Sunday, November 28, 2010

Climbing Bank Vole

The cold weather has made the Bank Voles in the garden much bolder. One has taken to climbing an ivy-covered fence to get at some fat balls in a feeder hanging nearby. At least three others feed below it.

Videoscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Leica APO77x20

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Biking Birder

Well it was excellent to be able to meet up with Gary yesterday and offer him somewhere to stay. Gary's epic journey around the UK visiting every RSPB and WWT reserve, not to mention a fair few ECO Schools, continues through Cambridgeshire and I was able to join him for the ride to the Nene Washes this morning.

There were not that many birds on show and nothing to add to Gary's 242 species total (chasing the record of 251) but it was a fabulous morning; icy cold and still with a cracking sunrise.

Keep going Gary and good luck:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Office Short-eared Owl

Waxwing in the morning, Short-eared Owl in the afternoon. Crikey!

Sitting at my desk I picked up a distant group of four high-flying birds heading towards me high in the one small patch of sky I can see from here. When I put my bins on them I was astonished to see one was an owl. I scrabbled to get a scope but by that time it was getting closer and too high so I stayed on it with bins and watched as it passed directly over the office heading WNW shadowed by three Carrion Crows. It stayed fairly high but was clearly a Short-eared Owl, the pale belly and solid black primary tips being obvious with bins.

61st species seen from this office window following the 60th this morning. What next?!

Office Waxwing

Spent this morning searching the Nene Valley from Castor Meadows eastwards following yesterday's sighting of a Great Grey Shrike at Ferry Meadows. There were a lot of birds around, especially winter thrushes moving west. The highlights were two large gangs of passerines mobbing birds: the first was near Lynch Bridge, which led to very close views of a roosting Tawny Owl in a yew and the second was a Sparrowhawk at the north end of Coney Meadow. Plenty of Siskins were around the NVR Yacht Club crossing and there were a lot of Goldcrests around generally.

Of course there was no sign of the shrike but on arriving at work I looked out of the window to see this beauty sat on the treetop behind the houses opposite. No doubt attracted by the rowans on Park Road this was a very welcome office tick.

Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

Digiscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Leica APO77 x20

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Merveille du Jour

The second Merveille du Jour for the garden. The last was in 2005. Also Feathered Thorn, Red-green Carpet, Brick, Yellow-line Quaker, Red-line Quaker, Beaded Chestnut, Green-brindled Crescent and Garden Rose Tortrix.

Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina

Canon Powershot A640

Sunday, October 24, 2010

West Penwith, August

Only just got around to sorting out the photos from a superb 10 day visit to West Cornwall at the end of August. We normally go to Sennen in late October but for various reasons ended up going around the summer bank holiday. An excellent week with lots of walking, some surfing and a fair bit of rock climbing plus of course plenty of wildlife.

A good series of Basking Shark records, a couple of Sunfish and good seabird passage, with quite a few Storm Petrels, Balearic and Sooty Shearwaters.


Roesel's Bush-cricket Metrioptera roeseli

Grey Bush-cricket Platycleis albopunctata

Speckled Bush-cricket Leptophyes punctatissima

Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus


Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata

Prausta despicata

Grayling Hipparchia semele

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas

Wall Lasiommata megera

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria

Fox Moth Macrothylacia rubi, larva

Emperor Moth Saturnia pavonia, larva

Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua, larva

Other insects and arachnids


Rose Chafer Cetonia aurata

Harvestman eating grasshopper


Common Toad Bufo bufo

Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara


Beautiful Demoiselle Calopteryx virgo

Golden-ringed Dragonfly Cordulegaster boltonii


Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

Jackdaw Corvus monedula, eating Slow worm

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Stonechat Saxicola rubicola, juvenile


Basking Shark Cetorhinus maximus

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gannets and Crane

I took a bike ride out to Bradley Fen this lunchtime but long before I got there I noticed four juvenile Gannets were circling low over me as I biked across the Frank Perkins viaduct. They headed off over Fletton and I rang Mike Weedon over at Lynchwood to get him to put the news out.

Ten minutes later I had a call from him to say they had just flown past his office over the East of England Showground. At that moment I was at the west end of Bradley Fen and had just noticed an adult Crane flying over me. This drifted off over Stanground where it gained height and headed off west. Sure enough ten minutes later Mike had this go over the office too! Unknown to us at the time Matt Webb had seen the same bird from Ferry Meadows.

Multiple observations of the same birds as they fly through are strangely satisfying and the whole experience made for an exciting and entertaining lunchhour.

I'd seen one Gannet earlier this autumn taking the same route as the four here. It was also seen by Steve Dudley as it flew over the town bridge five minutes before I saw it crossing Nene Parkway and heading over Orton Mere.

With the six seen by Matt and Don the day before my single Gannet is becoming a positively common bird in the area!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Autumn Moths

A good selection of typical autumn moths last night. Pink-barred Sallow is only the second garden record (last in 2007) and Light Brown Apple Moth only the fourth. The Marbled Beauty is an unusually late record.

Pink-barred Sallow Xanthia togata

Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta

Large Ranunculus Polymixis flavicincta

Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria

The Sallow Xanthia icteritia

Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae

ab. capucina

Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis

The Chestnut Conistra vaccinii

Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa

Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri

Marbled Beauty Cryphia domestica

Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana

A good selection of moths last night during this mild spell of weather.

Canon Powershot A640

35 moths of 23 species
0998 Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) 1
1048 Garden Rose Tortrix (Acleris variegana) 1
1795x November Moth agg, (Epirrita dilutata agg.) 1
1923 Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria) 2
2087 Turnip Moth (Agrotis segetum) 1
2107 Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 1
2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) 1
2199 Common Wainscot (Mythimna pallens) 1
2240 Blair's Shoulder-knot (Lithophane leautieri) 1
2245 Green-brindled Crecent (Allophyes oxyacanthae) 3
2245 Green-brindled Crecent (Allophyes oxyacanthae) 1
2252 Large Ranunculus (Polymixis flavicincta) 1
2258 The Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 1
2263 Red-line Quaker (Agrochola lota) 1
2264 Yellow-line Quaker (Agrochola macilenta) 1
2267 Beaded Chestnut (Agrochola lychnidis) 5
2270 Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa) 1
2272 Barred Sallow (Xanthia aurago) 4
2273 Pink-barred Sallow (Xanthia togata) 1
2274 The Sallow (Xanthia icteritia) 2
2306 Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) 1
2361 Rosy Rustic (Hydraecia micacea) 1
2441 Silver Y (Autographa gamma) 1
2477 The Snout (Hypena proboscidalis) 1

Friday, October 08, 2010

Rock Pipit, Ferry Meadows

Matt Webb found two Rockits on the rocky shore of Gunwade Lake at Ferry Meadows this afternoon. One showed very well as I cycled past on the way home but I'm sure two more flew off. So perhaps there were three!?

Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus

Digiscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Leica APO77x20