My first ever Palpita vitrealis by the moth box.

Saturday 5th September 2015.

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Palpita vitrealis

Like birds, migrant moths can still turn up in good numbers at this time of year and last night was no exception. There is one particular attractive species which has yet landed in my garden that I have wanted to see and last night, it did the honours! Not one, but two Palpita vitrealis turned up by my moth box! This attractive little immigrant macro do turn up in good numbers most years, but they were a ‘first’ for me.

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Garden Tiger.

Continuing with the migrant theme, a White-point was present this morning and up to three Old Ladies! Just the one beautiful Garden Tiger was present and an Angle Shades yet again, which was probably a migrant too.

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White-point.

In total, 93 moths of 24 species were recorded, my highest number for a few weeks. Last night, I took my wife for a meal in Albert Road (just around the corner from me) and I found a Yellow Shell moth perched on the window of a shop!

Angle Shades in the box this morning.

Friday 4th September 2015.

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Angle Shades.

There were 73 moths of 20 species present this morning in and around my moth box. No new moths for the year but an Angle Shades was the first for a long while. Vine’s Rustic totalled 30 individuals and 2 Lesser Yellow Underwings were notable. There was no ‘vis mig’ this morning overhead, but yesterday morning, I had a Tree Pipit flying high over heading westbound.

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Lesser Yellow Underwing.

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Grey Dagger.

Mullein Wave new for the year.

Tuesday 2nd September 2015.

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One of two Old Ladies this morning.

I finally put the moth box out again last night, hoping for a good array of moths and this morning, at least 59 moths of 24 species were present. This included my first Mullein Wave of the year, which I was lucky to find perched on the Ivy on the fence panel. There were a few more interesting moths which included a couple of Old Ladies, one Grey Dagger and one Garden Tiger.

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Mullein Wave.

While I was checking the moths, there was a lot of ‘vis mig’ (visible migration) overhead as a Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail and Siskin were heard flying over. There was a cloudless sky this morning, so spotting these small passerines proved difficult, but I did see a Grey Wagtail heading south. A Willowchiff was calling within my garden and eventually, I found it perched in the neighbour’s Holly Tree (see photo).

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Willowchiff in my neighbours garden.

A couple of Cattle Egrets have been seen today with one over the Blashford Lakes area and another a bit closer to home, at Titchfield Haven. Hopefully, the Titchfield bird might linger to add to my year list. Another Wryneck was discovered today on Farlington Marshes, fresh after the one Geoff Farwell found on Sunday.

Osprey showing well in Langstone Harbour.

Sunday 30th August 2015.

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Little Egret feeding just below the seawall on the reserve.

It seems a long while since I was down Farmington Marshes and with autumn in full swing, I managed to grab a few hours on my favourite reserve. The weather looked good and though mostly overcast, it really was very warm. The tide was at its highest at 11.30am today and so, on a rising tide, I was lucky enough to see the increasing wader numbers fly off the feeding ground on the mudflats, to rest on the reserve, during my walk round.

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Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Knot in the harbour.

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Oystercatchers and Knot over the Harbour.

The trip kicked off well with a Lesser Whitethroat flicking about the bushes close to the car park, but the less said about my photos of it, the better! There were lots of squeaks and whistles coming from the Bushes area, but nothing coming out to play as I made my way slowly to the Lake area. Out in the harbour, large numbers of Grey Plover and Redshank were resting on the mudflats, intermingled with good numbers of Knot and the odd Dunlin or two. A Little Egret was fishing close to the harbour wall, while wave after wave of Swallows poured through eastbound over the harbour and reserve.

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A female Reed Bunting near the seawall.

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A pair of Whimbrels flying east past the Point.

Among the Swallows, the odd Sand and House Martin went through; though many flew just feet away from where I stood. Simply terrific. If you wanted numbers, then the continuous Swallow numbers were virtually matched by a roughly 500+ Starlings swarming around the Point Fields. I had read earlier on Birdguides that a Rose-coloured Starling was by the lighthouse on Portland Bill; so I kept an eye out throughout the Starling flock. You never know!

