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.