Sunday, 31 July 2011


ARC -1100hrs - warm, dry, sunny, s2 - Had a quick look from Hanson for yesterdays Pec without success. Still around 40 Goldies amongst several hundred Lapwings, plus a few Dunlin, Common Sands, Barwit and 3 Little Gulls. The 2 LRP chicks have survived and are now almost one week old. Several Willow Warblers in the bushes on the walk to Screen hide.
Midrips - 1200hrs With the ranges shut and high tide and light winds on the cards I walked the concrete path overlooking the lagoons full of optimism... Oh dear, I never learn, this place always looks as though there should be shed loads of waders on the saline pools, but often, as today, it flatters to deceive. Anyhow, it was a pleasant enough stroll and sit, with a cooling breeze off the sea, and Barney managed to avoid getting blown up as he chased rabbits. The only waders I could conjure up were 25 Avocets plus a handful of Common Sands, Redshanks and Ringed Plovers. Also, 12 Shelducks, 50 Sandwich Terns, 10 Wheatears, Linnet, Mipit and Skylark.
                                               The Midrips
Sea-blite, Midrips - More commonly known as suaeda which grows into a low tough, woody bush and quite scarce along this part of the coastline. Anyone who has bush-bashed their way up to Blakeney Point in Norfolk will be more than familiar with its ability to attract tired migrants.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Bittern Watch...

Lade - 0700hrs - cool, sunny start, warmer later, n2 - Karen and Sarah`s last morning of moth`ing around Dungeness. Double Kidney and Twin-spotted Wainscot were new for the trap, but otherwise the cold night kept numbers down here and elsewhere. At DBO Least Carpet was new for the trip and we finished off at the RSPB moth morning event at the Visitor Centre. Whilst at the Obs a Raven flew over `cronking` and landed out on the desert.
Hookers - 1100hrs Spent a pleasant two (Bitternless) hours scanning from the ramp for the streaky brown heron in warm sunshine; Hawkeye followed on `til 1500hrs and also drew a blank. However, several Beardies `pinged` and showed well, as did a couple of Marsh Harriers, plenty of Common Terns, and the GWEgret briefly in flight. Also noted 5 Willow Warblers, Greenshank, Hobby and Sparrowhawk.
Later on in the afternoon a Pec Sand was reported on ARC viewable from Hanson hide.
Double Kidney, Plovers - New for the garden trap this localised, resident Noctuid comes to light in small numbers.

Friday, 29 July 2011

A Few More Moths...

Lade/Dungeness - cool, sunny start, cloudy later, ne2 - Spent best part of the morning doing the local traps with Karen and Sarah, including the ones from last night set up around the bird reserve. Boulderwall was the centre of operations, with the Mathematician on fine form, and where a Great Tit had wreaked havoc in the trap. However, a further 18 species of macros noted including another Scarce Chocolate Tip, White-banded Carpet, Webb`s Wainscot (plovers), Crescent and a very early Autumnal Rustic at the Obs. Greenshank, Grey Plover and Whimbrel over whilst moth`ing.
                                           Crescent, Boulderwall
ARC - 1400hrs From Hanson hide 500 Lapwings, 34 Goldies, 3 Dunlin, 3 Common Sands,  2 LRPs (one chick seen), 2 RPs and a Green Sand.
Dungeness Boats - 1600hrs With the wind picking up from the east I decided to give the sea a look, but wished I hadnt as an hour delivered a paltry, 3 Common Scoters east, a steady flow of Gannets, Common Terns and one Black Tern. A few porpoises and a seal just offshore, plus an adult Yellow-legged Gull on the shingle beach.

Adult, Yellow-legged Gull, Dungeness. Barney enjoying (not!) his favourite pastime, seawatching...

