Rare bird makes Joseph’s day

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Imagine cycling through Nottinghamshire and just happening to spot one of Britain’s rarest bird – which is what happened recently to Joseph Fagan.

He emailed to say ‘Spotted a glossy ibis and snipe on old gravel pit between Bawtry and Misson’.

I responded that the snipe was to be expected, but was he sure about the ibis? Maybe it was an escapee from a collection or possibly something else? Joseph clarified what happened and it was an exciting bit of bird-watching, especially for a beginner!

‘While out cycling, I saw four people with scopes by the side of an old gravel pit between Misson and Bawtry.

‘I stopped to ask if they had seen anything interesting and they let me look through a telescope as they had a glossy ibis in view.

‘As I have only recently taken up birding, I was not aware how unusual it was to see them in this country.

‘The four people were wardens down from Idle Valley Reserve. I am sure if you contacted them at the reserve, they would confirm the sighting.’

This is an amazing record. However, this summer, a pair of rare glossy ibises was found to be building a nest at RSPB Frampton Marsh at Boston in Lincolnshire. This is believed to be the first recorded nesting attempt by this species in the UK and not that far from the Trent Valley in Nottinghamshire. Although this pair did not manage to raise young this year, it was still a great coup for Frampton Marsh and a sign that the species could be on the verge of establishing a breeding population in Britain.

Glossy ibis are large, heron-like birds with rich bronze feathers and a slender, curved bill.

They usually live in the Mediterranean region and are still rare visitors to the UK, although records are increasing.

Also with an interesting record, Adam Smithson took a photograph at another RSPB site, this time at Saltholme near Middlesborough.

The question was what species might these tiny moths, pictured above, be?

Local expert Dr Paul Ardron had the answer!

‘Adam’s moths are nettle-taps, which are sometimes abundant along lush hedge-sides and the like. They are day flying and can be conspicuous – in their small way – especially the ‘flirting’ males.’

Despite its distinctive shape, being rather small this quite common species is often overlooked.

Found along overgrown hedgerows, rough ground, and similar habitats, nettle-taps or anthophila fabriciana are micro-moths that fly during the day and as larvae feed on common nettle.

Being at least double-brooded, they are seen between April and November, and rest on flowers like dandelion, ragwort or mayweed.

With the unusually mild autumn weather, watch for these and other species still active.

n Sightings: Corvid roost numbers are building nicely around Dronfield Woodhouse and numbers of jackdaws, carrion crows and rooks are streaming across Sheffield in the afternoons. Another seasonal trend is for the massive movement of wood pigeons, ‘visible migration’, to the southwest over the region. In Meersbrook Park a sighting of two goldcrests feeding in a sycamore is interesting. Wader and wildfowl numbers are growing at wetlands, for example 400+ golden plovers and 240 lapwings at Thrybergh. Four waxwings were at Edale Road at High Storrs. But the best sighting of all was at Agden Beck with a rough-legged buzzard soaring with common buzzard, and both mobbed by a merlin.