Friday 11 June 2010


I'm in Birdwatch Magazine again this month. Just warning people who may know me so as to avoid any unpleasant suprises. At least one person I know got rather a shock first time around. His issue plopped onto the doormat, whereupon he retired to the smallest room in the house for a quick flick through... Anyway, in this issue, I wax lyrical about the patch I haven't visited for over a week now. Can't say any more than that, go and buy it, it's really really good and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Ahem.

I'm afraid it's true though, I have not been out on the patch all week. In my defence, it is June, but that is still pretty poor. So basically as you're reading about how working a patch is worthy and rewarding, try not to let the thought that the author is a total hypocrite spoil it for you. I'll tell you what, I'll go out now, and spend the whole of the next week there, camping, so that as you read it, you'll know I'm actually out there, finding Blue Tits and Starlings and generally having a birding extravaganza.

But first, let me just empty this moth trap....

This is part of the reason for my lax patch attitude (that, and the fact it's really dull/June at the moment). My early mornings are spent sifting through my new moth trap rather than out on the patch. Honestly, it is incredibly addictive. Every morning is like Christmas Morning, you just don't know what you're going to get. Last night, the weather was rather poor - cold and with a strong breeze. Experienced moth-ers probably don't even bother trapping in these conditions, but my enthusiasm is still burning bright, and I'm glad I did.

I usually stand next to the trap for the first half an hour or so, a habit which will no doubt fade in time, and just as turned to go back to the house, an enormous "thud" caused me to turn excitedly. It was in the trap! I could see a dark shape, and egg-boxes being roundly scattered by this juggernaut:

Wow! Last year,
on the very first night that I set up my "Bonneau du Martray Grand Cru" Trap, I caught one of these, and last night I felt no less of an adrenalin rush.

BTW, I've just read my old post about June being rubbish and that first night moth-trapping, and reassuringly I called myself a hypocrite in it then too. If you get the feeling that I am just constantly rehashing old material, it's just a figment of your imagination....

As I was examining the Poplar Hawk Moth, there was another enormous "thud", this time from the greenhouse wall. I could see something struggling feebly in the long grass I haven't cut. I quickly popped a jar over it and scooped it up. Brought it inside for a look but all I could see was a large twig. "That's a bit funny", I thought, "I could have sworn there was a moth there?" Keen moth-ers will by now have guessed. Non moth-ers may well have navigated to a birding blog....

Aaaanyway, a Buff-tip.

Not quite as enormous as the Hawk Moth, but every bit as interesting. A substantial moth, with incredible camouflage, though to be fair it doesn't really work on an egg box. It seems to have lost half of one antennae, perhaps in the collision with my greenhouse, or perhaps from an earlier mishap. The first I have ever seen, and I hope to get a lot more - I just hope they don't hit me when they come in. Right, that's enough about birding in Wanstead, I'd better get busy with being domestic. I want the house to sparkle for Mrs L tonight. Then I can go out birding tomorrow with no fear of retribution.

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