Again, quiet in the moth box.

Sunday 26th July 2015.

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Two Silver Y’s, a dark form of Common Rustic and a Marbled Beauty within the moth box this morning.

Despite favourable overnight conditions, there were relatively few moths in and around the moth box early this morning. Up and at them at 6am this morning, there was nothing new for the year for me to savour over with the highlights being a Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Clay, Marbled Beauty and my first Shuttle-shaped Dart for some time.

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Shuttle-shaped Dart.

Regarding the micros, pick of the very small bunch was one Bird-cherry Ermine and my second Pyrausta aurata of the year within the garden. A total of 42 moths of 23 species in all.

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Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing.

Rain is forecasted again for most of the day today, so whether I take the trip to the New Forest or not is in the balance. There is an Osprey frequenting the southern end of Thorney Island for the past few days, so I could go for that instead; although, I have only ever seen an adult Red-backed Shrike in the UK just once, and I was only about 15 years old then!

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Pyrausta aurata. A pretty little moth and only my second in the garden this year.

Ladies in the Cemy.

Saturday 25th July 2015.

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Scruff enjoying the sunshine in the Cemy.

I took Scruff for a walk around Highland Road Cemetery along with young Isabelle in her pushchair. It seems a long time since I have been around here and I just took my time and slowly strolled round in the sunshine. With the America’s Cup in full swing down the seafront and with stunt planes flying in formation over the City, there was a lot going on down this neck of the woods this weekend.

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Painted Lady.

There wasn’t an awful lot to write about regarding the birds present, with a few sightings of Goldfinches but anything else was just the usual. Buddleia is out now in full bloom, so I was going around checking each bush to see what insect life it held. There was a bit of a breeze blowing and so butterflies seemed to be a little thin on the ground. It wasn’t till I reached the east side of the Cemy that I found my first one; well in fact three! Three Painted Lady butterflies were chasing each other along the footpath, flying at great speed at times in the bright sunshine and occasionally, one of them would settle on a gravestone or the footpath.

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Blackbird searching for food.

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Buff-tailed Bumble bee on the Buddlea

Further along, I came across a pair of Red Admirals flying together but getting a photo of them on the ground was proving difficult, but I did manage a long distance shot. One of the near dead Silver Birches held several growths of Dryad Saddle, with at least four poking out of the bough of the tree. Great Willowherb was growing near the entrance and clumps of Lady Bedstraw was seen in the south side of the Cemy.

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Dryad’s Saddle.

The Council have spent a lot of time in here judging by the new tarmacked footpaths within the Cemy and also a lot of the older graves have been cleared of Ivy growing over them. However, the friends of Highland Road Cemetery normally get involved in this every year. I found out this evening that a male Red-backed Shrike has been found near Beaulieu heath this afternoon along with a flyby Honey Buzzard! If it is still around tomorrow, I think I shall have to take a trip down there.

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I put out some dried mealworms and the House Sparrows came flocking down. This male showing well in the sunshine.

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This female House Sparrow has a distinctive bill shape and colouration. I have seen it raiding the moths in the morning!

30+ Silver Y’s within the moth box.

Friday 24th July 2015.

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Tree-lichen Beauty.

I was up early this morning again, sufficiently early enough before the Sparrows, but though I knew the rain was coming in, it was spitting with rain when I checked in and around the moth box. There was nothing too interesting within the box, though I have sent a couple of photos for John Langmaid to ID.

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Silver Y’s.

The biggest surprise was the amount of Silver Y’s within the box. I counted over 30 individuals which was my highest ever total for this species in one sitting. Other notable moths included my second Turnip Moth of the year; 2 Tree-lichen Beauties and a Single-dotted Wave were also notable. A fresh female Lackey was sitting within the box also. In total, there were 77 moths of 26 species.

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A female Lackey.

I am about to do my article for the Portsmouth Evening News over the weekend and this time, I am going to write about the Greater Yellowlegs over at Titchfield Haven. Amy Robjohns has kindly emailed me over a nice photo of the bird, which, incidentally, was still showing well today on the River Meon beside the roadside.

