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Midsummers Eve at Whitlingham...nearly

18th June 2010
I wouldn't actually want to spend Midsummers Eve at Whitlingham, its creepy enough at night without the local chavs dressing as druids and sacrificing stuff. Instead me & Cathy went a few days early to the annual moth night. As the sun began to set I finally got my 101st patch bird of the year when a hulking Great Black Backed Gull flew lazily eastwards. Following a month long wait for a tick, the 102nd followed 10 minutes later when a Barn Owl flew along the rivers edge. Only my second ever Whitlingham Barn Owl, despite a guy who works at the sewage works telling me they have had up to 5 pairs there in recent years.
As it got darker we turned our attention to bats, detecting and getting good views of four Noctule Bats, before a Soprano Pipistrelle began hunting the edge of the lime tree avenue. The main event was curtailed somewhat, the low temperature and light drizzle limited us to a poor ten moth species. That said, two of them were new for me, Shoulder-striped Wainscot and Small Clouded Brindle. As we packed up to go at 11.45, a Reed Warbler was singing strongly from the southern edge of the Great Broad. Sadly we didn't hear any Tawny Owls, but maybe the light evening meant that any birds present were yet to begin calling.

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