Monday, 5 January 2015

Up In the Air

Eagles continue to pass our house regularly.  In general, the ones that fly low along the coast below us tend to be sea eagles - we saw one at lunchtime today - while those following the ridge behind the house are often golden eagles.  This one was above the house but it was difficult to identify it with any certainty.

Earlier today a pair of raptors, this is one, came directly over the house at a height - too high to distinguish any colours or patterns on them and at the very limit of the camera's capabilities.  This is one of the frustrations of days like today, when the sun hasn't appeared and all one can hope for is a fairly clear silhouette.  They may have been peregrines.

Whatever they were, they were followed by these three, flying even higher.  The cry we heard was that of a buzzard, and the two lower ones look like buzzards, but I'm less certain about the higher one.

On the subject of flying wildlife, this moth landed on one of the large panes of our front door on New Year's Eve.  It was a wet, mild and breezy evening.  What on earth is a moth doing out and about at this time of year?

Today we have a steadily southeasterly wind which has risen to about force 5 as the day progressed, and we're promised not too bad a day tomorrow, but as we approach the weekend things become very uncertain.  This is a clipping from the forecast on XC Weather, predicting winds early on Friday morning of up to 76mph - that's well into hurricane force 12.

Look at the other forecasts, and there's considerable disagreement.  This is taken from Yr No, and is completely different, and the BBC seems to agree with it.  It'll be interesting to see which is right, particularly as there is an archaeology course arranged at the Kilchoan learning Centre all day Saturday, when we're looking at how to make records in a churchyard.

Whatever else is in the air, spring must be.  These snowdrops burst into flower in our front garden as the New Year came in - and a very welcome sight they are.


  1. Jon,

    Not sure what sort your moth is, but it may not be so unusual, as there are moths called November, December and Winter Moths, amongst others, which are often found on mild still nights throughout the winter.

    Not sure what
    Dave K.

  2. Your moth is Operophtera brumata, the Winter Moth. I believe the bluish colouration in your picture is an artefact of the flash photography and the surface should be a pale brown. They are variable in colour but the wing veination and markings together with the light fringe make it almost certainly to be so. It is a male as the females have very short, stubby wings and do not fly. I see a few in my headlights here in Devon now that the frosts have gone and consequently the bats have come out too.

  3. Many thanks to both of you, and for the identification, Derryck. I still find it quite amazing that a moth should find some advantage in being active in winter, and being out and about on what was a rather windy and wet night.