"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Two Surprise Garden Visitors

I went into the kitchen last night and luckily for once the blind wasn't down because there on the outside window was a moth! Rushed outside to put it in a pot and popped it in the fridge. Probably not the wisest decision as moths that fly in winter tend to thrive on low temperatures and it was exceedingly lively this morning when I took it out to identify it and attempt to take a photo. So its a pretty poor, record shot only, heavily cropped, picture below.

I believe its a male winter moth (Operophtera brumata) but as usual if I've go the id wrong please feel free to correct me. Winter moths occur from late autumn until January or February and the females are unable to fly being virtually wingless.

This brings the total number of moth species seen in the garden this year (most caught through trapping) to 86 and the total number of species seen since I began trapping in Summer 2009 to 98.

I was just about to go into the garden this afternoon to collect bramble leaves to feed the stick insects and top up the bird feeders when I noticed a flock of birds eating silver birch seeds in the trees at the top of the garden. A quick look through the binoculars showed they were not goldfinches the species most frequently seen feeding on birch seeds recently. I managed to get quite close to the birds to confirm a flock of 14 lesser redpolls - another year tick for the garden. We get this species feeding on the birch seeds most winters and I have noticed before how confiding they can be and that you can approach them quite closely.

Yesterday I had a quick drive over to the Business Park to check for waxwings again(yawn!). There are still plenty of berries about and I counted at least half a dozen redwings joining the blackbirds in their feast but no sign of any fieldfares and, of course, no waxwings.

The weather has gone much milder over the last couple of days with temperatures reaching a balmy 6.6 degrees centigrade today. The snow finally disappeared today but its been a murky, foggy, drizzly couple of days so no further opportunities to try out my new lens!


Pete said...

redpoll is a very good sighting!

Ragged Robin said...

I am feeling rather chuffed Pete. I am glad we planted so many silver birches as the seeds attract redpolls most winters. Often get repeat visits too so will be looking out for them to return.