Weather dictates the start of 2021.

 January and February were dictated by the wintery weather, despite it looking like a winter wonderland and it was fun to walk out in it with the dogs, most people were happy for it to go and free the lanes up. 


Love seeing the feather patterning from the frosts.

The lanes were totally covered, with drifts at least 4ft in depth if not more in places.



The road is at least 4ft under the snow here.

During the second dumping of snow and cold weather during February we witnessed a large arrival of Woodcock, there were birds flying in off the coast and between the houses looking for cover, a couple of fields had a grassy crop still in them giving good cover and here we saw a couple of groups of Snipe in with the Woodcocks, the same field also held a pair of Chinese Water deer, probably a welcome habitat to hide them against the stark white landscape.

These two lanes were clear the day before, but with strong winds drifting the snow off the fields the roads were covered once again.
When the snow eventually melted the plants and bulbs soon came back to life and celandines started to brighten the lane verges, geese seemed to be moving around as the month came to an end with a couple of White Fronts, Barnacle, Pink Feet and Greylags passing over, a Grey Plover past the garden was a new garden tick and very much welcomed, Red Kites and Buzzard sightings increasing so as we go into March and being allowed to once again bird things should be more brighter.



End of 2020.

 December and a look back at my highlights.

Not much to report during December, plenty of geese back and forth over the village and still a lot of Blackbirds are around. Finch numbers are up on their groups with a lot of Chaffinch around my house. The only other note during the month was a mouse up in my bird feeder halfway up the tree! 
With little of note here are some of my highlights of 2020:
This Ring Necked Parakeet put in an appearance over a couple of the days during the spring.
This Rough Legged Buzzard was reported further along the coast during the morning of the 25th April, how lucky was I to see it fly over my house, then if that hadn't sealed the day a Osprey flew along the coast whilst I was in the garden.
During the summer months with the birding quieter except for local breeding birds, my attention turned more to mothing, and the onset of some new species kept me trapping as much as possible in the hope of something rarer, here are some of the new garden additions caught through summer.
Scalloped Hook-Tip
My first Lime Hawkmoth was a very welcome tick.
​Varied Coronet​
​Canary Shouldered Thorn
The approach of autumn brought the prospect of some migrating birds and a new wave of autumnal moths.

​The arrival of the Pied Flycatchers have been lovely the last couple of years, I hope this is repeated every year, this year the numbers were up on the previous and I never tire of photographing these birds.​



​ Centre Barred Sallow (above) and Sallow.
​This seasonal moth is appropriately ​named..the Autumnal Rustic.

​We had a welcome move in weather during October and easterlies started to bring birds in, I was so pleased to find a little Siberian Jem along the lane past the church, the stunning Pallas's Warbler. What a little beauty and my highlight of the year.
​Pallas's Warbler​

​And if that wasn't enough I was able to see at least 3 different Yellow Browed Warblers, not as scarce as the Pallas's but still a great bird to see.
Yellow Browed Warbler​
As the autumn moved to winter I kept adding a few moths to the year list, but the weather was to start having a effect on how regular I got the trap out. One species I had been waiting for since moving here finally gave itself up, the beautifully marked Merveille Du Jour.


Merry Christmas to all. 


A Quiet November for me.

 Due to working in the studio nearly every day, November was a quiet time for me birding or recording stuff. The weather had a big effect on being able to put the moth trap out, some nights when I did put it out I trapped nothing!! But not to be disheartened, I did get 2 moth species that I had been hoping for and new for the garden list....Feathered Thorn and December Moth. Maybe if I am lucky I will get the trap out in December in the hope of something on the wing I still need, but as it stands my 2020 Macro list stands at 211 species, easily beating last years tally.

Feathered Thorn
December Moth

Now onto birding and busily working away, my main viewing came from the dog walking, Sarah and I were seeing a lot more Pink footed geese passing over as of late, one morning we watched 400+ geese pass overhead, a lovely sight and sound to start the day. The flocks of birds were on the rise locally, the Linnets were increasing in numbers as were the Yellowhammers, Reed Bunting were still around no doubt but they were keeping further afield.  Blackbirds were still arriving in the area, some mornings along the lanes that is all you could see flitting along ahead of us. Woodcock were flushed on the walks too.


Mid month another Yellow Browed Warbler was found near the shelter, I managed to hear and glimpse it but it was very elusive and no way going to stop for a photo, Chiffchaff and Willow warblers were loosely associating in the same vacinity.

With quite a few reports of Great Northern Divers and Bonxies moving through, I managed a short seawatch and got just the one Bonxie'. 
Hopefully I can get out more during December.

