Cold nights have meant that there's not been much of interest to report from ther moth trap. I had a walk over the downs at the KWT Reserve at Lydden on Saturday. Hardly any butterflies now but a couple of Wheatears perched on fence posts and it's the time of year for the Ivy Bees to emerge form their underground nests. They were numerous on the chlk hillside in the area of ancient grassland. I did get a poor handheld photo of the lunar eclipse the other night. This time the clear skies meant perfect viewing conditions.
Nothing very excitibg to report form the trap-although I did get the 3rd Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing of the year yesterday-a species I don't record every year. Had a good day a Dunge yesterday with limited photographic opportunities. We started at the ARC pit where the Cattle Egret was on the cormorant island (just about the only island still above water) and the Black-necked Grebe was nearby. It then started to rain so we moved to the Dennis hide where 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Litle Egrets were noted. We then checked the trapping area in case the Wryneck was still around, but only saw a few Wheatears and a Whitethroat. Round at Lade at lunchtime 4 Arctic Skuas were mobbing a large group of Sandwich Terns and, after lunch, 2 more Arctic Skuas were offshore at the Fishing Boats. The highlight of the day followed shortly with 2 Balearic Shearwaters passing close enough for excellent scope views. A few Common Scoter and a couple of Gannets were also noted. At the patch there were mostly Common Terns but 4 Black Terns were amomgst them. Finally in the Dengemarsh area we failed to find the Egyptian Geese but most of the fence posts had Yellow Wagtails on them.
Just 4 species in the trap this morning but a sunny afternoon tempted me out to Sandwich bay where I had rather distant views of the juv. Red-footed Falcon. There was a Hobby, several Kestrels and a Buzzard in the same area, and a Spitfire put on a spectacular show of aerobatics. Late afternoon 2 Short-eared Owls showed well on the golf course near the Chequers pub.
Yesterday morning after a cold night there only 3 species in the trap: 9 LYUs, 2 Lunar Underwings and a Square-spot Rustic. A milder night last night resulted in 35 moths of 15 species this morning. I was pleased to see another Vestal, the 2nd this year and only my 3rd ever. Also the 2nd Sallow of the Autumn proved to be a very strongly marked individual.
The wet weather has meant the trap staying in the shed on a few nights this week and a poor catch when it emerged. This morning was a bit more encouraging with 35 moths of 16 species. Since my last post a few Lunar Underwings have been new for the year along with a Small Square-spot, which I was surprised to find was my first for 6 years. There is also an interesting bracket fungus on the birch stump in my garden but identifying it is a bit tricky.
Yesterday I noticed the 2nd Humming-bird Hawk Moth of the year in the garden, and this morning brought the first Centre-barred Sallow of the year. Acleris sparsana was also new for the year, which meant that my year species total of 272 (164 macros + 107 Micros) has passed last year's final total of 270 (164 macros + 106 micros).
Since my last post some cold nights have kept moth numbers down. Earlier this week I did get a Garden Rose Tortrix which brought the number of micro species recorded this year to 106, equalling last years best ever total. This morning there were 75 moths (41 LYUs) but including my first proper autumn species this year: The Sallow. Had another day at Dunge today where the Red-crested Pochards were still on the ARC pit. There were Black Terns at the patch and 1 on the ARC pit but we kept missing the White-winged Black Tern today. The best bird of the day was an adult Arctic Skua which showed off the fishing boats and a few Common Scoter and Gannets were also seen there. On the reserve there were few waders but a Common Sandpiper and Dunlin showed in front of the Firth hide. The Cattle Egret was with the cattle near Boulderwall Farmhouse and a Great White Egret was on Hooker's pit. Insect interest was provided by a Grey Bush-cricket in the Hanson hide and yet to be identified Leafhopper in the trapping area.
Cold nights have cut the moths numbers sharply. However, yesterday morning I got a small damaged moth that I couldn't identify. I'd assumed it was a micro but with help from the micromoth forum I now know it was a Pinion-streaked Snout, a new one for me. Had a good day at Dunge yesterday. We started at the ARC pit where there were 5 Blackcaps in the car park and the 2 Red-crested Pochards showed well in the NE corner of the pit. Four Hobbys were over Hooker's from the Dengemarsh Road, and a few Wheaters and Whitethroats were noted in the Dengemarsh Gully before we ticked off the Red-backed Shrike from the reserve entrance track. After lunch the White-winged Black Tern was at the patch. We returned to reserve where we decided to have a look from the Dennis Hide, where, much to my surpise the Cattle Egret flew in and landed on the posts to left of the hide. Finally there were 2 Great White Egrets on Hooker's pit.
Not much to report form the trap the last few days but this morning I was pleased to see The Vestal-only my 2nd ever record of this species. The end of the month has been reached and with 265 species recorded so far, this year is proving better than last, when only 251 had been recorded at the same stage.