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A large group of birders were out on a guided tour.

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This young Kestrel was searching for insects to eat on the Deeps.

From the viewing platform, I counted at least 10 Whinchats perched on the wire fence south of the Lake plus a large flock of Linnets feeding on the thistle heads nearby. Bearded Tits ‘pinged’ within the reedbed and a male Kestrel was hunting over the fields, while the odd Wheatear hopped over the short turf. More and more waders were coming off the mudflats to roost on the marshes and on the Lake itself, Redshanks and Black-tailed Godwit were building up in numbers. A couple of Greenshank were preening among the Redshank, but nothing more interesting to keep me entertained.

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An unusual action shot of a couple of Swallows flying towards me by the Deeps.

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Small White butterfly.

Walking up to the Point Fields, more and more Swallows poured through as I kept an eye out for anything interesting. A Common Whitethroat was perched on the edge of a bramble, showing well in the occasional burst of sunlight. Good numbers of Goldfinches were feeding on the thistle heads and the occasional quick burst of Cettis Warbler could be heard, but, as usual, not seen. There was a huge commotion going on over the RSPB islands within the harbour and I spotted my first Osprey of the year flying between large numbers of waders. There was a large group of birders present, which looked as though they were doing a guided tour and I am sure they must have clocked the Osprey.

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Wheatear near the Blockhouse.

Not an awful lot on the Deeps area but I did find a strange looking Pipit that looked good for a Tree Pipit; a very streaked individual. Passing the Deeps, at least two Whinchats and a Wheatear were present on the grass behind the small reedbed. Swallows came in again and skimmed the water, taking a small gulp as they quickly past by and then over the harbour wall. A juvenile Kestrel performed well on the ground on the Deeps, picking off small insects down by its feet.

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A male Migrant Hawker dragonfly.

A few notable insects seen around the harbour wall included good numbers of Migrant Hawker dragonflies and also a few Common Darters. Butterflies on the wing included Small Heath, Meadow Brown and several Small Whites. Passing the Blockhouse, I noticed the 7 or so Great Crested Grebes swimming on the calm water, but I was trying to find the Osprey I had seen flying earlier. When I reached a young couple of birders along the seawall, they kindly put me onto the Osprey, which was now perched on a small post. I had a lengthy chat with the couple from the Woking area as I watched the Osprey, who were a friendly couple that have only recently discovered this reserve.

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Meadow Pipit on the seawall.

I couldn’t stay too long with them and so said my Goodbye’s and best of luck as I made my way to the Info Centre. I did hear some Yellow Wagtails flying over but they were too far away it seems.  When I reached the Info Centre, the Stream nearby held an incredible 60+ Gadwall. I cannot recall seeing so many here at once, so it was certainly a notable sighting. Another Kestrel, a male bird, showed very well as I passed it when walking back to the car through the bushes. I couldn’t find anything else of note but I was very pleased with today’s sightings.

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A male Kestrel in the Bushes area.

Geoff Farwell text me later in the morning to say that he was now down Farlington Marshes and had just found a Wryneck in the north-east corner of the reserve! Checking the Hants Bird Sightings website, Geoff was mentioned on it in finding the Wryneck. Also, as well as the Osprey, a pair of Spoonbills were resting on Binness Island within the harbour. A good day on the reserve.

Least Yellow Underwings in the moth box & Woolmer Pond.

Saturday 29th August 2015.

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Least Yellow Underwing.

This morning kicked off nicely with the moth box where a total of 54 moths of 20 species were recorded. With a nice cup of coffee to hand and a bright, but overcast start to the early morning, I set about recording the moths. My first two Least Yellow Underwings were found within the box, with one kindly resting on my finger, slightly exposing the underwing. Two Yellow Shells were also present as well as a Common Wainscot, which was my third of the year.

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Common Wainscot.