Stunning Leaf Gems steal the month

Anticipation was high for October, surely there would be some nice birding on the patch and hopefully new moth species for the garden entering autumn. 

The weather was a mixed bag at the start of the month but the wind conditions and rain added to bringing birds in. Groups of birds were already starting to move along the coast, siskins were still heading through but in smaller groups than before. On the 3rd 15+ Brambling landed in a tree behind the back garden before heading off south over the house, a big fall of birds continued throughout the day with good numbers of Song Thrush, Blackcaps and Robins, near the clifftop I saw a single Hawfinch with chaffinches, Redwings were starting to increase and a Willow Warbler feeding in the ivy clad bushes. The next day, 4th Oct, numbers of thrushes were still coming in off the sea, 18+ House Martins, a couple of Swallows and Hobby passed along the cliffs, Blackcaps were dotted everywhere and a few Grey Herons were the first of a few to be seen passing over. 


On the 9th I trapped a new moth species, a Green Brindled Crescent.


On the 12th I picked out my first Fieldfare of the autumn, thrushes were still scattered all over the place. On the 13th the wind conditions were coming in off the sea so I set about doing some sea watching. Upon arrival at the cliffs I noticed a few gulls sat up on the sea and groynes, strategically placed for the birds coming across the sea on migration about to make landfall and no doubt exhausted. The thrushes had to run a gauntlet.

This Herring Gull took some of the feathers of this thrush but was unable to down it.
A Fieldfare makes it to the safety of the scrub and bushes, narrowly avoiding the pursuing Herring gull.

With the strong winds, the numbers of sea faring birds had increased, Brent, Eider, Wigeon, Shelducks and these Common Scoter, above, got blown closer to shore.
Groups of birds were still heading in over the coastline, these Starlings at least avoided the gulls below.
3 Velvet Scoter close in was a lovely addition to the tally of birds passing.

Some of the birds were not so lucky in making land.
Once downed in the water they had no hope unfortunately.
Later that day the weather worsened and the rain picked up, this in turn downed a lot of thrushes, behind the house a fall of 30+ Redwing along with a few Fieldfare, Starlings and Blackbirds busily fed in the paddock.


The 15th was a day I won't forget in a hurry, whilst checking along the lane for birds I decided to set myself up and try to photograph the Redwings coming and going to feed on the berries. 


There were lots of Blackbirds present along the lane hedgerows and nearby paddocks. 

I noticed goldfinches coming to a puddle to drink and bathe, then joined by Goldcrest drinking, my attention was drawn to the puddle now and then to a few Goldcrests feeding in a nearby sycamore tree, such a lovely dainty little bird and a challenge to get a nice photograph before they flit off out of the camera view!


I managed to grab a couple of shots which were okay, it was at this point that whilst watching 3+ goldcrests flitting around in the tree my eyes came across a tiny warbler......straight away I knew what this was and panic set in to follow it feeding, I had to get a photo of this self found stunner......a Pallas's Warbler.



I was able to get the attention of an arriving birder who got onto it straight away as he joined me, it thankfully kept to a short circuit of a few sycamore trees allowing some lovely views and the chance for me to grab a few photos of this stunning little gem.
The next day whilst walking the dogs through the clifftop wood a birder had found another Pallas's feeding in a group of Goldcrests, after walking the dogs I went to view the bird, albeit more elusive than the bird the day before, what was noticeable were the numbers of Goldcrest that were in the wood, well into the double figures. During September I had found a Yellow Browed Warbler along the lanes and indeed there was one reported the same day of the Pallas's in the clifftop wood, so on the 17th after seeing the Yellow Browed whilst walking the dogs I tried to get some photos of the other little leaf gem. It was showing regularly in a couple of sycamores so it was a game of waiting for it to return to feed there, during this time the rain started to get heavier and without a coat I decided to pop home and grab a coat then come back out, firstly I headed to the other end of the village to check out some buntings a friend had been viewing, I headed off after a short while to try for the Yellow Browed again and on the way found a Black Restart on top of a bungalow roof.

The weather had now brightened and I once again set up near the favoured sycamore trees for the Yellow Browed, I didn't have to wait long before it returned and grabbed a few flitting images.



What a month October turned out to be, with favoured wind conditions bringing in the birds and photo opportunities of two stunning leaf warblers I couldn't of been happier, and then there were the moths which did actually make me happier!
This Merveille Du Jour was a welcomed new addition to the garden list which I had been waiting to trap.
Yellow Line Quaker, another new garden species.
Grey Shoulder Knot
&
Brown Spot Pinion 
Both new macro species for the garden, and I'm hopeful of being able to bag another couple of species on the wing at the moment weather permitting.