Friday 30 December 2016

Looking back over the year the following were the highlights:

1.The best of my garden moths wete 5 Convolvulus Hawk-moths recorded in September. Finally getting round to palnting the free packet of Nicotiana seeds from Atropos magazine paid off spectacularly.

2. The Great Grey Owl I photographed near Calgary was the bird of the year. I'd been trying to get good pictures of this species for a few years. This one seemed oblivious to a few photographers and caught 3 voles while we watched.

3. My Kent bird of the year was the Hobby which gave very close views on the ARC pit track at Dungeness on a miserable spring day.

 Great Grey Owl
 Convolvulus Hawk-moth

Wednesday 28 December 2016

With -3c in the garden last night I think the mothtrapping year is over now. 2016 has been my best year in terms of the number of species recorded by a fair distance and the first time I've recorded over 300 species in the year. The 318 total included 6 new macro and 16 new micro species for the garden list.  The 2 most obvious factors involved here are probably: 1. Using a 40W actinic trap instead of the 6W model I've used for the past 16 years. 2. The fine weather this summer from mid July until well into September. The table below summarises my moth numbers from 2010 and although not strictly comparable it still reveals somthing interesting. Despite a record number of species the total moths trapped still didn't reach the numbers achieved in the smaller actinic trap in 2010 and 2011.


Macro Moths
Micro Moths

Friday 23 December 2016

Unusually we chose the right day to visit Dunge this week where the sun shone on a calm day. However we only managed to tick off the usual suspects. On the ARC pit there was a Great White Egret and a Marsh Harrier. At the Fishing Boats, among the many Guillemots spread out over the calm sea, we noted 4 Razorbills and 4 Red-throated Divers. A Caspian Gull was feeding on fish scraps near the Fish Hut. After lunch on the reserve the Ring-necked Duck was still present near Boulderwall, 2 further Caspian Gulls and 2 Smew were on Burrows and another Great White Egret was on Dengemarsh.
Caspian Gull (1st W)
 Little Grebe

Friday 16 December 2016

Another relatively mild night meant my first Winter Moth of the year appeared.

 Winter Moth

Thursday 15 December 2016

Visited Dungeness on Monday this week but a gloomy day became wet in the afternoon and it was mostly a case of seeing the usual suspects. Milder nights however, have produced a couple of December Moths this week along with the ever present Light Brown Apple Moths.

December Moth

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Dunge again today but struggled to find much new. The Tree Sparrows were showing well on the feeder at Boulderwall Farm and the Ring-necked Duck was on the same pool near there. The highlight was a Lapland Bunting seen and heard twice in flight along the Dengemarsh Road, over the stubble field and "Sunflower" field near Springfield Bridge. On the reserve from the Makepeace Hide my gull enthusiast friend managed to find: 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Caspian Gull (2W) and a Scandinavian Herring Gull. We noted 2 Great White Egrets, 3 Buzzards and Raven during the day.

 "Argentatus" Herring Gull

 Tree Sparrows


Friday 2 December 2016

Yesterday late afternoon there were 2 Short-eared Owls and a Barn Owl at Seasalter in the field behing the Sportsman Inn. Today I made the trip to Dungeness where the weather was dry and calm but rather gloomy all day. At the Hanson Hide a Water Rail showed well, and then at the Fishing Boats we noted 4 Velvet Scoters, 20+ Common Scoters and a Red-throated Diver was on the sea fairly close to the shore. After lunch we found 1 Dartford Warbler with around 3 Stonechats in the Kerton Road area before visiting the main part of the RSPB reserve. Here the Ring-necked Duck was showing well near Boulderwall Farm, and 2 Great White Egrets were also seen. The Long-eared Owl showed well in poor light, and Caspian Gull was seen on Burrows. The highlight came late in the day with a Hen Harrier in the Dengemarsh area.

Water Rail

 Red-throated Diver

 Long-eared Owl

Sunday 27 November 2016

I made a short visit to Hampton Pier, Herne Bay this afternoon to try to photograph Sanderling. There were a small flock of 8 on the shore by the Pier accompanied briefly by 1 Purple Sandpiper, some Turnstones and a Rock Pipit.

