Wednesday, 22 June 2016


Lade - muggy and overcast - A humid morning with mist first thing and light airs, perfect for checking on the local breeding birds of which a total of 41 species recorded. On the dry scrub Common Whitethroats and Dunnocks appeared to have fared well, but Linnets less so with a drop in numbers this year, while Mipit and Skylark were both noted feeding fledged young. Around the willow swamp there was plenty of Cuckoo, Reed Bunting, Cetti`s and Reed Warblers activity, and a couple of Little Egrets perched in trees hinted at what might develop in future. On the open water only Great Crested and Little Grebes showed a few fledged young; I still haven't seen any other water fowl with fledglings. Non breeders noted included several Swifts, 2 Med Gulls, 45 Pochards and a roving adult female Marsh Harrier.
  And so to Jackdaws. Last week I saw an adult Jackdaw snatch a Cootlet off the water, well today a whole gang of them, at least 80, were noisily swarming over the willow swamp. Goodness only knows what carnage was caused to the breeding birds as when they visited my garden recently they cleared out most of the Collared Doves, Blackbirds and Woodpigeons. Still, that`s nature for you, and as Clint Eastwood memorably stated in The Outlaw Josey Wales, "Buzzards gotta eat, same as the worms".

                               Dunnock - a common, breeding resident

                                A few of the Jackdaw gang perched on the 30` mirror

                                Whitethroat - the commonest nesting migrant on dry scrub

  As for plants a spike of White Mullein was already up over a metre tall amongst the Ox-eye Daisies and Valerian, while the first Rest Harrow and Evening Primrose flowers were in bloom. Any botanists interested in grasses could do well to walk the old railway line track south of the lake towards the gravel pits where there are numerous examples of this complex family of plants.

                                Dungeness in the mist

                                White Mullein - localised biennial, only found at one spot at Lade

                                Nottingham Catchfly is abundant this year

And so to moths, unsurprisingly, given the weather conditions, there was 20 plus species in the garden trap this morning, although numbers continue to be low, with five new for the year including the giant Privet Hawk-moth to the diminutive Cream-bordered Green Pea.

                               Cream-bordered Green Pea - tiny moth with a long name

                                Privet Hawk-moth - one of our largest

                                Evergestis limbata - a localised south coast micro-moth


  1. Jackdaws nests down the chimneys of an old row of houses opposite me and are a permanent fixture in my garden on the bird tables but so far I haven't witnessed any predatory behaviour, despite having several House Sparrow nests in the garden. Every winter a flock of around 300-400 Jackdaws go out to the marshes across the road at dawn each day, returning at dusk.

  2. Its a similar picture here too with Jackdaws breeding all along the coastal housing strip and large flocks using the Trapping Area scrub at Dungeness to roost. The birds that raid out garden are primarily after eggs and small nestlings, but last year I saw a fully fledged Starling come to grief from an adult Jackdaw.