Lade - Its been a busy few days at Plovers with B&B guests coming and going and only limited time spent in the field, particularly with the heavy rain throughout Sunday morning. Yesterday we checked the Kerton Road quarry where there was no sign of any juvenile Black-headed Gulls around the island colony and little adult activity too. I`m assuming therefore that some form of predation has occurred from either the larger gulls, Grey Herons or even a desperate Badger with a 50 yards swimming certificate. Elsewhere around the quarry there were the usual legions of feral geese, Shelducks, immature Black-back and Herring Gulls, and during the evening the first returning Greenshank. Also, whilst working in the garden Saturday afternoon several small parties of Swifts moved purposefully south over the cottage.
As for moths, last night was the best catch of the season so far with 41 species of macros, including eight new for the year and one, Marbled White Spot new for the site.
Down here in our coastal garden we only have a limited range of breeding birds but somehow, despite all the predation from cats, raptors and corvids, we`re awash with Starlings, House Sparrows, Collared Doves, Dunnocks and Blackbirds, which is great, as there`s never a dull moment.
However, there is one individual Blackbird that has become a bit of a star and every morning I seek him out and hope he`s made it into another day. He is the tattiest looking specimen you could imagine, and instantly recognisable by a shortage of tail feathers. Him and his mate are on their third brood, nesting in the winter Jasmine; the first clutch was robbed by a Jackdaw, the second attempt fledged four juvs and the current nest has five healthy chicks well on the way to fledging. I`ve rescued him from the clutches of Ginger Jim (Mrs PT`s cat) twice; once from a book shelf in the dining room, when he lost his tail feathers, with Jim ready to pounce and deliver the coupe-de-grace.
This morning he was around the moth trap picking off one or two Tawny Shears for breakfast and he loves a bit of bacon rind left over from guests` breakfast. He is the Great Survivor and as I sit here tapping away at the lap-top I can hear him sub-singing in the rain, and watching Ginger Jim looking out at him through the window...
We ventured out between the showers this afternoon in humid conditions which soon brought forth a myriad of flying insects. At least 85 Marbled Whites were counted fluttering in the long grasses the length of south lake and 15 spikes of the nationally scarce plant White Mullein were in flower by the ponds, which is more than normal.
Dungeness - 1800hrs - An hour at the fishing boats this evening failed to deliver a Roseate Tern which had been present for much of the afternoon; typically, it reappeared once I`d left site. Small numbers of Common and Sandwich Terns moved along the shoreline and two Grey Seals fished just offshore.