The sudden change to much warmer weather has certainly improved moth numbers. Since my last post new species for the year are as follows: Bee Moth, Willow Beauty, Small Magpie, Mottled Rustic, Pale Tussock, Diamond-back, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Brown House-moth, Green Pug, A.arenella, D. acuminitana, and best of all a new species for the Garden: Anania perlucidalis, Also of interest was a very dark Peppered Moth.
No moth trapping for 2 nights due to heavy rain and this morning just 6 moths with Common Swift new for the year. Yesterday at Dunge it started sunny, poured with rain at lunchtime and rained again late afternoon. Birds were thin on the ground. The main interest was provided by 3 Cuckoos calling in different locations and a minimim of 11 Hobbies around the reserve. Around the power station several Painted Ladies had arrived with a few Red Admirals. Other butterflies seen were Small Heaths and 1 Common Blue. Three moth species were noted: Yellow Belle, Scoparia pyrallela, and the tortrix Orthotaenia ungulana. Late afternoon 2 Little Owls were seen at Lydd camp.
A much wamer and wet night on Tuesday produced the best catch of the year so far in the moth trap with 43 moths of 29 species.
New for the year were: Lime-Speck Pug, Pebble Hook-tip, Bright-line Brown-eye, Rustic
Shoulder-knot, Brown Silver-line (3rd record and first for 10 years), Oak
Nycteoline, C. alchimiella, T. trinotella, & N. cynosbatella.
Warmer nights have livened up the moth trap with Latticed Heath new for the year yesterday. This morning there were 24 moths of 16 species. New for the year were Pyrausta aurata, The Lychnis, May Highflyer, Garden Pebble, plus my 4th ever record of Scalloped Hazel and my 3rd ever of Oak-tree Pug. My last records of both these species were 2013.
With milder nights moth numbers are slowly improving. Yesterday Waved Umber was new for the year and I was slightly surprised to find the day-flying Cinnabar Moth in the trap. This morning 8 species included 5 that were the first records for 2017: Common Marbled Carpet, Marbled Minor agg., Small Dusty Wave, Buff Ermine and Mottled Rustic.
Not much to report from the moth trap in the last week. Today the sun shone at Dungeness. We spent the morning at the patch where the best birds were 7 Black Terns and an Arctic Skua. We failed to connect with any Poms. Other birds noted were Red-throated Divers, Common Scoters, 2 Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrels. In the afternoon on the RSPB reserve a few waders were present: 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel plus around 3 Grey Plovers, a Redshank, Ringed Plovers and Turnstones, of which a couple were in full breeding plumage. Two Little Terns were on a Island in front of the Visitor Centre and a White Wagtail appeared in front of the Firth Hide. Around the reserve 2 Hobbies were also noted.
Yesterday I spent a day battling with the easterly blast at Dungeness. We started at the ARC pit where a Cuckoo was heard and there were good numbers of Hirundines and Swifts. There were a few waders on one of the islands including a Bar-tailed Godwit. At the patch there were large numbers of Common Terns and we noted a few Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrels going past. Behind a Black Redstart showed well on the power station wall. After lunch there were better numbers of waders on the RSPB reserve including: a Red Knot, a few Grey Plovers, several more Bar-tailed Godwits, Ringed Plovers, a few Dunlin and a Whimbrel. One of the Grey Plovers was in full summer plumage but ubfortunately not close enough to photograph. Some of the Godwits and the Knot were also in breeding attire. A 3rd Winter Yellow-legged Gull was seen from the Firth hide. Five Hobbys were also seen over Burrowes Pit and 4 Corn Buntings noted down the Dengemarsh Road. Not much to report form the trap this week-it needs to warm up.
Yesterday morning 10 moths in the trap with Swallow Prominent and White Ermine both new for the year. Both records were the earliest I've had for those species. We've reached the end of another month. April was generally cold so not as good as March but with 37 species recorded so far, this is much better than last year when only 17 species were recorded by the end of April. Had a walk round Victory Wood, Dargate, this morning. A Lesser Whitethroat and Nightingale only birds of note-not seen a House Martin yet.
A visit to Bonsai Bank, Dengewood this afternoon was successful in finding about 10 Duke of Burgundy Butterflies, 2 Dingy Skippers plus Brimstones, Peacocks, Orange-tips, Speckled Woods and Green-veined Whites. Also there were 2 Garden Warblers and a Nightingale singing on the reserve. On Thursday struggled to find anything new at Dungeness with only a Hobby new for the year. However, we did see 4 Ring Ouzels distantly at the north end of the Long Pits and there several Wheatears around.
