Monday, 8 April 2013

Moths at Last!

Yes I know these are rather dull and brown but at the moment, we moth enthusiasts are very grateful for whatever we get! Actually, even the names of these individuals refer to their rather drab appearance. The one on the left is a Common Quaker, the one on the right is a Small Quaker. At the time these moths were given their English names, Quakers were well known for dressing in deliberately dull looking clothes.

This was my first Small Quaker this year and I have just looked back at my previous records revealing very clearly the effect of the prolonged cold weather on our moths. Over the past four years, my first date for recording a Small Quaker is 6th March 2009, 21st March 2010, 5th March 2011, 2nd March 2012 - quite a contrast with 7th April 2013!

One final wildlife treat for me today occurred on my little lunch time walk when I was treated with wonderful views of a Red Kite - my first sighting this year. It flew low, right over my head with the sunlight shining through its forked tail and then proceeded to wheel gracefully and slowly over the surrounding fields - beautiful!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Out in the sun at last!

Although in my profile, I have referred to our favourite local birding patch (Holmethorpe/Mercers), I haven't put up many posts about visits there; so here is a rather overdue post. With a spare afternoon and some welcome sun (at last), Thomas and I popped over there this afternoon.

The other temptation to go there was the fact that a very lovely Little Gull has been gracing Mercers Lake all this week. I know anyone reading this who is not a keen 'birder' may be thinking that the words 'lovely' and 'Gull' do not normally appear in the same sentence, but trust me (or better still Google it), this is a very appealing bird - not to mention, extremely uncommon visitor to these parts.

Access around the area can be pretty tricky for Thomas, and all too often it seems that unusual birds turn up in places that can be hard or impossible for him to get to see. So we were especially delighted that this bird was nicely viewable from one of the better paths. It put on a fabulous display for us too as we watched it feeding rather Tern-like, over the water and showing off its characteristic dark underwings.  But best of all it was a 'lifer' for Thomas :)