Archive for the 'Moth trap' Category

25
Dec
20

2020 – my best year yet.

I’ve been receiving cards over Christmas from family, friends, neighbours and customers and they all have had something in common. The wording has been different in each, but the sentiment has been the same … ‘better year in 2021’ … ‘hopeful for change’ … ‘can’t wait until restrictions eased’. You get the drift.

Well, Tania and I must have been on a different planet. We’ve had a great year.

We went on holiday to Florida, we got married, we’ve had the longest honeymoon in history and Tania got a visa to stay and work in the UK and got a Job in the middle of a pandemic. What’s to hate?

Sure, to be wrapped up in ourselves and completely insulated to the misery that is cruelly thwarting the world would be wrong. However, we have managed by careful and thoughtful practice to avoid crowds, be mindful of others and from day one wore gloves and masks when shopping and stayed at home when appropriate. These are OUR rules, not those of some twat in Westminster that can’t even comb his hair. We haven’t extended our liabilities up to the limits of recommendations. We’ve always worked within them. Long before Christmas restrictions my daughter and I decided that she wouldn’t join us this year. Because it was the sensible thing to do. Distance. Distance. Distance. If anyone decided otherwise then they are doomed to disappointment.

So, the best moment of 2020? There have been a few. I’ll cover some in a future post but one moment springs to mind where we shared an evening with a calling Barred Owl. Disappointingly it never did emerge from its hole in a large tree. We were within Mahogany Hammock in the Everglades. As darkness crept through the trees and shapes turned into imaginations a lightshow emerged. A million diamonds flashing in the dark. Fireflies, here there and everywhere. It was like being in a scene from Avatar. I was spellbound.

In reality, the best part of the year has to be spending so much time with Tani. I would guess you would think I have to say that, but to be honest who could not think the world of someone who takes with her a bit of grated cheese or muesli every morning. Just to feed the Robin that greets her in the dark on the platform of West Runton Station. A little Antipodean with a big heart.

Merry Christmas to one and all.

31
Dec
19

Goodbye 2019

Well, we’re nearly there. A new year. A new future. A new start.

As we stride forward over the threshold drinking our ‘cup of kindness’ it’s hard not  to look back. For Tania and I it has been a year of paperwork, patience and facetime. That’s now over. For good. 2020 will cement our future… together.

On the wildlife front 2019 was again full of sightings. The Bay of Biscay trip sits high on the list of favourites; how can a rare petrel and a cast of whales not be up there. Lots of highlights on the tours and day trips. Two trips to Australia were also up there. A place I’ve become to regard as my second home. However, the trip Tania and I did to the South coast of Victoria in July around Warrnambool sits atop the pile. Just the variety of birds, wildlife, locations and photo opportunities was just fantastic.

So what of 2020. Florida is on the agenda, the Forest of Dean. Oh! … and a Wedding! The round the UK mammal tour will run as will Central Scotland and the East Coast Seabird Tour. Cornwall, Scillies, and Cumbria are also all booked and will run. Whatever, 2020 brings it’s set to be exciting, different and interesting. I couldn’t ask anything more from life.

The photo is a Black shouldered Kite that we spend a pleasant evening photographing on Victoria’s south coast. Happy New Year!

13
Jul
19

Wildcatch Photography

Just a reminder that my photos are published on the ‘Wildcatch Photography’ site. The the ones from this year can be seen within the latest section at https://wildcatchphotography.zenfolio.com/p34814967

 

07
Jul
19

Dragons in the air and Dragons at our feet

In Dorset at the moment leading the ‘Birds and Wildlife of the Jurassic Coast’ Tour.

This Wall Lizard was caught unawares as it ran out from underneath our feet; posing beautifully for photographs. Other dragons have been flying around us as we walked over the heaths with great views of Keeled Skimmers among many others.

Lots of butterflies, and I mean lots; including Lulworth Skippers. Orchids are having a good year here with Musk Orchid being at the top of our list on the tour for sure. Moths yesterday were seen in droves with good views of both large and small Elephant Hawkmoths, Privet Hawkmoth, Hummingbird Hawkmoths with Scarlet and Jersey Tigers putting in an appearance. Even the sea got in on the act and gave us a pod of 30 Bottlenose Dolphins to celebrate our arrival.

