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Dungeness Day Out

Too much wind on the Clifftop for any moth trapping or visible migration, but a much better than usual Dungeness visit yesterday.

After a look around Scotney Court Farm for the Twites seen a few days ago-none, but 5 Tree Sparrows; and a visit to a  quiet ARC pit,  we headed over to the fishing boats clutching a loaf of finest sliced bread. Throwing this around attracted a few gulls [but failed to impress the fine adult Yellow Legged Gull we were trying to lure closer ], but then we noticed the Dungeness regulars doing the same thing further along the beach , attracting  lots of gulls. Joining them, and saving the bread for next time, we were soon treated to good views of this first-winter Caspian Gull, one of six recorded around Dungeness yesterday.

Later we had a quick look from Makepeace Hide to see a Spoonbill and 9 Great White Egrets, also 2 Cattle Egrets at Boulderwall, then returned to Scotney for a longer walk . Still no Twites, but a Corn Bunting, 800 [?] Golden Plovers, 49 Egyptian Geese, and a fine ringtail Hen Harrier.



Rye Harbour

Best of the birds at Rye Harbour are still up to three spoonbill which have been showing well on salt pool (though they are absent occasionally and have taken to roosting on the leeward side of the islands meaning that they are only visible from certain angles), while there have also been up to three great white egret (yesterday on Long Pit with at least six little egret) and water rail at Castle Water. Raptors have included marsh harrier and buzzard at Castle Water and peregrine and merlin over the Beach Reserve and Harbour Farm. Waders are a bit thin on the ground with small numbers of black-tailed godwit at Castle Water and bar-tailed godwit, grey plover, small numbers of golden plover and the odd snipe on Harbour Farm/Beach Reserve.

Despite the increasingly autumnal weather some invertebrates are still hangin' in there, with red admiral and common darter (below) still on the wing. The moth trap catch at Lime Kiln has been much reduced since the halcyon days of mid-October, with the only moths recently narrow-winged grey and diamond-back moth. However, on Tuesday morning I did have great silver water beetle (possibly my latest ever) and the tiny fly spotted-wing drosophila, which is a new species for the reserve list.


From the Clifftop

 At last !-a mild , cloudy night with no wind resulted in the first moths I've caught for over a week-13 species in the trap this morning, of which five were new for the year, and one , Acleris schalleriana,a tortrix,  new to me,. The others were Green-brindled Crescent [pictured], November Moth, Feathered Thorn and Spruce Carpet, taking the garden year list to 364 . But I'm writing this in the evening and there's a gale blowing, so no trapping tonight.

Not much to report on the bird front, some Siskins moving east, and 100 Goldfinches milling about the clifftop  but not really moving over the last two days; a pair of Peregrines yesterday and today seemed to be waiting for a Wood Pigeon movement, but none. This morning I walked through HCPNR to the Stade, very quiet indeed, just 8 Goldcrests.


From the Clifftop

As usual, Clifftop sightings have been weather-dependant, with cold/rain/wind resulting in the only moth of late being a Twenty-plume inside the house.

Birds struggled too, with passerine  migration only noted on Friday, when 30 Siskins headed east, and 3 Goldcrests were along the clifftop. A longish spell of seawtching yesterday produced a Fulmar, back from their usual autumn absence-my last sighting was on September 11. 2 Red-throated Divers and 2 auks passed, and 60 Kittiwakes were on the sea in the late afternoon.


Rye Harbour

Bird highlight over the last few days has been a cattle egret on Castle Farm, first seen on the 18th by Pat Bonham and spotted on a couple of occasions since, while one or two spoonbill continue to grace Salt Pool. Also on Harbour Farm, golden plover numbers are rising slowly with 80-100 present around Salt Pool, a kingfisher has been seen flying along the ditch to the north of the information centre on several occasions and there have been a few raven sightings, while at Castle Water great white egret and marsh harrier have been the pick of the bunch. In addition there have been small groups of gannet offshore.

The change in the weather has knocked back the insects as might be expected though there have still been a few red admiral around catching what rays they can and ivy bee, queen buff-tailed bumblebee and hornet feeding on ivy flowers.