Monday, 12 June 2017

Out of Town

I haven't been much in the square the past few days and when I have it's been raining again. The moth trap pulled in another three and a bug made number 4.

661. Diarsia mendica (Ingrailed Clay)
662. Mniotype adusta (Dark Brocade)
663. Lobesia littoralis (a micro-moth )
664. Stenotus binotatus  (a Mirid bug)

Ingrailed Clay

Stenotus binotatus 

Elsewhere, yesterday I had a good day's birding with a Mike Laverick as we went firstly down to Bowesfield marsh in Cleveland for a singing Marsh Warbler that had been present for a few days. This is a Tees Valley Wildlife Trust nature reserve, consisting of three large, reed-fringed pools and a large area or wet to dry grassland intersected by paths, ditches and bridges. The bird was singing at the extreme north end of the reserve in Phragmites but was keeping low down due to the wind. Still managed to get some excellent views but photographing it in the swaying reed bed was nigh impossible. This was the best I could manage (if you can even make it out!). Nearby Reed, Sedge and two Grasshopper Warblers were singing but the Marsh Warbler had a full repertoire of bird song it mimicked.

Marsh Warbler - honest

Next stop was Dorman's Pool at Teesmouth just to see what was about until Saltholme RSPB opened at 10:00. The water level was very high so no chance of any waders but a Little Egret dropped in and a Marsh Harrier quartered the far reeds.

Little Egret

Headed off to Saltholme just as a Spoonbill had been reported but not only no sign of it, nobody else knew anything about it either. Two Marsh Harriers, both different to the one we just had at Dormans was the highlight, plus a nice count of 9 Little Egret. Due to the wind and dark clouds we could get the Cetti's Warbler at its usual spot. Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier, Cetti's Warbler and Little Egrets, it’s still hard to believe we were still in NE England. That's Global warming for you. There were the occasional sunny spells even if only for a few minutes and when they did the odd butterfly emerged so we saw both Common  Blue and Specked Wood together with a 4-spotted Chaser Dragonfly.

Marsh Harrier

We thought we would take a chance and look for a few butterflies at Bishop Middleham NR next and though there were ominous clouds the rain held off. We bagged Northern (Durham) Brown Argus quickly and also managed A few Small Heath, Small Copper, lots of Common Blues, Peacock, Large White and a Dingy Skipper. Half a dozen Cinnabar Moths were flying about and a similar number of Six-spot Burnet Moth larva were found. Checked on the orchids here and decent numbers of Dark Red Helleborine were showing but another week or two before flowering. Common Spotted and Northern Marsh Orchids and Common Twayblade were in flower however. 

Common Twayblade

Northern Brown Argus

Six-spot Burnet Moth caterpillar
As we were wandering about details of a Rose-coloured Starling appeared on the Rare Bird Alert pager so we headed back to the car. Directions on Sat-Nav said it would take 31 minutes so off we went. Exactly 31 minutes later we were watching the bird in a garden tree on a Billingham housing estate. The owners of the garden and nearby neighbours were all interested in what a load of birders were doing ascending on their street but were all very friendly and even invited us into their house to see it on the lawn.

Rose-coloured Starling

Back home for a late Sunday lunch, and all in all a good day.

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