Three year ticks today in the moth box.

Thursday 28th August 2014.

Small Ranunculus.

A nice variety of moths within the moth box this morning, despite a lot of overnight rain, which included two year ticks and a new moth for the garden. I was reading a report on the Migrant Lepidoptera Facebook site, regarding the possibility of more migrant moths coming in from the continent, due to a ridge of high pressure pushing northwards towards the UK. The possibility of getting more unusual moths in the UK looks good.

Cypress Pug.

This morning, I had my first Cypress Pug and Small Ranunculus of the year; the latter being a Red Data Book species of moth and very local in Hampshire, with small numbers recorded each year. I posted a photo on the Hants Moths Facebook page and sent a photo to Andy Johnson to be doubly sure my ID was correct. I am confident it is one, which would mean that this would be my second for the garden.

Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix.

Another first for the garden was a micro moth. A Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix was present within the box, which was only the second one I have ever seen after one I had over Simon’s house by Hazleholt Wood. There were 29 moths present of 17 species today.

A small flock of three Goldfinches were in the garden this morning, enjoying my sunflower seeds; while a pair of Blue Tits and a few Starlings, in their ‘strange but smart’ Autumn plumage, were all searching the guttering at the back of the house.

Tree Pipits seen over Highland Road Cemy.

Wednesday 27th August 2014.

Spotted Flycatcher.

I took Scruff for his usual walk around Highland Road Cemetery before I started work today and it certainly felt Autumnal as we arrived at the Cemetery gates at 8am. An easterly breeze blew through and although it was overcast, it was still quite bright. Just a few dog walkers present this morning, which meant that I had the place mostly to myself. Scruff was happy as there were quite a lot of Squirrels foraging on the ground this morning, looking for fallen chestnuts. Even the albino Squirrel put in an appearance today, although kept a safe distance.

The albino Grey Squirrel within the Cemy.

I was hoping for a migrant bird or two and this morning, I have to say, was better than usual. The distinctive call of a Tree Pipit was heard high overhead, which would be a ‘patch tick’ and, eventually, I picked it up in the grey sky. In fact, one turned to four birds, then five birds, as they circled for a little while then all headed off westbound. I was hoping to get a record photo of the birds but they were too distant by the time I got on them.  That livened things up and I was then hoping that a Wheatear or something better might be just around the corner.

Spotted Flycatcher.

No Wheatears I’m afraid, but I did find a fine looking Spotted Flycatcher, in the same Silver Birch as I did last year. The bird was busy chasing insects, but soon settled long enough for me to take a few photos of it. The tree in front of the Flycatcher held the bracket fungus, Dryads Saddle, which was growing in two places on the tree. Willowchiffs numbered around two birds, which were flying around with a flock of Blue Tits, which numbered at least 8 birds (which is good for here).

Dryads Saddle growing on the same tree.

The local female Sparrowhawk was on the hunt, as she flew low through the trees on the west side, putting up all the Pigeons and a flock of at least 30+ Goldfinches. There wasn’t any butterflies seen and insects were relatively far and few between. However, with the few Buddleia flowers present, I did find one which held a Volucella zonaria; the UK’s largest Hoverfly. This quite attractive insect has had me fooled a few times, thinking it is a Hornet.

Volucella zonaria

Blood-vein added to year list.

Wednesday 27th August 2014.

Blood-vein.

As Autumn is upon us, with a cold, but dry start to the morning, the moth numbers in my garden begin to wane. However, I was blessed with another new for the year species, with a very smart Blood-vein perched on the fence panel behind my moth box. 25 moths were present of just 8 species. Another Lesser Yellow Underwing made an appearance also, with Vine’s Rustic being the most numerous.

Lesser Yellow Underwing.

An Ichneuman Wasp was also present within the box; something the moths do not like!

Ichneumon Wasp.

Heart & Club on board my year list.

Tuesday 26th August 2014.

Heart & Club.

