I haven't had much to report lately with the nights being either too cold or too wet for any moths to reach the trap, while the weather has not encouraged me out into the field much. At Dungeness on Thursday it stayed dry but the was not much to report. The highlight was around 20+ Mediteranean Gulls at the patch with one also at the Fishing Boat puddles with Black-headed Gulls. Around the reserve 1 Cattle Egret, 2/3 Great White Egrets, and a Little Egret were noted. Kingfishers were heard on a couple of occasions but not seen.
November Moths (agg.) have been appearing over the last few days in the trap. I also had a reasonable day at Dungeness yesterday with the Shore Lark near the fishing boats showing well and my first Fircrests of the year near the Power Station. The Red-throated Diver was still on Burrowes Pit on the RSPB Reserve, where there was also 3 Cattle Egrets with the cows on the Hayfields.
Since my last posting we've had some cold nights and some very wet ones, but despite that I've had 3 good moth species in the last week. Last weekend there was the migrant: Scarce Bordered Straw, and yesterday my 2nd record of Deep-brown Dart (the last was 3 years ago), but best of all this morning was my first ever Pale-lemon Sallow, a nationally scarce species. A Grey Phalarope spent a few days the previous week at Birchington. (Photo on my Flickr site).
The nights turned milder at the weekend and I was pleased to find a Clancy's Rustic in the trap which was new for the garden. First recorded in 2002 by Sean Clancy at Dungeness, this moth has been spreading slowly ever since. New for year since then have been: Orange Sallow, The Mallow, and this morning, despite the rain overnight, The Sallow, Feathered Ranunculus, Black Rustic, Dark Sword-grass, and Yellow-line Quaker.
Since returning from a week away the nights have been cold and the moths few. However, it was a slightly warmer night last night with a Pine carpet and Lunar Underwing new for the year. At Dungeness last week a Spotted Flycatcher was new for the year for me, as was the Pectoral Sandpiper at Dungeness this week on the ARC pit. A Cattle Egret was present in the same location both weeks.
Just back from a week in Broadway in the Cotswolds where I ran the moth trap and got 4 species new to me. They were: Brown-spot Pinion, August Thorn, September Thorn and a micro Ypsolopha parenthesella.
The hot weather over the last few days has livened up the moth trap with new species for the year including: Lesser Swallow Prominent, Dark Spinach, The Vapourer, The Fern, Six-striped Rustic, Rosy Rustic, and Cypress Pug. In the garden Painted Ladies have been fairly common and the UK's largest Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria (Hornet Mimic) has also appeared on the buddleia. However, best of all this morning in the trap was a Jersey Mocha which was another new one for the site.
Highlight of my Dungeness visit on Thursday was a Red Kite over the ARC pit, which was the first I've seen in the Dungeness/Lydd area. Two Cattle Egrets and a few Great White Egrets were noted, and a reasinable selection of waders included a juv. Red Knot from the Firth hide and Wood Sandpipers on the ARC pit. Also from the Firth hide a Black Tern abd a couple of Little Terns. Moth trap has been poor this week due to cold nights and rain.
Species numbers in the moth trap are well down on last year but this week managed another first for the garden in the shape of 2 Jersey Tigers, a species that's been spreading for sometime and has finally reached here. Also of interest was a very nice example of a Tree-Lichen Beauty, a species that I first recorded in 2013 and have now had 45 records since then. It's only the 2nd year that I've recorded Pyrausta despicata.
Recently returned from a Birdwatching week in Madeira with seabirds the main interest. Pictures will be on my Flickr site over next few days. The commonest seabirds were Cory's Shearwaters and Bulwer's Petrels. Loggerhead Turtles were also quite common. With the moth trap we've reached the end of another month with species numbers well down on last year: 285 compared to 326 at the same time in 2018. However, it was nice to get my 2nd record of Black Arches.
No Dungeness visit this week, but the main birdwatching interst this week has been at Oare Marshes where the Bonaparte's Gull has returned for the 7th year, and another American species the Lesser Yellowlegs has also been showing well on occasion. A Wood Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank have also been present. Sothern Migrant (Blue-eyed) Hawker dragonflies are also on the wing now for the 2nd year at this site. In the moth trap I was pleased to get my 2nd ever record ofLozotaeniodes formosana.
Last Thursday at Dunge the Red-veined Darter was in the sameplace for the 3rd week running, and Little Ringed Plovers were posing in front of the Firth Hide. Two Little Gulls were present on the ARC Pit. The moth trap has produced a few good records in the last few mdays with Monochroa lucidella new for the site. Also Platytes alpinella, Kent Black Arches and The Festoon were nice to see.
Last week at Dungeness a Red-veined Darter was again along the track by Hayfield 2 on the RSPB Reserve-possibly the same one as a week earlier. A Peregrine was over the Firth Hide and a Bittern was glimpsed briefly from the Denge Marsh Hide. The moth trap has been mainly a case of the usual suspects turning up. Also in the trap was a Summer Chafer-a smaller version of the Cockchafer (Maybug) of the spring.
The hot weather has meant the moth trap has finally got going after a slow start to the summer. We've reached the end of another moth and I was surprised to find that I've recorded 193 species so far this year which is actually 5 better than the same stage last year. There have been a few new micros but it's always nice to get a Barred Straw and Common Emerald, neither of which are common in my garden. At Dungeness last Friday I was pleased to see a Red-veined Darter dragonfly on the track past Hayfield 2. I have only ever seen this migrant species on the Dungeness RSPB Reserve but this was the first for 19 years. We also saw a large fly on the Willow Trail which was Tachina grossa, the UK's largest Tachnid.