Thursday, 28 July 2011

A Ton of Moths

Dungeness, Greatstone and Lade - mild, sunny early, clouding over mid-morning, ne1 - Spent the morning showing Karen and Sarah the contents of 10 moth traps from across the National Nature Reserve, during which time we racked up around 100 macros and a goodly number of micros, many of which were photographed. The highlight was a near perfect migrant Bedstraw Hawk-moth trapped at the bird reserve last night (less than 10 Dunge records) and photographed at the Obs, along with Scarce Chocolate-tip. Dungeness specialities such as, Pale Grass Eggars and Sussex Emerald proved popular, while White-point, Gold Spot, Double Kidney, Lesser Swallow Prom, Iron Prom, Drinker, Toadflax Brocade, Pigmy Footman and Bordered Sallow were all gratefully received.
                                         Kerton Road Cafe
                                          Oak and Pale Grass Eggars, Kerton Road Cafe
                                         Scarce Chocolate-tip, DBO
                                           Bedstraw Hawk-moth, RSPB
Whilst at the Obs migrants (birds!) were still being caught, including a Nightingale earlier and a Green pecker whilst we were there.
                                          A very annoyed, juv Green Woodpecker, DBO!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

LRP Chicks

Lade - 0600hrs - cool, cloudy, n2 - Another not-very-summery morning due to the persistent, chill northerly airflow. Low moth numbers again, although migrant Dark Sword-grass and White Point present, plus Copper Underwing, new for the year. A few Common Sandpipers on the pits and Willow Warblers in the sallows.
ARC - 1300hrs - Similar to yesterday with a dozen Goldies, 7 Blackwits, 4 Dunlins, Redshank, Common Sands, 2 Little Gulls, 2 eclipse Garganeys and a sack load of Lapwings. The adult LRP has managed to keep her 2 fluffy (argh..) little chicks alive for another day, which is quite late for a second brood. The female Goosander continues her long stay at ARC where she is reguarly mistaken for anything from a RBmerg to a RCPochard... (An easy mistake to make if you`re just starting out, or finishing off, but nowhere near as good as the one I heard the other day when an elderly birder was convinced he`d seen a Spot Shank in breeding plum - which in fact was a Starling!)
Dungeness - 1900hrs Karen and Sarah down from Lincs arrived this afternoon for a few days moth`ing. We called in at the Mathematicians where Bordered Sallow was new for them. Afterwards, a trip to the boats yielded several porpoises feeding close to shore off the Point, along with Gannets, Common and Sandwich Terns.
                                          Goosander, ARC

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Wood Warbler

Lade - mild, cloudy, n1 - Whimbrel and Greenshank calling overhead as I cleared the moth trap of `not-very-much-really`, apart from a Silky Wainscot which was new for the season. Willow Warbler in the garden again, with a few more over the pits. Whilst scanning south lake a call came through...
DBO - 1000hrs - At last a Wood Warbler (my first at Dungeness) was trapped at the Obs. This cracking phyllosc (a fresh, juvenile bird) drew a small group of local admirers before it was released on its way. A true stunner - the piccies say it all really. An hour later a Nightingale was also trapped.

  Juvenile Wood Warbler, DBO

ARC - 1500hrs Bit of a clear out here with hardly any waders apart from several hundred Lapwings, and Oystercatchers, a few Goldies, Dunlins, LRPs and a single Whimbrel. A Peregrine put in a show and two smart adult Little Gulls flew in and settled on the shingle ridges alongside an Arctic and 3 Common Terns.
The `near resident` Glaucous Gull and GWEgret were reported from their respective haunts of the fishing boats and Dengemarsh.
Hemsted Forest - 1900hrs Ventured off piste this evening, along with a couple of Marsh veterans in tow, to search for Goatsuckers. Before sunset noted Green and Greater peckers, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler (making an odd alarm call), Bullfinch, Linnet, Redpoll and a decent number of Yammers in plantations. No sign of Tripit; despite trying hard to turn every perched bird into one! As night fell Tawny Owls called and we had one view of a Nightjar hawking overhead; distant `churring`  also heard. 

