Friday, 29 August 2008

Longfield - Moths

An interesting night in the moth trap but probably not if you are a moth. On opening up the trap this morning there must have been around 1000 small brown beetles in amongst all the egg boxes. Not sure what species they are but as I started to empty the trap they started to fly off and disperse. A good catch of moths as well both in and around the trap. White point 4, angle shades 2m brimstone 1, small emerald 1, rustic 2, mouse 3, large yellow underwing 10, lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing 3, lesser yellow underwing 2, square spot rustic 2, old lady 2, pale mottled willow 2, setaceaous hebrew character 1, thistle ermine 1, swallow prominent 1, the snout 1, cabbage moth 1, vines rustic 1 and tawny barred angle 1.

Thistle Ermine, a member of the Pyralid family and micro group of moths.

A couple of the many small beetles that had been attracted to the light trap overnight.

Weevils look amazing and very alien, this little chap was on the rim of the trap.

Another non moth caught in the trap overnight was this lovely wasp of the Ichneumon family

You have to look all around the trap to try and find those creatures that have been attracted but never quite made it by going inside. This morning I found two moths in my pond both of which I fished out and i'm happy to say are alive and well and the most beautiful moth of the night the swallow prominent was lurking in the shadows amongst the ivy behind my trap and almost got missed, clever thing. Very pleased with the 4 white points, hopefully this means that migration is well underway not only for moths but also for birds.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Longfield - Moths

In the moth trap last night were lesser broad bordered yellow underwing 12, square spot rustic 4, ruby tiger 1, spectacle 1, brimstone 1, flame shoulder 1, common rustic 2, lesser yellow underwing 1, garden carpet 1, rustic 2, large yellow underwing 6, staw underwing 1, white point 1, pale mottled willow 1. setaceous hebrew character 1, old lady 1 and an angle shades.
I then headed off down to Reculver for a wander where I heard that one of the local birders had caught 2 convolvulus hawk moths overnight, very nice, maybe in my garden one day.

Ruby Tiger

White Point, an immigrant and possible local breeder in the south of the UK. A good catch for my inland garden site.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Shorne Marshes

Apparently it's Thames marine mammal watch weekend although I cannot say it is the most heavily advertised event, I only knew because Lisa my wife caught a brief announcement on the London news on Friday. So it had to be a good time to see harbour porpoise on the Thames especially as there is not that much wind today. I'm pleased to announce that this trip to Shorne marshes has managed to maintain my 100% dip rate on trying to see any marine mammals from the fort shoreline. Still i'm not that downhearted, i'll keep trying as you never know. I only walked down the tarred road from the business park east of Shorne to the fort and back but had some nice wildlife encounters and a bit of photography fun.
A few marsh frogs were in evidence, mostly keeping quiet except when I went too close to the dyke edges and then they leapt from the bank into the ditch making some great plop! sounds.

I then managed to see 2 grass snakes in the water of one ditch, the first I have managed to catch up with this year, too quick for any photos though.
In my few visits to Shorne I had never noticed just quite how many pylons there were in the vicinity of the marshes.

A few butterflies were managing to make the most of the odd sunny spell, including red admiral, small white, gatekeeper, common blue, comma and this holly blue. When I first saw it sheltering on a bramble I fired off a couple of photos with my 300mm x 1.4 lens and then thought just how close could I go maybe with my 60mm macro. As the sun was behind some clouds I don't think it wanted to fly as I managed to get so close I couldn't focus.....

I think the holly blue had the last laugh though as I must have been a bit of an odd site to any passer by (and a few people did) with my head stuck into the adjoining prickly hawthorn bush.

You know autumn migration is happening when you start to see birds out of habitat and this 1st year reed warbler was no exception, looking for food amongst the branches of a hawthorn. A nice fresh individual.

Friday, 22 August 2008

KWT - Sevenoaks Reserve

A friend of mine informed me that some of my photos are on display at the reserve centre and as this was news to me I wanted to go and take a look. Unfortunately the centre is shut on a Friday so I went for a wander around as I hadn't visited the site before. What a great place, loads of little nooks and crannies crammed with dragonflies and damselflies, chiffs and willow warblers calling, blackcaps tacking some lovely great crested grebes and at least 5 kingfishers. Couldn't resist the following piccies.
Came across a group of 4 kingfishers one of which posed long enough for a lucky shot. This is a male due to the all black bill, the females have a red base.

There were some great spots for dragonflies and damselflies and I tried in vain to get some flight shots but managed to find this resting brown hawker.

There were a number of young great crested grebes around at various ages all with attentive parents. I just love the way this youngster is hitching a ride from mum/dad, just so cute.

Longfield - Moths

A surprisingly good night in the moth trap with brimstone 2, mouse moth 1, lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing 12, scarce footman 1, straw underwing 4, Agriphila geniculea 2, common rustic 1, willow beauty 1, large yellow underwing 5, garden carpet 2, square-spot rustuc 1, rustic 1, flame shoulder 1, turnip moth 1, lesser yellow underwing 1, orange swift 1 and pale mottled willow 1.
Square-spot Rustic

Orange Swift

Garden Carpet

Scarce Footman

Actually not that scarce but more a coastal speciality so I'm really pleased to have caught this in Longfield. It holds its wings tightly to its body curving them around its abdomen, another good feature is the broad pale line across the end of the forewing. For comparison I caught a common footman on the 20th June, if you check out the blog for that day.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Longfield - Moths

I've been out of the county a little bit recently. First across the Bay of Biscay guiding for the Company of Whales and it was a bit rough in fact gusting force 7 with a 4 metre swell which made it hard to find whales and dolphins. Over 3 days and with perseverance we managed to see 8 species of cetacean which was great including 3 breaching beaked whales. Then over to Essex to lead some wildlife walks for the Forestry Commission and Thames Chase at a place called Davey Down which went very well and I find good fun to do, especially when the weather is good.
So it was good to get back to Kent and get the moth trap running on Friday. An overnight effort with the mv trap produced straw dot 1, lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing 2, bright-line brown eye 1, pale mottled willow 2, straw underwing 2 and brimstone 1.

Straw Dot, this is a macro moth but could be mistaken for a pyralid type at first glance.

Straw Underwing

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Trosley Country Park

A mid afternoon wander around Trosley C.P. in the initially overcast conditions turned into a very pleasant stroll as the sun finally came through and blue sky appeared. Along the top ride a single migrant hawker checked us both out whilst the odd small white and meadow brown were in evidence. We also had a single slow worm under one of the corrugated sheets. Tried as a I could violet helleborine eluded me so giving up my search we went down the slope in the sunshine in the hope of a few butterflies. At the base of the slope plenty of marjoram was in flower and I must say that the numbers of butterflies was good to see. Meadow browns, common blues, chalkhill blues and small whites along with many bumblebees and hoverflies all seemed to be enjoying the sunshine and display of flowers. The climb back up to the wood had to be speedy so as not to get too wet in a passing shower. Then walking back to the car I suddenly noticed two violet helleborines. One is about 18 inches high and has at least 30 flowers ready to open up in around a week or so, the other was almost the opposite in stature only have two flowers ready to open. I was very pleased and rounded off the trip with a celebratory cuppa at the cafe.