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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

First returning Chiffchaffs

  Already birds are on the move and not including the 2 resident singing males, there were 4 Chiffchaff being chased around by a family of Great Tit at Porth Hellick. Also an adult Black-headed Gull flew N over the pool.  Yesterday on the other islands, single Common Sandpiper, Wheatear and Redshank were all recorded
   At work, there were 3 Humming-bird Hawkmoth enjoying the afternoon sun on the Star Castle walls

Chiffchaffs already moving through 

A shot of the gardener, Johnny Si, hacking his way through the deep forests in the far east.  

He's actually in the moat that goes around the Star Castle and I demanded him to go and count all the HB Hawkmoths that are feeding down there and as a result, he got lost! 

Popular Hawkmoth (left) and Eyed Hawkmoth, both trapped overnight in Mick's garden 

Celypha lacunana 3
Epiblema uddmanniana 1
Chrysoteuchia culmella 2
Eudonia angustea 1
Evergestis forficalis (Garden Pebble) 1
Pyrausta cespitalis 1
Apohomia sociella (Bee Moth) 1
Riband Wave 1
Double-striped Pug 1
Brown Silver-lines 1
Early Thorn 1
Eyed Hawk-moth 1
Poplar Hawk-moth 1
White Ermine 2
Turnip Moth 2
Heart and Dart 17
Dark Sword-grass 3
Large Yellow Underwing 4
Setaceous Hebrew Character 2
Nutmeg 2
Bright-line Brown-eye 6
Shore Wainscot 1
Marbled Minor agg 40
Common/Lesser Common Rustic 1
Vine's Rustic 2
Mottled Rustic 1
Silver Y 1
Dark Spectacle 0
Spectacle 1
Straw Dot 1
Snout 1

  Overnight, the NW were a little stronger  and as result it wasn't as good as it was last night. However, there were 17 species including another Delicate and 4 Dark Sword Grass.

This Delicate is a lot paler than the one I had the night before 

4 Dark Sword Grass 
1  Knot Grass
1  Smoky Wainscot 
1  Board-bordered White
1  Dark Arches
1  Double-striped Pug 
1  Common Pug
1  Angle Shade 
1  Bramble-shot Moth 
2  Dark Spectacle 
2  Scalloped Hazel
2  Straw Dot 
2  Marbled Minor 
2  Dark Aches 
2  White Ermine 
6  Herat and Dart 
10+  Large-yellow Underwing 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Why is everybody talking about the BLACK KITE?

BLACK KITE at Holy Vale....  

....And BLACK SPECK over Salakee pines, just above the 2 Herring Gull 

  A quick look at Porth Hellick this morning produced single Whimbrel and Greenshank and 2 Curlew in the bay. At the crossroads I spotted the Buzzard in the large pines near to Porth Hellick House.

  I had only returned to work when Tony called to say that he and Ritchie were watching the BLACK KITE over Holy Vale! Earlier on, the kite was observed flying from Tresco to St Mary's. When I got to Holy Vale, all I saw was a bloody BLACK SPECK! It was circling high over Salakee. It might as well of been the Buzzard! Never mind, I'll get it later in the day when it flies over work. Half an hour later, while I was eating my breakfast in the conservatory, Johnny Si the gardener, knocked on the window and then shouted through one of the many small windows, 'Have you seen the Black Kite' 'A?' He continued, 'Yes, it's at Holy Vale, it is' I shouted back 'How do you know about that?' He was walking off with his belovered wheelbarrow. I finished my breakie when one of waiters came in and said 'Seen the Black Kite' 'A?' In the kitchen and the chief Simon pointed towards Holy Vale and guess what came out of his mouth? 'I'm surprised you've haven't gone to see the Black Kite at Holy Vale' 'A?' Your all taking the piss, I thought. But the thing was, they wasn't. They were all letting me know about it and a few minutes later, driving past the entrance of Star Castle, was Ritchie and Tony. I told them about my experience and they both told me that, just as I left Holy Vale, Johnny Si came around the corner and asked what they were looking at? They told him, but they didn't let on that I was there just a few minutes ago.
  The kite was never seen again after that and one can only guess that it's probably moved on.

