Sunday, 30 March 2014

All quiet

The first double number moth count of the spring for home last night with 6 Common Quaker and a single Hebrew Character in addition to the Clouded Drab, Light brown Apple moth, and Double-striped Pug pictured above.
The levels have been quiet on the migratory front this weekend and I am still waiting for my first "proper" spring migrants.  At least there were a few bits and bobs about duck wise with 14 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, 6 Teal, and a single drake Wigeon on Down and Horse-eye.  Bird of the week-end was a single Grey Plover flying over Down Level on Saturday.  On the resident front the Little Owls were watched courtship feeding and two pairs of Stock Dove were sowing the seeds...

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Collective nouns

I am uncertain as to the collective noun for Shelduck so googled it this afternoon to discover possibles such as "doading" or "dopping".  Unfortunately I am given to understand that these may also be urban slang for various unpleasantness so I think I shall stick to "flock" or "group".  This group of ten were on Down Level this morning along with 6 Little Egret and the other usual suspects.  In fact this morning was generally very quiet with the only indication of any migratory activity being several singing Chiffchaff around the levels and 2 Grey Wagtail at the sluice on Cooden Beach.  Raptors were also noticeably absent apart from Buzzards at Down and Hankham Levels and a Peregrine over Sluice Lane.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Dotted Chestnut

Decided to run the moth trap on the spur of the moment last night and, despite the drop in temperature, I was glad I did, since this morning I had a new moth for the garden in the form of Dotted Chestnut.  The picture on the left was taken in warm morning light.  Dotted Chestnut is listed in Waring with a status of nationally scarce b.  Also in the trap was a solitary Early Grey (pictured below) and a couple of Common Quaker.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Another Sunday in March

Webs count day again - Huzzah!
Yet again grim on the duck front with just a handful of quackage knocking around, the highlight of the morning being the Red Kite which was scouting the sheep-fields of Horse-eye & Down first thing before drifting off towards Rickney.  Apart from that it really was pretty much bulk standard with a really tatmungus Marsh Harrier, 2 pairs of Shelduck, a pair of Tufted Duck, a pair of Gadwall, and the pair of Stockies the only birds of any note along with a singing Chiff-chaff near Rickney.
On the moth front it was also exceptionally ordinary with only 3 Common Quaker and 3 Hebrew Character in the Skinner this morning.   
The Clouded Drab above was trapped at Paul Chapman's house in Clevedon on Thursday night. Bizzarely it is a species I don't get at all often in the garden so to see half a dozen or so made a change.  It was great to get away to the Cheltenham festival for a couple of days with good friends, although the less said about the punting the better...

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Pond life

An early afternoon visit to Batemans' near Burwash was made more enjoyable by a spot of pond watching.  I believe the Water Boatman is Notonecta glauca and the water snail to be Lymnaea Stagnalis.  Also Peacock butterfly on the wing, Nuthatch, Grey Wagtail, and Common Buzzard. Nearby my first Brimstone of the year was seen driving through Heathfield with another 2 seen elsewhere.

And so it begins...

The best week of the year that is, Cheltenham week, oh and spring has arrived as well it appears. With the warm weather we are currently experiencing (the same week last year was bitterly cold with heavy overnight frosts and occassional snow) I decided it was about time to dust off the moth trap.  Unfortunately the bright moon countered my 50 watt actinic sufficiently to restrict the nights catch to 2 Common Quaker and a single Double-striped Pug.  Still at least we are off the mark for the year.
Out on the levels then in glorious early morning sunshine in the hope of an early migrant or two. No luck on that front, however the levels rarely disappoint and so it was this morning with a good selection of resident on show.  At least 10 Little Egret were scattered around including 8 on Down Level.  These are one of my favourite birds - it is difficult to believe that when I started birding they were a BBRC bird, and I remember my first at Titchfield Haven vividly as it involved a 2 hour wait!
Moving on to White Dyke a flock of 6 Reed Bunting flew over along with 5 Meadow Pipit and 2 alba wags. Duck continue to be scarce with 7 Wigeon on Horse-eye, and the resident Shelduck pair on Spoonbill scrape along with a pair of Gadwall, pair of Shoveler, and a single drake Teal. A cream cap Hen Harrier circled over Down Level and a single Buzzard was perched on a gate post near Downash. On the wader front one or two Redshank were back and 4 Dunlin were in the fields behind Spoonbill scrape. A female Sparrowhawk flew from Horse-eye towards Downash and 4 Tree Sparrow were seen near White Dyke.
Bird of the morning though was one of the resident Peregrine on a Black-headed Gull kill near White Dyke.  I was able to watch this bird at close quarters for an hour or so as it dismantled its prey (its at times like this I wish I had a better camera than my bridge but then again if I did I would probably moan about having to carry it around) and enjoyed cracking views thanks to the cover of the reeds behind me, this is a novelty on the levels since usually stuff sees you coming!