After my coffee, I grabbed my birding stuff and Scruff to make the journey north up to Woolmer Pond, for a nice change. Four Wood Sandpipers were recorded there recently, but they were re-identified as Green Sandpipers! Fortunately for me, two remained there this morning, though were too distant to get a decent photo. The water level has most certainly dropped since the last time I was here, but there was to be a good variety of birdlife this morning to be seen.

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The water level on Woolmer Pond has greatly diminished.

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Bell Heather showing nicely by the Pond.

On arrival, a small flock of Hirundines were hawking over the Willows and Birches. Both House and Sand Martins were among them as they busied themselves chasing small aerial insects high over the Pond. A lone Little Grebe swam on the water close to the water’s edge and the occasional Lapwing revealed itself on the muddy shoreline. A few Willowchiffs showed themselves occasionally in the trees and bushes and a pair of Bullfinches flew out of cover to disappear behind the treeline.

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Oak Acorns by the main footpath.

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Little Grebe on the main pool.

Walking north towards the Cottage area, I heard the distinctive call of Green Sandpipers and I saw a pair fly low over the muddy fringes, only to settle over the other side. I did scan the area thoroughly for any other waders, but there were just a few more Lapwing seen. A Tree Pipit was heard overhead but I failed to find it as it disappeared south. The few ducks present on the water were just a couple of Teal and a Mallard.

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Vipers Blugoss growing beside the main footpath.

Nearing the Cottage, a pair of Siskins flew over heading east towards Woolmer Forest, but as the red flags were now flying, there was no chance of circling the Pond today. Instead, I gave the Cottage garden a good look and turned up a few interesting birds. Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Goldcrest and 3 Linnets were seen in and around the area. A Jay flew over the garden and the occasional Green Woodpecker called deep within the Oaks. The scrubby area north of the Cottage held a flock of six Woodlarks flying low over, but they settled distantly from where I stood and out of view.

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Within the Cottage garden.

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Male Common Darter.

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Male Emerald Damselfly.

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Common Blue Damselfly.

More Willowchiffs were seen in the copse as I headed back towards the main track and were joined by a Long-tailed Tit, a pair of Marsh Tits and a probable Common Whitethroat; though the latter species was seen very briefly to ascertain a correct ID. I did find a Lizard species basking in the sunshine on the brambles, but as soon as I lifted my camera to grab a photo, it shot off into cover. There were few butterflies on the wing which included Meadow Brown and a Small Tortoiseshell, though there were good numbers of Common Darters along the footpaths. Also present were Common Blue Damselflies and a couple of Emerald Damselflies.

 

Another Old Lady by the box.

Thursday 27th August 2015.

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My second Old Lady moth of the year.

The weather has played an important part of me trapping the moths this week, or should I say lack of trapping the moths! Heavy rain most days has put a brief stop to putting the moth box on, but last night, the weather seemed amicable and late last night, I had another Old Lady by the box, however, it wasn’t present this morning.

There were just 43 moths of 18 species in and around the box, with a Cabbage Moth, Setaceous Hebrew Character and a couple of Square-spot Rustics the pick of the bunch. Again, the most numerous were the Vine’s Rustics and Light-brown Apple Moths.

Red Admirals in the Cemy.

Sunday 23rd August 2015.

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Goldfinches within the Cemy.

Scruff hadn’t had a walk for a day or so and so I took him for an afternoon stroll around the Cemy. The sunshine was nice and warm, though a breeze was blowing to keep the temperature Autumnal. A lot of leaves have already fallen from the Chestnut trees already, making the area reminiscent of late autumn rather than late summer.

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A juvenile Goldfinch having a preen.

I was glad to see the Green Woodpecker again this afternoon after an absence of a month or so; showing itself briefly near the entrance upon one of the small trees. It was heard a couple of times while I was walking around but was proving elusive. As autumn is now in full swing, there is always a chance of something unusual within the Cemy, but not today. A small flock of Goldfinches were in trees on the east side, but nothing out of the normal was seen today.

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Yellow-barred Brindle.

A couple of Red Admiral butterflies were seen, with one individual showing very well by the Mausoleum. Nearby, a Yellow-barred Brindle moth was found on one of the gravestones. Hopefully, as the month progresses, the likes of Redstarts, Flycatchers and Wheatears will be making a reappearance here or maybe something a little rarer?

