well known birding and natural history destination. A large number of people have now visited REGUA (and REGUA and Serra dos Tucanos frequently recommend each other), including on tours run by many British and US bird tour companies who visit the reserve annually, and bed nights at the lodge have increased from just a couple of hundred in 2007 to over 1900 in 2015, generating much needed funds for conserving the Atlantic Forest of the Guapiaçu watershed.

Birdfair 2016 coincided with the end of the World Land Trust's Olympic Forest Reserve Appeal, to raise £40,000 to purchase 221 ha of primary Atlantic Forest (an extremely rare habitat with only around 2% remaining) in the upper Guapiaçu valley. Emotions were high late afternoon on Saturday at the World Land Trust stand when Debbie Pain, the CEO of the World Land Trust, announced that a fantastic £45,000 has been raised! A huge thank you to the World Land Trust and everybody who donated.

Other personal highlights include the two talks given by Nicholas to packed houses, seeing many old friends and past visitors to REGUA (far too many to name here), meeting lots of new friends, some new writing commissions, a productive meeting about an exciting project with the Neotropical Bird Club, catching up with the Wader Quest team, and an excellent talk by ex-fellow London birder Mark Pearson about migration at Filey Bird Observatory.

Running a stand for REGUA at the Birdfair each year takes a lot of preparation and hard work over many weeks before the event, not only from me but also from Rachel Walls (who organises everything) and Sue Healey. I'll admit that at times I do get very tired of it, but seeing the progress we've made in promoting REGUA over the last ten years makes it all worthwhile, not only for the help this provides with preserving the Atlantic Forest of the Guapiaçu watershed, but also for all the people we've met and memories made. I'm already looking forward to Birdfair 2017.