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To be ID’d.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, the Swifts that nested in the front of the house are now raising their second brood! Sad news, though, of one of the young Herring Gulls from down the road. I passed one of them dead on the side of the road yesterday morning and looks as though it has been hit by a car.

Brown-line Bright-eye added to my life list.

Wednesday 22nd July 2015.

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Brown-line Bright-eye.

I was too busy with work yesterday to get around writing about my sightings while on the road, so I shall add them to today’s log. I was working over the Havant area around midday and I watched a superb Red Kite drift over, with a party of Swifts in attendance. Ok, the sighting was brief but there was no doubt it was a Kite passing over.

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Dun-bar.

A Box Bug, which is some type of Shield Bug was perched on our car and was thankfully identified by a kind chap on Facebook for me. It is the first one I have ever seen, so always a bonus.

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Box Bug.

This morning, I was woken up by the noisy Gulls flying over and as I couldn’t drift off nicely back to sleep, I decided to get up, do a few house chores then go and check the moth box. Up before the Sparrows is always a bonus and this morning, the box held three year ticks including one being a new moth for me.

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Ruby Tiger.

A superb Brown-line Bright-eye was present within the box, and though deemed common according to my field guide, this was my first. Also present were year ticks of Ruby Tiger, Dun-bar and Cloaked Minor. However, there were just 38 moths of 17 species present although I have sent two to be ID’d by John Langmaid. A far cry from last week’s number of moths in Stourcombe! There was also two Tree Bumblebees within my box this morning!

Five more year ticks in and around the moth box.

Monday 20th July 2015.

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Clouded Border.

Despite the drizzle first thing this morning, it wasn’t too bad with the moths as I notched up five more garden ticks for the year, which included Clouded Border, Small Blood-vein, Scalloped Oak, Udea prunalis and Gelechia senticetella (thanks to John Langmaid for the ID of the latter two). My second Small Ranunculus of the year was also present which I shall release later this evening.

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Small Blood-vein.

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Scalloped Oak.

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Udea prunalis.

Bright-line Brown-eye were the most numerous with 13 present and also up to 7 Silver Y’s were in and around the moth box!

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Small Ranunculus.

Tree-lichen Beauty in the box this morning.

Sunday 19th July 2015.

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Tree-lichen Beauty.

It was back to good old Southsea yesterday ending our weeks break in Cornwall. On reflection, where we stayed was excellent for not only birds and moths etc., but also the lovely Cottage we stayed in (and most certainly will return in the not too distant future), but also to the lovely owner of the Cottage, Georgie, who made us feel most welcome here. So, if you are reading this Georgie, many thanks again.

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Knot Grass.

There was some overnight, early morning rain this morning, which woke me up, but I soon struggled out of bed to make myself a cup of coffee and then bleary-eyed, had a good look around the moth box. Not an awful lot outside of the box, but thankfully, there were a few moths inside it. Around 60 moths of 27 species were present today which included my first Tree-lichen Beauty of the year. This is probably an immigrant moth although I have read there could be an established population on the south coast somewhere.

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Clay.

Silver Y’s numbered 6, the highest number of them this year by far and there was singles of Clay, Knot Grass and Euzophera pinguis.

Less moths, but still a good variety.

Friday 17th July 2015.

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Lychnis. I even had to ask John Langmaid on a positive ID.

Yet another early morning start with drizzle to wake up to here in the heart of Cornwall. I am kind of getting used to it now as we leave tomorrow for Southsea and though the weather has been somewhat disappointing this week, the moths and wildlife have been brilliant. This morning was no exception when I thought I had found my first ever Campion within the moth box. But elation eventually turned to disappointment, when it was identified as a Lychnis.

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Two smart Elephant Hawk-moths near the box. However, I fear the Sparrows got them!

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Marbled Green in Polperro yesterday.

They look a little larger than the similar Lychnis, but I am happy with the ID after checking it on the Hants Moths website. A total of 86 moths, by far, the lowest this week, of 31 species were in and around the box, though I suspect the Sparrows chomped most outside the box. Moths present this morning included:

  • Elephant Hawk-moth (6)
  • Clouded Silver (1)
  • Bee Moth (1)
  • Dot Moth (2)
  • Barred Straw (3)
  • Scalloped Oak (5)
  • Early Thorn (4)
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A nice little selection here. Elephant Hawk-moths, Scalloped Oak, Dark Arches, Uncertain and Common Rustic.

