Welcome to my world..............

Saturday, 27 August 2011

What a cracking place...to be sure

I have just returned from a great week away visiting parts of south-west Ireland, names of places I have heard of but could not pin down on a map, and those that conjure up visions of hordes of seabirds battling by rocky headlands.  Day One was the long drive from Yorkshire to Holyhead, highspeed ferry to Dublin (actually quite good for seabirds), and then a drive to the west-coast on the Dingle peninsula.

Heading south through the amazing Killarny National Park, heading for Mizen Head in the extreme south-west, in the hope of getting some seabird passage in the stiff breeze.  Of course on arrival, the wind eased, and rain dampened an attempt at moth-trapping in the nearby reed-bed, with only two moths trapped.  All day sea-watching off Mizen Head brought thousands of Manx, Gannets, Kittiwakes, the odd Arctic Skua but no large shearwaters.  Still a great place, with Choughs calling and flying around the whole time.  The nearby beach and shallow reedy pool was good for waders, and I could just imagine the number of yank waders that must have made first land-fall here...but not today.
Chough, Mizen Head

The next night was spent trapping at the head of a small rocky ravine surrounded by moorland at Oughtminnee on the north side of Mizen, and a successful night with some interesting moths.  A couple of featureless grey 'things' defying identification, now turn out to be Sweet Gale Moth, a goody no less.

Dark Spectacle

Sweet Gale Moth

Scarce Footman

Straw Underwing
A leisurely drive to Rosscarbery, where the fantastic estuary could easily be seen from the road, and loads of waders were scrutinised for rarities, but even the numerous common ones were a pleasure.  That night, I trapped on the sand-dunes at Castlefreke Warren, and added While-line Dart to the trip list.
White-line Dart
The renowned Ballycotton was signposted off the main drag east, and a pleasant walk around the area produced hundreds of adult Six-spot Burnets, with at least a thousand larval cases among the rough grass.
Six-spot Burnet

Following the coast road to the east, I ended up at a place called Fennor Bog south of Waterford, and although it started off as a calm and clear night, I was woken up just before midnight by rain spotting on the window, and by the time I got out to the traps, it was thrashing down, and I managed to get a cover on the Robinson trap, but not quick enough to save the bulb from blowing on the one suspended over the sheet.  I left the MV running, despite the rain, and ended up with a reasonable haul the next morning.
Haworth's Minor

Round-winged Muslin 
 Next morning a pleasant drive east again, over the ferry to Ballyhack, and down to Hook Head, and then up the coast to Wellingtonbridge.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Oh alright...it's not that bad....

Saturday night was the first decent night for over a week, and Staveley NR was the site of choice.  As mentioned before, it is quite a long trek there with all the equipment, and I have to enlist the assistance of Emily's stable wheelbarrow....you don't think I would choose one of that colour, surely?  It is embarrassing enough strapping it to the roof of the car, and thankfully I have not met that many people at Staveley.  The barrow has to take a generator, a Robinson trap, a Gladiator trap, sleeping bag, books, tripod, sheets, two reels of cable etc., and there is a fine art in getting it all on without losing any on the way. 
So, on to the nights results.  It was a balmy +14, and the 98% moon was hidden for much of the night by high cloud.  It is that time of the year when summer species are on the decline, and a little early for the autumnal ones.  However, it paid off, with at least three new species for me, and a micro awaiting confirmation from Charlie.  Of c.350 moths of just over 70 species, the new ones were Water Veneer Acentria ephemerella, Brown-veined Wainscot Archanara dissoluta and Silky Wainscot Chilodes maritimus.  
Water Veneer
Brown-veined Wainscot
Silky Wainscot
 The other highlights were a Pale Eggar, several Bulrush Wainscot, and a Fen Wainscot, and a couple more each of Double Lobed and Crescent which I only had for the first time on the previous visit..
Pale Eggar
Not a bad night after all, and I think I got the wheelbarrow back to the yard before too many people saw me.....

Friday, 12 August 2011

Where has the summer gone....?

