Monday, 11 October 2010

A mellow season

The NNE wind, blowing at around 25mph made birding along the cliff top less than comfortable, even if it gave a tail wind when walking back up the hill. There didn't seem so many birds around today, although Goldfinches continued to move north in small groups of from five to fifty. Occasionally the harsher call of a Brambling could be heard overhead as well as the high pitched calls of one or two Siskins.

In the farm yard there were still a few Goldcrests calling from the trees and plenty of Chaffinches around.
Looking through the Chaffinches on the large Sycamore tree in the middle of the yard one or two Bramblings could be seen with them. Sycamores are alien species and it is often said that they do little for native species, since they don't have a natural community of invertebrates that has evolved with them. I'm sure that this is, in the most part true, but in the autumn it is usual to find many migrant birds feeding in them, presumable finding something to their liking.

Delicate (Aporophyla nigra)

Mothing in the last few days has produced a few more interesting moths. Autumn has several groups that have colour schemes that seem to be mostly based around pale creams and yellows, such as the thorns and the sallows, and several of the late migrants fit in with this pattern. The Delicate is a attractive moth with a look that lives up to it's name. I had a bumper year in 2006, when I trapped over 70 of this migrant, but only a few in 2007 and 2008 and none last year. Last night's two bring the total this year to seven. As they can be around until the beginning of November this year could be a bit of a better year.

Large Wainscot (Rhizedra lutosa)

The Large Wainscot is a moth of reed beds and riversides, neither of which are found in St Margaret's. As with the Delicate the majority of records I have are from 2006, at the same time that I was recording lots of other migrants. I wonder if the Large Wainscots that wander to my garden do so from the other side of the Channel.

Yellow-line Quaker (Agrochola macilenta)

The Yellow-line Quaker is a widespread resident in the UK, and in the south the caterpillars feed mainly on the leaves of deciduous trees. I normally only catch one or two a year, but I'm already up to four this year. This is probably because it is the first time I've sited one of my "Black" light traps in the front garden, were they've all been.

Barred Sallow (Xanthia aurago)
Never a common moth in my garden, where I catch quite a few Centre-barred Sallows a few weeks earlier. The Barred Sallow (caterpillars) is listed as feeding on Field Maple, and we have a few acer trees of various varieties which it could feed on.

Pale-lemon Sallow (Xanthia ocellaris)

I saw one of these when I popped into Sandwich B. O. the other day. It is quite alocal species and it was the first I'd seen. It isn't the most striking moth, probably the dullest of the Sallows, but it does have a characteristic hooped wing tip shape. I was quite surprised to find one in my trap yesterday morning. I think that this is the 16th new species of Macro for the year.

Green-brindled Crescent (Allophyes oxyacanthae)

Despite having caught one or two of these in most years that I've been mothing I completely failed to recognise this yesterday. Only after I'd sent a picture to Nigel (my usual identifier), and before he'd replied, did I realise what it was. His answer wasn't long in coming and I was pleased that it co-incided with my id.

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