Thursday, August 31, 2006

Immigrant in Aylmerton

Had the moth trap on for a few hours last night and amongst the many Setaceous Hebrew Characters and the full compliment of Yellow Underwings was this fairly unspectacular but 'different' moth which turned out to be a Scarce Bordered Straw*, an immigrant from southern europe which turns up regularly in small numbers in Britain. Not shown here is the broad dark trailing edge to the hind wing which was quite distinct. GYL 163

Scarce Bordered Straw

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Well, what an eventful morning Saturday turned out to be! I was just walking up towards the Track when I received a phone call from Ian Prentice, another birder who lives in the parish. Ian and I go back yonks, as school kids we 'cut our teeth' together birding the salt marshes and mud flats of south-east Essex and several holidays to North Norfolk. Bizarrely, with very little communication or contact by either of us we have both ended up in the same parish in Norfolk! Anyway I digress, Ian phoned to say that he had what he was 99 percent certain was a Yellow-breasted Bunting in the next village of West Runton, and that he had lost sight of it but was having to leave the site because of another commitment. Knowing how good a birder Ian is I set of immediately, phoning a couple of people en route. As I turned into the cliff top carpark I noted my dad had already managed to get down there and jumping out of my vehicle I could see Ian frantically pointing downwards. A couple of seconds of confusion ensued as I thought he was indicating that the bird had gone on to the cliff face, but moving to a better angle I realized he was pointing to the fence. I scanned the fence directly infront of me and counted 4 Meadow Pipits before a muttered expletive and YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING!!! As I was taking a mental note of the birds distinguishing features my hand was already reaching for my camera which dangles constantly from the neck of my 'scope ( the bird was sitting on a fence, next to a public footpath, on the Norfolk coast, on a bank holiday Saturday- it wasn't going to be there long!) As I took my eye from the scope to attatch my camera the pipits, with the rare visitor in their midst flew up from the fence and turned west...and just kept going west...and didn't stop. Shortly afterwards other birders started turning up , most resigned to the fact that this one had given them the slip, a feeling I am only too well famliar with.. but for once , not this time!

Back home and the moth trap had lots in it but pretty much the same as in recent catches although there were Latticed Heath and a fine Red Underwing (escaped but I didnt care!) to keep the annual total going GYL 162.

Lattice Heath

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mid week Moths

Managed to run run the trap for a few hours Tuesday this week and added another three species to the garden year list for macro moths (160). Several Square spot- Rustic, a couple of Centre- barred Sallow and a single Twin- spot Wainscot

Square-spot Rustic

Centre-barred Sallow

Twin-spot Wainscot

This summer has certainly been a great one for Hummingbird Hawkmoth ( I saw another while at work today) and have even managed to make it in to the National newspapers (not sure where they get the 3 inch wingspan from though!) but unfortunately when they are in the garden they never appear when I have my camera to hand. However they also appear fairly regularly at my parents house and my mum managed to catch this one on her new go-gadget camera... not bad, not bad at all!

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Seen, Sealed, Delivered!

Took a walk down to my coastal patch this morning near Sheringham. With rain fall just before dawn I was hoping for a few grounded migrants but it soon became evident that this was not to be and the birding was disappointing: Guillimot 1 juv offshore, Arctic Skua 1w, Wheatear 1, Willow Warbler 1, Turtle Dove 1w. Whimbrel 3, Curlew 2, Turnstone 1w. Despite the lack of birds and the somewhat overcast conditions I did manage to take a few pics including this young Common Seal that was hauled up on the beach but looking quite healthy.

Common Seal

I always struggle to get close to butterflies but this morning I found several well settled in a hedgerow in lea of the wind, no sign of any Camberwell Beauty though, which would have been nice!

Common Blue

Brown Argus

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Had the moth trap on all night last night, a fair haul this morning, with the majority being Large Yellow underwings, Flame Shoulders and Setaceous hebrew Character but also small numbers of the following: Gold Spot*1, Six-striped Rustic* 3, Coxcombe Prominent 1, Poplar Hawkmoth1, Orange Swift* 2, Oak Hooktip 2, Rosy Rustic 2, Spectacle 1, Rustic 1, Small Pheonix 1, Straw Dot 5, Bloodvein 1, Common Rustic 2, Mouse Moth 1, Svensson's Copper-underwing 2, Flounced Rustic*1, Canary-shouldered Thorn*2. GYL 157. Not much in way of bird movement from the garden, several Swift still being noted and a Hobby drifted west at lunch time.

Gold Spot

Flounced Rustic

Canary-shouldered Thorn

Six-striped Rustic

Monday, August 14, 2006

Owl in a Barn

Anyone who has glanced at the winter months of this blog will have not failed to realise that in Norfolk we are blessed by a particularly healthy population of Barn Owls. Now, I find Barn Owls addictively photographic, but this enigmatic youngster seen yesterday was a true star, and came complete with its own barn!

Barn Owl

...the start of a Harry Worth impression maybe ?! (target audiance only!)

' can look at it two ways....this way....'

'.....or this way!'

Saturday, August 12, 2006

work,work,work + wet,wet,wet = notta lotta blog!

Have finally managed to find some time to update today! Well, over the past fortnight our localised drught has well and truely ended! The rain on some days has been huge and more than once the pond has spilt onto the road (though no goldfish swimming down the street yet!) On the bird front it's still fairly quiet though did manage to jam in on a fly over Green Sandpiper on the 6th GYL 83. The moth trap has been somewhat rested in the wet, and of recent the wind but did manage another addition on the evening of the 5th, a Sallow Kitten*. GYL 151

Sallow Kitten this moth is closely related to the Prominents.

The highlight of the past two weeks was finally catching up with an immigrant dragonfly, the Yellow -winged Darter. These insects from the continent have turned up in small numbers this summer in Norfolk, and I managed to get some shots of this one on Beeston Common, Sheringham.

Yellow-winged Darter showing the 'half and half' coloured abdomon

Yellow-winged Darter showing the delicately marked yellow wings

Bringing Aylmerton bang up to date, the set a-side next to us has had its yearly hair cut, it always seems ashame to cut these areas when they're bursting with insects, grasses and weeds but I suppose it does mean that we'll see it all again next year. It's also the annual village fete today although alas, as I write this the first spit of rain is hitting the window...typical!

Set-a-side maintainance