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Beetle Mania

Couple of interesting beetles over the weekend, before todays cold weather! The first was the leaf-beetle Chrysolina banksii, a decent sized shiny thing with larvae that feed on black horehound and various plantains. I've seen several wandering across the road this year but these are the first two I've managed to get a photo of. The NBN gateway shows it as common around southern coasts (see here) but despite this, and despite the fact that the foodplants are fairly abundant here, there aren't any records on our database.

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Pett Level

A cool easterly breeze reduced the number of birds migrating along the shoreline. The commonest were still Goldfinch with small numbers of Linnet and Pied Wagtails. A Grey Heron flew in from the south and passed over inland.

The Long-tailed Duck was still present on the pools and the wintering Wigeon flock is slowly building up. There were more Golden Plover than usual on the grasslands and the Ruff were still present, usually with the Lapwing.

The sea was reasonably quiet although early on there were quite a few feeding Gannet. Two male Velvet Scoter were present with a small flock of Common Scoter.


From the Clifftop

Both visible migration and Moth trapping have been quiet this last couple of days-just 1 Ring Ouzel yesterday. However the focus of interest for me has shifted to the sea, in the afternoons when the light is better. Over the last two days there have been 100+ Gannets, lots of gulls including unusual numbers of Common Gulls, but also up to 19 adult Mediterranean Gulls and 17 Kittiwakes. Yesterday over 40 auks included a couple of close Razorbills, small numbers of Brents moved west on both days, and on Friday an Arctic Skua was chasing the gulls.

Further afield, Fieldfares finally arrived on Friday at several inland sites, and this morning a Red Kite flew past me heading inland at East Guldeford Levels.


Rye Harbour Snow Bunting

This afternoon a couple of birdwatchers along the shore road showed us a bird on their camera that they couldn't identify - it was a Snow Bunting. So we cycled off to the grey gabion wall at the west end of the Beach Reserve, and there it was! If you're at that end of the reserve pop over to the Long Pit for the regular adult Little Gull and Great White Egret and look on the sea for occasional feeding flocks of Gannets and Brent Geese. Black-necked Grebe still at Ternery Pool and Golden Plover flocks at Flat Beach. Black Redstart at the Camber Castle yesterday.


From the Clifftop and beyond.

Things are looking up , with good moths and birds yesterday and today.

 Yesterday , after a less than ideal night, I caught one of my personal target species, the large, uncommon  immigrant micro Palpita vitrealis [picture], while this morning, after what probably was an ideal night-calm, warm, overcast-there were lots of moths in the trap including the Vestal, another Merveille du Jour and, new for the year, Red-green Carpet and November moth. Birds were nicely varied this morning, with at least 13 Ring Ouzels, 10 Bramblings and a Short-eared Owl in off the sea. 75 Gannets fishing close in.

I would have liked to spend longer on the clifftop, but it was Dungeness day, here we located a Dartford Warbler near the ARC viewing screen, and while looking at that, a Yellow-browed Warbler called lustily nearby-but remained invisible in dense and extensive sallows. A Dungeness first for both of us were 3 Mandarins found on Burrowes Pit.

On the way home I stopped at Pett pools and saw the Long Tailed Duck located yesterday-on the western, roadside pool.