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Dungeness Day out

After the usual early morning clifftop moth trap session [quite long as over 60 species, though only Lesser Treble-bar was of real interest], a couple of migrant Willow Warblers were around the house.

Then on to what proved to be a rather good day at Dungeness, quite like the "old times" in fact. It was a five heron day, with Bittern past the viewing ramp, 4 Great White Egrets outnumbering Littles, and a very cute juvenile Cattle Egret on the ARC pit-never seen one in this plumage before-where did it come from ?

It was the ARC pit that was the focus of interest, lots of mud attracting 6 Wood Sandpipers [ pictured;up to 10 reported]-very much a feature of this autumn, indeed it was a challenge to pick out a lone Green Sandpiper, these seem scarce. Half a dozen each of Common Sandpipers and Ruffs, a Little-ringed Plover, an Avocet, a Little Gull and a Garganey gave us all plenty to look at. On Burrowes, fewer waders but a moulting adult Black Tern amongst the excellent crop of juvenile Common Terns reared there this year.

Good to see large numbers of Marmalade Hoverflies across the area over the last few days.


Rye Harbour Birds

Yesterday's very unsettled weather brought down exceptional numbers of waders in the SE, notably Dungeness-see Plodding Birder blog . Having missed all these as doing other things, I decided to give the moth trap a rest and get to Rye Harbour first thing. 

A Barn Owl by the holiday park was a good start, and at least 50 Little Egrets on Salt Pool/Flat Beach was a fine spectacle. I eventually found a Wood Sandpiper on Ternery Pool, 7 Curlew Sandpipers with 200+ Dunlin on Flat Beach, 3 Greenshanks, Green and Common Sandpiper and a Corn Bunting by the Discovery Centre site.


Second Italian Tubic from Great Dixter

Recorded a second Italian tubic Metalampra italica (photo below) at Great Dixter on the 24th just a few metres away from the log pile I swept one from last year. The larvae of this moth feed in dead and decaying wood and the species is most likely breeding in the log piles around the gardens. The moth was first recorded in Sussex in 2011 but now seems quite widespread in the county. Also recorded another saproxylic tubic moth on the 24th, the golden-brown tubic Crassa unitella, which was a first record for Great Dixter.

Andy Phillips


From the Clifftop

This current spell of torrid weather finally delivered yesterday, with this rare migrant, Shining Marbled, in my Fairlight trap. This small but attractive moth has an easterly distribution extending to Japan, it was first recorded in Britain 2006, and in Sussex in 2012 and 2015 at least . Another one was trapped at Sandwich Bay during the same night. Otherwise, the main sign of immigration was a jump in the numbers of Large Yellow Underwings to 41, blundering about in the trap . Yesterday my car recorded 36C along the coast from dungeness, with a brief high of 37 at Jury's Gap-blisteringly hot. 

Loads of moths in the trap again this morning despite me having to get up and cover it during a thunderstorm at 0350, year list now improving !


From the Clifftop

Despite the apparently suitable weather, moth trapping in our Fairlight  garden has been hard work, especially as July should be the best month. Daily species totals have been low, and the year total has steadily fallen below what it was on the same day last year, to over 60 species fewer-rather shocking !

However,it's always nice to get the first Jersey Tiger-found in the garden during the day, not trapped, yesterday.

A very warm night last night was predicted to bring in migrant moths, but the only possible candidate in my trap this morning was a European Corn Borer