Monday, 25 July 2011


Lade - 0600hrs - mild, cloudy, w2 - A milder night saw a big increase in moth numbers around the traps. At Plovers, Least Carpet was new for the year and migrants included White Point and Dark Swordgrass. Drinkers were recorded at Boulderwall and the Kerton Road Cafe; the former site also had 6 species of wainscots. Down the road the Mathematician had Lesser Swallow Prom, while also along the coast a Dark Crimson Underwing (NOT a Rosy Underwing as first reported) was trapped at the weekend.
Willow Warbler in the garden this morning, plus a Plovers tick - Green Woodpecker!!
RSPB - 0900hrs Checked out Gun Club pool this morning which had Wood Sandpiper, 2 Spot Shanks, LRP and 2 Wigeon. The pits at the back of Hooker`s had 2 broods of Tufted Ducks and Dabchicks on show, plus one of the juv Marsh Harriers hunting around the reedbed.
No sign of the Pec from the southern end of ARC; several Dunlins, LRPs and the duck Goosander was about it.
A late afternoon visit to ARC from Hanson yielded, 2 each of Little Gull, Ruff and Blackwit, 25 Goldies, 15 Dunlins and c200 Lapwings.

Least Carpet, Plovers. Goosander, ARC.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Warblers,Waders and Oysters...

Lade - 0600hrs - cool, sunny, nw2 - A chilly night saw the temperature drop to 9C so another poor catch, although Shore Wainscot present. Walked Mockmill Sewer, at the southern end of the pits, which was full of birds facing east, sunbathing. Amongst the local Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats were several migrant Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and a Garden Warbler. A Black-necked Grebe on south lake was new.
ARC - 0900hrs Couldnt find the Pec (although it was reported later on) at the south end but the Goosander showed well along with a scattering of Dunlins and LRPs. From Hanson at least 30 Golden Plovers, several Turnstones and 3 Little Gulls (Wood Warbler reported from the water tower pines).
Whitstable - pm - Went to see the Oysterband at the Whitstable Oyster Festival in the Royal Native Oyster Store folk club this afternoon. Top gig from the boys and a great way to round off the weekend.

Black-necked Grebe, Lade

Friday, 22 July 2011

Pectoral Sandpiper

Lade - 0600hrs - cool, cloudy, ne2 - Moth numbers continue to be low due to the chilly northeaster blowing in off the sea; however, Marbled Green was new for the year.Also of note was a vagrant, Plumed Fan-foot on show at the Kerton Road cafe.
The Patch - 0830hrs Plenty of Common and a few Sandwich Terns on the beach, plus a juv YLGull. Black Redstarts on the power station wall and a migrant Grey Wagtail overhead.
ARC - 1400hrs - From Hanson the first 12 Goldies of the autumn were skulking in amongst a flock of c1000 Lapwings. Also, 100 Oystercatchers, 11 Blackwits, 3 Dunlins, 2 Common Sands, 2 Ringed Plovers and a Barwit (also good to see Robin Reliant in the hide).
At the southern end of ARC a much predicted Pectoral Sandpiper was discovered on a small island covered in loostrife. Not great views but all salient field markings eventually noted of this quality passage wader. More Dunlins, LRP`s, Green Sands, Little Stint and roosting Little Gull. The Pec brought forth a decent turn out of locals and RSPB staff (visiting birders should be aware of the dangers of stopping along the causeway road, and that the police have been moving people on). Lets hope the Spoon-billed Sand doesn't turn up here...!

Common Terns, The Patch. Goldie and Barwit and Pec Sand, ARC (apologies for the desperate quality).
NB: Following on from the `tricky Icky` earlier in the week at Dunge. After grilling loads of photos on the web and comparing them to Plodding Birders cracking piccies it has now morphed into a Melodious Warbler. Having seen the bird briefly in the field I was convinced it was an Icky, but it was the tertial length on the pics that swayed it for me. Still a great find though by PB. Oh! the wonders of the Digital Revolution.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Lade - Sand Martins

Lade - 0600hrs - cool, cloudy, drizzle, light airs - A better catch in the Plovers trap last night: Knot Grass, L-album Wainscot, Grass Emerald, Brimstone and that kind of stuff. A first for the trap however was a Migrant Hawker dragonfly, a probable immigrant; didn't realise they flew at night... As I was clearing the trap 4 Greenshanks flew over calling, heading towards the bird reserve.
Sand Martins everywhere this morning; over the storm beaches, across the lake and perched on power lines. Fabulous little migrants and the air was filled with their twittering.