I took a gamble last night and put the moth box out overnight, despite the forecast of more showers. Though one of the egg boxes took a good soaking, at least there was a small variety of moths this morning to look at, which included a new species for the year. A Heart & Club was present this morning among the 22 moths of 12 species. My second Lesser Yellow Underwing of the year was also present. The rain was still coming down while I was checking the moth box, so I had to hurry in getting my photos.

Lesser Yellow Underwing.

I thought yesterday’s Bank Holiday Monday was a wash out with the consistent rain over the South coast. My friend, Geoff Farwell, text me that he took a walk around Farlington Marshes, despite the awful weather. He notched up a Spotshank, 4 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, Sparrowhawk, 4 Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail, 3 Sand Martins and 4 Common Whitethroats. Plus, he got a good soaking!

Another friend of mine, John Goodall, finally connected with the Bee-eaters on the Isle of Wight and managed to see 6 of the Bee-eaters in the rain, flying around him at the usual watchpoint. Well done that man.

Yellow Shell on the garden list for the year.

Sunday 24th August 2014.

Yellow Shell.

Another glorious start to the day with unbroken sunshine, however, so typically for a Bank Holiday Monday, the wet weather will be closing in overnight later today. Last night, Becky, myself and the girls were burning some old wood in the back garden, while supping on a nice bottle of red. I had the moth box on, which attracted my first Yellow Shell in the garden for the year and also managed a few photos using my iphone.

White-point.

There was no sign of it this morning while checking the moths among the 29 present of just 16 species present. A couple of White-points were probably the most notable of the moths present. Jim Walker kindly emailed over some more Water Vole pics, which was taken at Titchfield Haven recently.

Water Vole at Titchfield Haven. Photo by Jim Walker.

Water Vole at Titchfield Haven. Photo by Jim Walker.

Good variety of migrants on Old Winchester Hill.

Saturday 23rd August 2014.

Wheatears on Old Winchester Hill this morning.

A beautiful morning on Old Winchester Hill today with Scruff was the order of the day as I had a good haul of migrants passing through on this superb area of our Hampshire countryside. I arrived at 7am this morning, hoping to pick up a few migrants. There was dew on the grass, but apart from that, the day looked as though it was going to be a sunny one.

One scruffy Robin on the Hill.

There was a good sprinkling of warblers around the Hill this morning, mostly Whitethroat and Blackcap with about a 20/10 split. Both Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs were present, though most were hidden in the brambles and trees. Both Great Spotted (4 individuals) and Green Woodpecker (at least 5 birds) were seen on my journey. There was always a chance of a Wryneck, but no such luck this morning.

Juvenile Goldcrest by the footpath leading to the fort.

The footpath leading to the fort held a single male Yellowhammer and also a good sprinkling of both Whitethroat and Blackcap. Goldcrests were also abundant with at least four seen and also a Coal Tit. A large flock of Goldfinch were seen towards the end of the footpath, feeding on thistle heads, but nothing exciting among them. Bullfinches were heard calling within the scrub but only one bird was briefly seen.

Male Yellowhammer.

Common Whitethroat.

Around the Fort, a pair of juvenile/1st winter Wheatears were perched on fence posts south of the fort and showed very well. At the bottom of the hill, a large flock of around 20+ Linnet were seen on the bushes and among them, a Green Woodpecker was seen along with several more Whitethroats and a probable Redstart. The view of it was very distant and I didn’t have my scope with me. I was in luck as I did see and confirm a female Redstart by the footpath leading down to the north of the Hill. The bird posed nicely for me as it rested by the hedgerow and was keeping an eye out on an insects below on the ground.

Female Blackcap.

Goldfinches by the Fort entrance.

By the Redstart, there was a flurry of activity with more Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Willow Chiffs. The call of Tree Pipit was heard and north of the fort, at least four birds were seen along with a single Spotted Flycatcher, which was resting by a small bramble. At least two more Spot Flies were seen here and another one further round the hill as we neared the fort entrance. I was checking out a Dunnock perched up close to the Spotted Flycatcher, when another interesting warbler popped up. It was a brief view but I was in no doubt it was a Grasshopper Warbler. Its streaky plumage and elongated tail confirmed it for me.