Birds haven’t disappointed either with Dartford Warblers and an evening visit to a local heath giving great views of five Nightjar around us in the air together.

Next years tour is already open for bookings. Full itinerary is available at https://www.wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk/app/download/11123950/Itinerary+-+Birds++Wildlife+of+the+Jurassic+Coast+2020.pdf.

 

30
Dec
18

2018 – the best bits

2018 for me set off being a somewhat muted year but rapidly escalated into something as special as it gets. Finding someone special to share my life was a revelation that I didn’t expect. The downside of that is a whole planet separates us. 2019 will be spent putting that right.

One discovery for me in 2018 has been the state of Victoria in Australia. The pull of this part of such a remote continent has been extreme. It’s undulating landscape, amiable weather, compelling wildlife and of course one special inhabitant have made this the most special place I’ve ever been. Australia is just the best. My two months here within 2018 have been the most outstanding part of my personal year. Within that two months Tania has taken me to some fabulous places. Mountains, remote bushland, deep dark eucalypt forests, small islands and open wide beaches. However, one place stands out in my mind as it holds birds that have been a part of my life for so long in the UK. Rare birds. Birds that blew to the UK as waifs and strays. Birds such as Red necked Stints and Sharp tailed Sandpipers. In Victoria, Werribee has a water treatment plant holding these birds in mind boggling numbers. Numbers I could only have dreamed about. Who would have thought a sewage plant would have topped my years best bits… but it has. It even topped the Beluga in the Thames!

But what of my professional year. There have been some great times. Scilly once again was terrific, so was Wales, the Farnes were at their best and the Scottish tours were formidable. Picking the best? … well that’s easy. The 2018 Mammal Tour of the UK. Without doubt the best tour I’ve ever done. Some fabulous wildlife; Minke Whales and Dolphins of three species you could have touched. Red Squirrels, Pine Martens and Badgers at arms length. However, to single out one moment of the tour I would have to go to a small beach at the fishing port of Wick on the Scottish East coast. Reading books from being a child through to adulthood enables everyone to conjure up dreams. Bucket lists. Events to experience. Things to see, places to go. I crossed off number one on my own bucket list on that small beach last May. My guests and I experienced the sight of a Walrus in British waters. OK it’s not the cuddliest looking animal you’ll ever come across. But hell … what an animal!

Roll on 2019. Happy New Year.

29
Oct
18

Head in a box

We were walking on St Agnes within the Isles of Scilly archipelago earlier this month when we saw something unusual. Three grown chaps on their knees with their heads in a box.

As we walked closer I could see it was a moth trap they were peering into. “Anything good?” I asked. To which I was greeted with big smiles. Three very obliging guys then proceeded to show my group the contents of their moth traps; but they kept the best until last. A Silver Striped Hawkmoth. This was the first time this species had been seen on the Scillies. Although we get around 10 a year arriving throughout the UK from their normal southern Europe and North African range they still remain a good find for anyone running a moth trap.

My thanks to the guys once more.

05
Nov
17

Bugs Life

“Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say – the Guardian 18th October 2017.

Well … no shit Sherlock! As if we needed telling. As if you can spray chemicals at every bug on the planet and expect numbers not to decrease. Or am I in that ‘I told you so’ scenario already?

No doubt even if everyone who understood how the building blocks of life interlock screamed and shouted this from ever rooftop in the kingdom it would still go unheard. Unheard by the zombied masses and unheard by the bickering politicians. Unheard and not understood. Somebody help me understand why we have no foresight as a species to see what’s happening here. HELP!

Convolvulous Hawk Moth photographed in Norfolk

07
Aug
17

Kelling Heath and the Chalk Reef

If you have visited North Norfolk to bird watch or you live locally you need to be aware of something. DONG Energy (a Danish Company) have given planning notice of an offshore windfarm development called the Hornsea Project Three.
 
