Good moth numbers have continued the last few days with species new for the year including: Varied Coronet, Small Phoenix, Burnished Brass, Maiden's Blush, The Flame, Foxglove Pug, and the first Large Yellow Underwing of the year. On Friday the weather at Dunge was Sunny with a stiff breeze, but we struggled to find much in the way of birds. Most interesting was the Great White Egret showing the pink legs and dark bill of its breeding plumage. There are now a few insects about including lots of Four-spotted Chasers, and near the Old Lighthouse we found a Mother Shipton moth-the first I've seen in the area.
The sudden change to much warmer weather has certainly improved moth numbers. Since my last post new species for the year are as follows: Bee Moth, Willow Beauty, Small Magpie, Mottled Rustic, Pale Tussock, Diamond-back, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Brown House-moth, Green Pug, A.arenella, D. acuminitana, and best of all a new species for the Garden: Anania perlucidalis, Also of interest was a very dark Peppered Moth.
No moth trapping for 2 nights due to heavy rain and this morning just 6 moths with Common Swift new for the year. Yesterday at Dunge it started sunny, poured with rain at lunchtime and rained again late afternoon. Birds were thin on the ground. The main interest was provided by 3 Cuckoos calling in different locations and a minimim of 11 Hobbies around the reserve. Around the power station several Painted Ladies had arrived with a few Red Admirals. Other butterflies seen were Small Heaths and 1 Common Blue. Three moth species were noted: Yellow Belle, Scoparia pyrallela, and the tortrix Orthotaenia ungulana. Late afternoon 2 Little Owls were seen at Lydd camp.
A much wamer and wet night on Tuesday produced the best catch of the year so far in the moth trap with 43 moths of 29 species.
New for the year were: Lime-Speck Pug, Pebble Hook-tip, Bright-line Brown-eye, Rustic
Shoulder-knot, Brown Silver-line (3rd record and first for 10 years), Oak
Nycteoline, C. alchimiella, T. trinotella, & N. cynosbatella.
Warmer nights have livened up the moth trap with Latticed Heath new for the year yesterday. This morning there were 24 moths of 16 species. New for the year were Pyrausta aurata, The Lychnis, May Highflyer, Garden Pebble, plus my 4th ever record of Scalloped Hazel and my 3rd ever of Oak-tree Pug. My last records of both these species were 2013.
With milder nights moth numbers are slowly improving. Yesterday Waved Umber was new for the year and I was slightly surprised to find the day-flying Cinnabar Moth in the trap. This morning 8 species included 5 that were the first records for 2017: Common Marbled Carpet, Marbled Minor agg., Small Dusty Wave, Buff Ermine and Mottled Rustic.
Not much to report from the moth trap in the last week. Today the sun shone at Dungeness. We spent the morning at the patch where the best birds were 7 Black Terns and an Arctic Skua. We failed to connect with any Poms. Other birds noted were Red-throated Divers, Common Scoters, 2 Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrels. In the afternoon on the RSPB reserve a few waders were present: 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel plus around 3 Grey Plovers, a Redshank, Ringed Plovers and Turnstones, of which a couple were in full breeding plumage. Two Little Terns were on a Island in front of the Visitor Centre and a White Wagtail appeared in front of the Firth Hide. Around the reserve 2 Hobbies were also noted.