Sunday, 30 August 2009

Right Moth, Wrong Place?

After finding very few moths and none that were out of the ordinary in my moth traps this morning I was pleased to see a large bird of prey high over the garden as I finished. It turned out to be a Marsh Harrier, the first I've identified from the garden. I sent Peter Wells a text, in case he was in his garden. Later I received a text from Peter Wells, on a different subject.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Agrius convolvuli)

Peter lives about 550 metres NW from here, as the Hawk-moth flies, and although he wasn't able to get to see the Harrier, he had just found a Covovlulus Hawk-moth in his garden, resting on a fence post. I've recorded this species four times in the garden, one in 2003 (found dead in the green house) and three in 2006. The earliest was on Sept 1st and the lastest on Oct 10th, so they are quite late migrants and there's still time for more this year.

In one of Peter's out building there was an active Swallow's nest. This is the second brood, the young from the successful first brood having fledged a while ago. The parents were anxious to come in and feed their new family so I took a quick picture and moved out of their way. It seems to have been a reasonable nesting season for many of our visitors. I was intrigued to see it was using an artificial nest, provided by Peter, the young look very cosy in this nest, compared to many I've seen where they seem to be precariously balanced on a very small platform.

Birds. This morning Jack and Phil watched a Dotterel flying round the big field at Bockhill, but it wasn't relocated on the ground. The last one I saw at Bockhill was the juvenile below, photographed on Sept 8th 2005.

They are plovers and spend much of their time when migrating feeding on fields, such as the stubble fields that currently dominate the scene around here. Some times they travel in small groups, known as "trips". They blend in quite well and are often only noticed when they quickly run a few steps to find a prey item and feed. So if you're walking the dog and see one of these feeding on the fields let me know.

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