Wheatear on the Hill.

Chalkhill Blue.

The walk back was much the same, Blackcaps and Whitethroats everywhere. The call of a distant Raven was heard, then I spotted it flying over the neighbouring field. It carried on flying over towards the car park and then a female Sparrowhawk came out and mobbed it. Butterflies were few and far between but I did notch up Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White and my first Chalkhill Blues of the year, albeit tatty ones. Grasshoppers are always difficult to see at times but both Roesel’s Bush Cricket and Meadow Grasshopper were seen.

Female Redstart.

Tree Pipits.

Willow Warbler.

Spotted Flycatcher.

Raven.

A notable record was a Marsh Tit calling deep within the trees near the roadside. Unfortunately, it did not reveal itself, but I have not heard or seen one here for a long time. Also seen this morning, was a small flock of 3 Yellow Wagtails, which flew off east over the fields’ a species that used to breed on the south coast and now only seen on migration here.

Small Tortoiseshell in the sunshine.

Quiet over Thorney Island this morning.

Friday 22nd August 2014.

All change! The hedgerow had virtually disappeared now.

I took Scruff for a stroll over Thorney Island this morning and was certainly surprised by what they had done to the footpath leading to the west harbour wall. Most of the hedgerow was grubbed up and obviously using one of those hedge cutters on a back of a tractor, the mess it has left behind is unbelievable. True, it does look tidier and the footpath looked wider, but at what cost to the local wildlife?

Common Whitethroat.

It was a breezy morning, with high cloud cover at times, but occasionally, the sun broke through. Scruff enjoyed himself, sniffing every nook and cranny he could find, while I was checking out what wildlife was on offer today. An Osprey was seen in Chichester Harbour recently, so I always kept my eyes peeled for that, but the only raptors I saw this morning were Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel.

Little Egrets and a Grey Heron in the roost.

The main footpath held good numbers of Common Whitethroat and the occasional Blackcap was seen (a male). Cetti’s Warblers were heard only. The small Copse held at least 8 roosting Little Egrets along with a single Grey Heron. It was high tide within Emsworth Harbour and apart from a few distant waders on the islands, little of note was seen within it.

Large White.

The Little Deeps held the usual Tufties, Coot and Little Grebe but again, little else. The Great Deeps was a little more productive. Among the Gulls, a pair of Common Terns were seen fishing. A pair of Black-tailed Godwits were the only waders present until I checked upstream, where there was a flock of around 30 Greenshank resting by the water’s edge. I couldn’t find any Wheatears or Whinchats in the fields or anything else of note come to think of it.

Black-tailed Godwit on the Great Deeps.

Butterflies this morning included another Clouded Yellow, which would not stop for me to grab a photo. I was a bit luckier with a male Common Blue. Meadow Brown, Large White and a Red Admiral were also seen this morning. Very little to report elsewhere in Sussex or Hampshire so far today.

Male Common Blue.

Roesel's Bush Cricket. A lot of these were heard this morning.

White-point new for the garden this year.

Friday 22nd August 2014.

White-point.

I was in a bit of a rush this morning as there was a shower moving across Southsea as I was checking the moth box. Therefore, my photos were a bit rushed. Among the 31 moths of 17 species, there was my first White-point of the year within my garden (I did have a couple recently at Butser Hill). Other immigrant moths included one Silver Y and one Rusty-dot Pearl. A Small Dusty Wave was the first for a few weeks in the garden.

Small Dusty Wave

In Hampshire yesterday, Titchfield Haven held a Spoonbill, Ruff (still need one for a year tick), Little Ringed Plover and a Whinchat. The Ring-necked Parakeet is still being recorded in the Fareham area.

A Bloxworth Snout makes a reappearance.

Thursday 21st August 2014.

