Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Sunday 21 July 2024

A decent result

The garden MV trap has, once again, provided some very nice moths for me to look at when I perused the egg trays this morning. The realisation of just how pathetic my id skill-base really is has been highlighted by this recent run of warm weather and the resultant increase in micro moths to be examined. Fortunately, this has coincided with my acquisition of the new extension tubes and all that they allow me to do with my camera and lenses. 

An absolutely pristine Cloaked Minor

Bloxworth Snout - very smart

I'll keep this post short because I've got another offering, in prep, that I hope will expand upon where my mind-set is currently at in relation to where involvement with the natural world seems to be headed. Don't get too excited - I'm not wishing to start a war, just explain my own perception of where we're at.

Small China-mark

I've tentatively id'd this as Scabious Longhorn (Nemophora metallica)
As ever, I'm very happy to be corrected by those who know better.

Reed Fanner (Orthotelia sparganella) a very irregular visitor to Thanet

Saturday 20 July 2024

Garden mothing

Benno and I had another evening/into dark session Eel fishing on the RMC. I couldn't catch a cold, Ben had a smart little male Tench for his efforts. That we were kept company by Mark, the Carp angler, ensured it was a very enjoyable experience and something which we hope to replicate soon.

On our drive home we spotted two Barn Owls perched on roadside telegraph poles close to West Hythe, but that was as exciting as it got! So it is clear that my angling efforts are woeful, at present, thus I am very glad that the Robinson 125w MV moth trap is performing its' magic in the back garden. I am always happy to be corrected if my id's are erroneous, yet this recent spell of warm weather has certainly added something to the excitement when examining the egg trays. A very tatty Pine Hawk-moth, this morning, is only the third garden record in twenty-five years, so most welcome none the less!  

It is, as always, the micro moths which provide the bulk of the challenges, thus require me to attempt to get record images in order to be in with a shout of a correct outcome. I have absolutely no issues with being corrected over an erroneous id. My ego is well capable of accepting the advice of other, far more gifted, observers with experience within this, or any other, sphere of natural history observation which is beyond my comfort zone. What I am really struggling with is the fact that moth recording is conducted under the banner of Butterfly Conservation?  Under no circumstances would a butterfly record be requiring a specimen. It is 2024, Queen Victoria has long passed away, yet the mind-set of the mainstream crowd remains entrenched in history. Could you imagine the outcry if someone failed to id a bird, so shot it in order to get the record accepted? Got it in one! 

Pale Red Slender (Caloptilia elongella)

Marbled Green

Jersey Tiger Moths - not one of them was inside the trap!

Fen Wainscot

Dusky Pearl (Udea prunalis)

Dark-streaked Neb (Acleris umbrana)

Until the day dawns when modern technology is embraced by the moronic goons within the entomological ranks, not a single record will be submitted  by me. I am well aware that anything I post on this blog is free to be viewed, thus available for inclusion if warranted, by any group/individual who feel the need. All I know is that it is without my blessing or consent and under no circumstances do I want my initials beside the record entry. Another soap box to get down from - just enjoy looking without a need to fit in.

Wainscot Neb (Monochroa palustrellus)

Long-horn Beetle sp. - don't know, or care, what it's called.
It was enjoyable, none the less, to set eyes upon this insect

Thursday 18 July 2024

Garden gull spectating

 It was around 11.00 hrs,  today, that I noticed several groups of gulls swirling about at various points around West Dumpton. As there was no accompanying noise, it quickly became clear that these birds were feeding upon newly emerging flying ants. Over the following three hours, or so, the activity became more frenzied as the numbers of birds rapidly increased. Another feature was that they were feeding at a much higher altitude as the temperatures rose steadily during the post noon period. At one point I guestimated there to be in excess of five thousand individuals visible from our back garden. The vast majority of the birds that were identifiable were, quite obviously, Herring Gulls but, there were also good numbers of Black-headed and  Lesser Black-backed Gulls involved. Prolonged, and careful, scanning finally resulted in (two) adult Mediterranean Gull being added to the garden year list. There was also a very good candidate for a juv Yellow-legged Gull, yet I didn't clinch it 100%, so one that got away this time?

The majority of the Black-headed Gulls involved were feeding at a lower level than
their larger cousins.

An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, probably from
the Pyson's Road colony?

Just an image attempting to convey the scene during the early afternoon frenzy

It was also rather interesting to see several Carrion Crows and the local male Kestrel exploiting this food source. As I was scanning the skies for such a prolonged period it was inevitable, I guess, that I spotted a few Common Swifts taking advantage of the situation. Really good fun and a garden year tick to boot! 

Wednesday 17 July 2024

Much to think about

 As most of my regular visitors will have already guessed, last Friday's Eel fishing didn't go as we had planned. I did actually land a small Eel, but it certainly didn't warrant further mention as "bootlace" would be pushing the boundaries of reality. I don't think it weighed enough  to qualify as a decent Dace! Benno's rods saw plenty of action, which he failed to convert into fish on the bank. Quite possibly the Eels responsible were of a similar size to the one I landed? However, he did hook and lose a better specimen just as the light was fading. 

