Sunday, 27 September 2015

Empidonax excitement, phalarope, and Welsh miracle

Suffice to say a chaotic week. Following the rugby piggery of last weekend I had a days leave on Monday enabling me to catch up with the Grey Phalarope in the Cuckmere in pouring rain. As always an enigmatic bird providing quality views.
All very nice but better was to follow on Tuesday with the news that Martin Casemore had found an Empidonax flycatcher by the fishing boats at Dungeness, and I had a meeting that I could not dodge at 1 o'clock and no optics (again)! Pegged it out to Dunge in the pouring rain to find that the flycatcher had disappearred, pegged it back to work for my meeting, before pegging it back to Dunge on the news that JE had relocated it in Dave Bunneys' garden. Eternal gratitude to DC who leant me his bins which enabled me to eventually get good views of the beast as it fed from various low level perches including Daves' garden bench and satellite dish. For what its worth, from looking at the pictures and the North American ringing guide, in my opinion the bird was clearly an Acadian Flycatcher. The yellowish underparts and olive green upperparts, with yellowish fringes to the secondaries pointed towards Acadian, Yellow-bellied, or Western. The broad bill, pointed crown, bulky appearrance, and broad tail all point towards Acadian, however the wing formula with P5 (American P6) appearring longer than P1 (American P10), and the absence of an emargination on P5 (P6) are clear indicators of the birds identity.
Elsewhere Henry had a Great White Egret on Horse-eye on the 20th which is reportedly still present today (27th).
Rugby piggery has continued this weekend with a trip to the cabbage patch for the massive encounter with the Welsh. Unbelievable atmosphere, great 60-70 minutes from the men in white, ultimate respect for the level of commitment from the taffs and a quality try in the last ten. I genuinely thought we would be the stronger fitter side at the end of the game, sadly not the case... Finally a word for the man from Cowboy town (he was actually from New Jersey) I was sat next too, what a great trip - I thought I was a rugby pig but this chap has flown over from the States, and been to matches on every day (two matches on one) and was heading up to Leeds straight after the final whistle! When he flies back after the quarters he will have seen every side except Uruguay and Canada. RESPECT!

Monday, 21 September 2015

If Carlsberg made Rugby World Cups...

Embarrassing Dad
"Come on you Brave Blossoms"
This weekend I have mostly been a rugby pig - nothing else to report other than a single L-album Wainscot on the night of the 17th

New friends on Wembley Way - "Come on Argentina"


The Haka

Dan Carter #legend - waiting to clear

James - No explanation required

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The lull before the (autumn) storms and National Moth night

A few weeks have passed since my last post and, while not lacking interest, they have generally been fairly quiet. Birding on the levels in the autumn generally involves more in the way of hedgerow activity than waterbirds and so it has proved recently. Sunday (13th) was WEBS day and true waterbirds on Down consisted only 10 Mute Swan, 8 Mallard, 4 Moorhen, and singles of Coot and Moorhen. Thankfully there was plenty of hedgerow activity with the best being an immature Redstart flycatching from Hawthorns near Rickney, along with 7 Lesser Whitethroat, numerous Blackcap and Whitethroat, flyover Siskin, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, and 2 Cettis' Warbler. A single Hobby was also seen on the 13th to go with the 2 seen on the 6th. The 6th was a good day for raptors with 6 Buzzard, a Red Kite, and a female Marsh Harrier all seen from White Dyke. Garden bird highlights have consisted of a single Swift on the 29th of August and the occassional flyover Siskin as I have been emptying the moth trap.
Somewhat fittingly national moth night on the 11th produced my best macro catch of the year with 131 moths, it was just a shame that 90 of them were Large Yellow Underwings! Still I really shouldn't grumble as the run of good immigrants continued with what appears to have been a Vestal event overnight on the 29th August! I have only ever trapped Vestal once prior to the 29th when 2 graced my trap, and this was followed by another 2 on the night of the 31st at least one of which was new (being a male, above right, whereas both trapped on the 29th were females, one of which is above left). Vestals seem to have been caught widely along the coast from the 29th according to Dave Walker at DBO with a number caught at Dungeness the same night one of which I saw along with a Convulvulous Hawkmoth and a real rarity in the form of Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket during a flying visit on the 30th.

Meanwhile the garden has been bumping up the pan list no end especially on the 30th August with a new genus for me in the form of barkflies and specifically Valenzuela flavidis, along with the fly Rhingia rostrata, hoverflies Syrphus ribesi (pictured below) and Helophilus pendulus, the beetle Polydrosus cervinus (pictured below), and a 5th instar Palomina prasina (Green Shield bug). Adalia decempunctata (10-spot Ladybird) (pictured left) was seen on the 5th along with Cepaea hortensis (White-lipped snail). Finally although not in the garden Pentatoma rufipes (Red-legged Shield-bug) was new to me on the patch with a single on White Dyke on the 5th (pictured below). Keep the faith.