In a nutshell the offshore 342 wind turbines, 19 or so offshore platforms,12 transformer substations and up to 3 accommodation platforms will be located 121km northeast of the Norfolk coast and 160km east of the Yorkshire coast. They will be connected to the shore by up to six undersea cables running in a south-westerly direction from the windfarm to the proposed landfall at Weybourne in North Norfolk via a possible booster station based out at sea. From here it is proposed the cables will be buried in up to 6 trenches, running in a south/south-westerly direction for approximately 55 km and will connect to the national grid between Swardeston and Stoke Holy Cross in South Norfolk. the development area will be up to 200m wide along it’s length.
 
The construction of booster stations along the route may also be required.
There will be construction of temporary haul roads and temporary access tracks, both alongside and separate from the cable route used for the purpose of enabling the underground works
Notice has been given of the required temporary stopping up, alteration or diversion of any street and the permanent and/or temporary compulsory acquisition of land.
A couple of maps are available here Hornsea Project Three_Onshore_Statutory_Consultation_Plan_July 2017 Hornsea Project Three_Project Overview_Phase 2_Statutory_Consultation_Pl.._ showing the seabed route which importantly bisects the offshore chalk reef and also the proposed alternative route across Kelling Heath.
 
Birds such as Dartford Warbler and Woodlark will probably be effected. Adders and butterflies such as Silver studded blue may also be effected. It’s up to you, me and the rest of us to object if we find these plans unacceptable. You have until 20th September to make representation to DONG Energy, by email to HornseaProjectThree@dongenergy.co.uk or by post to Hornsea Project Three offshore wind farm, DONG Energy, 5 Howick Place, London, SW1P 1WG.
I have been sent details in my capacity as an interested party using the county for wildlife tours for my comments.
 
My thoughts: The government has stated that by 2040 there will be a major move away from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric cars and are investing heavily in battery technology to make this happen. This is good. We have to move away from the use of fossil fuels to countermand global warming effects. Power supplies must be developed to enable this change. We have several choices; wind and wave electricity production are two of those choices. So love them or hate them windfarms are part of the resolution. However North Norfolk does not feel like the place development of this kind should take place. I feel we could use the area around Paston to land the cables thereby keeping the heavy industry within Norfolk contained in one place and make the transport of energy to the grid without cutting across an internationally important chalk reef and a nationally important heathland area.
30
Dec
16

That time of year again

The end of another year is almost upon us. Goodbye 2016 and hello 2017. Thinking back through the last twelve months there’s been so many good sightings; so many good times. It really has been a good year.

The Geese and Goosanders on the Solway Tour performed for us as did all the specialities on the April Scotland Tour. The Mull tour was spectacular; eagles, whales and more. Canada leaves Humpbacks breaching through my memories for many years to come. Scilly was a classic. Orchids, butterflies and Nightjars all played a part during the year. So many sightings, so many places.

If I was to choose one moment; one sighting above all others, it would have to be seeing Cuvier’s Beaked Whales in the bay of Biscay. Beautiful, enigmatic, specialised life forms that we can only peek at through tiny keyholes in time before they descend once more to the depths.

Happy New Year… have a good one.

cuviers-beaked-whale

 

24
Mar
16

A slug of chemical

Friend Bob and I were musing over the identity of a crop. We do this from time to time when we can’t identify what’s being grown. We show an interest in land use. It may not be our land but it’s our environment.

Bob asked the farmhand on the tractor. He was told it was a mulching crop. It was grown prior to the planting of Sugar Beet, spayed off to kill it and then the Sugar Beet was planted through it. This then apparently negated the need for the use of slug pellets! … WHAT?

I didn’t know slug pellets were used on an industrial scale… did you? I investigated and they sure are. I stopped using these things in the garden in the 1970’s when their threat to wildlife was highlighted.

It’s easy to subjectively attribute blame and say no bloody wonder the Hedgehog population has declined by 40% in the last 10 years and there has been a 70% decline on farmland of Song Thrushes between 1970 and 1995… but it does make you think … doesn’t it?

Problems do come from pumping chemicals into the environment; anyone that lived through the DDT era will know that. Even today I read that in the USA, in California the government are spraying Silver Iodide into the atmosphere to seed cloud formation and induce rain. Much needed rain within a drought stricken area; but at what cost?

The problem is when the environment is disrupted; when natures balance is affected, when things are done on an industrial scale for industrial sized human populations the solving of one problem quite often leads to another. We must try hard to work with nature and not against her.

Song Thrush




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