Thursday 31 December 2015

Moths are still about. On Tuesday morning I was surprised to find a pristine Common Quaker in the trap. I've only recorded this species from late Feb to start of May previously. Yesterday morning there was another Rusty-dot Pearl. Made a regular trip to Dunge yesterday, again in very windy conditions.
There was a Great White Egret on the ARC pit and a couple of Goldeneye. A Chiffchaff showed briefly along the Willow Trail. The rest of the morning was spent at the patch sheltering behind the first hide. There was a continuous procession west of Gannets, Kittiwakes, Auks, and Red-throated Divers past, plus one fairly distant Great Skua-my first this year. A GBB Gull was feeding on a dead Harbour Porpoise on the beach nearby. Back on the reserve after lunch 4 Little Gulls (another year tick) flew past the visitor centre while we drank coffee, and the Long-eared Owl was just about visible in the usual place but deeper in the bush. A Water Rail showed well but briefly in front of the Scott Hide, where 1 Smew was also seen. Two more Great White Egrets were also seen.

 Great Black-backed Gull

 Common Quaker

Thursday 24 December 2015

Nothing to report from the trap. Went over to Grove Ferry yesterday morning where a Marsh Harrier spent quite a bit of time in front of the Feast hide. In the afternoon spent an hour or so at Seasalter where a Short-eared Owl performed well, in what will probably be the only sunshine this week.

Short-eared Owl

 Short-eared Owl

 Marsh Harrier

Thursday 17 December 2015

Yesterday morning, despite overnight rain, there were 3 moths in the tap. A Winter Moth had finally arrived plus The Chestnut and a Diamond-back. This morning there was a Rusty-dot Pearl. The Diamond-back and RD Pearl were the first I've recorded in the month of December. The mild weather continues.

Winter Moth

Monday 14 December 2015

Since my last post I've added two more moth species to those I've recorded in December: Angle Shades and B. lacticolella. I was surprised to find that the Angle Shades was also the first I've recorded this year. However, despite the mild conditions, I've yet to see a Winter Moth this autumn. Went over to Grove Ferry in gloomy conditions this afternoon-the male Hen Harrier flew past the Marsh Hide just as I left it! Two Barn Owls showed well on the walk back to the car but no Short-eared this time. The latest addition to my garden bird list is pictured below.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Since my last post I've recorded 2 more species for the first time in December: Dark Sword-grass and Brown House-moth. Today I spent another very windy day at Dunge. On the ARC pit there was 1 Great White Egret, a Peregrine, and at least 3 Marsh Harriers plus about 7 Smew flew away down the pit. On the rest of the reserve 1 Caspian Gull was identified plus 2 Smew, a Kingfisher, Little Egret and the Long-eared Owl. We struggled to find much else.


 Dark Sword-grass

Friday 4 December 2015

A Yellow-line Quaker in the trap this morning was the first I've seen in December. I went over to Grove Ferry for the afternoon hoping to see the male Hen Harrier again. No luck with that but a Ringtail showed well in front of the Marsh Hide. On my walk back to the car a Short-eared Owl also showed well.
 Hen Harrier

 Hen Harrier

Monday 30 November 2015

Not many moths to report since my last post, but I did trap a Pale Mottled Willow on the 26th-my first November record of this common species. Today I spent a windy day at Dungeness where the Long-eared Owl (a Dunge tick for me) was still roosting behind the dipping pond near the RSPB visitor centre . Other birds on the reserve were 2 Great White Egrets, Litte Egret, 5 Smew and a Goosander. Near the fishing boats we saw a Yellow-legged Gull and Scandinavian Herring Gull. When I left a gale was blowing.

Long-eared Owl

 Smew, Shoveler and Tufted Duck

Friday 20 November 2015

Only a few moths since my last post which have included 2 Turnip, a Silver Y and my latest record of a Yellow-line Quaker this morning. Had an interesting day at Dunge today where, somewhat to my surprise, it remained dry all day. A Great White Egret, Sparrowhawk, and a couple of Goldeneye were noted from the Hanson Hide on the ARC pit, and a Bittern flew into the reeds near the Screen Hide. Then off to the main part of the reserve where after a bit of a wait the regularly calling Dusky Warbler gave good but brief views between Dengemarsh Hide and the Ramp. A Firecrest and Goldcrest showed well there too. After lunch 4/5 Med Gulls were noted at the patch plus Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Common Scoter, a lone Goldeneye and a Harbour Porpoise. Back on the reserve another Great White Egret & Little Egret were near Boulderwall, with Kingfisher and Goosander noted on Burrows.


 Silver Y

Friday 13 November 2015

Two moths this morning: Feathered Thorn and a Large Yellow Underwing. The latter is by far the most common species in my garden but this was my first record in November. This afternoon I trekked over to the Marsh Hide on the Stodmarsh Reserve. On the way a Short-eared Owl showed briefly. From the hide the male Hen Harrier and a Ringtail showed well. However, by the time they came reasonably close the light was fading fast-so record shots only below.

 Hen Harriers

Wednesday 11 November 2015

This is one that's fooled me before. I spent quite a while looking through the Tortrix moths before realising that this was my 3rd record of Oak Nycteolene. My first "new for the year" species in November, and the first one for 3 years.

Oak Nycteolene

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Eleven moths this morning: 3 x LBAM, Rose Tortrix, Acleris sparsana, 4 x November Moth, Setaceous Hebrew Character, and the 2nd Yellow-line Quaker of the Autumn. Late afternoon I made a short visit to Seasalter where 4 Short-eared Owls were flying behind the Sportsman Pub. A Barn Owl also showed distantly on the other side of the road well to east of the Sportsman.

Yellow-line Quaker

 Short-eared Owl

  Short-eared Owl

Tuesday 3 November 2015

An empty trap yesterday but this morning I was pleased to find 8 moths of 5 species: B.adustella, Acleris sparsana, Garden Carpet, November Moth (agg.) and a better specimen of a December Moth. I know that November Moths cannot normally be distinguished from Pale November and Autumnal Moths on external characteristics alone, but one specimen this morning was very well marked and unlike any I've recorded at this site before?

 December Moth

 Acleris sparsana

 November Moth?

Sunday 1 November 2015

Just 1 Feathered Thorn this morning after a cold night. However, yesterday was better with 7 moths: LBAM, Common Plume, Common Marbled Carpet, November Moth, Turnip, and new for the year-the first Large Wainscot for 4 years and the first December Moth for 3. The latter was also the first December Moth I've recorded in October. Unfortunately the latter was a rather tatty specimen.

Large Wainscot

December Moth

Friday 30 October 2015

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.


 Black Redstart

Great White Egret

Friday 23 October 2015

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.
Merveille du Jour

 The Mallow

Dark Sword-grass


Thursday 22 October 2015

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.

 Feathered Thorn

Tuesday 20 October 2015

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.

 Red-line Quaker

 Dartford Warbler

Saturday 17 October 2015

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.

Marsh Harrier
 Great Spotted Woodpecker

Wednesday 14 October 2015

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.


 Hen Harrier

Monday 12 October 2015

Cold nights still keeping numbers down, but this morning the 5 moths in the trap included 2 new for the year: The Chestnut and Blair's Shoulder-knot.

The Chestnut

 Blair's Shoulder-knot

Thursday 8 October 2015

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.

Black Rustic
 November Moth
 Pine Carpet

Monday 5 October 2015

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.

 Jack Snipe

 L-album Wainscot


Friday 2 October 2015

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. 
 Yellow-browed Warbler
 Coal Tit (Continental race)
 Grey Phalarope