Brimstone Moth, Migrant Hawker & Sand Martins, Lade

ARC - 1500hrs & 1700hrs Plenty of waders on view from Hanson including at least 10 each of Dunlin, LRP and Common Sandpiper, 4 Green Sands, Redshank, Blackwit, Ringed Plover, 30 Oystercatchers and hundreds of Lapwings. Several more Greenshanks over during the afternoon and a Little Gull at the southern end.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Icterine Warbler...

Lade - 0630hrs - cool, cloudy, light airs - A poor catch in the moth trap last night with only White Spotted Pug of any note. A few Common Sands around the margins of south pit and common wildfowl widespread across the water due to the still conditions.
ARC - 1000hrs - No sign of yesterdays Little Stint or Curlew Sands, although a few Dunlin, common pipers and LRPs present amongst a couple of hundred Lapwings. Watched a Cormorant devour an enormous eel and was just beginning to get desperate and show some interest in the nearby colony when the phone rang...
Dungeness - Plodding Birder had found something much more interesting, a Hippolais warbler, but in the most unlikely of locations on the shingle bank not far from the Patch hide. When I arrived PB and Marshman were giving it the once over as it fed low down, in typical hippo style, amongst sea kale and a small bramble patch by the concrete road. Brief scope views revealed what appeared to a bright, heavily built, Icterine Warbler. Closer inspection showed greyish legs, a pale wing panel and primary tips extension; it also `crashed about` like an Icky (PB`s piccies should prove intersting). The bird eventually flew over the wall and into the power station, but returned later on to feed on the shingle bank where it was seen by the Joker and the Head Ranger, among others.
Incredibly, it was still present around 5pm when the Romney Twitcher watched it feeding in a tiny patch of vegetation by the power station building. Well found PB.
Cormorant Colony, ARC - Not a Hippo I know (I did try); for warbler piccies check out Plodding Birder`s website.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sunshine, at last...

Lade - 0630hrs - sunny, dry, w2 - Following last nights downpour the sunshine and light airs was most welcome. Over the pits warblers were perched atop bushes drying out, while a large flock of Swifts and Sand Martins cruised above the storm beaches. Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Hobby and Sparrowhawk were already on the wing and at least 8 Common Sandpipers noted around the margins of south pit. Another juv Greater pecker heard in the willows suggested a post breeding dispersal.
ARC - 1500hrs Waders here included the adult Little Stint which was joined by a Blackwit and Whimbrel. Also a scattering of sandpipers, plovers, Dunlins plus the duck Goosander from Screen hide. Greater pecker here too.

Monday, 18 July 2011

More Manxies

ARC - 1200hrs - cool,cloudy, showery, w6 - The autumnal weather continues... From Hanson hide the adult Little Stint showed well alongside 10 Dunlins, 6 LRPs and 4 Common Sands. Hobby and Sparrowhawk noted. Last of the Summer Wine turned up on their usual Monday outing from north Kent and proceeded to take lunch (smelt tasty too) in the hide. A few more sandpipers and a Greater pecker from the Screen hide.
Dungeness - 1300hrs Upwards of 50 Manxies west past the point this morning heading into a `big sea`. I had 5 in an hour from the seawatch hide, plus 100 Gannets, 50 Common Terns, 10 Sandwich Terns, 2 Fulmars and single Kittiwake and Common Scoter.
Moths - Trapping temporarily ceased due to the inclement weather.

Dungeness - Who`d be a fisherman on a day like today...

