Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pied Flycatcher at Murrow

It has been a long time coming, but it was definitely worth it! My longest most irritating bogey bird has finally been and gone and been a-ticked. I can't count the number of hours I have spent attempting to twitch the untwitchable Pied Flycatcher, the amount of frustration I have experienced or the number of times I have thought, aha, this is the day I find a Piedy Fly.
I only feel sorry for the Peterborough area listers who were out of town today, notably John Saunders and most painful of all Brian Stone, who has 'needed' Pied Fly longer than me.
This first-winter bird turned up in Marie Barton's exceptional garden in Murrow, in the east of the PBC area. Last year she had a Yellow-browed Warbler there (which proved elusive). It arrived yesterday and thanks to some nasty weather last night, and her persistent viewing this morning, it was still around at around 12.30pm. Jasmine and I arrived at 1.30pm and were given grandstand seats for the wondrous action in the front garden (which looks a perfect Pied Flycatcher spot). Thank you very much, Marie.
My digiscoping camera was out of juice, but I managed these snaps with the DSLR and 300mm lens.
Bogey finally picked, I am very happy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wheatear at Maxey pits, 25.8.11

In the early 2000s, when I was new to Peterborough, I used to think Wheatears were pretty scarce passage migrants in these parts. These days, they are regular as clockwork and in good numbers, usually dozens per year in the Peterborough area. One of the most reliable sites, be it spring or autumn is Maxey pits' Etton Road site.
There is a particular slope with gravelly rabbit holes which they appear at with incredible consistency. They use the hole entrances as retreats/look-out posts whenever a human comes near. It is fascinating to think how they must fly by on their long movements north and south and home-in on this tiny patch of ground.
Incidentally, I think the black lores make this bird a very fresh male.
Anyhow, these shots were digiscoped with the Canon Powershot S95 and in my opinion show that is a very capable digiscoping beast. Though the photos were taken at about 1/80sec hand-held, in rather dim light, they are pretty darn sharp.
What do you think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Moth ID: White-point

I have had several Clays this year, and when I saw this moth it struck me that it was its similar rare (in these parts) confusion species, White-point. My photos are so bad, that I may find it hard to make a convincing case. Then again, they may be good enough to make a chump of me. What do you think, mothers, White-point or Clay?
STOP PRESS: The experts on Cammoths have confirmed that this moth is indeed a White-point, which has been recorded in good numbers apparently this year in Cambs. I believe there have also been a couple of VC32 (northants) records this year.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today's moth goodies

Orange Sallow, one of two in the trap this morning

The Crescent

Old Ladies

Garden Sedge Warbler

We have and a brilliant year for warblers in our maturing garden, with seven species now recorded. The first Sedge Warbler of the year remained an unseen singer, deep within a bush, but this little fellow is more extrovert, coming to feed on insects among our pond's vegetation. I snapped this this morning while I was processing moths this morning.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

One or two more moths

Six-striped Rustic (new for garden)

Brown China-mark (ditto)

Orange Swifts

Large Tabby

Straw Underwing, just because it is very handsome...

Gold Spot

I make no apologies for posting several photos of this most gorgeous of moths. A new moth for the garden, last night and 'rather local' in VC32.


Southern Hawkers

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Moths last night

Maiden's Blush

Dark Sword-grass

Straw Underwing
Maiden's Blush and Dark Sword-grass were new for the garden. The Straw Underwing (new for the year) was in immaculate condition.

Wood Sandpiper

John Saunders found a Wood Sandpiper at Maxey pits this morning. I went to check it out at midday and found there were two there. This is a very distant digiscoped photo of the less boldly marked of the two. My own particular jury is still out on the Canon Powershot S95 as a digiscoping camera, but it does excel at very long range shots.


Friday, August 12, 2011


Whinchat at Maxey pits

I twitched this Whinchat at Maxey pits today. My PBC year list has now reached 165, I think...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

My kind of moth

This moth, caught on 2nd August was the sixth Toadflax Brocade I have caught this summer in our Peterborough garden. There is clearly some kind of population around here, while no one else in VC32 (Northants and P'boro) has yet recorded one as far as I know. These are lovely little moths, and at least the ID is not in doubt, unlike the Euxoa darts I have caught recently (such as the one below)...

White-line Dart?

I caught this individual last night in Peterborough, and am looking for confirmation of its identity. Any ID help would be gratefully received. As far as I can tell (if With the eye of faith, I would say that with the eye of faith, you can see traces of the little blackish arrowheads in the outer part of the wing, which would point to White-line Dart. But with no experience of these species, I may be missing other features. I have the basic ID right), the possible confusion is with the rare Square-spot Dart.
Or is it a weird-looking Garden Dart?
White-line Dart is described as 'very local' in VC32 (northants and Peterborough), though 60 years ago it was apparently very common in some localities.