I came downstairs early this morning for a cup of tea and as I glanced up the garden I noticed an unusual bird in the border under the whitebeam. My first reaction was "what the heck is a snipe doing in my garden"! OMG its a snipe I thought! and turned to grab the bins. Well, of course in the time it took to walk a couple of paces and put the bins to my eyes the bird had disappeared. I dashed upstairs and got dressed as quickly as possible and tiptoed out into the garden. There was still no sign of the bird by the whitebeam or pond so I walked slowly up the garden and as I turned the corner of the path just behind the pond I spotted the bird at the same time as it saw me. Within that split second it had risen vertically and disappeared over the fence. The only identification features I had time to register were a cream stripe on the face and a brown and black streaky back.
As luck would have it I had promised to take my son to work and it was time to leave so I had to endure an hour return journey before I could look for the bird again. Despite continuously looking out of the windows all day and countless walks around the garden the bird hasn't returned - not that I really expected it to. Was it a snipe, jack snipe or woodcock grounded on passage migration? - unfortunately it doesn't look now as though I will ever know and I am hopping mad that I have missed what would have been a brilliant garden "first"!
I've watched countless snipe over the years, the odd jack snipe and a few woodcock but its very difficult when you see a bird in the garden (i.e. out of its usual habitat) and for just a few seconds (and when you are half asleep!) to gather the essential id features for a positive id - well it is for me any way. No doubt Bill Oddie would have known!
After expecting an empty trap after putting out the moth trap Saturday evening I was really pleased to find 3 moths of two different species.
Feathered Thorn - this is a male and this photo shows the feathered antennae of the male really well.
I am pretty sure these two moths are the same species - Yellow-line Quaker - hope I have got the id right this time.
(All the photos have been quite heavily cropped)
Summary of Moths Caught - Saturday, 30th October
Actinic 15w Skinner Trap
6.00 p.m. until dawn
Minimum Temperature 8.7 degrees centigrade
1 x Feathered Thorn
2 x Yellow-line Quaker
I'll probably carry on trapping for a while as I'm still catching some moths.
Looking for waxwings
I went a quick drive out to the Business Park I mentioned last week - there are loads and loads of berries even more than usual. No sign of any waxwings or thrushes feeding on them but I will try and visit once a week to keep an eye on any feeding activity. I know waxwings have been seen at this site several years ago and last winter I saw a lot of fieldfares and redwings feasting on the berries.
Edit (at 20.45) - Have just visited a couple of local Warwickshire "sightings" blogs and, believe it or not, 21 waxwings were spotted today in the vicinity of "my" Business Park" - I will be returning there tomorrow!