Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Alternative Highlights from Bardsey

Hummingbird Hawkmoth
Summer is often a time when birding the patch can be a little bit dull. For the few quiet weeks from late June to the end of July, interesting discoveries can be made by looking at the smaller inhabitants of our patches. For me, studying moths and other insects is a very enjoyable part of the summer (and whole year for that matter), and placing moth traps out every night can often produce some interesting records. 

Cock'sfoot Moth
Pseudrgyrotoza conwagana 
This summer, particular highlights from the Lepidoptera side of things have been looking at Thrift Clearwings (Nationally Scarce B) on the coast of the island, watching the amazing migrant Hummingbird Hawkmoths feeding on Fuschia and Honeysuckle, and discovering new species of micro moths for Bardsey. Some interesting ones this summer have been Pseudargyrotoza conwagana, a yellowish tortrix moth which is fairly common in the UK; Tebenna micalis, which is a very scarce migrant from the south, with just one or two records in the whole of North Wales; and finding the larval case of the micro Psyche casta in a small rock crevice on the east side.

Rosy Footman
Tebenna micalis
Thrift Clearwing
Psyche casta
As well as the abundance of moths that appears during the summer, it has been nice to see several Emperor Dragonflies arriving on the island (quite scarce here), along with Bardsey’s first Black-tailed Skimmer and a Brimstone Butterfly (very rare here).

Emperor Dragonfly
 Aside from insects, a particular highlight of late summer every year comes from watching the various pods of Risso’s Dolphins, which can be seen off the island’s coast on calm days. This year, I was able to participate with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation team (WDC), and help taking pictures of their dorsal fins as part of their photo-ID project on this species. A Sunfish was seen on one trip out in the boat, but there have been no whales this year!

Risso's Dolphin

Ben Porter


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