Sunday, 17 July 2022

Creatures of the Night

The last four nights have produced some lovely nocmiggage. With Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Water Rail and Little Ringed Plover all featuring, it is clear that birds are once again on the move. Technically it may not be autumn, but migratory urges are evidently on the rise. However, great though those birds all are, they were soundly trumped by an early-morning Quail on Thursday...


In real life, the gap between the start of the first song-phrase and the end of the third was 1'23". I know from personal experience that Quail fly faster than a speeding bullet, so how on earth did I get three song-phases over such a long period? Did it fly round in a big loop? The time was 03:35, so was it thinking about landing somewhere nearby?

This is my second Quail. The first was at 03:05 on 11th July 2020, so, timing-wise, very similar. All the blank nights are forgiven when you get a gem like this once in a while.

The Little Ringed Plover is well worth posting too. Really clear...


And while I'm at it, a recording to demonstrate why it can be well worth firing up the nocmig kit a little early. The evocative sound of summer-evening Swifts...


Apart from nocmig, most other jollies have been provided by moths. It is just a non-stop voyage of discovery...

Swammerdamia pyrella - Little Ermine

Digitivalva pulicariae - Fleabane Fanner

Rhodophaea formosa - Beautiful Knot-horn

To the naked eye, the top two are dingy specks and the bottom one a boring brown thing. Through a hand-lens they are transformed into intricately-patterned wonders, and the camera brings that out to a degree. Even a moth which seems black and white is frequently not black and white...

One of last night's new ones: the Dot Moth. Is that a purply tint? Dark blue? And the little chocolate-brown tuft behind the thorax...

There was another Blair's Mocha yesterday morning, our second. Since the first I have learned that the species is not necessarily the scarce migrant it once was. At least, not in Bridport. Here is the moth itself, followed by a heat-map distribution of Dorset records this century, taken from Living Record...

Blair's Mocha, slightly pecked or something.

Blair's Mocha records in the Bridport area vs Portland, where the records no doubt will be genuine immigrants. Evidently I live in a Blair's Mocha hot-spot!

So there we are. As I type, the trap is out and the nocmig recorder on. I wonder what the morning will bring...

2 comments:

  1. Possibilities Gav? Under the current and predicted (weather) conditions, could migrants from way down south be anticipated? As for the Quail? Could there be more than one? Makes me wonder what has gone over my place unknown?

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    1. I did wonder whether it might be more than one Quail, but decided a single bird on a looping flight path was more likely.
      Your suggestion re migrant possibilities has proved true, certainly moth-wise. In the time it's taken me to get around to responding to your original comment I've seen some quality immigrants. 😊 👍

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