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Sunday, 29 June 2014

A Night At Grimes Graves

Cream-spot Tiger
A change of tack today. The Norfolk Moth Group were hoping to set up several moth traps at Grimes Graves, in Thetford Forest, tonight. The majority of the day was making sure my own trap worked. By the time I headed off it was absolutely chucking it down. I had planned to walk around Lynford Arboretum first but I ended up just sitting in the car listening to Brazil v Chile on TalkSport.
I did have a damp Firecrest in the car park and several Crossbills overhead but little else.
I headed off to Grimes Graves for 8:30pm just as the rain gave up. There was quite a turn out with 12 people and 5 traps.
There were one or two birds to seen and heard. Both Tawny and Long-eared Owl were heard calling and two Nightjar seen.
By the time I left the site, at 1:30am, I had trapped over 80 species of moth with several still to be identified. Lots of Breckland specialities as expected. A huge number of Obilque-striped (17), Clouded Buff and Cream-spot Tiger and also a couple of new species for me such as Grass Emerald, Anania verbiscalis and Sophronia semicostella. A full list of species can be seen on the NMS website soon but here are some of the highlights.

Cream-spot Tiger, Grimes Graves, Norfolk
Anania verbiscalis, Golden Pearl, Grimes Graves, Norfolk
Reddish Light Arches, Grimes Graves, Norfolk
Grass Emerald, Grimes Graves, Norfolk
Pyrausta despicata, Straw-barred Pearl, Grimes Graves, Norfolk
Lime Hawk-moth, Grimes Graves, Norfolk
Sophronia semicostella, White-shouldered Sober, Grimes Graves, Norfolk
Clouded Magpie, Grimes Graves, Norfolk
Fox Moth, male, Grimes Graves, Norfolk

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Scotland Trip Part Deux...The Sequel!

Larry The Lapwing. This little bleeder took two bread rolls from my tent.
My apologies for the delay in writing this; one or two Wi-Fi problems to sort out.
My last day on North Uist. I had to be at the ferry for 11:30 so I packed up early and made a last visit to Aird an Runair. The two 2nd winter Glaucous gulls were still hanging about and there were a few Twite and Corn Buntings around the "car park".
2nd Winter Glaucous Gull, Aird an Runair
Corn Bunting, Aird an Runair

I couldn't spend long as I had a few places to visit before heading for the terminal. A quick good-bye to the Corncrake by the visitor centre at Balranald then a quick scan of the fields and Loch Nam Feitham gave a Curlew Sandpiper and Whooper Swans.
I headed to the Committee Road to catch views of the Hen Harriers. They did not disappoint, doing food passes no more than 100metres away. I also caught a glimpse of the local subspecies of Wren, T. t. hebridensis. This can be quite elusive at times. It's notable however, by its different song.
Wren, Troglodytes troglodytes hebridensis, Committee Rd, North Uist
I arrived at the ferry with time to spare. A few Arctic Terns were fishing in the new marina and two Red-throated Divers flew north. From the terminal I could see, to the South, the two mountains of Li a Tuath and Li' a Dea's. The ferry passes Li a Tuath on its way in and out of Lochmaddy and is famous for its White-tailed Eagles but none were visible today. However, there was a Golden Eagle over Li' a Dea's.
The birding from the ferry was slightly better than the inbound trip Feeding Arctic Terns, Kittiwakes Puffins, Razorbills and a few hundred Manx Shearwaters. Ceteceans were also present with a pod of 8 Bottlenose Dolphins and a few Pilot Whales.
Manx Shearwaters, Uig / Lochmaddy ferry.
Kittiwake, Uig / Lochmaddy ferry.
As the ferry passed North of the long finger of Waternish, Skye, we could see two White-tailed Eagles getting "cleaned out" by a hoard of Herring Gulls and Greater Black-backed Gulls. That was pretty much the birding done until I reached Northumberland. I just drove solidly for nearly 400 miles.
The next day I decided to catch up with some birds around my home town of Blyth. I headed to St Marys Island but I could hardly move there were that many people. I went to Rising Sun Country Park near Wallsend (I will always call it Swallow Pond!) I had a walk around to the "hides" and there was a surprising number of birds present including Pochard, Tufted Duck, Dabchick and a drake Garganey. There were also a number of these beauties.

 Black-necked Grebe, Northumberland
Homeward bound, there was one last stop to make at Nosterfield, North Yorks. A nice little reserve with good numbers of Avocet and Little Ringed Plover but the star of the show here was the immaculate, if tiny, Broad-billed Sandpiper. What a finish.