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Lade - 0630hrs - sunshine and showers, cool, sw5 - Did the monthly WeBS count this morning with most of the ducks huddled behind the willows out of the strong wind. Increasing numbers of Shovelers was of note. Hardly any moths in the trap last night due to the poor weather.
Dungeness - A couple of seawatches from the concrete road this afternoon delivered a steady flow of mainly Gannets, Common Terns and a Manxie (at least 9 others seen by the Joker). Several Porpoises also just off shore. On the bird reserve Wood Sandpiper, Ruff and Little Stint continued to show on ARC.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Ni Moth

Lade - 0530hrs - wet and windy all day, ssw5 - The heavy overnight rain continued apace throughout most of the day. Despite this the moth trap was busy, including a new species for the garden, a migrant Ni Moth, alongside several Silver Ys.
Dungeness  - 1100hrs A half hour seawatch from the hide yielded a few Gannets and Fulmars, while the Joker and Marshman scored with a Sooty Shearwater, (briefly on the sea) from the comfort of the concrete road car park. Got a right soaking en-route to Hanson hide where the Cockney Kid was holding court. The adult Little Stint eventually showed along with 10 Dunlins, LRPs, Common, Green and Wood Sands and a Greenshank. Yesterdays Ruff had moved to the southern end along with the Goosander and the GWEgret was reported from Dengemarsh.

Ni Moth - A scarce migrant and new for the Plovers trap. Silver Y - A common migrant around the traps.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Lade Ponds

Lade - 0530hrs - warm, dry, sunny, sw2 - A stunning morning to be over the ponds early on and a bit of a suntrap that is superb for insects, reptiles and amphibians warming up. Plenty of common butterflies and dragonflies doing just that, plus a Grass Snake and a few Marsh Frogs. One of the only spots locally for the scarce White Mullein plant, which is now in full flower. Migrants in the moth trap last night included Dark Swordgrass (new for the year) and Silver Y.
ARC - 1500hrs Plenty of interest from Hanson hide with an adult summer plum Little Stint, and better still a male Ruff in moult, but still with a pretty decent gingery ruff. Also noted, 10 Dunlin, 15 LRP`s, Common and Green Sandpipers, Greenshank, adult Little Gull and Goosander. Elsewhere, the long-staying GWEgret and Glaucous Gull were reported from their usual haunts.

Lade Ponds, Gatekeeper, White Mullein & leucistic Grey Heron, ARC  (from earlier in the week by Wendy Marks)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Pond-dipping With The Kids

Dungeness RSPB - 0930hrs - cool, cloudy, nw3 - Spent an enjoyable (honest!) morning with the RSPB teaching staff, teachers and kids from St. Mary`s Primary School, Folkestone on an activity day. The pond-dipping was great and we caught a large Medicinal Leech (I reckon RSPB should run pond-dipping for adults, I`d go!) and loads of other brill creepy crawlies. Birdwise a scattering of passage Dunlins in front of Firth and over the road at Hanson.
Moths - The Moth Lord passed judgement on yesterdays controversial wainscot, which was duly relegated to an Obscure (how apt...) Wainscot! As for the Plovers trap Double Square-spot and Round-winged Muslin new for the year.

Medicinal Leech, Dungeness - The largest British leech, with Dungeness being the best place in Europe to get to grips (literally, if you paddle about in the ponds!) with this blood-sucking monster!!!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The North Wind Shall Blow...

Lade - 0530hrs - cool, cloudy, n2 - Not quite cold enough for a frost, (as in the Highlands of Scotland) but chilly enough to reduce the number of moths on the wing last night; however, Small Emerald was new for the year. At the Kerton Road Cafe a possible Rush Wainscot (a Red Data Book species) was in temporary residence having been trapped on the bird reserve. If confirmed by the Moth Lord it will be the first record since the `50`s at Dungeness.
Dungeness - 1000hrs A cursery look at the sea revealed a few auks and Gannets on the move.
ARC - 1530hrs - From the Screen hide hundreds/thousands of Sand Martins over the water having been forced down by the cool northerly airflow. The female Goosander was amongst the moulting wildfowl, while Wood Sandpiper and Greenshank were the pick of the waders. Also noted Hobby, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Dark Tussock - A regular visitor to local traps where the larvae feed on Prostrate Broom.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Bird Tour

