Since my last post a Pale Brindled Beauty was the 2nd species of the year in the moth trap. At Dungeness yesterday the Smew was again visible distantly from the Visitor Centre. A Merlin flew over Boulderwall Farmhouse, where the Tree Sparrows were back around the building and feeders. One of the 2 Whopper Swans in the area showed very well in front of the Dengemarsh Hide. Three Marsh Harriers and 3 or 4 Great White Egrets were noted. As I left 2 Cattle Egrets were near the road back to Lydd.
Had the first moth of the year in the trap this morning: Hebrew Character. At the weekend I visited Mountain Street, Chilham where at the top several Bramblings were feeding on the Beech Mast along the public footpath. Yesterday I failed in a search for the Waxwings reported in Folkestone, but spending the rest of the morning at Dungeness I eventually caught up with the recently arrived drake Smew-the first of ths species to be seen at Dungeness this winter. A walk round the reserve produced a Great White Egret and a couple of Marsh Harriers, while 2 Cattle Egrets showed well in a small horse paddock nearby.
Struggled to find anything new at Dungeness last week. The Cattle Egrets were still around with around 3 Great White Egrets. However, I did manage to see a few Common Crossbills at Hemsted Forest near Benenden, together with a few Redpolls. A Tawny Owl called there too. This morning the previously reported Whimbrel was just west of the slipway. The Highland Cattle are back on the West Flood.
Still no moths. Last week at Dungeness I did manage to see the Woodlark at Pigwell and 2 Goosanders on the RSPB Reserve. The 4 Cattle Egrets were still along the road between Lydd and Boulderwall and about 3 Great White Egrets were seen around the area. A couple of Goldeneye were seen. Today I went looking for Crossbills at Challock-failed to see any but 2 Marsh Tits, 20+ Siskin and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker were nice to see. Failed with Penduline Tit at Grove Ferry but a Kingfisher was the first I've seen this year.
No moths yet despite some milder nights. Last Friday's visit to Dungeness mainly involved seeing some of this winter's regulars: Great White, Little and Cattle Egrets, 2 Whooper Swans, Corn Buntings, Marsh Harriers, and a Cetti's Warbler that showed briefly from the Hanson Hide. Yesterday I was the first car in the car park at Reculver and the 2 Snow Butings were on the path between the towers and Coldharbour Lagoon.
We've reached the end of another year. For the moth trap it's been a very good year with the warm week in April and the long hot summer producing a record total for me of 397 species recorded including 27 new species for the garden list, taking the grand total to 626. Best record of the year ws probably The Mocha, but I was also pleased to record several common species that have eluded me till now. The 13 new macro species were: Autumnal Rustic, Beautiful Hook-tip, Coxcomb Prominent, Dark Umber, Dusky Thorn, Kent Black Arches, Leopard Moth, Lunar Marbled Brown, Thye Mocha, Oak beauty, Plumed Fan-foot, Pine Beauty, and Powdered Quaker. Best bird of the year was the White-billed Diver off Thanet in early November. However, for me it was never really close enough for a decent photo. However, the 2 Bluethroats in the Dengemarsh Gully at Dungeness in March were very obliging.
Not much to report. Spent rainy day at Dunge last Friday. It cleared up in the afternoon in time to see the Red-necked Grebe at Lade but the Hume's Warbler remained elusive. In the trap since my last post a Winter Moth was the 397th species in the garden this year. The Redwings on a neighbour's holly tree are another sign of the season.