Friday, 23 September 2011

A Surprise Visitor

Another fine day, with little evidence of any new birds arriving to join the still numerous Chiffchaffs.

Looking over the cliff top ( not something I do often) I noticed a Cormorant drying out. Hopefully this means that there's a good lot of fish not too far out, and we'll be seeing a good few piscivores off shore.

There haven't been many Painted Ladies around this year and I nearly stood on this one on the cliff top path. It did look a bit tatty..........

and when it opened it's wings it revealed just how battered it was. I can't remember a year since we've been here with fewer Painted Ladies around, a great pity as they are such a beautiful butterfly.

On the other hand it's close relative, The Comma, is now out in good numbers, and being a resident they are nice and fresh. At this time of year they are often found on Brambles, the butterflies seem addicted to the over-ripe berries.

This one even closed it's wings to show off it's eponymous signature punctuation mark.

As well as the Chiffchaffs there are still good numbers of Blackcaps around. I saw two dive into a thicket in the paddock, and with a bit of persuasion I eventually found that there were eight in this one area. As they are not nearly as showy as Chiffchaffs it is difficult to compare numbers, but it may well be that there are far more than we ever manage to count hidden away in the denser scrub.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Agrius convolvuli)

A nice surprise this evening was the arrival on my doorstep of this fabulous Convolvulus Hawk-moth. It arrived in the safe hands of Richard Hart as his wife had found it in their garden. This is a reasonably scarce migrant, I've only had five records here and the last was in September 2009. In some years it occurs in quite good numbers, 2006 was a good year when I caught three. In these years there are usually good numbers of other migrant moths, so possibly there is still some hope for this year. The moths will feed on garden flowers, particularly favouring Tobacco Plants (Nicotaina). Caterpillars have been found on bindweed, but it doesn't usually breed in the UK. Many thanks to Richard for bringing it round.

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