A nights trapping in a clear, moonless and calm night certainly had an autumnal feel, although the temperature only dipped to +11 by 0300 in the morning. The smaller numbers of moths caught and some of the species certainly reflected this. However, the obvious highlight of the night were two Devon Carpets, the third and fourth Yorkshire records, following one I caught in the same site last August, and one this August at Hardcastle Crags. They must be resident in the county, and I am sure more records will follow.
Other moths caught were Centre-barred and Pink-barred Sallows, three Brown-spot Pinions and a splendid Red Underwing.
The map below published with permission of Butterfly Conservation, shows the current distribution (excluding the Hardcastle Crag record), although Dorset, Wiltshire and some east Midland records of all species still have yet to be added to the map.
Devon Carpet with kind permission of Butterfly Conservation
The rain overnight obviously dropped a few migrants down on the east coast including Ortolans at Kilnsea, Bempton and two at Filey. So with trepidation I set off to Bempton, and managed to miss that one by a couple of hours, and then on to Filey, where neither gave themselves up.
So hoorah, my record goes from strength to strength, and notch up a treble of misses.
On the good side, was the fantastic weather and plenty of regular migrants, particularly at Filey. There were at least six Whinchats, four Redstarts, two Pied Flys, five Spot Flys and odd Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Chiffs, and a Grasshopper Warbler.
As if to rub it in, there is a good picture of one of the Filey birds on Birdgides.....so that's what they look like!
A SE airstream, early September, and stubble fields on Flamborough Head.....surely absolutely ideal for an Ortolan. But no, despite a good tramp round, I have successfully managed to avoid seeing this mythical bird yet again.
Despite having a list comfortably in excess of 400 species, many of which I have found for myself over the years, I have steadfastly managed not to see this bunting. It is remarkable that despite having worked and lived in Dorset for 20 years, been birding all round the West country, and now living in another hotspot county in Yorkshire, it is still nothing but a dream. I have had numerous near misses, from about to go for one at Portland to hear that it had been run over, to watching a group of birders watching one, to being waved at by a mate who I thought was just being friendly but was actually trying to attract my attention as he had found a nice male on my local patch.
I have been to Cornwall and they turn up at Portland, and then back in Dorset to hear of others in Cornwall. So, if I manage another autumn where I avoid this mythical beast, I will be maintaining this record of failure. I can't help feeling that when I eventually do see one, it will actually be an anti-climax, removing a source of self-derision......
Despite all that, it was a beautiful day, and did see an Osprey over the lighthouse early on, and several Redstarts, Whitethroats and a Pied Flycatcher, and not one other birder. Bliss. Oh, and even driving through Bempton, I did not bother going to fight my way through all the twitchers to see the Brown Flycatcher, possibly due to the fact that I have already seen one more Brown Flycatcher than bloody Ortolan in England........