Thursday, 9 May 2013

White Spot & Swifts

Lade - 0600hrs - cool, sunny, sw 2 - Ran the trap last night and much to my surprise, seeing as how the temperature had dropped off during the night, there was the grand total of four species (this time last year I was getting an average of 10 species per night). However, one was a White Spot which is something of a Dungeness speciality where the lava feed on the seeds of Nottingham Catchfly, an abundant plant found on the shingle ridges hereabouts. White Spot is a Red Data Book 2 species (meaning that it occurs in only six to ten 10km squares in Britain) so I always feel quite privileged when one is trapped in our enclosed garden.
A wander around the pits delivered few passerines due to the increasing south-westerly which by late afternoon picked up to force 5/6. A party of 20 Swifts over the willow swamp was noteworthy as so far this spring few have passed this way.
Dengemarsh Gully - 1445hrs - Together with MH we worked the gully in blustery conditions where just the usual Sedge Warblers, Whitethroats and Linnets present. Four Ringed Plover flew over from the hayfields and a distant Raven headed towards the switch station. Barney was beside himself at the bottom of the gully when presented with 50 odd rabbits to chase, none of which needed to worry as they slipped into the gorse leaving the daft old mutt running around in circles like a kid in a sweet shop.
More Swifts were noted over the causeway road between ARC and New Diggings and a passage of 50 went over the cottage late afternoon.

                                   Dengemarsh Gully

                                    Swallow Prominent

                                    White Spot, RDB2 moth

ps: Late news from the Wiltshire Birders who were joined in the seawatch hide by LGRE this evening, who has predicted the Portland Poms off the point in the morning...


  1. Hi Paul. I'm intrigued by that "Myrtle Cottage' stone pictured in this post. I can't remember seeing it before. Is it new and what is it all about? Cheers, Steve

  2. Steve hi, as far as I`m aware it is a memorial stone to where the cottage used to stand on the east side of Dengemarsh gully at Pen Bars, close to the former Hope and Anchor Inn. Myrtle Cottage was built by the Prebbles, an old Dungeness fishing family, and was occupied up until the Second World War. Can`t image what it must`ve been like in the winter with no electricity and a howling wind coming off the sea, still they were a tough lot back then, not like us molly-coddled, central-heating-loving, cant-do-without-me-twitter-lardies of today! Phew, sorry about the rant. Anyhow, apparently the cottage was built out of timber and asbestos sheets, plus anything else they could come by and there was a small garden, plus the usual goats for milk etc. All that remains today are the concrete bases, and I`m surprised Natural England haven't had them dug up and removed off their precious shingle. Sorry, nearly slipped into a NE rant. That's about the limit of my knowledge I`m afraid. All the best, Paul

  3. Hi Paul, I don't know if you are aware but it is all about the Prebbles at Dengemarsh in the Looker this week. My daughters fiances family lived there. Lenny Prebble was her fiances Grandad, who fished at Dungeness, my brother fished with him for many years until he retired. Lennys daughter still lives in lydd.

    1. Thanks Dave, will pick up a copy this weekend. Paul