Sunday, 22 May 2016

Revision Break

My first proper A2 exam is on the 16th of June, so it's come to the point now, that I am in full revision mode. It's probably not even worth explaining that this obviously takes a toll on ones spirits and so I find it important to go out and relax occasionally. In this case it was another twitch, this time to Vange Marsh, Essex. Luckily for me, there is a station reasonably close to the reserve. So I was on the train from Kings Langley to Euston at 5:45am and after a few changes here and there, I was at Pitsea in Essex by 7:45. Following a short walk, I found myself on the Reserve where I had already been only just over half a year ago to see a Wilson's Phalarope.

My target species for the day were Black-winged Stilt and Red-footed Falcon. My initial efforts were fruitless and neither species were playing ball, which led me to do some general birding. A few warblers and the common water loving birds were to be seen, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then at 8:10am on the west side of the reserve, I noticed an interesting raptor perched up in a hedge in the cow fields adjacent to the reserve.The bird had it's back to me, but I noted a scaled mantle and back and an orange cap. I had already come to a reasonable conclusion of what the bird was, but it was when it dropped from the branch and gave a brief flight view that I clinched the ID, it was my first ever Red-footed Falcon! Little did I know this would be my only view of the bird for the whole day, and know it seems it's not even being reported on RBA or BirdGuides any more! Oh well.

In an attempt to refind the Falcon, I headed around the reserve in hope I would find it perched in the bushes in the cow fields as I had first seen it. On the way around, a wader on the marsh stood out to me and as soon as I raised my bins, I instantly identified it as a Black-winged Stilt, my other target species! The bird gave good views for the next half an hour before I moved on to try and refind the Falcon which was the main attraction of the day.

Black-winged Stilt

I spent the next 4 hours wondering around the fields and the reserve searching for the Falcon, but unfortunately it evaded my radar. Instead, I did see and hear 2 Cuckoos, which was an added bonus. I still headed home with a broad smile as I had seen both target species for the day.

Moth trapping in the garden has been slow recently and I haven't had much time to put out the trap, but last night made up for it, as I caught my first ever Hawkmoth for the garden!!! The Lime Hawkmoth was an obvious highlight, but I also enjoyed the: Scalloped Oak, White Ermine, Brimstone Moth, Pale Tussock, Nut-tree Tussock, Angle Shade and Waved Umber.

Lime Hawkmoth

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