Last night a knocking noise from the window heralded the arrival of one of the many moths that try and gain access to my office after dark, no doubt attracted by the light in this predominantly rural location. I have been promising myself for months now that I would build myself a moth trap and start the process of getting accustomed with these fascinating creatures, but as with many things I just haven’t had the time and these moths have been left unidentified. This time things were different though as a quick look through the glass revealed that tonight’s visitor was far more brightly coloured than usual. Not wanting to let it slip through the net I hatched a cunning plan that in reality just involved opening the window and catching the moth in a glass before it had chance to escape. A few minutes in a darkened room and it was suitably subdued for the following photo.

Ruby Tiger Moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa)

The power of the internet soon had this little beauty pinned down as a Ruby Tiger Moth, or Phragmatobia fuliginosa for those of a Latin persuasion. Consider my appetite duly whetted and the building of a moth trap moved significantly higher in my list of priorities.

This evening I was able to spend an hour or so at Pembrey Harbour where the Sandwich Terns have once again started to amass in great numbers. I couldn’t stay for high tide when their numbers peak but there were already at least twenty five individuals mixed in amongst the various gull species, as well as a couple of Common Terns and a superb summer plumaged Dunlin. One of my favourite ways to unwind at this time of year is to watch the tide rush in past the old harbour walls with the Terns providing the background orchestra, and I hope to make many more visits there over the coming weeks.

Although the Terns were at too great a distance for photography the following juvenile Starling certainly wasn’t.

P1090053 - Starling, Pembrey Harbour
P1090047 - Starling, Pembrey Harbour
P1090049 - Starling, Pembrey Harbour

I have never seen a bird so tame as this one where I actually had to step back to allow the camera to focus successfully. Initially I put this behaviour down to youthful inexperience but looking at the photos in more detail it would seem that the bird has some sort of affliction affecting the base of its beak and the area around its eye. I have asked my twitter followers and the best guesses so far are a possible infection as a result of a Tick or a scab covering a previous injury. Whatever the cause the Starling was still very alert and soon shot off when a dog walked past giving me hope that there will be no long term damage. I love the way that the adult plumage is just starting to show through the dull brown feathers of immaturity and it surely wont be long before this bird is just as stunning as its parents.


16 Comments

TexWisGirl · August 2, 2011 at 11:00 pm

the moth is gorgeous! and i hope your little feathered friend will be fine! 🙂

eileeninmd · August 2, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Great shots of the juvie Starling and the moth.

theconstantwalker · August 2, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Lovely closeups of the Starling Adam…so sharp

J · August 2, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Lovely shots of the starling and moth. Half-a-dozen Sandwich Terns also at Blackpill this evening.

holdingmoments · August 2, 2011 at 11:44 pm

That moth is a beauty Adam.
Something I'd like to get into a bit more, moths; and a moth trap. Beautiful creatures.

FAB · August 3, 2011 at 12:10 am

Super close ups Adam. Younsters of many species can initially be quite inquisitive.

Springman · August 3, 2011 at 2:29 am

Stunning close ups there my friend. Amazingly beautiful feather detail. I readily admit to being a sucker for photography like this. I could stare at your starling picture for an hour. Great enthralling post Adam!

mick · August 3, 2011 at 6:07 am

Lovely description of the the tide coming in past the harbor wall with the terns and gulls around. Great photos of the young Starling.

Malgorzata Ingstad · August 3, 2011 at 8:13 am

These are wonderful!

Arija · August 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

Love the baby starling with some of it's feathers looking like a peacocks.

Unknown · August 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Great close ups!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Hilke Breder · August 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Love the color of the Tiger Moth! Great images of a young starling!

Sondra · August 3, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Love those emerald green spots on the starling! Excellent Tiger Moth too.

Neil · August 3, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Beautiful photos.

Anonymous · August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm

The reddish-brown color of the moth is beautiful! Your captures of the little Starling show off its lovely feathers! I do hope he'll be okay.

Adam Tilt · August 5, 2011 at 12:24 am

TexWisGirl – So do I.

eileeninmd – Thank you.

Andrew – Thanks. It was the perfect subject.

Jeremy – Thanks. Good to hear that Sandwich Terns are popping up there as well.

Keith – They really are. As always there is just never enough time.

Frank – Thank you.

Springman – I'm glad that I keep you entertained. Starlings have so much fine detail that it's hard to do them justice sometimes.

Mick, Marias – Thank you.

Arija – I hadn't thought of that comparison but you are spot on.

Gary, Hilke, Sondra, Neil – Thanks.

Bailey-road – As do I.

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