Thursday, 27 April 2017

Moths: Toadflax Brocade

A nice and welcomed visitor to the Synergetic trap over the weekend was a Toadflax Brocade.

Once a rare moth restricted to Dunge it is now rapidly expanding, its now in Essex and i get a few records a year at the moment however you only have to go a little further north in the County and there not to be found yet but other parts of the country are slowly being colonized.

Only two years ago, the first for Wales was trapped by Mel Oxford.





Sunday, 23 April 2017

Wheatear - Aveley Bay

I'm still getting used to the camera and finding it very enjoyable and frustrating at the same time. I'm keeping it in manual mode at all times, just so i can learn more about the exposure triangle. It does help, I've learnt more since having this one than any other time with a point and shot or my bridge camera.

A Wheatear from the bay from last weekend. I suppose it's personal preference but it was mentioned to me to look at a vertical crop rather than my original horizontal. Both added below



Friday, 14 April 2017

Moths - MV & Actinics

The two traps were out last night, we seem to have hit that lul period between the Quakers and the Prominents, however so new for the year moths were pulled in by both light sets.

The MV caught 14 moths covering 8 species; NFY here were Oak-tree Pug (2) and Seraphim (1).
The Actinic caught 9 moths covering 7 species; NFY here was a single Shuttle-shaped Dart.

Seraphim

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Vange.....

I got to the office on Monday and after telling a couple of guys i had been to Vange on Sunday they answered "Vange, wtf'ing hell did you go there for".

The answer was Two Black-winged stilts and Adder that went for my foot as i nearly trod on it and a very polite attempted mugging.

With beautiful weather i headed off to Bowers Marsh - nothing there. So i went to Vange.

With a handful of Gypo's at the site racing motor bikes, generally beering it up it made for an altogether peaceful birding experience.

I had Heath with me and as we wandered down towards the Stilts we heard a hiss, looking down an Adder struck out for my right foot; it was close but didn't connect. I don't think it would have made it through my leather boots any how. It slithered off into the longer grass leaving Heath aghast that he had just seen his first wild snake and that it had just gone for us. Cracking experience, although i suppose could have been different if it had gone for him and gone through his canvas shoes.

The Stilts were showing very well with binoculars, no scope needed.

On the return journey a different kind of snake decided he wanted my camera. After a few words we departed, camera firmly on my shoulder. I'm seeing him next Tuesday apparently.......

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Monday, 13 February 2017

Goshawks & Willow Tits

So yesterday i headed out with Dave Darrell-Lambert, Adrian Webb & David Campbell. Dave had answered my request in finding me Goshawks and Willow Ticks for the list.

We headed to Surrey to pick up David and then ventured on to Combe Wood in Berkshire to what seems like a last surviving area for the Willow Tit down south. What a place! I loved it here and will certainly try for another visit - hopefully the Willow Tits will still be around.

A leisurely stroll up hill surrounded by an amazing view. The first thing of note was the kronk of a Raven. Not to be seen at this moment but it was close. On a little further and we were treated to superb eye view Red Kites in the adjacent field. Then they were there......from each direction Ravens. We counted 10 but they were mobile in and out of the woodland and behind out of view this figure could easily be more.

Slowly we made our way towards the woodland when we heard a Bullfinch,  we looked and find it along with numerous others; from this point on wards they were everywhere it seemed; well probably not everywhere but easily double figures. We left Adrian and his lens and headed further down.

Within a couple of minutes we had a call from Adrian; he had heard then seen briefly a Willow Tit. We rushed back up the hill; well rushed as fast as you can carrying scopes cameras, sound recording equipment through sticky mud. The Willow Tit had headed into a small area of trees. We followed in slowly moving forward. We all heard the little space ray gun when it went off and gladly i managed to get in on one bird, whilst David was on another. Tick Tick Boom.

We headed now to the wood itself, numerous Goldcrests, Coal Tits and a stunning Tawney Owl which silently flew from a nearby tree into the unseen.

Finally before the return walk more Willow Tits, even three in one binocular view. Probably 6 birds in total;



Courtesy of David Darrell-Lambert




























So from here we headed south for the New Forrest and Acres Down. After parking up we headed to the top of the hill and made our stand for Goshawk. It wasn't looking great, it was dull and cold. We waited for a while and then decided to make a move; it was then we noticed a flock of Hawfinch. We headed over and in total throughout the afternoon saw 28+ birds.

Shortly after a female Goshawk flew across the vista from left to right. The Hawfinches spent the rest of the afternoon flying about calling providing good viewing as they went. Numerous other birds included Redpoll, Greenfinch, Siskin, Raven & 4 Crossbill made the afternoon. SO the Goshawk was lifer number 2 Tick Tick Boom.


Dave Darrell-Lambert





Saturday, 4 February 2017

Harrow Lodge Park

So with the girls at dancing i headed to Harrow Lodge for the Waxwings, strangely i parked up and didn't even bother. I decided to head to the main lake and use the camera for the first time on Manual Mode. All the usual suspects to be found.








Sunday, 29 January 2017

Pine Bunting - Murston, Kent

Tick number 4 of 2017 came in the form of a Pine Bunting.......

So when is a Sat Nav of no use on a twitch? Well, as it turns out today. Apparently a Sat Nav needs its owner (that would be me on this occasion) to put the correct post code in. Apparently if the said owner does not put the correct post code in you can find yourself about 25 minutes in the wrong direction (assuming the postal codes entered and what should have been entered were the one I USED.

OK, so that should be it shouldn't it where these little gadgets are concerned. NOT SO. Now if your passenger then provides a new postal code surely this one then takes you where you ideally wanted to go? Of course not. Yes we were closer but we still didn't have a cigar. We were down a dead end in the middle of an industrial estate.

Finally, we hit gold with the correct one and ended up on site. A brief walk from the car and we were on the sea wall looking back towards the small pond with the shooting hides nearby.

The Pine Bunting had not been seen for over 6 hours - - - 6 Hours, OH HELL, just what you want to hear; not another dip surely? Within thirty seconds of setting my scope up with water still in my eyes, i had it sitting on the fence wire right in front of the brambles it was frequenting. Oh hold on that's a Reed Bunting.....erherm, lets move on.

Yellowhammer x2, Greenfinch x4, more Reed Buntings and Dunnocks frequented the area. Then sitting on top for about two minutes one Pine Bunting. TICK TICK BOOM.

It was gone, was that all we were to get? NO, it then appeared up top of the same bramble twice more and although scope views  - they were all good. 

It had a head i assure you
Time to get the camera out, a couple of Turnstone were patrolling the sea wall behind us. Its getting easier but still not got anything yet i was hoping for with it. I know its me and not the camera - i'm not blaming my tools.

We decided as time was getting on to chance our arm at the Harty Ferry Lane raptor view point. Marsh Harrier's, Buzzard's,  a single Ring Tailed Hen Harrier and to finish the day a year-ticking Pheasant