  • Common Footman (3)
  • Heart & Dart (11)
  • Uncertain (5)
  • Common Carpet (2)
  • Dark Arches (17)
  • Flame (1)
  • Snout (1)
  • Riband Wave (1)
  • Common Rustic (4)
  • Sharp angled Peacock (1)
  • Mother-of-Pearl (1)
  • Flame Shoulder (1)
  • Buff Arches (1)
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Clay.

  • Square-spot Rustic (1)
  • Light Arches (1)
  • Clay (1)
  • Large Yellow Underwing (1)
  • Plain Golden Y (1)
  • Lychnis (1)
  • Eudonia mercurella (3)
  • Eudonia lacastrata (4)
  • Double-spot Rustic (1)
  • Chrysoteuchia culmella (4)
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Early Thorn.

Yesterday, we took a lovely stroll around the quaint fishing village of Polperro; a village I have not been to since I was a young teenager! Though I don’t remember any of it, the place was a typical tourist hotspot and it got a bit too familiar with all the other fishing villages though pretty, I couldn’t live here permanently, in which my wife agreed also. While walking down the tiny streets (even cars drive down them also!), I found a Single-dotted Wave and my first Marbled Green of the year, perched on a wall! No interesting birds in the small harbour apart from the usual Herring Gulls, though I thought I saw a Grey Wagtail flying over. We also went into Fowey via the car ferry; but again, very similar to most of the villages. We finished off in Mevagissey and I think you know what my reaction was to that place by now! Ice cream was good though!

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Navelwort, which grows abundantly on the dry stone walls of Cornwall and Devon. I had to laugh when I saw a couple of comments on the Facebook site for plants, that the question was asked why didn’t I do the research for the ID myself. Simple answer to that is Why? When you can get an expert to do it for you. Simples!

Quieter morning with the moths but still impressive.

Thursday 16th July 2015.

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Male Yellowhammer just behind the houses.

It was back ‘mothing’ at Owl Cottage overnight, but I didn’t expect it to be drizzling once again first thing this morning! Though it wasn’t persistent, it is still damn annoying trying to keep things dry. There were a significant drop in moth numbers this morning although over a hundred moths is nothing to be sniffed at. That would be a good haul back in my Southsea home.

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A Sexton Beetle with a Heat & Dart in the moth box.

Though no new ‘lifers’ this morning, there were a few ‘first for the year’ moths, which included Pyrausta purporalis, Agriphila inquinatella and a few other micros I am waiting to ID. Among the macro moths, we had another Drinker Moth, 1 Peppered Moth, Buff Arches, 2 Rosy Footman, 2 Marbled White-spot, Slender Pug and 4 Coronets. On the migrant front, there was another Pale Mottled Willow and 2 Silver Y’s.

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Pyrausta purporalis.

Moths this morning included the following:

  • Riband Wave (8)
  • Nut-tree Tussock (1)
  • Peppered Moth (1)
  • Eudonia lacustrata (6)
  • Common Carpet (1)
  • Clouded Silver (3)
  • Slender Pug (1)
  • Spectacle (2)
  • Buff Arches (1)
  • Dingy Footman (4)
  • Common Footman (2)
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Drinker, Heart & Dart and Elephant Hawk Moth.

  • Rosy Footman (2)
  • Buff Ermine (4)
  • Marbled Minor (6)
  • Common White Wave (1)
  • Heart & Dart (19)
  • V-Pug (1)
  • Pale Mottled Willow (1)
  • Marbled White-spot (1)
  • Single-dotted Wave (1)
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Foxglove Pug.

