Blog

Sun 19th May 2013

Posted on May 19, 2013 at 3:55 PM

We're still awaiting the spring rarity here on the island, the one I need for 250 Guernsey birds. Although the bulk of the migrants have now passed through, I cling on to the age-old birding maxim, "the big one comes late and on its own". Meaning that the very rarest birds often arrive after the main migration has finished - very late May or early June - and so you can be wandering around seeing practically zero migrants, and then something mega pops up in front of you. It's always remembering that when the days are getting warmer and the birds are getting thinner on the ground.

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Rarest bird of the first two weeks of May has been the young Spoonbill that spent a couple of days at the Claire Mare. Although, not so rare any more, it still feels and looks like a proper rarity. On Wednesday 8th, the day it was discovered by Chris B, I popped down to see it in my lunch hour and it was parading back and forth right in front of the hide. It didn't even mind about me noisily chomping on my Quavers as I tried to take some pics.

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Spoonbill - Claire Mare, 8 May 13 - bit of an ugly, big-nosed bugger (don't say it.....)

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My other favourite sighting was of a Tree Pipit at Pulias. Although it isn't exactly a rare species, rarely do I get to watch one at close range on the deck. This bird was feeding in the grass and when the dog walkers disturbed it, it went right into the middle of the Tamarisk clump, hopping around like a Dunnock under there.

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Tree Pipit - Pulias, 16 May 13

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Swallow - Pulias, 15 May 13

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Just this morning, I reached 450 species for my '1000 for 1KSQ' pan-species listing challenge with a Poplar Hawk-moth in the moth trap. But easily the highlight of my insect-hunting was a tiny little moth I found on Friday. I first saw it perched on the kitchen wall in the morning, didn't recognise it, but failed to collect a pot in time as I was running around getting the kids ready for school. Luckily, later that afternoon I saw it again on the wall, just inches from the back door and I caught it, photo below.

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Dryadaula pactolia - inside the house, 17 May 13

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It seemed distinctively-marked and so I was surprised that I couldn't find it in any of my books. So I browsed the internet and soon found it - Dryadaula pactolia - related to the clothes moths. This was definitely a new species for the island and reading about it, there seems to be just a handful of records for the whole of Britain! Apparently, this species originally comes from Australia or New Zealand, but can be rarely found in distilleries and wine cellars in Europe as an adventive species. But what the hell is it doing in my kitchen?! I don't think there are going to be many wine cellars around here. I suspect that it pupated in a case of wine, which was then imported to Guernsey and then hatched out and flew into our kitchen. Nonetheless, a mega record!

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White Woodlouse - garden, 11 May 13 - been looking for this ghost-like species all year. It only lives in ants' nests - it's a wonder how these things evolve for such niches.

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Xanthogramma pedissequum - garden, 12 May 13 - a hoverfly, whose larvae apparently also live in the same ants' nests as the woodlouse.

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Gooden's Nomad Bee - Les Effards, 12 May 13

  

Categories: 2013 Spring, Other Rarities