Friday, 26 September 2008


The sunny start to the morning and near calm conditions, made it a very pleasant autumnal Thursday 25th at the country park. There was a light passage of birds but strangely they were heading into the direction of the light breeze, which was north-easterly.

A group of a dozen swallows passed over the park, a mixed group of thrushes with 8 local mistle thrushes homing in on the rowan tree berries in the car park, also three newly arrived continental song thrushes flying high overhead calling. The plaintive calls of 10 siskins were heard as they trickled north-eastwards in ones and twos. Three lesser redpoll were also heard heading in the same direction over the park during the morning.

The various bushes and trees around the car park were popular with the local mixed tit flock which included 3 chiffchaffs, blackcap and a handful of goldcrests. These tiny "crests" were hard to spot amongst the thick foliage on the trees but they did call persistently to each other, so you had a rough idea where they were.

A sparrowhawk hunted low along a field hedge with a couple of carrion crows chasing it. Two kestrels headed towards the grazing fields and the seawall for some morning hunting for food.
On the fields there was a roosting group of 75 curlew, waiting for the tide to recede.

At the park pond, a little egret perched high on a willow tree, while below 2 wigeon and 5 teal joined the larger group of mallard.

The warm weather brought out a few butterflies such as comma, red admiral, speckled wood, small heath and small white. Southern hawker and common darter were the dragonflies noted.

The moth trap operated throughout Wednesday night into Thursday morning which was the first opportunity for two weeks. A few more different species were found including this interestingly marked buff arches pictured above. It's a common moth in early summer when most are seen, whereas this individual will be from the second generation this year.

About 70 moths of 20 species were noted including lunar underwing, sallow, dusky lemon sallow, frosted orange, rosy rustic, feathered ranunculus, common marbled carpet, spruce carpet, L-album wainscot, white-point, deep-brown dart, mallow, brindled green and burnished brass.

This neatly marked Silver-Y moth will probably be the last one of the summer. Like a lot of migrant moths, it has not been as numerous this summer as in previous years. Close up the silver-Y has a wonderful contrast of various shades of brown from chestnut through to pale grey-brown.

Up to 15 black rustics were found in the morning, some inside the trap, while others were trying to hide in the nearby grass. The jet black velvet appearance makes it a very striking moth, when seen alongside the more regular brown coloured moth species.

Another very autumnal looking moth is this barred sallow pictured above, a regularly recorded moth in previous Septembers here at the country park.

Martin Cock had good views at Coopers Beach on Tuesday of a male hen harrier that came in off the sea and hunted over the grass fields. Also seen were 3 of the first brent geese to arrive from Siberia for the winter, a grey wagtail, kingfisher and wheatear noted here too.

No comments: