Saturday started off cool and cloudy which caused a small flock of Swifts and House Martins to cruise in off the bay and tumble down to hoover up invisible insects over the lake. Apart from a new Lesser Whitethroat rattling from cover in the willow swamp, and a tardy bow-winged Common Sandpiper yesterday, all was quiet on the migrant front. Cuckoo activity was at its peak with the cock birds singing vigorously throughout the day, and most of the night, while the females are busily dropping into reedbeds to deposit their eggs in Reed Warbler nests. It won`t be long now until the adults pack their bags and return `home` to central Africa, so I`m enjoying their shenanigans while I can.
Elsewhere on the bird front several nervous broods of Mallard ducklings and Cootlets stuck limpet-like to mum when swimming across open water, but I`ve yet to see any grebelets of either species, despite there being double figures of both on site. The Oystercatcher pair seem to have young on the scaffold island as both parents became very agitated whenever a crow flew over. Fledglings were everywhere this morning with Stonechat, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Great and Blue Tits, Dunnock, Skylark and Blackbird all noted, plus large mixed flocks of Starlings and House Sparrows feeding on the shingle ridges.
I checked the bay a couple of times across the weekend but could only muster up a handful of transient Dunlins, Sanderlings and Ringed Plovers amongst a couple of hundred non-breeding Curlews and Oystercatchers probing for black lug amongst the pumpers. The obligatory Sandwich Terns came and went, presumably from the Rye Harbour colony.
More spikes of Bee and Southern Marsh Orchids were located, plus one of Pyramidal Orchid. Along the old railway track more Painted Lady butterflies were on the wing, fizzing between patches of valerian beside fluttering Common Blues. At the ponds a few Red Admirals and Speckled Woods basked in the sun, where freshly emerged Four-spotted Chasers and three species of damselflies were present. In Mockmill Sewer both Brown Hare and Fox noted with a sprinkling of Cinnabars and Silver Ys in the long grass.
The garden moth trapping this weekend was largely uneventful apart from our first Ethumia bipunctellas, a micro moth who`s lifestyle is linked with Vipers Bugloss, an abundant shingle plant in this part of the world.
Red Admiral on Valerian