 Purple Sandpiper

Friday 25 November 2016

Made the weekly trip to Dunge yesterday where we struggled to see much in very windy conditions. During the day we spent some time at the Fishing Boats and the patch but with just a Red-throated Diver, several Med. Gulls, a couple of Guillemots the main interest to go with large numbers of Gannets. Around the reserve the highlights were a Peregrine which flew by just outside the windows of the visitor centre, and a male Goosander. Around 5 Great White Egrets and 8 Little Egrets were noted. The Long-eared Owl, Cattle Egret and Ringed-necked Duck were all keeping out of sight. As we left we heard a report of a Ring-billed Gull but we failed to re-locate it.

 Grey Heron sheltering from the wind
 Little Egret near Boulderwall

Tuesday 22 November 2016

With the weather improving I visited Stonelees NR, Pegwell Bay this afternoon, where the 5 or 6 Waxwings were showing well at the south end of the reserve near the traffic light entrance. This morning just a November Moth and a Rusty-dot Pearl in the trap.


Friday 18 November 2016

Not many moths to report and nothing new for the year. Went down to Dungeness for another wet and very windy day. We started at the ARC where 2 Marsh Harriers, a Great White Egret and a Chiffchaff were noted and the Ring-necked Duck was still showing well near Boulderwall. We then sat out the heavy rain in the RSPB visitor centre from where at least 2 Caspian Gulls could be seen in front of the Firth Hide. After lunch we looked along Kerton Road where the unusual Stonechat was seen again but we had no luck with the Dartford Warblers. Back on the reserve the Long-eared Owl could be seen roosting behind the dipping pond. The rain drove us back to the centre from where, after a period of horizontal lash, we finally made it to the Firth Hide. Here 4+ Caspian Gulls, showing all ages from 1st Winter to Adult, were in front of the hide. A Yellow-legged Gull, Great White Egret and another Chiffchaff were also noted. As we left the reserve the Cattle Egret showed briefly in flight near the cows at Boulderwall, and along the Dengemarsh Road the 2 Bewick's Swans were still present with Mutes there. 

Ring-necked Duck

Caspian Gull (Adult)

Caspian Gull (2nd Winter)

Thursday 10 November 2016

Not run the moth trap for a few days due to the weather. Yesterday I drove down to Dungeness in pouring rain with no great expectations but it turned into a pretty good day. We started at Boulderwall Farmhouse, where the Ring-necked Duck was showing well but photography was difficult in the rain and poor light. After sitting in the RSPB visitor centre till the rain stopped we returned to Boulderwall where the Cattle Egret was close to the track but the RN Duck had moved further away and was mostly asleep. Next on the ARC pit we were lucky with 3 sightings of Bitterns (probably 2 birds) with 2 in flight and another on the edge of a reed bed from the Hanson Hide. A Great White Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk and Marsh Harrier were also noted there. After lunch we followed up reports of a Dartford Warbler along Kerton Road. The sky was darkening but my friend immediately picked up 2 Stonechats and we were pleased to find a Dartford Warbler with them. One of the Stonechats was the unusual one seen the previous day and considered to be possibly an "eastern" type. As the rain started we headed back to the RSPB reserve again where 2 or 3 Great White Egrets, 8 Little Egrets, a Goosander, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, Yellow-legged and Caspian Gulls were noted. Finally we drove round to the Dengemarsh Road where 2 Bewick's Swans were with a few Mutes opposite the Watersport Centre, and a Buzzard and 2 Marsh Harriers were at the Springfield Bridge. So Ring-necked Duck, Dartford Warbler and 5 "Heron" species made a very good day.

 Ring-necked Duck

 Cattle Egret



Tuesday 1 November 2016

Moth numbers remain low since my last post with the micro: Agonopterix alstromeriana the only species new for the year. This afternoon at Oare Marshes the Dowitcher showed well in the S E corner of the East Flood and the Spoonbill was also seen well from the sea wall near there. There were 1000s of waders present including 3 Little Stints.

Long-billed Dowitcher

 Long-billed Dowitcher


Friday 28 October 2016

Seven November Moths and a Red-green carpet in the trap this morning. I then spent the day at Dunge where 10 Great White and 9 Little Egrets flew in to the ARC pit early morning. A Chiffchaff, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were also noted. At the patch a Black Redstart was on the power station wall, a Gannet was offshore and a Med. Gull flew past. After lunch on the main part of the RSPB reserve we noted 2 Great White Egrets, Yellow-legged Gull, Goosander, Kingfisher, Merlin, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, 4 Dunlin, and 3 Clouded Yellow Butterflies. Common Darter and Migrant hawker dragonflies were also seen. 

 Black Redstart
 Common Darter