There have just been a few November Moths and a Feathered Thorn of note since my last post. Another trip to Dunge yesterday. We met up as usual in the ARC car park where a Great White Egret flew over. With news that the Dusky Warbler was still present near the new Lighthouse we headed off there but failed to see anything in gloomy and windy conditions. We walked over to the Fishing Boats where a brief seawatch produced a stream of Gannets, 2 Sandwich Terns, a Common Scoter and a Guillemot. Two Yellow-legged Gulls were noted in the gull roost but no sign of any Caspian Gulls. After lunch we had a look around the Old Lighthouse and the Observatory Moat-not much seen there. So back to ARC pit where another Great White was present and a Kingfisher posed briefly. We checked the Gulls along the track to the visitor centre where there was another Yellow-legged, and a Black Redstart was around the visitor centre. On Burrows there were 2 more Great Whites, 3 Caspian Gulls (1 Adult 3rd winter, and 2 juvs) and 2 more Yellow-legs. So not a bad day in the end.
A mild night of 9c produced 11 moths of 8 or possibly 9 species this morning with: The Mallow, Green-brindled Crescent, Dark Sword-grass, and Merveille du Jour all new for the year. Also a well marked "November" Moth might be a Pale November Moth. Then off to Dunge where we started at the ARC pit as usual and saw a Firecrest amid numerous Goldcrests and a few Chiffchaffs. We then went over to Scotney and walked behind Scotney Farm, where we had good but distant views of the Rough-legged Buzzard. After lunch news of a Barred Warbler took us to the Observatory but the bird did not show. I did however see a Ring Ouzel flitting around the Moat. On the reserve we counted about 7 Great White Egrets on Burrows and a Brambling showed well on the feeders opposite the visitor centre.
A bit milder night (8c) meant 9 moths recorded this morning including: November Moth (agg.), The Chestnut, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Grey Pine Carpet and, on the ivy near the trap, a Feathered Thorn. The latter was species number 284 for the year-my best ever total.
Just a few common moths recently but the Red-line Quaker this morning meant that in terms of the number of species I have now equalled my best year of 2011, with 283 (175 macros and 108 micros) so far. (In 2011 the breakdown was 187 macros and 96 micros). However, overall numbers will be much lower this year than the 6,049 moths recorded in 2011. So far the 2015 total is 4,404 which is 27% down on 2011. As we are now in the 2nd half of October this year's total will not change much now. This afternoon I managed to see a Dartford Warbler at Reculver-my first for 12 years. However, it was quite elusive by the time I saw it-so only a "record" shot.
On Thursday I spent another hour or so in the Feast hide at Grove Ferry-not as productive as the previous day but the Kingfisher put on a prolonged display without ever perching close to the hide. Two Marsh Harriers also showed well. Yesterday was spent at Dungeness where, to my surprise, we had almost no rain after about 10.00. At the ARC pit a Stoat ran across the path and there were lots of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests. At the Willow Trail there was a Firecrest and we heard a single call from what was probably a Yellow-browed Warbler. It didn't call again. At the Obs. trapping area a few Redwings and the odd Bramblimg flew over, and Merlin flew towards the Old Lighthouse, before about 120 Fieldfares dropped into the gorse bushes. Two Wheatears were also noted. Back on the reserve, there were 7 or 8 Great White Egrets, several Little Egrets and 2 Black-necked Grebes on Burrows. A Black Redstart showed well on the visitor centre roof and 2 Tree Sparrows and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were on the feeders.
No moths to report, but I spent an interesting hour in the Feast Hide at Grove Ferry this afternoon. Male and female Marsh Harriers flew past, followed by a Kingfisher. The ringtail Hen Harrier then put in an appearance and just before I left a Bittern took off from the reed bed.
A milder night on Tuesday meant 15 moths of 10 species yesterday morning, including a Pine Carpet, another Sallow, and my first Black Rustic for 5 years. Last night was colder but there still 7 species with November Moth and Red-green Carpet new this year.
Yesterday in beautiful weather I managed to get 2 ticks for my Oare Marshes bird list: Great Grey Shrike, which gave good but distant scope views before heading off west, and 2 Ravens which flew overhead as I returned to the car. A milder night meant 14 moths in the trap this morning including The Sallow, Feathered Ranunculus and the first L-album Wainscot of the year. This afternoon at the Restharrow Scrape at Sandwich Bay in the rain, I saw my first Jack Snipe for nearly 20 years.
Had a good day at Dunge yesterday in brilliant sunshine but very windy conditions. We started at the ARC pit where 2 Black-necked Grebes were showing but not much else was seen. Our next stop was the Lighthouse Garden where 1 or possibly 2 Yellow-browed Warblers were showing well every now then. Here and in the surrounding area there were also several "Continental" Coal Tits with good numbers of Firecrests and Goldcrests. At the Patch the Grey Phalarope was still present. After lunch we spent an hour at the Fishing Boats sheltering from the wind next to a conveniently placed vessel. There were 3 Arctic Skuas in the area, occasionally harassing good numbers of Sandwich Terns. A couple of Gannets, 20+ Common Scoters and 11 Brent Geese were also noted. A Wheatear was seen on our return to the road. After another session at the Lighthouse Garden we adjourned to the RSPB Reserve where, from the Dennis Hide area, 5 Great White Egrets, 5 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons and 4 Dunlin were noted.
Not many moths this week but 2 of interest. The first Feathered Ranunculus of the autumn was a very dark and quite large individual, and this morning there were just 2 moths: Setaceous Hebrew Character and a Rhomboid Tortrix, a new one for the garden list, which unfortunately didn't want to pose for its photo. We've reached the end of the month and the year total stands at 276 species (168 macros and 108 micros), which compares favourably with last year at this stage with 254 (150 macros and 104 micros).