Saturday 30th June 2018

June's birding was easy to sum up - 'there was nowt'. You may be very lucky out in the field in June in Guernsey and find something really mega, but it is an inefficient pastime if you haven't got all the time in the world. Two Mediterranean Gulls at Vazon on 8th were notable but that was about it. The best bird encounter was at Le Guet when I discovered a small Chaffinch chick on the floor, out in the open, in amongst the pine needles. I wasn't sure whether to leave it alone but it did look very young and didn't move when I got close to it, and was a sitting duck to any dog or crow passing by. So I decided to pick it up and move it into some nearby bushes. 

 Chaffinch - Le Guet, 20 Jun 18

Chaffinch - Le Guet, 20 Jun 18

 Chaffinch - Le Guet, 20 Jun 18

Chaffinch - Le Guet, 20 Jun 18

I did have much more success on the moth front in June, the best species being Cochylis cana at the Garenne on 9th. This is a new species for the island list and was clearly breeding there around the patch of birches as I saw a few individuals. Birch-feeding species are generally scarce or rare in Guernsey. The trap at home was set just four nights but did collect some terrific species. On 15th I had my second Tachystola acroxantha and on 23rd only my second garden Broom Moth. There was a large Diamond-back influx on 29th, with at least 179 inside the trap and probably more than that resting elsewhere in the garden. Also that night, good species for my garden included 3 Dingy Shears, a Mottled Beauty, Argyresthia cupressella and a new species for the garden, Miller (although I had seen once before at Pleinmont). As it was so good, I put out the trap on 30th also and had one of the best-looking moths I've seen before - a Scarce Merveille du Jour. Very rare here on the island, I think there is only one previous record. Also on 30th, another 82 Diamond-backs and the second Little Thorn of the year.

 Cochylis nana - Garenne, 9 Jun 18

Cochylis nana - Garenne, 9 Jun 18

 Miller - garden, 29 Jun 18

Miller - garden, 29 Jun 18

 Scarce Merveille du Jour - garden, 30 Jun 18

Scarce Merveille du Jour - garden, 30 Jun 18

During the weekends I went on a few insect-hunts. Going birding is so straightforward - you just pick up your bins and camera and head out into the field. Looking for insects is more complex. Am I going to focus on photography or try and collect the stuff I see in pots? If photography, it means constantly swapping lenses. Am I going to take a net? If so, will it be a butterfly net or a sweep net? If a sweep net, I need my glasses easily accessible. Have I got enough pots? Where am I putting the full pots and empty pots? Have I got my hand lens easily accessible? It can be a logistical nightmare.

New species for me this month included the silver, fluffy stiletto fly Acrosathe annulate which lives on the tops of beaches on the sand, a species I have been keeping my eye out for a while. Two new hoverflies were the easy to identify Rhingia campestris with its odd beak and the large and distinctive Volucella pellucens. A new mollusc was a few Slender Amber Snails by the pond at Port Soif - id being a bit tricky but seemed to be these. Plant-wise the highlight was the discovery of a small clump of Bee Orchids just down the road at the edge of the school playing fields which I think must be a new site for the island.

 Acrosathe annulate - Bordeaux, 2 Jun 18

Acrosathe annulate - Bordeaux, 2 Jun 18

 Silvery Leafcutter Bee - Bordeaux, 2 Jun 18

Silvery Leafcutter Bee - Bordeaux, 2 Jun 18

 Rhingia campestris - hoverfly, near the Prison, 2 Jun 18

Rhingia campestris - hoverfly, near the Prison, 2 Jun 18

 Bee Orchid - by St. Sampsons HS, 2 Jun 18

Bee Orchid - by St. Sampsons HS, 2 Jun 18

 Volucella pellucens - hoverfly, Garenne, 9 Jun 18

Volucella pellucens - hoverfly, Garenne, 9 Jun 18

 Red Admiral - Garenne, 9 Jun 18

Red Admiral - Garenne, 9 Jun 18

 Mosaic of lichens - Garenne, 9 Jun 18

Mosaic of lichens - Garenne, 9 Jun 18