Another week goes by, with either wet, cool or breezy nights, and in some cases all at once!  In 5 years trapping in N Yorkshire, between mid March and the end of September, I have trapped around the area at least once in every week throughout the period.....except for 6th-12th August.  Despite targeting this week to fill in a 'blank', the weather has just not been suitable and it remains the only uncovered week.  Each summer has been totally unexceptional since moving north, and I can only say that if it had not been for a week in Corfu, it would be ........

Monday, 8 August 2011

Crane at Nosterfield

The Crane has been at Nosterfield for weeks now, but today is the first time I have actually seen it...and even then I nearly missed it!  It was fast asleep curled up on the ground among the hundreds of Greylag Geese, and it was only when it lifted its head you could actually see it.  It eventually stood up and walked to the waters edge, and flapped about a bit, probably stretching its wings in the stiff breeze, but looked very much like the display dance that they do.

A couple of Dunlin and a Ringed Plover, and a second generation Brimstone, a Holly Blue, and a Common Darter were the only others of note.

Nearby on the Nosterfield NR, an adult and three juvenile Avocets were feeding in the nearest pool to the hide.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Wainscots.....well a few, but at least 6 new moths

With August being peak Wainscot month, and a calm muggy night on the cards, it had to be Staveley NR, and a couple of traps in the reed-beds.  As it turned out, not too many wainscots, but did include Fen, Bulrush, Southern and Smoky.  Two marsh-dwelling macros did reveal themselves, and were new for me, Double Lobed and Crescent, with 15 of the first and just a single of the latter.
Double Lobed
Several micros were new for me too, several of which are awaiting confirmation, but those I am happy with are a Pseudopostega crepusculella, five Orthotelia sparganella, three Calamotropha paludella and a rather faded pyralid that was an Endotricha flammealis (a first for the Harrogate area).
Orthotelia sparganella
Calamotropha paludella
Endotricha flammealis

The moths of interest included a Pseudopostega crepusculella, Caloptilia robustella, seven Bird-cherry Ermine, five Orthotelia sparganella, an Elachista atricomella, two Mompha raschkiella, a Lobesia abscisana, two Epinotia nisella, a Cydia fagiglandana, seven Chilo phragmitella, three Calamotropha paludella, a Eudonia pallida, two Small China-mark, a Endotricha flammealis, two Trachycera advenella, a Triple-spotted Pug, Bordered Beauty, two Antler Moth, seven Clay, Southern Wainscot, 30 Smoky Wainscot, 15 Double Lobed, three Small Dotted Buff, two Dusky Sallow, a Crescent, two each of Bulrush Wainscot, Fen Wainscot and Silver Y,

And just to round the day off, while setting the straw in the stable for Leo, a small moth was disturbed and settled on a rug, and it turned out to be a Meal Moth Pyralis farinalis, in typical habitat and another new one for me, just rounding off a productive 24 hours.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Μια μεγάλη εβδομάδα στην Κέρκυρα.....it's all Greek to me....

A great week in Corfu had an iffy start with rain showers on the first morning, but cleared up for a week of solid sunshine and daily temperatures in the low 30's.  The four apartment block saw a bit of a family takeover, with extended family taking up three of the four apartments.
Agios Stephanos
Villa from the pool
 How fantastic to wake up to the sun rising over the Albanian mountains, Red-rumped Swallows and Alpine Swifts dashing by, and the odd Olivaceous Warbler creeping around the garden and distant Sardinian Warblers rattling away in the distance.  
Dawn from the balcony
Night time meant up to ten Scops Owls calling from the Olive trees between the small fishing village and the villa, and a handful of moths attracted to the veranda light including Blair's Mocha, Latin and Passenger, plus other odds and ends.
Endotricha flammealis
Blair's Mocha
The garden flowers attracted numerous butterflies, including Swallowtail, Scarce Swallowtails and Cleopatras, and the fabulously blue Carpenter Bees were fairly numerous.
Scarce Swallowtail
The highest point on the island is Platokrantus at around 3000', giving views of the whole island, and on a clear day Italy can be seen over 80 miles away.
North coast near Spyradon, looking east towards Albania
So, a great week had by all, great company with all of the family, good Greek food, cold beer, fantastic scenery, superb apartment and location, and just a great pleasure to be warm.  What I do not understand is with the Euro so week, the pound must be as bad, and prices in Corfu were extremely expensive.  Still, for just one week of the year, it was so worth it.