Blog

Sat 30th July 2011

Posted on July 31, 2011 at 11:30 AM

birds : The final week of July and looking for birds still seems a bit of a waste. There's a chance of a rare seabird, but the time taken to find one is unreasonable for me. There's a chance of a rare wader but its a case of a quick check of the ponds and then what else to do? Passerines are starting to move through but these are british birds mainly and so little hope of a mega. As you can tell, not my favourite part of the year for birding.

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moths : So it's a good job that it's an awesome time for moth hunting! Trying to get the trap out every other night and the week started well with a Chocolate-tip on Monday night. My second this year and yet only the third ever in Guernsey.

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Chocolate-tip - garden, 25 July 2011

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Tuesday we went on a family walk to the Fairy Ring at Pleinmont. This is the only place that I have seen a Forester moth ever, on the flowers by the cliff edge above the slipway. And indeed I soon found one in just the same place, feeding on a thistle, although it looked pretty old and scruffy.

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Forester - Pleinmont, 26 Jul 2011

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As I was 'encouraging' it to start feeding on the top of the thistle for better photos, it seemed to jump off and land on my hand. Here it lay on its back looking more like a shiny beetle, and it seemed to have some kind of liquid on its legs. I wonder if this was either nectar from the thistle or perhaps some kind of defensive poison being secreted.

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a breakdancing moth

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the children indulging in some light paganism

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The next day I was visiting Vale Pond briefly in the evening and noticed a gallery mine on a Sycamore tree next to the pond. Looking in the books the only species that seems to do this kind of mining on Sycamore is Stigmella speciosa - this would be a new species for the island. Can't actually add it to my list though since this was a vacated mine, i.e. the larva had long since left.

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mine of Stigmella speciosa in Sycamore, Vale Pond, July 2011

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On Friday afternoon I had a few hours to myself and so, despite the baking heat, I decided to look for any interesting plants and insects along the south cliffs. I headed first to Saints because in all the years I've been here I have never been down to the old harbour there. I was delighted I did so because it was splendid in the sunshine, and I had about 7 or 8 new plants including Sea Plantain, Tutsan, Enchanter's-nightshade, Rock Sea-lavender and Nipplewort (snort).

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Tutsan, Saints valley, 29 Jul 2011

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I then headed up to Le Gouffre. This was for a specific reason, because there is a rare type of grasshopper in Guernsey called the Blue-winged Grasshopper which lives on the SW cliffs only and not in the UK at all. I would have assumed that, in the 13 years I have been here that I would have bumped into one, but no. I tramped across the cliff paths for half an hour or so, and was about to give up in the heat, when suddenly a blue flash erupted from my feet.

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Blue-winged Grasshopper - Le Gouffre, 29 July 2011

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The blue wings cannot be seen at rest (although it also seems to have blue rear legs) so I attempted to get a flight shot by putting the camera on "multi" as I nudged it with my foot. Above is a composite of this. As you can see, it is a very bright blue.

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Small Copper, Le Gouffre, 29 Jul 11

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Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed - Le Gouffre, 29 Jul 11

Categories: 2011 Summer