Fortunately, Benno has a mate who is part of the Carp crew down on the RMC and he has been able to point us in the direction of another section of the canal where he, and his friends, have taken quite a few decent sized Eels on their Carp gear. We're planning a return visit this coming Friday and have a few ideas to play with in terms of rig mechanics and bait choice. Not too much else happening at present due, in part, to Bev's continuing medical issues. My gut feeling is much of the problem is related to anxiety caused by the waiting in between appointments. Stress isn't something I handle well and I am sure that is a major factor in how Bev is being affected?

I'm not sure how much longer Common Swifts will be seen around Newlands Farm, but there does seem to be a few birds present around the area, as opposed to moving directly through. Late, local, breeders being my hunch about those I am seeing feeding over the adjacent farmland. Garden mothing continues to provide a roller coaster ride with a few more signs of migration in the form of Pearly Underwing and Dark Swordgrass in addition to regular Silver Y, Diamond-backs and The Delicate. So far in July I have recorded sixty-two Elephant, six Privet and two Eyed Hawk-moths but only three Jersey, and a single Ruby, Tigers.

Last Friday, as I was driving across to pick up Benno, I had spotted a group/flock of Cattle Egrets out with the herd grazing on Monks Wall NR, directly below the flyover. I guessed around a dozen individuals, but as I was driving in rather heavy traffic, couldn't get an accurate figure. Being aware that there  have been good numbers of these birds seen locally, it is conceivable that a single mobile flock is responsible for the reports from Worth Marshes RSPB Res, Minster Marshes, The Ash Levels and Stodmarsh/Grove Ferry NNR. I decided to have a look down at Monks Wall on Sunday, with no joy, but returned again this afternoon and was delighted to spot a single bird out with the grazing herd on the main reserve area. Good numbers of butterflies were nice to see around the peripheral footpath and I grabbed the opportunity to get an image of a smart Marbled White which posed nicely beside me.

Friday 12 July 2024

A few moths at last

 Thus far into 2024, garden mothing has been very a underwhelming experience. Obviously there have been a few exceptions, but generally my results have been very poor. It is not a situation unique to my own mothing as I am able to keep tabs, via blogland, on many other Kent (and further afield) "moffa's" who are undergoing the same struggles as me. This week, however, things certainly seem to be improving and I've had a double figure count of Silver Y's plus the first Langmaid's Yellow Underwing and Jersey Tiger of the year. Micro moth numbers also show signs of improvement as well as an increased diversity.

Rosy Knot-horn

Jersey Tiger Moth

I am certainly having a good time playing around with the macro kit and have come to the conclusion that I will learn more from my mistakes, as opposed to copying the techniques of others. One positive from this approach is that I am finding myself looking at invertebrates which I would ignore under normal circumstances.

Superb Ant-hill Hoverfly (Xanthogramma pedissequum)

Orange Ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata)

Benno and I are off down the RMC this evening for a spot of Eel fishing so, hopefully, I'll have some angling related content to share tomorrow?

Wednesday 10 July 2024

Info overdose

The desire to improve my camera skills means that YouTube is a regular site I visit; always looking  for help,and it has certainly provided me with plenty of very useful advice. However, because of the riduculous number of contributors involved, the more I seek to learn about any specific topic, the more contradictory are the hints and tips offered by various individual sources. Hence my macro photography lessons will be, very much, a journey of discovery as I seek to improve my own results.

Garden Grass Veneer

Barred Marble

Late afternoon, the skies cleared, and there was a very obvious movement of Swifts over Newlands Farm. In little more than twenty minutes, I had watched circa one hundred Common Swifts moving S-SW. This is more than I've seen during the whole of 2024, thus far, from the back garden.

Monday 8 July 2024

This should be fun!

 It was yesterday afternoon that I finally got around to placing an order, with Amazon, for some Canon-fit extension tubes. The ancient versions I purchased, in 2012, had served me well considering their complete lack of autofocus technology. These new models would allow me to use image stabilized lenses, with the autofocus enabled, thus simply point and press in the direction of whatever subject I choose. I also ordered a JJC Macro Arm Light, both items being in stock and delivered on Wednesday. Excellent! I spent yesterday evening playing around with the camera kit as Hedgehog activity round my feeding station was fairly hectic. Can't be exactly sure how many individuals were involved but, there were occasions when four animals were present in the garden simultaneously.

Hedgehogs are really aggressive little creatures and very unwilling to share a 
food bowl with any unrelated individuals.

Moth trapping, overnight, proved to be a unrewarded exercise, the odd Silver Y, Diamond-back and Delicate might have been evidence of migration, yet only two Elephant and a single Eyed Hawk-moth being the best of the rest. I pottered around in the garden, dead heading the Petunias in the hanging baskets and generally pulling weeds from the various planters. It seemed to be a day of little excitement. A Jackdaw perched on top of my Mum's old garden arbour, thus allowing me to grab a few shots from my study doorway. 

The clock was ticking down towards the time when I needed to drive across Ramsgate to pick Harry up from school when there was a knock at the door. Bloody hell! It was an Amazon delivery driver with my order. What a result?  Obviously I've not has too long to play around with these new toys, yet early indications are that my macro images, particularly the micro moth efforts, should improve by some margin given time for practice. 

I just pointed the lens at whatever inverts were prepared to pose for me. I have no idea of the id, nor desire to find out, yet am very pleased with what I have recorded under today's gloomy conditions.