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Can you spot the Red Admiral on the Mausoleum?

Geoff Farwell had a trip down Farlington Marshes today and notched up 2 Common Sandpipers, 3 Greenshank, 12 Wigeon, 4 Whinchat, Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtails, Spotted Flycatcher and 1200 Starlings. An astonishing 22 Wood Sandpipers were found on the Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington, today and more sightings of Wood Sandpiper on Titchfield Haven with 5 present! Black Terns were frequenting our coastline, with good numbers off Hill Head today.

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Bottom left hand corner of the Mausoleum, is a butterfly.

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And there is the Red Admiral. A second was seen further north, which landed on the grass.

Mike Wearing contacted me via email today and asked if I fancy doing a moth night on Butser Hill in September. Despite the weather, the last time we done it, it did prove very successful. So I am up for that. Also, Queen Elizabeth Country Park are doing a Bat & Moth night on the 2nd September, which I am also very interested in.

A new Ni Moth and a Dark Sword-grass.

Sunday 23rd August 2015.

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Ni Moth.

Becky and I had a lovely evening over her cousin’s house in Bedhampton last night. It was very balmy at first but eventually started to cool down. Flashes of sheet lightning could be seen though a very long way off and I think north Hampshire received the heavy rain. The wind was quite blustery overnight which probably accounted for the smaller numbers of moths this morning within the box.

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Dark Sword-grass along with a couple of Light-brown Apple Moths and a Lacewing.

There were a couple of interesting migrant moths within the box this morning of which one of them was a Ni Moth (thank you John Langmaid for confirming) which would constitute my third this year (not bad seeing I have not seen this species before). There was also my second Dark Sword Grass of the year and a single Silver Y, to complete the migrants.

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Ni Moth.

By far, the most numerous moth were the Vine’s Rustic’s, which numbered 34 individuals! A total of 69 moths of 21 species accounted for this morning. There was a big number of Lacewings in and around the box, with at least 50 being present this morning. John Langmaid later confirmed my Ni Moth and he told me that he had 2 Jersey Tiger’s in his Southsea trap this morning. Surely, just a matter of time before I get my first this year?

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An Oak Bush Cricket in Jane & Rob Eastwood’s kitchen, last night.

Red Twin-spot Carpet & Marbled Green today.

Saturday 22nd August 2015.

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Red Twin-spot Carpet.

Another reasonable morning with the moths within the back garden, with 112 moths of 38 species. There were more new for the year with Red Twin-spot Carpet and Marbled Green added to the garden list and another reappearance of the Black Arches. Garden Tigers numbered six moths, though I found a couple that had succumbed to spiders. I haven’t had many Maidens Blush’s this year, so another one this morning was nice.

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Marbled Green.

Migrants were far and few between, but two Tree-lichen Beauties were present and regarding micros, my first Agriphila geniculea was present along with several Agriphila tristella.

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Maidens Blush.

Black Arches & Old Lady new for the year.

Thursday 21st August 2015.

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Black Arches.

Another balmy night produced two year ticks by the moth box and also several nice moths. A check by the moth box last night produced my first Old Lady of the year. Good numbers of Brimstone and Light-brown Apple Moth were around the box and a Silver Y was found on the fence panel nearby. I suppose, best of all, was my second Bloxworth Snout of the year, resting close to the light.

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Old Lady.

This morning, 71 moths were counted this morning of 29 species, which wasn’t too bad. I released the Bloxworth Snout later that morning after a few photos and then counted the rest of the moths. My first Black Arches of the year was by the main light, a species that I have been fortunate to see most years here and such a stunning moth.

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Pyrausta despicata.

Apparently, a Black Stork was photographed flying over Southsea earlier this month, a species I have yet to see in Hampshire. In fact, the only one I have ever seen was a very long time ago on the Isle of Wight. This bird is the same bird that has been seen in both Dorset and Sussex.

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Bloxworth Snout.