Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Steve's a Ray of sunshine

I messed around this morning, taking photos of some of the moths I caught and sorting out my mothing equipment.

Pine Beauty

Mothing has been rather slow, so a couple of Pine Beauties have been a welcome diversion from the Drabs and the Quakers I've been catching.


For most mortal mothers (not the maternal type) sorting out the group known as pugs is a horror. Even with the latest book written on the subject they are not at all easy. I caught the Pug above last night and after looking through the books and UKMoths on the Web, I thought I had it sorted. To be sure I put the picture on my moths blog and invited the experts to tell me if I was right. Rather sadly I wasn't and I'd fallen into a fairly common trap of identifying an Oak-tree Pug as a Brindled Pug. Thank goodness for expert advice.

I needed to get some bits from a well known DIY store that honours old age on Wednesdays and I was half way there, just after lunch, when my phone rang and an excited Steve Ray told me he was watching a Red-rumped Swallow at Kingsdown Lees.

I past the news on and turned round. When I got there I soon saw Steve with Jack Chantler along the road and a Red-rumped Swallow flying in front of me, towards them.

Steve had been watching the bird for a while and then realised that there were two, rather than one, circling with a couple of House martins and the odd Barn Swallow.

The name Red-rumped Swallow is rather misleading, the rump isn't really red but varies from pale rufous when fresh, to creamy when worn. One of the most noticeable characters is the all black back end, (undertail coverts and tail), and the way it tends to hold the tail and streamers in a tight "together" rather than spread out way.

The two Swallows, against a white sky seemed to pretty well defeat the auto-focus on my camera, and in the end I resorted to manual focus, and pretty much failed to get a decent picture. Steve did pretty well and his pictures (much, much better than mine) are on his blog as well as a good report of his find.

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