Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Friday, 30 December 2016

All Washed Up ....

...... is the best way to describe this blog. I don't have the time, inclination or material to post with any regularity like I did in years gone by. But I'm not losing it, deleting it or completely forgetting it .... always a chance I'll be back.

Woolacombe 27/12/2016

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Get Knotted

My blog posts are now a rare commodity - I've had to remember my login details and how to post anything it's been that long!

It's almost 20 years since I missed out on the famous Great Knot (the 'Great Dot') at Seal Sands, Cleveland in October 1996. That turned up whilst I was on Scilly, and I had no chance of going for it after I came off as I was in Devon celebrating Isabelle's first birthday before going back to work the following Monday. The Dot lingered in early November, but the first weekend I could of gone coincided with a Little Bustard on the Lizard (I went for that instead with my birding mates who'd all already done the Dot). Given that I ditched my pager c14 years ago I had no idea that one had been in Lancs in 2004 (although not exactly twitchable) or that one had been at Breydon a couple of years ago. Not that I would of gone anyway!

I was already booked-off from work and planning to head to Titchwell on Friday on my way to meet up with other PSLers at Holkham for the weekend. Finding out that a Great Knot had turned up there was a massive slice of good luck - or at least would be if it stayed. Still, as a non-twitcher these days I was not rushing about. I left home at 7:30am and arrived at Titchwell at around 10am having taken about as long to get through Leicester as it took to get to Kings Lynn!

I sauntered down to the beach - there were lots of birders heading back and forth and the bird was clearly still around. When I got to the beach, there was a gaggle of birders though not all looking in the same direction. I quickly worked out that the large Knot flock was messing about, but the bird was amongst them - somewhere.

I'd gone sans scope as I can't be arsed lugging that about these days, so I bumbled about for a bit in the dunes and potted up or photographed a few bits ........

Marram Weevil (Philopedon plagiatum)

Garden Tiger

Eventually, the throng of twitchers coalesced into a uniform mass - so I casually rocked up, lifted my bins and enjoyed nice views of a stunning adult breeding plumaged Great Knot. I also managed to blag scope views from other birders (who probably took pity on such a pathetic dude trying to watch such a bird with no scope, huge telephoto lens or pager) and it was good. I did manage to grab some absolutely pathetic photos of it, but they are my pathetic photos of it!

Ironically, I should of been more intent on seeing it as about half an hour after I took these it flew off and wasn't seen again until much later in the evening on Scolt Head Island off Brancaster of all places. After the Greater Yellowlegs last year, my bird list is in danger of exceeding 410 by the end of the decade!

After failing to see any Dune Tiger Beetles in the dull and cool conditions, I sauntered back down the path and had a quick look on the fresh marsh, passing what used to be the brackish marsh ....

Loving what the RSPB are doing to attract carrion-eating invertebrates ......

Look under the wings ....

Black-headed Gull supper

I do like having a saunter around Titchwell - really good to see Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, Little Tern, Bearded Tit and a good numbers of waders and wildfowl for a change. But visting always enlivened by a mega, and noticing the other stuff that's there.

Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle (Agapanthia villosoviridescens)
Not often that the name is a gobful in vernacular and scientific! 

After all that I've been in Holkham all weekend poking about in and under logs, lifting dead rabbits, sweeping saltmarsh and generally bumbling about the dunes. Lots of stuff to ID - but that will have to wait.

Natterjack Toad, Holkham Dunes

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Bright-line Brown-eye

I'm really having a very lucky year for new breeding macros in the garden. Here's another one that I just noticed resting on a wall as I went to plug in the lawn mower on Sunday. I've had it boxed up feeding well on common weeds (dock, dandelion etc) and I've finally got around to working out what it is. Undoubtedly not the first time it has bred in the garden but the first time I've noticed and identified it.

Bright-line Brown-eye

Thursday, 17 September 2015


Yesterday morning, after I'd parked my car further down the driveway than usual, I noticed that the car roof had been showered with frass overnight. Sure enough, a quick glance up to the cherry tree showed some heavy defoliation high up in the canopy. Later when I got home from work, a quick search with bins revealed a large number of larvae in several groups. I got the ladders out and lopped off a branch with some larvae to check them out and rear through. Turned out to be Buff-tip - another new breeding species for the garden list.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Catch up

Haven't been getting out too much, and when I have I've not had a chance to post anything so here's brief catch up ....