Wherever Johnny goes, his wheelbarrow sticks to him like glue. He even takes it to bed with him! Oh no, he sleeps in it!  

No wonder I didn't see it with the directions Martin and Tony were giving me. Can't you see it over those pines? 

Well, at least the Buzzard performed well at Higher Moors 

Overnight, this Diamond-backed Moth was trapped in Mick's garden. List will follow 

Plutella xylostella     1
Celypha lacunana     4
Epiblema uddmanniana     1
Chrysoteuchia culmella     2
Eudonia angustea       2
Pyrausta cespitalis     1
Udea ferrugalis (Rusty Dot Pearl)     3
Emmelina monodactyla 1
Riband Wave 1
Common Marbled Carpet 2
Grey Pine Carpet 2
July Highflyer 1
Common Pug 2
Brown Silver-lines 1
Willow Beauty 3
Buff Footman 1
White Ermine 4
Buff Ermine 2
Heart and Dart 6
Dark Sword-grass 1
Large Yellow Underwing 4
Ingrailed Clay 1
Setaceous Hebrew Character 1
Bright-line Brown-eye 4
Angle Shades 1
Dark Arches 2
Dusky Brocade 1
Marbled Minor agg 12
The Rustic 1
Silver Y 1
Spectacle 1
Snout 2
Pinion-streaked Snout 2
The Fan-foot 1
Small Fan-foot    1

Monday 27th June 

  Early in the evening, I checked the two moth traps with Mick in his garden and I got two new species, Dusky Brocade and Thistle Ermine.

2 Dusky Brocade were trapped at Longstones in Mick's garden overnight

Cinnabar Moth 

Buff Footman 

Sandy Carpet 

Peach Blossom 

Smoky Wainscot 

Front on shot of a Peppered Moth 

Thistle Ermine 

Small Bloodvain 

Dot Moth 

Broom Moth 

1  Argyresthiapygmaeella  
2  Epiphyas postvittana
1  Ditula angustiorana
1  Cnephasia stephensiana
3  Celypha lacunana
4  Epiblema uddmanniana
3  Eucosma cana
1  Alucita hexadactyla
13  Chrysoteuchia culmella
1  Scoparia ambigualis
2  Eudonia angustea
1 Garden Pebble
1  Pyrausta cespitalis
3  Small Magpie
1  Phlyctaenia coronata
2  Rusty Dot Pearl
1  Bee Moth
1  Thistle Ermine
1  Homoeosoma sinuella
2  Emmelina monodactyla
3  Peach Blossom
2  Grass Emerald
5  Common Emerald
2  Small Blood-vein
1  Small Fan-footed Wave
15  Riband Wave
1  Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet
7  Common Marbled Carpet
4  Grey Pine Carpet
2  July Highflyer
1  Sandy Carpet
2  Foxglove Pug
1  V-Pug 1
12  Double-striped Pug
1  The Magpie 

1  Brimstone Moth
1  Early Thorn
3  Scalloped Hazel
3  Peppered Moth 

25  Willow Beauty
2  Brussels Lace
5  Barred Red 

1  Poplar Hawk-moth
3  Buff-tip
4  Buff Footman
1 Common Footman
24  White Ermine
10  Buff Ermine
1  Cinnabar
16  Heart and Dart
1  Dark Sword-grass
13  Flame
3  Flame Shoulder
7  Large Yellow Underwing
9  Ingrailed Clay
 Setaceous Hebrew Character 