Very few moths but White-spotted Pug and Flame Shoulder were new for the year. On Sunday I was pleased to see 4 Ring Ouzels in a field along Dawes Road, Dunkirk, which is only a mile or so from my house. The following day they appeared to have gone but a Wheatear was on a post near there.
Still not many moths due to mainly cold nights with just Spruce Carpet and Currant Pug new for the year. At Dungeness yesterday it was mainly a case of hearing rather than seeing. A Nightingale was in good voice along the track to the Hanson Hide, and during the day 2 Cuckoos and a few Lesser Whitethroats were also heard but not seen. Similarly Bitterns were "booming" both on the ARC pit and Hookers. Whitethroats were more visible. There was little moving at the patch where there were 3 Med. Gulls on the beach. Around the trapping area several Small Coppers were noted but there was clearly not enough sunshine for the Grizzled Skippers to show. A long-horn Moth: Adela reaumurella was seen. Back on the reserve a Greenshank and 2 Grey Plovers could be seen with 3 Dunlin, but there was no sign of the Ring-necked Duck or Long-eared Owl. A Hairy Dragonfly was my first of the year on the ARC pit.
Continuing cold night have meant not many moths with a couple of Muslin Moths the only new species for the year since my last post. Visited Oare Marshes this morning where there were about 10 Whimbrel on the shore
between the ramp and Uplees copse. Two adult Med. Gulls flew over and a
Swallow flashed past. Not much else to report apart from 5 Wheatears
near the road in the field on the west side opposite the East Flood. A Little Egret in breeding plumage was feeding in a pool near the sea wall.
Cold nights have kept moth numbers low but it was slightly milder last night with Red Twin-spot Carpet and Angle Shades new for the year. At Dungeness on Wednesday it was cold and windy. At the patch Common Terns were new for the year and a couple of Sand Martins were over the ARC pit where a Greenshank was heard flying over. The Ring-necked Duck was in its usual place. On the New Diggings 2 Slavonian Grebes were in summer plumage and a Black-necked Grebe was also there but distant.
At Dungeness today the weather and the birds improved as the day went on. We started at the ARC pit where a couple of Willow Warblers and a Reed Warbler, plus Sedge Warblers were in song. There was little of interest at the Patch but there were a couple of Wheatears opposite Jarman's. After lunch we visited the RSPB reserve were the Ring-necked Duck showed well on Cook's Pool, and the Long-eared Owl was present behind the dipping pond. A couple of Swallows flew over the Dennis hide. A Marsh Harrier and a couple of Egyptian Geese were noted. At Scotney there were 10-20 Yellow Wagtails near the farm buildings where a Corn Bunting was singing from a wire and Little Owl showed under one of the barns.
Well we've reached the end of the first quarter of the year and the mild weather in March has boosted spring moth numbers to 24 species so far this year, which compares to just 11 species at this stage last year. Recently The Streamer, The Herald, Brimstone Moth, and Small Quaker have appeared for the first time.
Not much to report from the trap-a 2nd March Moth of the year was the best recent record. At Dungeness today a few Sandwich Terns went past on the sea, there was a Wheatear by the Old Lighthouse, an
Iceland Gull at the patch and briefly on the reserve, where a
Yellow-legged Gull was also present. A Peregrine flew overhead and one of the Long-eared Owls was
showing well.The Ring-necked Duck was also present but distant on
Tanner's Pool. The Garganey was elusive but on our 4th and final attempt
it showed well on Cook's Pool.
A very mild night on Saturday with a minimum of 11c meant 34 moths in the trap this morning, which compares with 36 trapped in a whole month in March 2016.
10 Early Grey, 9 Common Quaker, 7 Hebrew Character, 3 Clouded Drab, 1 Chestnut, 1 Common Plume, 1 Diurnea fagella, 1 Dotted Border (New for the year) and my 2nd ever Shoulder Stripe-following the 1st a few days ago.
Nothing new from the trap. Yesterday morning I finally managed to see a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in Bossenden Wood and in the late afternoon 2 Short-eared Owls showed well at Seasalter in the warm sunshine.
Seven species of moth in the trap this morning: Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, Hebrew Character, Early Grey, Red-green Carpet, Common Plume and, Shoulder Stripe. The latter is new for the garden and brings the total species for the site to 570. Made an early afternoon visit to Oare Marshes this afternoon. I failed to find any Garganey but a Little Owl was seen in one of its usual locations.
The second Garden Moth Survey night of this year produced 4 Hebrew Characters, 2 Common Quakers and the first March Moth and Light Brown Apple Moths of the year. The latter is of course an Australian species that was first recorded in Britain in 1936 and has been spreading ever since. It is the most common micro moth in my garden and has been recorded in every month except February. The March Moth was only the 6th record in 18 years.