Moth numbers have crashed now the weather has changed-with just 12 species yesterday morning down from a maximum of 77 mid-July. However, I rescued a Wall Brown butterfly from the shed today and placed it on the buddleia where it fed for 5 minutes before flying off. This was a garden first for me and the first I've seen in Kent for 6 years. In the trap Dark Spinach was new for the year, and a Red Kite flew over the East Flood at Oare Marshes a couple of days ago.
The hot weather has kept the moth trap busy. In the last few days there have been 3 additions to the garden moth list. Best of all was The Mocha, a "Nationaly Scarce B" species. Next was Chilo phragmitella, a local species normally found in reed beds, gravel pits etc. Finally there was a 3mm long tiny micro, which was somewhat tricky to photograph: Phyllocnistis unipunctella.
We've reached the end of another month so I thought I'd take stock. Last year was my best ever for the number of moth species in the trap, and by the end of July 2017 I had reached 311 species. However, this year I've now already reached 327, thanks no doubt to the warm spell in April and the recent heatwave. Recently the migrant tortrix Cydia amplana was new for the garden and another tortrix Epinotia nisella was first record for 9 years. At Oare Marshes KWT Reserve the Southern Migrant Hawkers continue to show well along the track to the west hide.
Yesterday at Dungeness was fairly quiet for birds with Green, Wood and Common Sandpipers, 4 Great White Egrets and a Hobby being the main interest. However, on our way around the RSPB Reserve we encountered at least 5 Lesser Emperor Dragonflies with 1 on the ASRC pit pool near "The Pines", 1 from the Christmas Dell hide, 2 from the Dengemarsh hide and at least another 1 on the track near the ramp. They were very active & difficult to photograph in the heat but a couple did perch very briefly in front of the Dengemarsh hide. In the moth trap I had a rare micro the pRDB species: Bisigna procerella. A weevil: Curculio venusus made a better picture.
Went over to Oare Marshes on Sunday morning to look for the Southern Migrant Hawkers that this year have expanded from the Isle of Grain, and have been seen more widely along the north Kent coast. The Moth trap comtinues to bulge in the hot weather, with 3 new species for the garden since my last post: Leopard Moth, Coxcomb Prominent, and Catoptria pinella.
At Dungeness yesterdaythe ARC pit held the best selection of waders with Little Stints, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Little Ringed Plovers, Snipe, Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings. Nearby a juvenile Cuckoo posed on a wire. Elsewhere on The RSPB reserve a Great White Egret, 2 Little Egrets and a Marsh Harrier were on Dengemarsh. At Oare the Black-winged Stilts have been showing well but I believe they may have gone now. The moth trap has been busy with the hot weather with 77 species being recorded on one night. Interesting records have included the first Satin Lutestring for 8 years and the second example of the Olive, following the first one last year.
At Dungeness on Wednesday a Wood Sandpiper showed well amd Green Sandpiper and Greenshank were also seen. At the patch my first Yellow-legged Gull of the year was on the beach. The moth trap has continued to be busy with another new macro species for the garden this morning: Dark Umber. Also my first Small Ranunculus for 8years. On Wednesday morning I had the 2nd record of a Small Elephant Hawk-moth-again a rather worn specimen. Yesterday there was a nice specimen of the Coronet.