1  Nutmeg
1  Dot Moth
5  Bright-line Brown-eye
2  Broom Moth
1  Lychnis
1  Smoky Wainscot
1  L-album Wainscot
2  Small Angle Shades
1  Angle Shades
5  Dark Arches
2  Dusky Brocade
77  Marbled Minor agg
1  Common/Lesser Common Rustic
2  Vine's Rustic
3  Mottled Rustic
1  Silver Y
4  Dark Spectacle
1  Spectacle
5  Straw Dot
6  Snout
2  Pinion-streaked Snout
2  The Fan-foot
1  Small Fan-foot 

  I've got 5 medium sized Buddlega Bushes in the garden and a few hours later after leaving Mick's, in a NW, I decided to check out what moths were feeding on them. In about an hour of looking, I found there was not a bad selection with 27 species. Two new species that I've never seen before included, a Shore Wainscot and Delicate. 2 Dark Sword Grass and a single Silver Y were worth noting.


Shore Wainscot 

Turnip Moth 

1 Delicate
1 Shore Wainscot
2 Dark Sword Grass
1 Silver Y 
1 Small Fan-footed Wave 
1 Turnip Moth 
1  Brimstone
1  Smoky Wainscot 
1  Snout
1  Dark Spectacle
1  Spectacle
1  L-album Wainscott 
1  Dark Arches 
1  Buff Arches 
1  Angle Shade  
2  Brussels Lace  
2  Scalloped Hazel
2  Marbled Miner
2  Small Magpie
2  Bright Line Brown-eye 
2  Double-striped Pug  
2  Flame 
3  Single-dotted Wave 
3  Straw Dot
6  Heart and Dart 
7  White Ermine 
24  Large Yellow Underwing 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

30+ Humming-bird Hawkmoths!

In a short walk from home, we saw over 30 Humming-bird Hawkmoth!  

 Late this morning and I joined Mick to check the two moth traps in his garden with good results, for me anyway. 3 Peppered Moth were the first that I've seen since two at home in Trench, Telford, in the garden together, 25 years ago! Herald Moth was the highlight and it was nice to see the first Peach Blossom of the year, one of my favorite moths. The highest total of Moths were 43 Heart and Dart and 34 Willow Beauty.
Peppered Moth 



Dark Sword Grass 

Foxglove Pug 

Peach Blossom  

Dark Spectacle (left) and Spectacle  

1  Monochroa cytisella    
1  Pandemis heperana
2  Epiphyas postvittana
1  Acleris variegana
17  Celypha lacunana
6  Epiblema uddmanniana
6  Eucosma cana
1  Pediasia contaminella
1  Eudonia mercurella
3  Pyrausta cespitalis
3  Small Magpie
1  Rusty Dot Pearl
2  Homoeosoma sinuella
1  Peach Blossom
3  Grass Emerald
7  Common Emerald
2  Single-dotted Wave
12  Riband Wave
3  Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet
1  Garden Carpet
7  Common Marbled Carpet
5  Grey Pine Carpet
3  Rivulet
1  Foxglove Pug
5  Common Pug
13  Double-striped Pug
1  The Magpie
3  Brown Silver-lines
2  Brimstone Moth
4  Scalloped Hazel
1  Scalloped Oak
3  Peppered Moth
34  Willow Beauty
3  Barred Red
1  Red-necked Footman
1  Buff Footman
2  Garden Tiger
20  White Ermine
1  Buff Ermine
1  Ruby Tiger
1  Least Black Arches
43  Heart and Dart
4  Dark Sword-grass
21  Flame
3  Flame Shoulder
2  Large Yellow Underwing
6  Ingrailed Clay
1  Small Square-spot
1  Setaceous Hebrew Character
1  Double Square-spot
2  Nutmeg
1  Shears
3  Bright-line Brown-eye
1  Smoky Wainscot
2  Common Wainscot
1  L-album Wainscot
1  Shoulder-striped Wainscot
1  Knot Grass
2  Small Angle Shades
1  Angle Shades
4  Dark Arches
1  Dusky Brocade
97  Marbled Minor agg
7  Vine's Rustic
6  Mottled Rustic
1  Silver Y
6  Dark Spectacle
4  Spectacle
1  Herald
7  Straw Dot
4  Snout 

