Sunday, 14 November 2010

Twitching Herons and Leaf-mines

Yesterday, the Waxwings re-appeared again just before dusk when 13 (they must have found a friend) flew back into the Beech trees. I assumed they were going to roost there but just as visibility was so poor as to struggle to watch them,  they flew off into the dark.

No sign this morning but those same three trees did hold Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Chaffinch, Greenfinch  and Goldfinch. 2 groups and a single Curlew, totaling 67 birds flew west as I scanned the area looking for the Waxwings.

The weather forecast was rain, but now later than originally predicted,  so I headed north to Morpeth in Northumberland on a bit of a bird twitch. A Squacco Heron  has been seen for more than a week just outside the town centre and so I headed off with my mate Mike. A few people were already about but no sign of the bird until a couple of dog-walkers announced they had just seen it about half a mile downstream. We walked along the road and the fisherman's path but there was only a Cormorant there,  though we did see a nice Kingfisher on the way along, flying upriver. Looping back to the original spot of the blue footbridge at Low Stanners we came to the conclusion that the bird was gone. It had disappeared for nearly 48 hours a few days ago, maybe this time it was for good. However, after another ten  minutes discussing what we should do, the bird arrived, from the opposite direction, being mobbed by half a dozen Black-headed Gulls and it dropped onto the riverbank. Great views were obtained by all.

The Squacco Heron at Morpeth

We thought our luck was in, so decided to look for another heron at Cresswell, nearby on the coast, as a Bittern is present in the reed-beds there.Too much to ask for, though it had been glimpsed twice earlier in the day. Compensation in the way of a lovely Barn Owl, as it flew past, presumably hunting  in the daylight after the previous few days of strong winds and rain made up for the second heron.

The Barn Owl at Cresswell

It's a while since I saw a Barn Owl at Waldridge, the last I had flew across the paddock where the Waxwings were yesterday. They are still around and not too long ago whilst chatting to two Policeman parked by the Chester Moor roundabout, they told be they had a Barn Owl hunting over the field with the horses in several times as they were having their break.

Continuing on the twitching  theme, sadly according to Mike, I twitched a pupae in a leaf mine of a micro moth - or according to him a brown bit on a leaf,  at Morpeth. Tom Tams, the Northumberland moth recorder was here a few days ago and said 'Yesterday while waiting for the Squacco Heron on the banks of the river Wansbeck at Morpeth , I noticed mines on the Horse Chestnut tree I was standing under. I took a few leaves home to photograph as I knew about a species of micro moth namely Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner Cameraria ohridella', that affects this particular tree. Later in the evening I had the mines confirmed by Robert Edmunds from the British Leafminers. This is the first confirmation of this species in Northumberland .  Now I have been looking for this species throughout Chester-le-Street the past few weeks as this potentially damaging moth has been moving north quite rapidly and there are many Horse Chestnuts around here, but there has been no sign. The first Durham record was also only a few days ago in Durham City (not by me I hasten to add). However I did manage to find 3 mines on a Horse Chestnut tree (the same tree as Toms?) also, while looking waiting for the Squacco Heron. So there you have it I twitched a micro moth leaf mine- this could be a first?

No comments:

Post a Comment