Thursday, 22 June 2017

First Sussex Emerald

Lade - 0600hrs - misty start, sunny, dry, SW 5 later - A thick fog enveloped the garden early on  whilst clearing the moth trap where the first Sussex Emerald of the summer was recorded. Also new for the year, Dagger sp, Barred Yellow, Miller and Heart and Club.
  There was nothing much of note over the lakes, apart from the summering flock of 35 Curlews coming off the bay to roost out the high tide on the Desert.

                                Sussex Emerald

                                Common Emerald

                               Dagger sp.

Dungeness - 1500hrs - An hour at the fishing boats with MH and PB this afternoon, with a blustery westerly wind whipping up the sea, delivered a steady trickle of Sandwich Terns and Gannets, a couple of parties of Swifts and two cracking close Little Terns. Offshore a Grey Seal was on patrol.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Solstice Surprises

Lade - hot, dry, sunny, ne 4 - 0600hr - A stinker of a summer solstice weather wise, even with a cooling wind off the sea. First off though the garden MV turned up trumps with a new moth for the trap site - V Moth, a scarce and localised species, fond of currant and gooseberry bushes, with only a handful of records locally. There was also a decent clutch of hawk-moths, White Spots and Swallow-tailed Moths amongst 25 species of macros.

                               V Moth - new for the Plovers trap

                               One of five Swallow-tailed Moths

  The island on south lake continues to be of interest with an adult Mediterranean Gull within a mixed flock of Black-headed and Common Gulls plus, briefly, a pair of Sandwich Terns. Also over the lake at least 10 fishing Common Terns.

                               Adult Mediterranean Gull on south lake island

                                Male Linnet

                               Common Tern and Herring Gull chicks - on the same raft...

Dungeness - 1030hrs - A guided walk for ten guests around the circular route delivered a decent variety of breeding birds, butterflies and plants in searing heat as midday approached. From Dengemarsh hide the Common Terns nesting on the same raft as a Herring Gull, both of which had chicks, proved entertaining although I fear the eventually outcome will be in the gulls favour.
  However, bird of the day went to a stunningly close adult male Honey Buzzard that flew low over the hayfields, attracting the attentions of mobbing Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Redshank, before eventually disappearing towards the ranges.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

First Green Sandpiper

Lade - 0600hrs - hot, dry and sunny, NE 3 -  Plenty more moths in the garden MV these past two nights, but nothing new for the year. As the heat wave continues down here on the coast we`ve been treated to a cooling sea breeze, tempering things somewhat.

                                    Six-spot Burnets by the ponds

                                Lade south, a new island plus Avocet

                               Barney cooling off on a damp towel

  On the local patch it was all action on the breeding bird front with plenty of young Coots, ducks and grebes on the water, while Reed and Sedge Warblers were busily cramming insects into hungry fledglings around the reedbeds. The Cuckoos were still calling and I noted the rufous female again this morning.
  As the water level steadily drops revealing an exposed island at the south end of the main lake an Avocet found it very much to its liking amongst the gulls and Coots.
Dungeness - On a sultry Burrowes this morning Pochard numbers had rocketed since my last visit, while Little Ringed Plovers look to be nesting on the shingle islands.

                                Post breeding Pochards on Burrowes

                                Mute Swan with `Polish` cygnet, ARC

  At Lydd allotment this evening, after picking the produce (last Strawberries, first Peas and  Courgettes) and watering, I checked an adjacent House Martin colony on the housing estate where it was good to see several little heads poking their heads out of mud nests under the eaves with the adults flying in with food.
  A walk down to the Screen hide on ARC on the way home delivered our first returning Green Sandpiper of the season in amongst the Lapwings and Little Ringed Plovers. Cuckoo, Hobby and Marsh Harrier also noted, plus plenty of wildfowl on the lake including a Mute Swan with a rare all white `Polish` cygnet.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Moths galore!

Lade - hot, dry, sunny, light airs - Needless to say the past two nights have been pretty good for moths with a combined total of 45 species in the garden MV. Several were new for the year including Yellow Shell and Rosy Footman, the latter species I don't often trap.

                                Yellow Shell and Rosy Footman

                               "Phew, that`s better!"

As the sun rose by mid-morning the shingle ridges were quivering in a fierce heat haze, with the afternoon temperature soaring into the mid 20s Centigrade. Around the shaded ponds plenty of common dragon and damselflies were on the wing along with more Marbled Whites, common grassland butterflies and day-flying moths elsewhere.
  A check of ARC revealed just the usual Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, Lesser Whitethroat, eclipse  wildfowl, Lapwings and breeding Little Ringed Plovers. Summer is upon us...

