Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sussex Emeralds & Yellow Wagtails

Lade - mild, misty, early on, warm sunshine later, se 2 - 0500hrs - The day started, as many have of late, misty and murky, but at long last without the nagging north-easterly wind. This attracted far more moths to light, including the seasons first Sussex Emerald in the garden trap, a Dungeness speciality. At the Kerton Road Café 13 were trapped with another 14 at the Moth Lord`s trap. Sussex Emeralds are weak fliers and are mostly found around the trap rather than on the eggs boxes within. Some of the specimens at the KRC showed signs of wear suggesting they`d been on the wing for some time, although one or two were freshly emerged insects in spanking nick.

                                     Cloaked Minor

                                Sussex Emerald

Being as it was calm I gave the local patch the full treatment before the sun broke through. Skylarks and a single pair of Mipits were in full song as were all the regular warblers. I could find no sign of any Cuckoos and assumed the adults have moved off south; how quickly the seasons change around and this one has been particularly good for Cuckoos at Lade; now its a case of checking for juvs emerging from the reedbeds. On the south pit two Red-crested Pochards were amongst a host of eclipse ducks, feral geese, swans and at least four broods of Tufted Ducks; was good to see two well grown Oystercatcher chicks on the scaffold island. Over the water 100 Sand Martins hawked insects with scores of Swifts higher up along with Black-headed Gulls.
Bird of the morning was Yellow Wagtail with the first six migrants of the season over calling, two of which grounded on the storm beaches. This species, along with Sand Martin, provides one the great visible migration spectacles of late summer at Dungeness as birds pass down peninsula on their southern journeys.
A late afternoon stroll across the shingle ridges to check for grassland butterflies was successful with both Large and Small Skippers, Small White, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Small Heath and Meadow Brown. Walking back along the beach two more Yellow Wags fizzed overhead. 

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