The lack of posts on this site has not been due to failing enthusiasm, but to having lots on my plate for a month or two. Not least was a house move, from Exmouth, three miles along the coast, to Budleigh Salterton. 15 years of family stuff has been filtered, packed, removed, chucked and unpacked and we are now settled in a new home.
Obviously, the first thing to do was to explore the local environment – though of course, being just a few miles from the old house I know it well in terms of birds. It has taken me two weeks to find the moth trap though – box G4, buried in the garage – and I ran it for the first time on the night of the 2nd September. Numbers were not huge, perhaps because I timed it to go off in the night and lots of moths vanished by morning, but there were two real treats in amongst the normal Setaceous hebrew characters, Double striped pugs and Small dusty waves. The first of these were not one, but two, Portland ribbon wave.
I was delighted to catch this moth as I had it twice in 2016 in Exmouth (30/05 and 05/09). Moreover, Matt had just recently found one on an outside light at the Schools Camp on Orcombe point, indicating that there might be colonies nearby. To have two here suggests that they are establishing themselves in this part of the world – though with just 5 records in 2017 and 2016, and 9 in 2015, it’s still far from common.
Even more exciting though was this one:
This is Evergestis limbata, a scarce immigrant from Southern Europe and a lifer for me. There were just 7 Devon records of this moth last year, all in VC3. Thanks to Richard Fox of Devon Moths for confirming that he’s had them since 2010 in South Devon, with 5 so far this year, and that they seem to be establishing themselves in the area.
So the new garden moth list is up and running with some good records. Meanwhile, walks along the river have produced lots of bees and other insects. Buff-tailed males are in evidence, but also some new workers too suggesting that nests are still in business. Common carder bees are also enjoying feeding on Indian balsam which has invaded the Otter valley and, though I couldn’t get a photo, Garden bumblebee (B. hortorum) are also about.
Smartest of the hoverflies seen – though common enough – was this male Helophilus pendulus – Tiger Hoverfly. I’ve put it alongside a female that I saw in Topsham earlier in the year:
The River Otter has thrown up some good birds too. There has been a spotted crake on the river for a week or so and, just this evening, news that there seem to be two of them there; see this (scope) shot, from earlier in the week, of one showing well … for a crake!
Also nearby are two cattle egret which have been seen regularly with cattle close to the river. And finally, though common as anything, seeing several hundred Canada Geese arriving on the river this morning was a wonderful sight.
All-in-all, it’s been a lovely start to living in our new home and a sign of what’s to come, I hope.