Friday, 16 June 2017

White-fronted Goose

Dungeness - 0730hrs - cool, sunny, nw 3 - After emptying a disappointing moth trap at Plovers we headed down the point to check the Patch, more for a change of scene than anything else. Approaching the corner of the power station I noticed the incongruous sight of a single grey goose standing amongst the grass on the foreshore. On closer inspection it morphed into a White-fronted Goose, an immature bird that looked clapped out as it didn`t budge when we walked past it along the concrete road. Bit of a mystery where it had come from, but there was one knocking around the reserve a month or two back, so maybe from there, who knows...

                                Immature White-fronted Goose, DBO

  At the Patch two Med Gulls were amongst a couple of hundred mostly Herring and Black-headed Gulls on the beach and over the boil, but there was no sign of any terns. Black Redstart and Mipit were noted along the power station wall, and as we back tracked the goose had wandered off towards the old lookout tower grazing on the herbage.
  Called in at the Obs where the Red Data Book moth Small Ranunculus was in the fridge. This small noctuid was considered extinct for 50 years before making a come back in Kent and elsewhere across southern Britain.
Lade - An evening visit over the bay on a falling tide to check for waders found 110 Oystercatchers, 35 Curlews, eight Ringed Plovers, two Grey Plovers and a Barwit, plus 12 Sandwich Terns and two Med Gulls.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Red-necked Footman

Lade - hot, dry, sunny, windy sw 4 - We finished our three day moth fest for the guests from Germany on a high with a Red-necked Footman, new for the trap site. Privet Hawk-moth and Least Carpet were also new for the year. Whilst clearing the trap at 0600hrs a Blackcap sang from a neighbouring garden, an unusual record down here in early summer, perhaps a returning migrant?
  A thorough search out back this morning revealed little new on the bird front, although the first Marbled Whites of the summer were on the wing, plus Small Skipper, Meadow Brown and Small Heath.

                                Red-necked Footman - new for the Plovers trap

                                Least Carpet

                                Privet Hawk-moth

                                Barney at 11
Dungeness - 1500hrs - Today was Barney`s birthday. He`s eleven years old and the weather was not to his liking, being far too hot this morning. However, as a special `treat` we went seawatching this afternoon where the cool wind was far more preferable. An hour with MH and PB delivered a trickle of Sandwich Terns and Gannets, several Kittiwakes and Fulmars, two Swifts and three Med Gulls.
  From Screen hide on ARC four Little Ringed Plovers were the highlight, plus plenty of eclipse ducks, Lapwings, two Marsh Harriers and a Hobby.
  An evening visit on Walland delivered a meagre return on farmland birds but did include two Turtle Doves, two Corn Buntings, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, a few Tree Sparrows and Yellow Wagtails, two Yellowhammers and a Little Owl.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Moths and plants

Dungeness - Warm, dry and sunny - We spent the day concentrating on moths and plants for Patrick and Ooter from Germany. A combined total of 38 species of macros were recorded from three trap sites at Plovers, Lydd-on-Sea and Dungeness with the highlights for the guests being, many White Spots, three species of hawk-moth, Dark Tussock, Lackey, Shaded Pug and Mullein Wave. And many thanks to Dorothy and David for holding back their moths and pointing us in the right direction for Red-hemp Nettle and Stinking Hawksbeard.
  At Dungeness a wide range of shingle plants were located including a patch of Sea Pea on the beach, plus Wheatear, Mipit and Skylark. A glance out to sea revealed the incongruous sight of several Porpoises just offshore and the regular beach Fox in the same field of view!

                                Lydd-on-Sea flower meadow and pond

                                Sea Pea, Dungeness

The afternoon was spent on the bird reserve where many more plants were noted, plus our first Marbled White of the summer. Bird wise several Hobbies put on a fine show over Dengemarsh, along with the usual Common Terns, Marsh Harriers, Lapwings and Redshanks, while Raven, Ringed Plover, Common Buzzard and Egyptian Goose were seen on or around Burrowes. A singing Reed Warbler showed particularly well from Firth hide.
  The Squacco Heron spent its third day around Dengemarsh, although elusive at times.

                                Unusual nest site for an Oystercatcher

                                Singing Reed Warbler

                                Black-headed Gull and Common Tern from Firth hide