Thursday, September 29, 2016

Car-park Nightjar

The first bird we saw in Catalunya last week was this Nightjar I spotted on the rail of the multi-storey car-park at Barcelona airport. A resting migrant, I presume.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wee Adder

Redstart at Ferry Meadows CP

This presumed first-winter male Redstart was hanging out in 'Redstart Corner' on Heron Meadows for a few days last week.

Friday, September 16, 2016

'Sammy' the seal

All Common Seals which find their way inland along the Nene as far as the Peterborough area or along the Welland as far as the Deepings are invariably called Sammy. It is all their parents ever name them. Last year a Sammy was seen outside people's houses in Deeping St James, gaining plenty of publicity, plus a few ignorant fishing types calling for his killing! Last Thursday I found this one near Crowland bridge (next to the White Cliffs of Crowland where Shaggy the Shag roosts). And yesterday, Will Bowell refound it. I think that unless the spotting and pattern changes radically with time, this is a different Sammy from last year's individual.

'Shaggy' the Shag

All Shags which find their way inland along the Nene as far as the Peterborough area or along the Welland as far as the Deepings are invariably called Shaggy. This is the bird Ed and I found the other day, while fishing near the 'green bridge' near where the Deeping High Bank road leaves the Welland towards Spalding. It has roosted on the White Cliffs of Crowland (the water tower by the Crowland Bridge) for the last three nights, including last night.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Elephant Hawkmoth, Ferry Meadows CP

Photos by Guy Procter, who happened to be passing when I found this beastie by Lynch Farm.

Deepings Shag

I was out looking for Otters with Ed last night on the River Welland near Crowland, Lincs, on a road following what is known as the Deeping High Bank. Will Bowell had seen one earlier in the afternoon there. Will came and joined us in the search but we had no luck and we eventually drifted along to Deeping Lakes LWT, where the highlight was a briefly visiting juvenile male Ruff.
The sun had set when we then drove back past the Crowland water tower by the bridge and continued north and east. Will was in front and drove right past a Shag. He later said he immediately thought he'd be getting a call saying we had a Shag on the river. That call came a few seconds later.
We turned the cars round and waited on the bank for the Shag to swim by. But instead it flew west toward the bridge and beyond. A drive past failed to find it and Will continued on to search for it to the west. Ed and I turned round to search again for Otters. Instead Ed remarked that there was a Cormorant on top of the water tower. Surely this was the Shag.
So, we turned around again and there it was on top of the water tower. It flew off through, circled round and came back to the roof of the tower. Later, we were joined by Bob and Sue Titman and we all watched the Shag in the virtual dark.
A few minutes later we were watching a large (male?) Otter snorkelling in the Welland. It was my first Deepings Otter and my first local Shag away from the Nene valley.
A standard joke I have used for years was to call any Cormorant on the Welland or at Deeping lakes a Deepings Shag, after failing to see any of the claimed Shags over the years. That joke can now take a rest...
By the way, Ed and I were out again this morning and saw the Shag flying north-east along the river, perhaps leaving the PBC area and heading back to sea.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Convolvulus Hawkmoth

I was at RSPB Minsmere last week, mainly posing for photos for Bird Watching magazine, but also doing a spot of birding. However, perhaps the highlight of the day was this whopper of a caterpillar rumbling along one of the paths. I believe it is a Convolvulus Hawkmoth, which is quite a scarce migrant moth. Caterpillars of this species seem to be variable in colour. But the spots and red 'tail spike' I think point to this moth.

Monday, September 05, 2016