It has become traditional at this time of year to have a family photo of a large collection of hawk moths, and this year is no exception. Privets are putting a strong show in this year, with three being our best ever count.
Elsewhere, there’s a fantastic crop of Pyramidal Orchids just over the down from us, and our first visit to Pagham Harbour of the year gave us our first Little Terns fro the year and very little else.
We had a bit of a lazy week, without that much walking, but the wildlife came to us with a decent moth trap at last, starring Eyed and Privet Hawk Moths. Yesterday we made up for things with a walk over to Arundel, 25 miles. It was a cracking day, and we had Ringlet, White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary in the Dover and at Arundel we finally had distant but clear views of Cattle Egret. This is probably my fifth attempt to get it on the on-foot list, all involving long walks, so it’s a relief to finally connect. On the way back we also had a female Stag Beetle in Worthing – we have missed them at home so far.
The long walk meant the small camera, so there’s not that many photos.
A good walk took in a trip to Beeding Hill to see the Red-footed Falcon that turned up there yesterday. While I was there, it simply sat on the ground. Later on this evening we went back in the car with a better camera. This time it was very active, hunting constantly, unfortunately much more distant. A smart bird.
Being up in Yorkshire for Dad’s funeral at least gave us a chance to do a bit of birding on the way back. Strid Woods was as splendid as ever, although we were too late for singing Wood Warbler. Redstarts were very showy and a first for me: a fledgling Pied Flycatcher being fed, was fantastic. We also got two new moths: Chimney Sweeper and Floxglove Pug.
On our way down south we stopped off at Collingham and waited for five whole minutes before the Rose-coloured Starling showed up, and later in Lincolnshire we had a lifer in the form of a Blyth’s Reed Warbler, that eventually showed well and sung beautifully – an amazing song, far better than the short snatch I recorded suggests.
We had an unexpectedly close view of some wildlife yesterday, when a Greenfinch absolutely brained itself against the patio doors. Karen pronounced it dead, but it still had a faint twitch, so I went out and picked it up, whereupon it stirred a bit.
Clearly stunned, it sat on my hand without much fear and after I put it down in a sheltered spot it sat around without moving for a full 90 minutes before flying off.
They’re not my favourite birds, but it was a stunning bird to see so close.