September has been another good month largely because of our moth traps. Somehow I got persuaded into doing this weekly event, but I must say it has been most enjoyable, despite on average catching four hornets each week. They seem to be more docile than wasps but several people said they had never seen me move so fast when one started to crawl up my thumb! We only managed one new macro moth, pale mottled willow, but did record a couple of new micro moths, ringed china mark and Acleris emargana. We also trapped several other insects, the caddis flies and ichneumon flies are quite beyond me but I did better with the forest bugs and hawthorn shieldbugs. A new mirid bug Pantilius tunicatus was fairly easy to identify thanks to its distinctive colours. I was more than a little surprised to find common black and great diving beetles in the trap and amazed that neither were already on the list.
Of course we did see many colourful and interesting moths such as light emerald, black rustic, burnished brass, saltmarsh plume and frosted orange, but many visitors were really taken by those hornets. We put all of them in pots (no, not the visitors!), to make sure no-one got stung and released them later in the day. One of the traps is situated almost directly below our hornets' nest so we were bound to catch them.
Burnished brass in the moth traps at Titchwell recently by Ray Kimber
I must thank my two fungi enthusiasts for my six other new species, without their help I would be totally stumped. To be able to say that I can now recognise about 50 species, when two years ago I'd have been lucky to do ten, is entirely due to them. I've still got many thousands to sort out, I can't say I'm over optimistic. The six are weeping widow, pleated parasol, lumpy bracket, stump puffball, russet toughshank and scaly earth ball - whoever thinks of the names for moths and fungi?!
The Ray's Rambles list has now reached 1314 but we are now entering the time of year when new things are hard to find. But if a few do turn up they should be real stars.
If you are still wondering about what to get that birding partner or friend for Christmas, then a visit to Titchwell next weekend might be the answer. On Sunday October 26th between 1pm and 3pm, there will be a book signing in the visitor centre.
It is a great opportunity to meet Richard Crossley, author of the award-winning Crossley ID Guide series, including 'The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland'. With 320 lifelike plates of birds near to far in their natural habitats, this book celebrates the British and Irish countryside. Crossley's unique imagery uses 1000's of images and questions old-school book design. The compelling text by Dominic Couzens and Richard along with the dynamic plates make this an essential guide. Come and chat to Richard and ask him about the book or his many other projects, such as Pledge2Fledge, Race4Birds and Cape May YBC and find out if he's as crazy as many say
Richard in action going that extra mile to get the perfect photograph of sanderling for The Shorebird Guide
Richard is now a resident of Cape May in New Jersey on the east coast of the United States, a place that is famed for its autumn migration. Given the right weather conditions, massive numbers of songbirds, raptors and even monarch butterflies can be seen heading south for the winter. I am sure Richard has got plenty of stories that will make any British birdwatcher green with envy!
Despite being very busy, Richard always finds time for birding. He found this young male Vermilion flycatcher, only the 2nd record for the state of New Jersey, while returning home from the morning coffee run!!!
Vermilion flycatcher at Cape May, the 2nd record for New Jersey
Another fantastic day of autumn migration on the North Norfolk coast with an excellent selection of scarce species seen
Rough legged buzzard - 1 in/off sea @ 11:30 and landed on saltmarsh
Great grey shrike - 1, possibly 2, on Thornham Marsh for most of the day
Yellow browed warbler - at least 3 around the reserve
Shorelark - 2 on beach mid afternoon
Grey phalarope - 1 on tideline at Thornham Point
Velvet scoter - 2 offshore
Short eared owl - 1 in/off the sea
Lapland bunting - 1 west over beach
Stonechat - 5 in the dunes
Kingfisher - 1 over the reedbed