3 September 2016

Red Admiral invasion at Staines Moor: 3 September

My first visit to the patch this afternoon since May. A few migrants noted. A trickle of hirundines heading south-southwest amounted to 51 House Martin, 24 Sand Martin and 51 Barn Swallow, and 1 Whinchat around the swamp and a Northern Wheatear along the Colne were probably bought down by the persistent rain from mid afternoon. 1-2 Hobby, 1-2 Common Buzzard (including nice views of 1 perched on a snag along Bonehead Ditch), 33 (1H) Linnet, 3 Kestrel (including 1m and 1f), 1 Skylark, 7+ Meadow Pipit and 1 Little Egret along the Colne were the best of the other birds noted. 2 imm. Mallard and an imm. Moorhen on the Colne are noteworthy as signs of successful breeding.

Highlight of the day came in the form of an incredible number of Red Admiral butterflies present on site. Despite the windy and overcast conditions and rain setting in from mid afternoon, I counted a minimum of 196 in the NW corner alone, most feeding on blackberries. Most looked very fresh so presumably these are broods from this year's migrants? At one point I took shelter from the wind and rain next to a hawthorn and 20+ shot out at once! I estimate there must have been at least double this number at Staines Moor today.

Other inverts noted on Staines Moor include 2 Small Heath, 3 Meadow Brown, 1 Comma, 2 Green-veined White, and 3 (2m, 1f) Banded Demoiselle. No grassland fungi fruiting yet - probably too dry.

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, Staines Moor, 3 September 2016 - 1 of at least 196 on site today

Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta, Staines Moor, 3 September 2016 - 8 feeding on blackberries in this pic (click to enlarge)

At home this morning, found a White Point Mythimna albipuncta in the house - a long overdue addition to the garden moth list.

White-point Mythimna albipuncta, Worcester Park, 3 September 2016 - an immigrant species found mainly in coastal counties in
south-east England but spreading northwards

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