The Seedy Side of Mothing

/ in Northumberland by Marek
Photo of a Goldfinch resting on a frosty branch
Who says, 'All that glitters is not gold'?

Normally our mothing trips around the UK and Europe are planned affairs whilst this recent trip visiting family in Northumberland and London was somewhat different.

The reason for our visits was to escape the disruption of having our bathroom redecorated so the timing was left more to the availability of the tradesman than the flight times of moths and butterflies.

November can prove to be tasking, mothing in the UK due to the weather alternating between high winds, torrential rain, sub-zero temperatures or a combination of all three.

Catching a warm spell whilst away would be unlikely which proved to be the case for the full two weeks.

Although not blanking during our stays at either location, the only moth of real note was a Red Sword-grass which we last saw on a previous visit to Northumberland in 2012, in the days before stacking so desperately required a bit of a facelift for our site.

Side shot photo of a Red Sword-grass
I’m no Southern Softie!

I took the best shots possible in far from ideal conditions and would have to wait until we got home to see if any were in fact usable.

Me and my partner in crime are not the sort to sit around in front of a warm fire watching endless hours of TV or the like so soon began to get rather stir crazy.

Whilst my wife was happy to visit her friends and relations as we were staying with her family, I was beginning to crawl up the walls searching for some sort of distraction.

Fishing in the river was out as it was out of season and the trout in the lake would be hiding in the deepest recesses of the lake and unlikely to visit the surface even if I had a fly rod with me.

In life however we all do things for no apparent reason which later suddenly prove to be our saving grace.

Although I was always going to take my new Bridge camera with me this trip the reasons for including my unused telephoto lens remains a mystery.

On the first day of our arrival to the lodge we spotted a kingfisher who proved later to be a regular visitor to the staging some 300 yards from our nearest vantage point (the balcony in the second bedroom).

As I am in no way a wildlife photographer and certainly no twitcher, a severe learning curve would need to ensue if I was to get any chance of a decent shot of this nervous and illusive subject who made a hasty retreat with any form of movement within his line of vision .

I would need to discover unused camera settings, utilise my walking stick as a makeshift mono-pod and become expert in the art of stealth and disguise if I was to stand any chance at all.

A tall order I know but I did have over a week to hone my skills and the distraction was exactly what was needed to prevent me from tearing my hair out as I watched the world from indoors like a prisoner in cell block H, metaphorically speaking that is.

Photo of a Kingfisher resting on the docks of a lake
The Test of Generals

I have always enjoyed a challenge and although my pictures and video’s will never win any sort of prize I did achieve one of my goals for the year in putting my new bridge camera through its paces with a view to recording butterflies who seem to spend most of their time high in the treetops.

Also, knowledge of my equipment proved that under better circumstances one can produce some pleasing results which is the case for me with the title picture.

Not a butterfly or moth this time I know, but maybe I have managed to learn some skills which will prove useful for future field trips.