Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ichneumon stramentarius

An endoparasite on moth larvae. This was in the garden this afternoon, photographed on Mexican Orange Blossom.

Ichneumon stramentarius

Nikon Coolpix P4

Saturday, April 29, 2006

More Wheatears

A pleasant sunny morning at Serpentine BP. Garden Warbler and at least four Lesser Whitethroats singing. Still two male and a female Wheatear. The males may be two of the four seen yesterday by Mike Weedon but the female is an addition.

Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)


Lapwing chicks (Vanellus vanellus)

Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Friday, April 28, 2006

Arctic Tern, Ferry Meadows

Called in at Ferry Meadows several times on the way home from work in recent days hoping to find Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Sandwich Tern, Little Gull or Kittiwake. Well you never know. Anyway there were at least 4 Arctics over Gunwade Lake today and later in the evening 22 were at the park.

It's a bit hopeless trying to digiscope birds in flight, especially when they are on the far side of a large lake but here's an attempt.

Arctic Tern (Sterna arctica)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Grey Partridge

The car can make an excellent hide and in the open prairies of the Blackbush Fens allowed me to get close enough to snap these two Grey Partridge with the camera's normal 3x zoom.

Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix)

Nikon Coolpix P4

Mothing still slow

Things are normally quite slow on the mothing front until about this time of year and this season is a little later than recent years. Here are some pictures of recent year firsts. First two are from the garden and last two from a short session at Woodwalton Fen.

Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea)

Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria)

Water Carpet (Lampropteryx suffumata)

Lunar Marbled Brown (Drymonia ruficornis)

Nikon Coolpix P4

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Common Footman Larva

The latest addition to the relatively short list of moths breeding in my garden. This 15mm long, early instar larva was near the moth trap this morning. It has been happily munching on an algae-ridden rock all day. Adult moths continue to be rather disappointing so far this year.

Click images for larger pictures.

Common Footman larva (Eilema lurideola)

Nikon CP 995


This pair and another two males were at Stibbington GP today.

Mandarin (Aix galericulata)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Garden wasp tick

This is the fourth species of wasp I've identified in the garden so far. It is a sizable queen.

German Wasp (Vespula germanica)

Coolpix P4

Serpentine BP

Among the birds seen here today.

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blue-headed Wagtail

This bird has now been present for at least 3 days. I chanced a few digiscoped shots despite being over 70m away and in a hell of a wind and the results are not as bad as I had feared. This would have been considerably more difficult with the old 995.

Blue-headed Wagtail (Motacilla flava flava)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Nut-tree Tussock and Dotted Chestnut

Two new moths for me during a good session trapping at my parent's place in Hampshire. The Nut-tree Tussock was a female and laid a good batch of eggs in a pot. Follow the attempts to rear these through on the Nut-tree Tussock Blog

125W MV Skinner:
1881 Early Tooth-striped (Trichopteryx carpinata), 1
1927 Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria), 1
1930 Oak Beauty (Biston strataria), 2
2182 Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda), 11
2186 Powdered Quaker (Orthosia gracilis), 1
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi), 8
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta), 2
2189 Twin-spotted Quaker (Orthosia munda), 6
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica), 10
2243 Early Grey (Xylocampa areola), 1
*2260 Dotted Chestnut (Conistra rubiginea), 1
*2425 Nut-tree Tussock (Colocasia coryli), 1
* = first for me

Dotted Chestnut (Conistra rubiginea)

Nut-tree Tussock (Colocasia coryli)

Oak Beauty (Biston strataria)

Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria)

Oak & Brindled Beauties

Early Tooth-striped (Trichopteryx carpinata)

Powdered Quaker (Orthosia gracilis)

Nikon CP P4 & 995

Friday, April 14, 2006

Blossom Underwing Again

Blossom Underwing is a rare moth in Hunts (VC31). My first on 29 March 2004 was the tenth for the VC and was thought to be a migrant. However now I've trapped another in the garden I am wondering if there is a population locally. The Moths of Northamptonshire site shows this may be possible:

Totals from two traps:
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 1
1917 Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria), 3
2183 Blossom Underwing (Orthosia miniosa), 1
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi), 3
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta), 2
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica), 6
2243 Early Grey (Xylocampa areola), 5

Blossom Underwing (Orthosia miniosa)

Nikon CP P4

Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria)

Nikon CP 995

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Green Woodpecker display

No Wheatears at Serpentine BP this morning but behaviour from Green Woodpeckers I've not witnessed before. The female in this picture was stretching her head and neck out and moving it from side to side in an exaggerated manner. At first I though this was for the benefit of the male nearby but then I noticed a second female on a branch not far away. This was stationary but eventually flew off.

Click here for a short video clip (1.3MB). The female is towards the bottom of the screen partly hidden by the tree.

Green Woodpeckers (Picus viridis)

Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Monday, April 10, 2006


A lunchtime trip to the Dog in a Doublet area provided an opportunity to snap these Oystercatchers and find another four Wheatears (at Stonebridge Corner). Plenty of Swallows on the move today and a couple of Grey Wagtails at the sluice.

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Wheatears galore

Following three males here on 29 March, it was good to find another four at Serpentine Brick Pit today. Three males and a female were at the far western end. Yet another four males were at StoneBridge Corner later today.

Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)


Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Saturday, April 08, 2006

One day in Purbeck

A short break based in Swanage and some excellent weather provided some good opportunities for trying out the P4. Here are some of the results.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)

Guillemots (Uria aalge)

Rock Pipit (Anthus petrosus)

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

These beetles still need identifying when I can get around to it. Many thanks for the help below. Oil beetles have a facinating life history. Click here for more info.

Darkling Beetle (Timarcha sp. (Chrysomelidae) - with thanks to Gyp')?

Oil Beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus)