Monday, August 27, 2007

Moth trapping

Angle Shades
  • Angle Shades: 1
  • Burnished Brass: 1
  • Common Rustic: 5
  • Common Wainscot: 7
  • Copper Underwing: 2
  • Dark Arches: 2
  • Dusky Wainscot: 6
  • Flame Shoulder: 7
  • Garden Carpet: 3
  • Green Carpet: 3
  • Heart & Club: 1
  • Large Yellow Underwing: 32
  • Least Carpet: 1
  • Light Emerald: 1
  • Setaceous Hebrew Character: 4
  • Silver Y: 2
  • Square-spot Rustic: 1
  • Straw Underwing: 3
  • The Rustic: 3
  • The Spectacle: 1
  • The Uncertain: 3
  • The Vestal: 3
  • Willow Beauty: 2
photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Surf's up!

On the beach at Minsmere

Looking towards Southwold

The great British (?) tradition, the sandcastle

Ringed Plovers fleeing from the bank holiday crowds

Sizewell at 6.34 am. The Kittiwakes were screeching already

Darren tried seawatching but didn't see anything except butterflies...

Red Admirals (and a few Small Tortoiseshells) were crossing the North Sea (presumably from the Netherlands). This one made landfall on a nice warm metal NT sign

Can you feel the sand between your toes?

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Minsmere dragonflies

male Emerald damselfly

Emperor ovipositing

I could have spent all day at the pools near the Minsmere visitor centre, as there were a few Southern Hawkers flying round, tantalisingly within camera range. However, I spent 10 minutes there and didn't quite manage any shots... Maybe next year??

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Suffolk heathland

Hobby hawking for dragonflies

Grayling basking on gorse


Robin's pin-cushion gall, made by the wasp Diplolepis rosae

Gorse and blackberries

Marsh Harrier - not a very heathy species, but it was flying over it!

Robin (without its pin-cushion)

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Friday, August 24, 2007

Eyeing up Cornwall

Mmmm... Sennen Cove viewed in Google Earth.


Seems like everyone else is being 'tagged' with these meme things so I thought I'd tag myself. The questions were set by Cogresha, of Earth House Hold.

1. What is the coolest bird you have seen from your home?
From my current home, I think it's got to be the Peregrine that I watched picking at a pigeon in the field at the back of the house. Having said that, the Hobby that dashed past one evening was pretty smart, as are the Barn Owls we see occasionally and the Green Woodpeckers that still visit quite frequently to lick up ants from the lawn...

From previous house windows, I've seen a herd of Bewick's Swans, Common Terns carrying fish, Waxwings eating buds and a solitary Tree Sparrow, so I've done quite well.

2. If you compose lists of bird species seen, what is your favourite list and why?
When I lived and worked in Peterborough, I used to be a mad-keen local lister, but then I got a job in a different place and twitching things became much more difficult. So I threw in the towel, though not before I'd reached 200 species!

I don't bother with county or life lists so the garden list is the only one important to me at the moment. It's on 74 now, in the space of nine months.

3. What sparked your interest in birds?
Not sure, really, though my paternal grandfather kept birds (mostly canaries and assorted other finches) and I think reading his copies of Cage & Aviary Birds on a Saturday probably sparked something off.

In the third year of junior school (age 9) we did a project on birds and I was already hooked by then, though things didn't really kick off until I started going to [what were then] YOC meetings...

4. If you could only bird in one place for the rest of your life where would it be and why?
That's a really tough question. I've enjoyed birding in lots of places, mostly in the UK, so can I nominate the UK as my 'place'? If it had to be one site, I'd say the Nene Washes, but even that's quite big...

5. Do you have a jinx bird? What is it and why is it jinxed?
As I mentioned, I'm not much of a twitcher these days which kind of rules me out of having a jinxed bird (or a bogey bird, as we Brits call it). In my Peterborough-listing days, the bogey bird was definitely Pied Flycatcher. Absolutely untwitchable. It also took me literally dozens of attempts to see a Bittern, which is partly why I chose 'bogbumper' as the name for my blog (it's an old name for Bittern).

6. Who is your favourite birder? and why?
I don't really have a favourite birder, but if you asked me who I admired, I'd probably say Graham Catley - he spends hours on his local patch, he finds stuff, he takes amazing photos and he's a top bloke. If you haven't visited his blog, DO IT NOW.

7. Do you tell non-birders you are a birder? What do they say to you when they find out?
I'm lucky enough to work somewhere where there are lots of other birders and naturalists, so I don't experience that there - generally, I have my binoculars and camera with me at lunchtime. Elsewhere, I tend not to shout about it, but people are usually fairly polite - if bemused.

I'm going to tag Mike Weedon, Tom McKinney and Steve Dudley, though whether they'll respond is another matter...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back in the day #1

Things are a bit quiet round here at present, for mostly weather-related reasons, so my thoughts have turned to the dim and distant past - my formative birding years.

I've got some very vivid memories from the time when I first started going birding. One of them is from a day in Cumbria, a visit to Carlisle with my family over Easter. I was 10 years old.

One morning we went on a guided walk along the River Eden. I can't remember the precise details of where we went, but I remember it being a bright, crisp morning. The most exciting thing was being shown some Goosanders floating downstream - all black and white and pinky on the blue water - through a telescope!

That afternoon, we went to Hadrian's Wall. The wall itself was impressive enough, and someone showed us one of the stones (showing which century had built that stretch) which the soldiers had put in upside down and back to front.

