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Mon 20th August 2012

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 7:05 AM

The birding excitement levels have been gradually winding up a notch during the last two weeks. Autumn migration is now on, and the expectation has risen. It has been ages since a decent rare bird has turned up on the island. There is usually something to go look at during the summer months but it has been quiet since the spring.

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My personal highlights have been a Pied Flycatcher in the Fort Hommet plantation on 10th and a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the Grand Pre on 15th. These woodpeckers have spread so rapidly since they started breeding here. Also I got a new bird for the house on 14th, when I heard a loud wader call from the kitchen, so I dashed outside and saw two Green Sandpipers belting overhead. I wish I could remember bird-sounds better. I have heard Green Sandpiper many, many times before but I didn't recognise the call at all. Amateur. The nicest bird I saw was the whitish-cream Buzzard that circled over the house on 18th with three others. It was very high so I couldn't get a clear photo but it really was a beautiful bird.

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Buzzards - over garden, 18 Aug 2012

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Finally the summer weather has picked up and we've even had some warm southerly winds which brought in a few migrant moths. After the poor first part of the summer I was very pleased to be able to get some decent catches. I had two new species for the garden in the week. The Campion, which looks very like a Lychnis but did have a slightly different colour-tone which meant it was quite obviously different, and Trachycera suavella, which I may have had before as it is very similar to Trachycera advenella.

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Campion - garden, 10 Aug 2012

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Trachycera suavella - garden, 8 Aug 12

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The night of the 17th was the best for rare moths. It was stuffy and warm with a southerly breeze, ideal conditions to get rarities. The best was a Scarce Chocolate-tip sat next to a Chocolate-tip. The latter species seems to have colonised the island in the last year or so, as I have had multiple records this year. The Scarce Chocolate-tip though was only the 3rd island record. Migrant-wise, there were a record 5 Gypsy Moths, 3 Cydia amplana and 6 Rush Veneer, and there were planty of other good ones including Tree-lichen Beauty and my second-ever garden Tawny-speckled Pug.

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Scarce Chocolate-tip - garden, 17 Aug 2012

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Cydia amplana - garden, 11 Aug 2012 - one of the very few tortrix moth which is classed as a migrant

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Tree-lichen Beauty - garden, 17 Aug 2012 - This used to be a big rarity but may be breeding on the island nowadays.

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multiple Gypsy Moths (and a Great Dart) - garden, 17 Aug 2012 - My five caught that night seems to be the record non-pheromone catch for this species locally.

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Goat Moth - garden, 13 Aug 2012 - I had not seen this declining species for five years.

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Epinotia nisella - garden, 8 Aug 2012 - I think that this is nisella, but this orange form is nothing like any of the nisellas I have seen before and I assumed it was a new species. Very pleased with this photo - please click it to see it full-size.

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Well this is my final blog-post of my thirties. In two days time it is my 40th birthday. Although my body clearly looks 40 - (and according to my pupils, much older than that) - I think my mind is lagging a good ten years behind, and still feels full of fun and vigour. So I'm not prepared to be an old giffer quite just yet.

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"When I was One, I had just begun. When I was Two, I was nearly new. When I was Three, I was hardly me. When I was Four, I was not much more. When I was Five, I was just alive. But now I am Forty, I'm as clever as clever, So I think I'll stay forty for ever and ever."

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Categories: 2012 Summer