Sunday, 15 May 2011

May 14th

It was moths and a guided walk today, I was at the castle for 4.45am, unfortunately it was quite cool overnight and the moth numbers were low,  we did have one year tick, Mottled Rustic, other moths included Buff-tip, Silver Ground Carpet, Mottled Pug and 3 Poplar Hawkmoths. A couple of days ago Steve found a Broom-tip which was new for the site making 416.
After the moths I spent some time looking across the valley, while I waited for people to arrive for our 7.00am start. Two TURTLE DOVES flew south and a COLLARED DOVE was sitting on the holiday let. While I was scanning an EGRET species flew high north-west, it was a fair way off and trying to estimate size was tricky, it was probably Little but that's more from likelihood than actual ID. A CUCKOO sang from near Digdog Lane and I hoped it would stay around for later.
With 17 or 18 people arriving at 7, the hour or so before they arrived was relatively quiet, I always worry that we won't see much!
Still trying to get a good Goldfinch pic.

The walk started with a CHAFFINCH demonstrating it's song in the car park, a couple HOUSE SPARROWS posed near the offices and 2 SWALLOWS let us approach to about 20ft, the first of many GOLDFINCHES were also seen here. It was a really clear morning, which always helps, we moved on and found a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER in it's favoured area. Near the lake a GREEN WOODPECKER showed nicely on the path, a STOCK DOVE flew over and a GREENFINCH shone out in the good light as it sang from an Oak tree, a KESTREL also dived in behind some nearby willows. There were GREYLAGS and CANADAS on the lake but not a lot else there, through the wood we picked up mostly birds that were only heard, they included MARSH TIT, COAL TIT, NUTHATCH, GARDEN WARBLER and a brief view of a TREECREEPER. By 9.30 somehow we had reached 41 species. After breakfast round the fields we added PIED WAGTAIL, LINNET, which I couldn't believe we hadn't seen already, a single SWIFT flew along the stream, up to 3 BUZZARDS, a single BULLFINCH and 3 types of gull amonst others, brought the final total to 51 species, with out Nightingale or Lesser Whitethroat and unforunately the Cuckoo didn't show either but still the best total on one of these walks so far this year. In addition to the birds we saw a few other things, butterflies were represented by a few Large Whites, Orange Tip and my first Brown Argus of the year also we had a strange pure white butterfly, the size of Small White but no markings to speak of, it might have just been worn or a slight aberrant. Damselflies included White Legged, Large Red and lots of Beautiful Demoiselles also we recorded a Downy Emerald over the lake, finally 5 day flying moths were seen Mother Shipton, Speckled Yellow a Silver Ground Carpet and the micros Nemophora degeerella with those massive antennae and the really well marked Alabonia geoffrella. Overall it was a really enjoyable morning with another nice group of people, making me look forward to the walks planned for the autumn.


Warren Baker said...

It's such a relief when the wildlfie shows up when taking a party round Alan, 51 species sure gave them something to see !

Greenie said...

Alan ,
As Warren has said , 51 is a great total for the punters .
Can't remember for sure how many we used to get when I was doing those walks , but I think I was probably shy of that total .
That Alabonia geofrella is a beautifully marked moth .

Roger said...

Hi Alan
Once again, we thoroughly enjoyed the walk. The really pleasant weather was a plus! Thanks for making it so enjoyable and sharing your knowledge and experience with us - we hope to be back again in the autumn!

ShySongbird said...

You had a good turnout and needn't have worried Alan, that was a most impressive total! I'm sure everyone must have enjoyed it. A shame the Cuckoo didn't cooperate though ;)

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Warren, It certainly is a relief, it helps that the estate is a picturesque place but you still want to be able to show people what can be seen :-)

Hi Greenie, Getting over 50 species on one of these walks isn't the norm but we were out quite a long time from 7-11.30. The Alabonia is great I love the metallic looking markings on the forewing.

Hi Roger, I'm really pleased you enjoyed the walk, the weather was a great help, it would be great to see you in the autumn. Thanks for coming along on Saturday and posting a comment here, much appreciated.

Hi ShySongbird, it was nice to see lots of people out and as Roger said the weather was a real plus. I was hoping the Cuckoo would appear in the veg garden where I had the two on Friday but maybe that would have been a bit greedy :-)

Bob Bushell said...

A lovely walk and full of moths and birds.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Bob, Thanks, it was a lovely morning