Just as memorable was the first time I heard a Curlew singing. I don't think I'd ever heard anything so beautiful and it's still one of my favourite bird sounds. I remember peering over the top of the wall (at what I thought was Scotland; it's actually Northumberland) and hearing this bird bubbling away.

Walking back to the car, there were Lapwings cavorting wildly over the grassland - another new sight and sound for me.

I should really make an effort to go back there soon.

taken with rose-tinted spectacles + mists of time

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What I got up to on Wednesday night

Badger: The Movie, filmed by Dave Badger

We went badger-watching in Hertfordshire again. It was our third visit and we were quite lucky as we didn't have to wait too long for our stripy friends to venture out in search of peanuts and dog biscuits to munch on.

It was slightly disappointing that they didn't fall over or chase each other, like they always seem to on TV.

Visit the Badger Trust and the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust websites

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The very hungry caterpillar

Darren found this furry black caterpillar making its way into our house this afternoon. A quick bit of rooting around on the internet found its identity: White Ermine moth. We haven't seen that in the garden so far!

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Friday, August 17, 2007

Greenfinch glut

Looking out from the kitchen window this morning, I witnessed an amazing sight: 30 Greenfinches in the garden! We got one of those mega-feeders a few weeks ago, with about 40 perches on it, and the whole thing was covered in Greenfinches. Underneath were a dozen more, hoovering up the leftovers.

I thought about putting out another, smaller, feeder so the other birds could get a look-in, but I think it'll just be taken over by more Greenfinches.

There were nearly 20 yesterday morning, with some apparently tucking into seeds on the spent Buddleia, plus a couple of Goldfinches munching on the thistle we've allowed to grow next to the bush.

Where are they all coming from? Will they take over the world?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Moth trapping

The Lychnis
  • Black Arches: 1
  • Brown-tail: 1
  • Burnished Brass: 1
  • Common Carpet: 1
  • Common Footman: 1
  • Common Rustic: 10
  • Dagger sp.: 1
  • Dark Arches: 7
  • Dot Moth: 1
  • Double Lobed: 3
  • Flame Shoulder: 25
  • Gold Triangle: 1
  • Green Carpet: 1
  • Iron Prominent: 2
  • Large Yellow Underwing: 12
  • Least Carpet: 2
  • Least Yellow Underwing: 2
  • Leopard Moth: 1
  • Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing: 2
  • Lesser Swallow Prominent: 1
  • Lime-speck Pug: 4
  • Mother of Pearl: 3
  • Pale Prominent: 1
  • Pebble Prominent: 1
  • Poplar Hawkmoth: 2
  • Purple Bar: 5
  • Riband Wave: 7
  • Scalloped Oak: 1
  • Scarce Footman: 2
  • Setaceous Hebrew Character: 3
  • Single-dotted Wave: 5
  • Small Magpie Moth: 3
  • Straw Underwing: 1
  • Swallow Prominent: 1
  • The Lychnis: 1
  • The Magpie: 2
  • The Rustic: 13
  • The Spectacle: 3
  • The Uncertain: 10
  • White Satin Moth: 1
  • Willow Beauty: 5
  • Yellow-tail: 1
photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Moth trapping

Pine Hawkmoth

  • Black Arches: 2
  • Burnished Brass: 1
  • Chinese Character: 1
  • Common Carpet: 3
  • Common Rustic: 7
  • Dark Arches: 3
  • Double Lobed: 2
  • Flame-shoulder: 6
  • Iron Prominent: 1
  • Large Yellow Underwing: 2
  • Least Carpet: 1
  • Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing: 1
  • Lesser Swallow Prominent: 1
  • Mother of Pearl: 1
  • Oak Hook-tip: 2
  • Pebble Prominent: 2
  • Pine Hawkmoth: 1
  • Poplar Hawkmoth: 2
  • Riband Wave: 2
  • Scarce Footman: 1
  • Setaceous Hebrew Character: 2
  • Straw Dot: 1
  • Swallow Prominent: 1
  • The Rustic: 9
  • The Spectacle: 2
  • The Uncertain: 6
  • White Satin Moth: 1
  • Willow Beauty: 2
  • Yellow Shell: 1
photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dragons and butters

Back to my usual haunts this lunchtime.

I may as well change the title of this blog to 'Common Darter portraits' for the duration of August, September and probably October. I can't help it if they're very photogenic and cooperative.

Will I ever get the definitive Common Darter shot? Don't think so.

Common Darter

Painted Lady - the first I've seen for a while. Numbers of butterflies are still well down, after all the rain

Migrant Hawker

Small Red-eyed Damselfly. Again, lots of these on the swimming pool today

Lots of Verbena in the memorial garden, though not nearly enough insects on it

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I took a different route at lunchtime today and got lucky by finding this male White-legged Damselfly. They're normally found in habitats with moving water - there's not much of that at the top of the hill - but the River Ivel runs not so far away, so I guess he'd wandered up from there.

White-legged Damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselfly

blackberries ripening already

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Monday, August 06, 2007


Kitchen jobs are the best way to see birds in the garden, it seems. This evening, we were getting tea ready when D spotted a warbler in the bush up the garden. It flitted around, searching for insects, but eventually settled for long enough for us to confirm its ID as Reed Warbler... not a species that would have sprung immediately to mind for the garden list, but this must have been a bird passing through on its way south.

The Lodge

Red-eyed (background) and Small Red-eyed (foreground) Damselflies


Small Red-eyed

Common Darter

female Emperor ovipositing

female Brown Hawker resting between bouts of egg-laying

Manx Loghtan sheep

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM