Thursday, 12 August 2010

Jersey Stripes

The day started well when I went to get my "Black Light No1" moth trap. situated next to Pam's greenhouse.

As I went to pick up the trap I noticed this Jersey Tiger on one of the glass panes next to the trap. Despite the fact that there is now a thriving population in London, that may well have reached there from accidental imports form Dover, this is only the forth one that I've caught here. I suspect that it is probably a genuine migrant.

When the weather partly brightened up this afternoon I went down to the bay with the intention of doing a bit of sea watching. The Bay was too crowded so I retreated to the monument and a cliff top walk. I found this Wall butterfly resting on a piece of paving stone. Normally it is the striking upper wing that grabs our attention, but in this case, with the sun in, it was resting with closed wings, showing that they have an artistic merit in their own right.

It did open up to display the intricately patterned upper parts, and it remained there for a while, allowing me to get to a decent angle for a photograph. It may be my imagination but these second brood Walls seem brighter than the first broods in spring.

Although I hadn't seen that many birds, two Wheatears near the monument and a couple of family parties of Common Whitethroats along Kingsdown Lees I came across a small tree at Hope Point that seemed to house a whole host of birds flitting and chasing around. There was at least one Sedge Warbler, that did come into the open once, only to be chased off by a Reed Warbler.

There were probably two Reed Warblers in this tree and one did give me some problems. As I've mentioned before, my colour vision is awful, I suffer from a form of colour blindness called Deuteranomaly , or red-green colour blindness (it affects about 6% of males but only 0.4% females). It is a very strange thing, when there is a big enough block of colour I have no problem, but a small bird moving around can be hard to be sure of. It isn't red and green that are the problem in this case, but degrees of brownness and whether there are "olive" or green tones. Given that Marsh Warblers are very like Reed Warblers, but can have a hint of green cast, it is very frustrating trying to be sure of the colour. Fortunately there are other differences like "primary projection" and this is most easily checked from photographs. It was therefore exceedingly obliging of this bird to sit out and pose for a few seconds. So Reed Warbler it is!

In amongst the Common Whitethroats there were two Lessers, but as usual they were fairly reluctant to come out in the open for any length of time.

No such problem with the Willow Warblers, they are frequent extroverts, this one happily sitting out so that it's wing shape can be easily examined.

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