  • Chrysoteuchia culmella (4)
  • Clouded Border (2)
  • Coronet (4)
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Tipula maxima

  • Dark Arches (18)
  • Bright-line Brown-eye (2)
  • Clepsis consimilana (2)
  • Swallow-tailed Moth (1)
  • Grey Dagger (1)
  • Drinker (1)
  • Elephant Hawk-moth (3)
  • Light-brown Apple Moth (1)
  • Barred Straw (1)
  • Striana (1)
  • Large Yellow Underwing (2)
  • Common Rustic (3)
  • Silver Y (2)
  • Uncertain (5)
  • Small Magpie Moth (1)
  • Anania coronate (1)
  • Pyrausta purpalis (1)
  • Foxglove Pug (2)
  • Slender Pug (1)
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The Spotted Flycatcher was up and early near the moth box!

There was plenty of birdlife near the box, with the usual Spotted Flycatcher coming down for a nose, the usual House Sparrows and a Nuthatch in a nearby tree. Goldcrests were singing and up in the tall trees, Goldfinches and Chaffinches were seen. Linnets flew high overhead along with twittering Swallows. I was pretty sure that I heard Little Owls in the early hours of this morning and late last night, but too dark for me to go and explore.

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Michael Stephens kindly emailed a photo of an Eyed Hawk-moth he caught this morning in his trap.

A couple of Sexton Beetles were in the box, making a nuisance of themselves by disturbing the moths on the egg boxes. There were at least 6 Dung Beetles (Aphodius rufipeses) along with the largest UK Crane Fly species, Tipula maxima. I believe the weather is supposed to be OK today as we are off down to the Mevagissey area of Cornwall. It is my wife’s birthday today and so I shall have to be on my best behaviour!

Scallop Shell and Scarlet Tiger added.

Wednesday 17th July 2015.

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The Scallop Shell with an Elephant Hawk-moth.

Yesterday, Georgie, the owner of the Cottage we are staying at, kindly offered to let me trap overnight using her garden, which, incidentally is beside a nice looking Copse and large garden and also next to nearby fields. Though it was drizzly and damp again this morning, it certainly paid off with the moths as I finally recorded as figure of 190 moths of 71 species. This included my first ever Scallop Shell within the box. I also had a good list of ‘new for the year and also some interesting micros.

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Shaded Broad-bar.

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Marbled White-spot.

Along with the superb Scallop Shell, there were also Maidens Blush, 5 Elephant Hawk-moths, 2 Plain Golden Y, Fan-foot and Small Fan-foot, 2 Double-spot Rustic, 3 Shaded Broad-bar, 2 Red-necked Footman, 1 July Highflyer, 1 Brussels Lace, 1 Phoenix, 1 Small Mottled Willow, 1 Lychnis, 1 Blood-vein, 3 Marble White-spot, 2 Ferns plus singles of Eusosma coma and Agrolampates micella, which were new to me.

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Phoenix.

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Red-necked Footman.

After a couple of hours sifting through them and showing them to Georgie and her son John, I packed up and made my way back to our Cottage for breakfast. There were some interesting birds within the woodland while I was checking the box, which included a couple of Siskins, a Bullfinch and a Nuthatch. The Yellowhammers were singing in their usual spot down the lane.

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Pale Mottled Willow.

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Rosy Footman.

After breakfast, we made our way to a friend of Georgie’s house, which was set deep within the North Cornish countryside near a small village called Trevethy. What a difference a day makes, as the song goes, as the weather went from overcast and drizzly to bright and sunny with light winds. At last, the real Cornwall in the sun! We met up with a lovely chap called Michael Stephens, who gave us the directions along a river through the woods to see the waterfall at St. Nectans Glen. Though we paid a small fee to see the waterfall, it was worth looking at plus, there was a couple of Grey Wagtails to look at and several butterflies too, which included a couple of Commas and a Silver-washed Fritillary. There was no sign of the Dippers, which I hoped would be around, but to be fair, there seemed to be a constant stream of people walking along the very wet footpath and as Michael said, they were best viewed early in the morning.

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Grey Wagtail near the Waterfall.

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One of two Commas on the Buddleia.

After a welcoming cup of coffee in Michael’s house, we made our way to the Café and farm shop at Pentargon for lunch and then a nice walk along the cliff top footpath. The food was superb and with a couple of Peregrines entertaining us overhead, whilst having our lunch outside overlooking the superb countryside, what more can one ask for?