Lade - mild, cloudy, ne3, rain later - A decent spread of moths in the Plovers  trap last night including the first Pale Grass Eggar of the season. Also of note, Dark Tussock, Reed Dagger, Scorched Carpet and the smallest Common Emerald ever...
Dungeness - 0900hrs - Wendy from Middlesex down today for a whistle-stop tour of the peninsula. Called in at the Kerton Road Cafe to check out the moths where the highlight was Pale Grass and Oak Eggars, Whitespot and a Brown Hare (no, that`s a mammal, and not in the trap!). A pair of Stonechats, Kestrel and Mipits noted nearby.
At the boats cracking views of Shortie the Glaucous Gull, 2 Meds (one with a Belgium/French colour ring - thanks to Gullman), plus a few passing terns, Gannets, 5 Porpoises and 50 odd Common Scoters from the seawatch hide that landed briefly by the cardinal buoy. Skylark, Wheatears, Mipits and Black Redstart all showed nicely.
RSPB 1300hrs - Moving onto the bird reserve and the highlights here were the GWEgret, Hobby, Wigeon and leucistic Grey Heron on Dengemarsh, plus good flight views of a Bittern. Over the road from Hanson delivered Wood and Common Sands, 10 LRP`s, 6 Dunlins, loads of Curlews and further views of the `pale` heron.
In all a very satisfactory day with 72 species of bird notched up.

Pale Grass Eggar, Plovers, a Dungeness speciality. Shortie, Dungeness, coming into 2nd year plumage. Med Gull (continental bird). Grey Heron, ARC, leucistic bird, easily mistaken in flight for the GWEgret.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Waders and Moths

Lade - 0530hrs - warm, dry, sunny, light airs - A new moth for the Plovers trap last night in the shape of Small Rivulet; common enough, but just not made its way into our garden until now, while Oak Eggar was new for year (Pale-grass Eggar at the Kerton Road Cafe last night).
ARC - 0900hrs - Trio of sandpipers remained on the shingle ridges, plus 5 Dunlin and a Spotted Redshank that settled briefly before heading off south. From the causeway the Goosander was still in place and several large parties of Sand Martins were feeding high up on flying ants, along with Bhgulls.

Oak Eggar & Swallow-tailed Moth

Sunday, 10 July 2011


Lade - 0545hrs - mild, cloudy, light airs - At last the wind dropped overnight and with it the garden was full of birds, only common stuff but also the first passage Willow Warbler of the season calling from the fir trees. A better night in the Plovers moth trap, but nothing to pot up and pore over: Dot Moth, Knot Grass, Lychnis, Clay and the like...
A stroll over the back (without that blasted south-wester) revealed birds everywhere: Sand Martins and Swifts hawking over the storm beaches, flocks of Starlings and Spadgers on the turf and Black-h-gulls soaring overhead snapping up flying insects. South pit was like a mill pond and as a result the frog chorus was back, plus two Common Sands on the island, Sandwich and Common Terns coming and going and loads of wildfowl, grebes and rails picking over the floating weed. Was good to see a group of teenager worm-drowners, `having the craic` in the great outdoors...
More warblers here too, mostly Whitethroats and Reed Warblers, a few Sedge and one or two more back garden Willows.
Whitethroat, Lade - A tired, worn out adult female.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Bitterns and Marsh Harriers

Hooker`s Pit, Dungeness - cool, sunny, windy, sw5 - 0900hrs - Spent the morning on Bittern watch duties for RSPB from the ramp overlooking Hooker`s and Dengemarsh; it now seems as though we have two nest sites in the reedbed with a single male playing host to both females. The blustery wind didn`t help matters but I had two sightings: an adult flying into one of the sites, and another which flew overhead from the direction of Christmas Dell, and was in view for a full two minutes before plunging down behind willows near the back track to Lydd.
Also of note was confirmation of breeding Marsh Harriers with 2 feather-perfect juvs just out of the nest. There was much wing-flapping and jumping into the air as they sat in the field behind the reedbed. Mum delivered what looked like a dead rabbit which sent them into a feeding frenzy (what terrible table manners). Plenty of other activity including 2 Hobbies, GWEgret, Beardies, Cetti`s Warbler, plus a light passage of Swifts and hirundines. Elsewhere, Wood Sandpiper and Garganey at ARC and Blackwits on Burrowe`s.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Is it Really Mid-Summer?

