Saturday, 9 October 2010

Migration, migration, migration.

The weather conditions were and continue to be excellent for migration and immigration, with a number of scarce and rare birds turning up at the coast. There seemed to be a constant stream of Redwings calling and heading west after dark over the house last night. The moth trap was out as usual on Friday night and though (in fact because) it was misty and damp,  it was quite muggy with the temperature up on the past few days. This morning the contents consisted of 38 moths of 16 species.  The best was a Red Underwing amongst the sames species I have caught over the past week or so, plus single Satellite, Snout, Angle Shades, the micro moth Acleris sparsana and a Canary-shouldered Thorn.

Red Underwing

A walk over the fell at lunchtime was also very productive with some obvious bird migration going on. Several small groups of Redwing, together with 3 Skylark, 2 Brambling and 5 Siskin were seen heading west/south-west. There were more Redwing in the trees in both South Burn wood and on the fell. Goldcrest numbers were substantially hit last winter and have been rather scarce since. However today, they appeared to be in every hedgerow and groups of trees. I saw well over 30.  It was certainly a day for finches, as  group of 4 Crossbill also flew over as I walked around and I counted 51 Lesser Redpoll feeding in the birches by Brass Castle Pond, with 6 Bullfinch and another 8 Siskin seen on the fell.

The Highland Cattle introduced a couple of weeks ago at Wanister Bog have trampled and reduced a small area of the rough grass but still have a bit to go.

Highland Cattle at Wanister Bog
A House Sparrow was in a small bit of scrub in the middle of fell took a while to see well and looked a bit lonely. A single Chiffchaff called and was seen with a Willow Tit in the next tree. Back through South Burn Woods, as well as Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Sparrowhawk,  2 more Willow Tit were in the woods and a late Southern Hawker was patrolling the main path before landing in a tall Gorse bush.

Just before the exit, what I initially thought was a Speckled Wood butterfly before realising was a moth was watched for some time through my binoculars before it landed. It turned out to be a male Vapourer Moth, a rather late one as it happens.

Finally, 4 Curlew flew over before I got home.  I saw and photographed quite a few fungi today which I need to check on their identity but that's for another day.


  1. A cracking selection for you.
    Back to your poat yesterday, i'm afraid i do not know ANYTHING about Caddis Fly, in fact i don't know much about anything. I was out walking around Ford Moss yesterday and came across a large selection of fungi (something else i know nowt about). Can i ask you how/where you I.D. your fungi as i've tried in the past with not much success. There are so many species!!!! A bit like your moths, i suppose.

  2. John,

    I find fungi harder to id than moths generally but that's just because of practice. I've been moth trapping a number of times a week for many years now whereas with fungi I tend to just 'dip in and out' with them.

    I have put quite a few on the Gatesheadbirders website - see

    and the website has some excellent photos of fungi in it in the Wildlife Photography > Fungi Pictures section.

    The best book is generally thought to be Mushrooms and Other Fungi of Great Britain and Europe. I think its out of print but 2nd hand copies are occasionally available.