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Preview: Birding Benstead

Birding Benstead

Birding in Bjäre and beyond

Updated: 2018-02-23T13:22:58.710+01:00


new BK moths in the garden


The fact that I am not in China this year bagged me a couple of great new moths for BK on the 15th October, with Mythimna l-album (above) and Lithophane semibrunnea (below) being the easy highlights of the month.

Australia odonata trip report link


The superb male Episynlestes cristatus sums up neatly the excitement of odo-chasing in Australia - what a stunner! I have just finished the first Odonatours recce report (link below) and look forward to returning to this fascinating country with another car-load in January 2019. Get in touch to reserve a spot.

ischnura pruinescens


Fresh female Ischnura pruinescens had the ability to stop us in our tracks during my recent trip to Australia.

china crisis


The incredible Greentours 'Mammals of the Roof of the World' tour in China's stunning Qinghai province is struggling to fill up this year amazingly. If you fancy accompanying me and Jesper Hornskov to look for Pallas' cat and the suite of other species present at high-altitude in this region check out the Greentours website at

the stunning Neurobasis kaupi


Watching displaying males Neurobasis kaupi was one of the highlights of the recent Odonatours trip to Sulawesi and Halmahera. To read the full report go to

austrolestes insularis


Working on the report from my recent trip to Australia at the moment and enjoying going through the photographs. Erland found us this superb male Austrolestes insularis on the first full day at Undara Volcanic NP in Far North Queensland.

sunlit dragon


Displaying male Draco spilonotus at Tangkoko in April. I hope to return to Tangkoko and  Sulawesi with a Greentours group in the near future.

sallow kitten


Moth-trapping in the garden continues every other night and keeps adding species to the BK list, I have been waiting for this beauty (Furcula furcula) for a long time...

Madagascan endemic - Lestes simulator


KD tells me this might the only known photograph of the Madagascan endemic damsel Lestes simulator... Zombitse, January 2016. As far as I recall this was the only species that I saw that was not seen by the rest of the group.

agami who art in heaven


The highlight of the Peten leg of my recent trip to Guatemala was this excellent Agami heron - a dream come true.

argali who art in heaven


We had amazing views of argali this year in Qinghai...

red panda


The highight of the Sichuan leg of our China tour is always the red panda, there was a lot of disturbance from roadworks at Laba He this year but we had great views on the first day.

pallas' cat


The jewel in the crown of the Qinghai leg of the Greentours trip I do is undoubtedly Pallas' cat. We have run four trips so far and seen this little beauty on every occasion. But we have never got as close as we did this year!



My first lifer in Sweden for some time, Siberian accentor, after missing a whole month of the huge European influx this autumn I bag a late one in Småland just up the road. I have been waiting for this one since I arrived in Sweden as it was the most likely vagrant to stray onto my list here. The remaining five potential species on the Swedish list that would be world ticks are so cosmically rare that I doubt I will live to see one of them in Sweden but you never know... My long-distance twitching days are pretty much over!



Finally bagged not one but two Merveille du jour (Griposia aprilina) in the garden trap this morning.

huge moth find


This Nothocasis sertata trapped on the 15th is probably the rarest moth so far in the garden. The first record for Halland occurred this week too.

heavy moth in the garden


Bagged a good moth in the garden this week with a nice Agrotis puta - a recent arrival in Sweden, first spotted in 2009 but with annual records thereafter. New for BK.

Y oh Y


Moths have been trying to cheer me up since the Brexit referendum and particularly the Plusiinae (Ys and brasses). Last year I only bagged Autographa gamma but this summer I finally met Autographa pulchrina (above) and jota (below).

in my brain


Despite a by no means warm summer I am doing well with the traps this year. Upgrading to a 125W mercury vapour lamp is paying real dividends too. This purple cloud (Actinotia polyodon) was much-wanted and was as good as I thought it would be!

Moma mia!


An incredible week for moths. Three traps out and over 300 photos per session has produced a huge number of new moths for me and none more eagerly anticipated than my first Moma alpium. Identifying 100+ species is brain-melting though!

slipper time


Just had a great week-long tour on Gotland with a great group of people, the highlight being (as usual) the lady's slipper orchid show.

the tau of mothing


Ed Parnell came over for the weekend recently from Wymondham in my old home county of Norfolk and I promised him Aglia tau, one of two species of Saturnid here in BK. We only had to wait half an hour before this guy came blundering to our light trap in the dark beech woods above Klarningen. What a beauty.

Orthetrum ransonnetii diagnosis


Desert skimmer (Orthetrum ransonnetii) made it onto the Western Palearctic list in 2007, just too late to be included in KD's field guide. I recently found one in northern Oman and offer you this brief photo comparison with Orthetrum chrysostigma to aid identification.

Orthetrum ransonnetii - note the white hind wing membranule, lack of waist and dark subcostal crossveins.

Orthetrum chrysostigma - note the dark membranule with small adjacent yellow border in the hindwing, the waisted abdomen and the pale subcostal crossveins.

the emperor


The kids tried my new emperor moth lure recently and pulled in BK's first ever Saturnia pavonia when this male zig-zagged around them. Incredibly (because they had no net) they presented it to me in a pot when I returned from putting out a trap!

Madagascar Odonata highlight No 4 - a new Nesocordulia to science


We found at least five new species to science during this amazing tour but none was more exciting than KD's discovery of this new Nesocordulia at Mantadia National Park. This genus is restricted to the islands of Madagascar and the Comores.