Bloxworth Snout.

I was greeted this fine, sunny morning with my third Bloxworth Snout perched on the fence panel behind my moth box. Though a little bit worn compared to the ones I have seen earlier in the year, still a nice moth to have by the box nonetheless. A smart Agriphila tristrella was also present, perched on the back door window. A total of 31 moths of 17 species today.

Agriphila tristrella.

Large Thorn & Whinchat the highlights today.

Wednesday 20th August 2014.

Large Thorn.

I kicked off the day with a puzzler. I found a Thorn species of moth, which looked a little odd and on further scrutiny, I think it looks good for a Large Thorn, which is quite rare in Hampshire. I shall leave it to the experts to judge for themselves, although one chap on Facebook reckons it could be an early Feathered Thorn, but I am not so sure. I have since found out that it is a Large Thorn, which is a ‘lifer’ for me.

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing.

28 moths of 15 species were present this morning including the Thorn species. A Cabbage Moth was notable as well as my second Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing of the year. Also in the garden today, was my first Willow Warbler of the Autumn passage within my garden. We normally get quite a few passing through about this time of year, so it was nice to see on at last.

White's Creek in Pagham Harbour.

I was working in Pagham Village, West Sussex, this morning and, of course, after my 11am appointment, I took a stroll along the North Wall by Pagham Harbour. The weather was glorious with high patchy cloud but lots of sunshine. The recent blustery wind had dropped, which made for pleasant birding here. I was hoping to find my first Whinchats of the year as a couple were noted here behind the Breech Pool yesterday and fortunately, I came up trumps.

Curlew.

Walking from the end of Church Lane to the harbour wall, there were a few Willow Warblers in the trees and bushes. A large number of Swallows were by the small barn at the end of the footpath, still feeding their young by the looks of it. A flock of Sand Martin flew by among the Swallows and headed westbound towards the Breech Pool. This morning was alive with these two species of Hirundine, as they passed by overhead in good numbers.

Hurricane or Spitfire flying overhead?

This female Sparrowhawk put the jitters up the local Hirundines.

It was low tide within the harbour and in Whites Creek, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing and Redshank were present. A lone Curlew fed on the mud and a flock of Ringed Plover with several Dunlin were seen a little later as I was making my way back to the car. An Emperor Dragonfly was on the hunt by the Sluice Gates. The Breech Pool held several Black-tailed Godwits, but something flushed the waders out in harbour and a large flock of ‘Blackwits’ landed on the pool as I was making my way back, with at least 60 birds present. Up to 15 Eurasian Teal were present and a Kingfisher was heard flying, but hidden by the reedbed.

Lesser Marsh Grasshopper.

I met up with Sussex birder, Dave Potter and his mate Simon by the Breech Pool and stopped for a chat. I spotted something interesting on a fencepost behind the Breech Pool and Dave confirmed it as a Whinchat; my first of the year. Unfortunately, it was very distant and I therefore couldn’t get a decent photo. Very pleased with that, they went off in search for any Yellow Wagtails among the cattle in the field north of the Breech Pool. Overhead, we were firstly entertained by a Spitfire / Hurricane doing loop the loops etc. and then a female Sparrowhawk grabbed our attention as she slowly soared overhead, upsetting all the Hirundines below. Another male bird was seen on the way back to the car, as he sped low over the reedbeds, to disappear into a small bush.

Black-tailed Godwit on the Breech Pool.

On the way back to the car, I found my first Clouded Yellow butterfly of the year. Unfortunately, it didn’t settle as it disappeared back towards the Breech Pool. I am pretty sure I found my first Lesser Marsh Grasshopper of the year also, although I am waiting to get that verified. Dave told me earlier that there was very little around Church Norton and the Ferry Pool today, although both areas can turn up anything at this time of year. An Osprey was in Chichester Harbour today, viewed from the seawall at Nutbourne.

A closer view of the 'Blackwits'.

Flying back into the harbour after a male Sparrowhawk flushed them.