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The cove off Pentargon.

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One of the Grey Seals in the Cove.

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Later seen swimming under the water.

The walk down to the cliff footpath was enjoyable as the sheep and cattle entertained Becky. Just a short way along the cliff footpath, we saw at least three Seals in the water down below in the Cove. They all showed well at times, poking their heads out of the water and one very pale individual, we could see swimming under water. A little further along, I found my first ever Scarlet Tiger moth sat in a gorse bush. Being so close, I managed to get a few decent shots of it through my Bridge camera.

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My first ever Scarlet Tiger moth.

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A male Kestrel over Bossiney.

Our last stop today was to be the Coastal footpath at Bossiney. I have never been here before although Becky has done in the past. We paid the very small parking fee and parked up to walk down to the coastal footpath. On the cliffs below, I picked out several Kittiwakes and Fulmars, while overhead, among the several House Martins, a male Kestrel was seen hovering over the grassland. Good numbers of Meadow Browns were present along with the odd Large Skipper, but not a great deal else; however, so typical of north Cornwall, the views on such a sunny day, were amazing.

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This fantastic photo of the Dipper near Michaels house was kindly emailed over to me from the man himself.

Double Line now added to moth life list.

Tuesday 14th July 2015.

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Double Line.

There was a nice surprise of a dry start to the morning, although that was short lived as the morning wore on. The forecast looked grim last night for the Launceston area today as we set off for another try at Boscastle and then onto Port Isaac. Beforehand, it was the moth box that took my undivided attention.

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Small Yellow Wave, Flame and a Caddis Fly species.

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Buff Footman.

A total of 161 moths were counted of 59 species which included yet another ‘lifer’ among them. My first ever Double Line was present among the many moths, a species that is described as Nationally Scarce, although there stronghold is now in Cornwall, Somerset, parts of Wales and Cheshire. There were also year ticks of Marbled White-spot, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Buff Footman, Small Blood-vein and Chinese Character.

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Chinese Character.

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Small Blood-vein.

There was also some interesting micro moths this morning, which included Celypha rivulana, Ditula angustiorona, Caloptria magaritella, a very fresh Ephestia unicolorella and another Caloptria parella. The only migrant in the box was a Rusty-dot Pearl and not one Silver Y Species this morning.

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Marbled White-spot.

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Buff Arches.

Georgie, the owner of the Cottage, came round to view the moths with her son this morning, who took a great interest in my moths and what I had to say about them. She has offered me in using my moth box from her garden, so I am going to try this area tonight for a change. I am starting to wish I had two moth traps running now! But that wouldn’t have been fair to Becky or Trevor as it would of probably had taken me all day to record them all!

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Spotted Flycatcher.

The Spotted Flycatchers were showing well in the back garden, posing on the overhead wires and then engaging into a tumble to catch a passing insect. The House Sparrows had a field day with the moths by the box, as a lot of moth wings lay by the box, although they couldn’t touch the ones on the windows, walls or the moth box itself……..thankfully! I did noticed that a pair of House Sparrows were nesting in the overhead fuse box on top of a Telegraph Pole. Tricky!

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Juvenile Grey Wagtail on the river within Boscastle.

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Fulmars on the cliff by Port Isaac.

Later in the morning, we took the drive north to Boscastle where, in the persistent drizzle, I found a pair of Grey Wagtails within the small harbour and a large gathering of Gulls were all Herring Gulls bar the odd Great Black-backed Gull. After a delicious toasted T-cake and a coffee, we then went to Port Isaac, famous for the TV programme Doc Martin, where we parked up overlooking the sea by the cliff footpath, which led into the tiny village. On the sea, I picked out a few Gannets flying past and the odd flock of distant Auks. Fulmars were showing well, with some nesting on the cliffs along with the local Herring Gulls. We had a superb lunch in one of the pubs and finished the day with a quick look in Wadebridge, although it was simply window shopping (yaaaaawnnn), but you got to keep everyone happy!

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Herring Gull families were on the edge of the cliff by the coastal path at Port Isaac.