Wednesday 21 July 2010

A not very Poplar Hawk Moth

At precisely 11.32pm last night, as I lay asleep in bed, my wife Julia shook me up to wake me up, "There's a huge moth in the bedroom, it just flew in through the window, get it" and then she took cover under the duvet. Rubbing my blurry eyes I expected to find a small moth fluttering around the light, but instead I was pleasantly suprised to see in fact it was a Poplar Hawk Moth. After a few minutes of bashing around the walls it settled on the curtains. Downstairs I went to get a camera to take a few snaps, before coaxing the beast out of the window, much to Julia's relief.

That's Lime, Privet and now Poplar Hawk Moth in and around my house within a month or so.

Sunday 11 July 2010

Jono hears that the White Tailed Plover is relocated on Wanstead Flats

British Grand Prix Twitch

On Friday I was offered two tickets for the qualifying session for the British Grand Prix. Although not into motor racing it was a too good opportunity to miss. Jamie (my 10 year old) and I joined Chris and James Butcher (in Jamie's class) for the day at Silverstone.

And they're off!

Lewis Hamilton leaving the pits

And again meeting the crowds

Michael Schumacher!

Jenson Button's disappointing time left him 14th on the starting grid for the race itself

River Warbler Twitch

Another after work twitch saw Hawky, Shaun and myself fight our way though the rush hour traffic leaving London/Essex for north east Norfolk. The slow journey was brightened up at Thetford when Shaun spotted a large raptor from the back seat as we sat in a traffic jam. A few seconds later a large female Goshawk drifted into view, circling over the road. There it remained for 30 seconds or so. Unfortunately none of us had our cameras ready for action.

An hour or so later we arrived on site, suprised to see so many birders already there. The bird could be heard from the car parking area singing loudly buried deep in undergrowth. It continued singing, but not showing for 30 minutes or so before it suddenly stopped. An hour or so later Shaun and I caught glimpse of a warbler as it appeared through the thicket to the right, stopped for about 2 seconds, before flying roughly in the direction where the River Warbler had previously been singing. Coincidence or nor, 2 minutes later the singing started again from the same spot as before. Again it did not show from the spot. It was now 9pm and we were starting to worry it may not be our night. All of a sudden the larger group all looked left to the reeded area as the bird had obvioulsy flown from its hiding place. The singing then became much more constant although we still could not see the bird.

A few birders were looking very intently through their scopes at the front of the throng, pointing and seemed to be giving hushed directions to the those directly around them. After 5 minutes we began to wonder if they could see the bird?

Me - "Excuse me mate, have you got the bird in your scope?"
Git - "Yes"
Me - under my breathe - "for bleeps sake thanks for telling everyone "
Me - "Can you tell us where it is then, please"

I think a few people took this notice a little too literally.

With 98% of the birders there not seeing it and then light fading badly, a mini panic started with everyone looking through the scopes of the very few that had got on to it from the sketchy directions given. Eventually with the light beating us I think everyone got onto it. By it, I mean a brown blob singing loudly. Life tick (#372). The evening was rounded off with both Barn and Tawny Owls hunting in the field behind the still singing River Warbler.

A note to all birders/twitchers:

Wednesday 7 July 2010

White Tailed Plover - Rainham Marshes (not Merseyside!)

Just 6 weeks since doing the 500 mile round trip to see this mega rare wader in Merseyside, my 2nd of the year (surely the same bird?) turns up on my door step, just a 15 minute drive away at Rainham Marshes! Better views were had here (not looking through a fence helps!) If it stays the 1st for London and Essex will surely pull in a massive crowd over the coming days.
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Tuesday 6 July 2010

Hornchurch Hawk Moth Bonanza Continues

Is Hornchurch is the hawkmoth capital of Britain! The 2nd Lime Hawk Moth in Hornchurch of the last few weeks was this time found by Shaun in his back garden. This individual was considerably smaller than the previous one found a couple of weeks ago, but was still very smart. Add that to 2 Privet Hawk Moths last week, that's 4, all found in day light, and not a trap or fluorescent light in site.

I really must get up to Naarfok for this River Warbler soon! Watch this space.