Dungeness - 0730hrs - cool, cloudy, showery, sw5 - A distinctly autumnal feel to the weather this morning with a blustery wind blowing in the occasional light shower. Started off at ARC where a Garganey had joined the numerous Teal, while the Goosander was still at the southern end amongst the Pochard. From Hanson 2 Wood Sands amongst a scattering of Commons and Greens, LRPs and Lapwings. The GWEgret remained on Dengemarsh.
A mid-morning seawatch from the boats yielded little apart from a dribble of terns and Gannets, plus several parties of Swifts heading south.
In the afternoon had good views (despite the wind) of a Bittern flying into one of the nest sites with what looked like a large eel. A singing Corn Bunting was noteworthy and more Swifts on the move here.
As for moths, a poor catch everywhere due to the weather conditions.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Afternoon Tern Fest

Dungeness - 0730hrs - cool, cloudy, sw4/5 - With rumours of large shearwaters, and more, in the Western Approaches and a weather front moving up-Channel it seemed appropriate to commence with a seawatch this morning; well, that theory quickly foundered, as there seemed to be very little on the move after an hour. Gullman and the Joker, however, did have a couple of Manxies just after I left, typical...
From Hanson on the bird reserve 2 Wood Sands remained on the shingle ridges along with a collection of common waders.
Concrete Road - 1500hrs An hour and half seawatch in the company of the Joker (and not one gag, he must be losing it!) proved most fruitful with a slackening south-westerly and warm sunshine (BBC weather forecast wrong again). A steady westward movement of Gannets and Kitts further out with increasing numbers of terns feeding just offshore, comprising mainly adult Common and Sandwich Terns. Towards the end of the watch we bagged singles of Arctic and Little, plus the icing on the cake a Roseate Tern feeding amongst the riff-raff. Single juv Med Gull and 4 Common Scoters east, plus Grey Seal and Porpoise made for a decent session.
Moths - White-line Dart, Nutmeg and dagger sp. new for the year in the Plovers trap, along with a pristine Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (a pale specimen of one of my favourite moths) and Marbled Coronet. Yesterdays Dotted Rustic at the Kerton Road Cafe continues to attract admirers (it seems they`re a lot rarer that we first thought) with one M`other travelling down from the Midlands to pay homage.

Marbled Coronet - Found on a wall by the Plovers trap. A localised resident that regularly comes to light.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

An Aestivating Moth...

Moths - cool, wet and windy overnight, warm and sunny later - Poor catches last night due to the strong wind, and at times heavy rain. Two different Dun-bars was the highlight at Plovers, (see below) while something of a gripper on offer at the Kerton Road Cafe as Hawkeye and She-who-Must-be obeyed were mulling over a skittish Noctuid in the shape of a rarely seen Dotted Rustic (less than 20 Dunge records). This LBJ is locally distributed across the country and mainly resident, although this one could possibly be an immigrant. It is something of an enigma as the larva has not been found in the wild, so the food plant is unknown. After emerging adult Dotted Rustics aestivate, (go on, look it up...). So, they fly around a bit, then go into a torpor, (a bit like a teenager) resting up in sheds or behind curtains and the like, before re-emerging again in the autumn.
ARC - 1500hrs A quick look from Screen revealed a large feeding flock of mixed hirundines and Swifts over the lake, 2 Greenshanks, 5 LRP`s, Common and Green Sandpipers on the shingle ridges, plus the ever impressive leucistic Grey Heron in flight.
                                          Two Dun-bars, Plovers