First, a couple of nice beetles, butterflies and a moth from Ketton Quarry on 23/05/2015.

Cryptocephalus bipunctatus - only the 4th VC55 record, first since 1987

Agrilus sp. - still to be determined!

Dingy Skipper - was lucky to find a pair in cop

Grizzled Skipper

Burnet Companion

The new car had it's debut mothing night out on Friday 05/06/2015 to a group session at Charnwood Lodge; nothing too arduous on the chassis, just some woodland rides. I was pleased to fit 6x traps, 2x gennies and 7x cable reels easily into the boot space with room to spare.

The mothing itself was a little poor, as has been the whole spring! My traps managed a total of 46sp.

Code Taxon Vernacular Total
131 Incurvaria oehlmanniella
140 Nematopogon swammerdamella
227 Monopis laevigella Skin Moth 1
485 Schreckensteinia festaliella
602 Elachista apicipunctella
636 Denisia similella
649 Esperia sulphurella
770 Carpatolechia proximella
797 Neofaculta ericetella
1174 Epiblema cynosbatella
1497 Amblyptilia acanthadactyla
1645 Falcaria lacertinaria Scalloped Hook-tip 1
1680 Cyclophora punctaria Maiden's Blush 1
1722 Xanthorhoe designata Flame Carpet 1
1759 Ecliptopera silaceata Small Phoenix 1
1764 Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet 4
1768 Thera obeliscata Grey Pine Carpet 2
1776 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet 10
1834 Eupithecia vulgata Common Pug 2
1844 Eupithecia indigata Ochreous Pug 1
1857 Eupithecia tantillaria Dwarf Pug 1
1902 Petrophora chlorosata Brown Silver-line 63
1906 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 2
1920 Odontopera bidentata Scalloped Hazel 4
1931 Biston betularia Peppered Moth 2
1947 Ectropis bistortata Engrailed 1
1951 Aethalura punctulata Grey Birch 12
1955 Cabera pusaria Common White Wave 2
1957 Lomographa bimaculata White-pinion Spotted 3
1981 Laothoe populi Poplar Hawk-moth 1
2006 Pheosia gnoma Lesser Swallow Prominent 2
2008 Ptilodon capucina Coxcomb Prominent 2
2014 Drymonia dodonaea Marbled Brown 14
2028 Calliteara pudibunda Pale Tussock 5
2043 Eilema sororcula Orange Footman 16
2060 Spilosoma lubricipeda White Ermine 1
2061 Spilosoma luteum Buff Ermine 1
2063 Diaphora mendica Muslin Moth 3
2102 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder 4
2123 Diarsia rubi Small Square-spot 7
2160 Lacanobia oleracea Bright-line Brown-eye 1
2163 Melanchra pisi Broom Moth 6
2190 Orthosia gothica Hebrew Character 1
2289 Acronicta rumicis Knot Grass 1
2302 Rusina ferruginea Brown Rustic 5
2326 Apamea crenata Clouded-bordered Brindle 1

Total species 46

Total individuals 199

Grey Birch

Scalloped Hook-tip

Whilst I'm on here, may as well post a couple of bird photos from Greece back in April.

Crested Lark


Stonechat fledglings


Monday, 18 May 2015

Another Car

Doesn't seem that long ago that I was preparing to handover my car for a new one, but it's almost four years since the Vectra went and this arrived ........

It's done some miles, got me from A to B without missing a beat, taken the family to far flung places and carried some stuff around. It's basically been a car. I can't really fault it, and the electric everything with huge bass bins in the boot and low-pro black anodised wheels were somewhat more upmarket than the old Vectra estate. It was particularly good a blasting out drum and bass at anti-socially loud volume. But after nearly four years I am now fed up of the rattling from the slightly cheap interior build quality (although that may be linked to the aforementioned bass bins being utilised liberally).

It never really got abused as much as the old Vectra, and I slept in it a lot less, but it has been where no other Laguna sport tourer has .......

So tomorrow I drive it to work for (hopefully) the last time, and I'll be driving home in something altogether different. I needed something even more economical than a diesel and more environmentally friendly (with a lower cost taxable benefit). So, I'll be having one of these ......

A fully loaded hybrid hatchback. Doubt I'll get as much mothing gear in it, but perhaps I won't need to. Although I'm sure the seats will fold down, and I used to manage with a much smaller white car than this .....