9  Pinion-streaked Snout 
1  The Fan-foot 
2  Small Fan-foot
1  unidentified geometrid?? 

  There was not a cloud in the sky and mid-afternoon, Tean and I had just watched 4 Humming-bird Hawkmoth feeding on the Buddleia in the garden and walked towards Content Farm, when the phone rang and I was told that a BLACK KITE had flown from Bryher and across the channel towards Tresco! When I put the phone down, there was another HB Hawkmoth just in front of us. On the two hour walk we saw a total of 30+HB Hawkmoth, including together 10 at Mcfarland's Down and 9 at Trenowth! It was obvious that there had been an influx and this was by far the most that I had ever seen in a single day! How many more arrived on Scilly in these SE winds is anyone's guess? What I do know is that the BEE-EATER that we heard at Pungi's Lane, first briefly at 16.44 and again two hours later, did not arrive on the same SE. This individual was on St Agnes for over a week and then two days ago, Martin heard it over work at Trenowth, two fields away from where it is now, and like me, didn't see it.
  We also got six species of Butterfly, including 2 each of Ringlet and Comma and 40+Meadow Brown. There were 100's of Red-necked Footman in the pines and at Trenowth there were 5 Swift.

While Tean was trying to catch a Ringlet with the net, this moth flew just above my head and with one swipe of the arm, it was trapped in my hand. Later it was identified as a Willow Ermine and was a new one for me

Soldier Beetle 

Comma Butterfly 

100's of Red-necked Footman 

   Robin and I looked over towards Tresco from Mcfarland's Down, hoping to connect with the kite, although Robin had already seen it while he was on Tresco. What he also observed that's rarer than the kite for this time of year, was 3 Wigeon on the Great Pool! I could hear a male Whitethroat in sub-song nearby and we both saw it well in the Gorse. No sign of the kite, but Robin picked up the female Marsh Harrier over Samson. We later checked Porth Hellick and were surprised to see a male White Wagtail on the far side of the pool. Also the Greenshank was in the bay and there were 20+Swallow, including juveniles and 10 House Martin.

Male White Wagtail at Porth Hellick 

Here's a shot of the BLACK KITE that Joe saw with Higgo and Will while on the Sapphire. If you like to see more photos of what Joe's seen on his trips out to the islands, then go to   

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Greater Weever Fish

Great Weever Fish caught off Peninnis. This is a common fish on the Scilly shores and it spends most of the time actually buried under the sea bed with just its venomous dorsal fin showing above the sandy bottom. If you step on one of these fish, the pain is usually described as excruciating as the spines embed into the human flesh and discharge their venom. The pain is at its most intense for the first two hours when the foot goes red and swells up and is then it feels numb until the following day with irritation and pain that may last for up to two weeks. Sometimes, the spine breaks off in the foot and it will cause discomfort until it is removed. 

The fish's mouth itself is in an unusual position on its head, oblique and almost vertical and contains some of the most sharp and vicious looking teeth in the undersea world. Luckily it only reaches about 15 cm long. 

A juvenile Swallow was waiting to be fed at the campsite and a family of 8 Great Tit were on the dead pine walk, Garrison 

   Yesterday at 19.00, Robin and I were seawatching off Giant's Castle in a F5-6 SW, but two hours later the only birds of note was a Sooty Shearwater (20.02) and 2 Puffin with small numbers of Manx Shearwater and Gannet. A quick look at Porth Hellick found the first returning Greenshank. 
  Earlier on, 2 Meadow Brown Butterfly on the dead pine walk, Garrison, were my first of the year.

Meadow Brown at the Garrison  

Dark Arches at Star Castle 

A fly sp? covered in pollen 

Any ideas what these top two species are?  

Common Green Caspid