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Wheatears, Wagtails and Waders

Dungeness - 0730hrs -warm, dry and sunny, se/sw 2 - Nothing much on the sea this morning apart from the usual terns and a few Gannets. A brood of juv Wheatears by the Brit proved a challenge to digi-scope and 2 Yellow Wagtails moved south. At Kerton Road a Grey Wagtail overhead calling was my first of the year (they`re a scarce autumn passage migrant down here).
ARC - pm - A decent number of waders and wagtails feeding on the myriad of flying insects included, 20 Pied and 2 Yellow Wagtails, a trio of sandpipers (1 Wood, 3 Green and 6 Commons), 13 LRP`s, 6 Ringed Plovers, 5 Redshanks, Greenshank, Dunlin, Curlew, 30 Oystercatchers and hundreds of Lapwings. At Cockles Bridge an adult Cuckoo by the old sheds.
Moths - A rare (Red Data Book) migrant, Silver Barred at Boulderwall was only the 2nd reserve record, plus the rarely trapped Double Dart. At Greatstone the Mathematician had Burnished Brass and Buff Arches; common enough, but still pretty smart moths.
Lesser Emperor and Small Red-eyed Damselfly were reported from Long Pits.

Baby Wheatear, Dungeness & Buff Arches, Greatstone

Monday, 4 July 2011

Botony Point

Dungeness - warm, dry and sunny, ne2 - Spent the morning mostly looking at the ground! Strange pursuit botonising (is there such a word?) with Joan, a visitor from Humberside, who during the course of the morning noted down 85 species of wild flowers. She was chuffed to bits with plants we take for-granted down here on the shingle (Yellow-horned Poppy, Dodder and Vipers Bugloss, for example) and was particularly pleased to see Sea Pea (thanks to the Chief for the tip off) and the delightfully named, and largely restricted to Dungeness, Stinking Hawk`s-beard, which actually smells like TCP when crushed (ta to She-who-Must-be-obeyed for showing us around her garden, in all its glory, at the Kerton Road Cafe).
On the bird reserve, Hobby, Bearded Tits and Cuckoo noted at Dengemarsh, plus 2 Greenshanks and a Green Sand from Screen hide on ARC. Lapwings on the move everywhere today
The only moth of note in the Plovers trap last night was Purple Bar, the first of the year.

Stinking Hawk`s Beard & Sea Pea, Dungeness

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Frog Chorus

Lade - 0530hrs - cool start, warm later, sunny, sw2 - The huge south lake at Lade pits is now smothered in a rapidly growing water weed which has attracted large numbers of common wildfowl, grebes, Coots and the like to feed. The floating plant matter is perfect for Marsh Frogs to flop into and call from dusk, through the night (the `laughing`sound travels over a mile on a still night) and into the next morning; I counted over 100 doing the `frog chorus`in a small area of the lake by Scaffold island this morning. These large, lime green brutes have pretty much displaced our indigenous Common Frog and are found across the still waters, sewers and ditches of the Romney Marshes, and nearby Rye Harbour and Pett Levels. With all this potential food on offer it was no surprise to note several Marsh Harriers quartering the lake and at least a dozen Grey Herons and 5 Little Egrets stalking the shallows.
RSPB - AM - Thought I`d better check around the hives as the Baitdigger had a Bee-eater over his cottage earlier on. No sign of the multi-coloured job, although the apiarist was on site `winding up` his swarm. The GWEgret was reported from Dengemarsh and it now appears there could be 2 pairs of Bitterns on site. A quick look from Hanson revealed 2 Blackwits and a Wood Sandpiper amongst decent numbers of Lapwings, Redshanks, Ringed Plovers and LRPs - surely its only a matter of time before a goodie wader drops onto ARC...
Marsh Frog, Lade - Introduced from Hungary in 1935 to ponds at Stone-in-Oxney and now widespread across the Greater Romney Marsh, from Pett Level to Hythe.