Not much to report. Spent rainy day at Dunge last Friday. It cleared up in the afternoon in time to see the Red-necked Grebe at Lade but the Hume's Warbler remained elusive. In the trap since my last post a Winter Moth was the 397th species in the garden this year. The Redwings on a neighbour's holly tree are another sign of the season.
At Dungeness yesterday the 4 Bewick's Swans showed well on the ARC pit from the Hanson Hide where a
Water Rail was also seen close to the hide. At the back and well to the west of Scotney Farm the 2 Whooper Swans were with Mute
and Black Swans, and a Barn Owl was seen too, just inside East Sussex. In the trap this week just 1 moth: The Brick.
Just got back from a week away in the Cotswolds. Before leaving a December Moth and a Rusty-dot Pearl took the garden species total to 395 for the year. I didn't take the moth trap with me but an outside light at the Cottage was very effective in attracting moths, with 9 species recorded for the week. Highlights were a Scarce Umber and 4 different types of Mottled Umber. There were also several December Moths and Winter Moths, and a Sprawler.
Chose Thursday, the best day this week for the Dungeness visit. Highlights were Caspian
Gull and Yellow-legged Gull at the Fishing Boats and Spoonbill on the
reserve. We couldn't find the Twite reported earlier in the week at
Scotney Farm, but we did get a ringtail Hen Harrier there. Ten Great-white Egrets and 2
Cattle Egrets were seen on the reserve. A Dark Chestnut this week was new for the year in the moth trap.
Since my last post moth numbers have been low due to cold nights. However, I have recorded The Mallow, Feathered Thorn, Blair's Shoulder-knot and The Brick recently bringing the year total to 392, which is 14 better than my previous best which was last years. Had a fairly unproductive day at Dungeness on Thursday with rain in the morning there. However, on Saturday the White-billed Diver offshore in Botany Bay near Margate was the first I've seen in the UK. A red-letter day indeed.
The nights have been cold recently with fewer and fewer moths-empty trap this morning. However, on Saturday afternoon I made my first vist to Luddenham Church where a Yellow-browed Warbler showed well with a Brambling.
Since my last post I've continued to get a good selection of autumn moths in the trap. The best record for me was Autumnal Rustic, a common species, that was new for the garden. The migrant the Delicate was only my second record. Also new for the year were: Merveille du Jour, November Moth agg., Brindled Green (3rd record), Large Wainscot, and Pinion-streaked Snout.
Failed to see the Wryneck at Dunge today but, with plenty of Egrets on view, we counted 20 Great White Egrets around the RSPB reserve, along with 5 Cattle Egrets, 3 Little Egrets and 6 Grey Herons. A Peregrine bathed in front of the Firth hide where a Marsh Harrier also performed. In the moth trap this week a Beaded Chestnut and Yellow-line Quaker took the year total to 379-one more than last year for my best ever year.
I've started to get a few classic autumn species in the moth trap this week. Best was my 2nd ever record of Pink-Barred Sallow, while new for the year were: Pink-Barred Sallow, Red-line Quaker, The Sallow, Feathered Ranunculus, and Acleris sparsana. At Dungeness today, in lovely weather, new birds were difficult to find. A Hobby over the ARC pit was followed by an Arctic Skua and 85 Mediterranean Gulls at the fishing boats. After lunch there were 6 Cattle Egrets in the Hayfields/Dengemarsh area of the RSPB Reserve, while around dozen Great White Egrets were seen in various locations.
We have come to end of another month-the best moth record was the Convolvulus Hawk-moth mentioned previously. However, I spent 2 weeks in Canada-Calgary and Vancouver Island, where a boat trip 25 miles offshore produced soem new birds in the form of a Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed Shearwater, and Buller's Shearwater. Black Turnstone was also a new bird for me. Black Bears were also seen.
The weekly visit to Dungeness last Thursday proved interesting. There were still 4 Cattle Egrets on the RSPB Reserve with Great White and Little Egrets also noted. At the Fishing Boats there were 2 Yellow-legged Gulls. After lunch we headed over towards the Observatory trapping area north of the Railway Station. We didn't get far before a Wryneck appeared on brambles in front of us. My first for 6 years. We also noted 3 Whinchats in the area. In the moth trap since then a Convolvulus Hawk-moth was obviously attracted to the tobacco plants in the garden and 4 Old Lady moths have been seen.
We've reached the end of another month and it is interesting to compare this year with last year, which was my best ever in the number of species of moth recorded. At the end of August 2017 I had reached a total of 348 species. However, this year a very hot summer and a warm week in April means that I have already gone well past that figure to reach 365 species. Also on 31st August I found a Dusky Thorn sitting on the outside of the trap late in the evening, which is another new species for the garden. I've recently also recorded my 5th example of Evergestis limbata this year and the variant type of Centre-barred Sallow.
I have made 2 visits to Dungeness this week. On Monday I saw the American Black Tern but not much else. Today that was gone but the 8 Cattle Egrets on the Dungess RSPB reserve is the biggest flock I've seen in the UK. There were also about 7 Great White Egrets and a few Little Egrets too. Four Whinchats were on Galloways and 3 Wheatears were seen. A Great Green Bush-cricket was noted in the ARC car park. In the moth trap recently the best records have been my 2nd Red Underwing (slightly battered), Old Lady, Peach Blossom, and Centre-barred Sallow.
Dungeness on Wednesday was fairly quiet with highlights being 2 Wood Sandpipers, 3/4 Great White Egrets, Hobby, 5 Black Terns with 100s of Sand Martins and good numbers of Common Terns and a few Sandwich Terns on the reserve. Best records from the moth trap are the 1st Frosted Orange of the year and my 2nd ever Aethes smeathmanniana.
Moth numbers have crashed now the weather has changed-with just 12 species yesterday morning down from a maximum of 77 mid-July. However, I rescued a Wall Brown butterfly from the shed today and placed it on the buddleia where it fed for 5 minutes before flying off. This was a garden first for me and the first I've seen in Kent for 6 years. In the trap Dark Spinach was new for the year, and a Red Kite flew over the East Flood at Oare Marshes a couple of days ago.
The hot weather has kept the moth trap busy. In the last few days there have been 3 additions to the garden moth list. Best of all was The Mocha, a "Nationaly Scarce B" species. Next was Chilo phragmitella, a local species normally found in reed beds, gravel pits etc. Finally there was a 3mm long tiny micro, which was somewhat tricky to photograph: Phyllocnistis unipunctella.