Sunday 22 September 2013

Lunars & Bass

Lade 0700hrs - overcast, misty, drizzle, mild - Haven`t posted much moth news of late as conditions have been unsuitable. However, all that changed last night with temperatures remaining high (15C), plus low cloud cover and light airs making for near perfect trapping conditions. As a result the trap was full of moths this morning, but mostly with yellow underwings, Setaceous Hebrew Characters and the like, although the first Lunar Underwings was a reminder that the moth season was well into its final quarter.

                                        Lunar Underwing

The local patch was once again alive with Chiffchaffs, perhaps quite not as many as yesterday, but still must`ve been at least 100 hereabouts. As it was windless we decided to work Mockmill Sewer and predictably it was full of migrants. While Chiffs were in the ascendancy there was also a sprinkling of Reed and Sedge Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, a Blackcap, 6 Reed Buntings, 2 each of Spotted Flycatcher, Skylark and Whinchat, plus Blackbirds, Robins and Dunnocks. Overhead a trickle of Swallows and Mipits passed south and a Merlin zipped through. It was one of those mornings when you thought that any minute now something really good was going to show itself...
Dungeness - 1300hrs - An hour at the boats was largely uneventful except for several of the beach  fisherman landing some fine Bass driven in by 2 Harbour Porpoises. Birdwise it was dead with just 2 Arctic Skuas harrying the Sandwich Terns, a couple of distant Gannets, a Grey Plover over calling and an adult Red-throated Diver (presumably the one that`s been knocking around for a while now).

                                Sea Bass, Dungeness

RSPB - A scoot around the bird reserve revealed Firth hide to be the best spot with 6 Blackwits, 4 Ruff, Golden Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper on show, plus Little Gull, 3 Black-necked Grebes and a Peregrine over. All three species of hirundines were noted and there was plenty of Chiffchaff activity in the willow scrub. A Kingfisher on the Discovery pond was my first of the autumn. ARC was full of Lapwings and Goldies, a scattering of Ruff, Dunlins and singles of Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Egyptian Geese, Marsh Harrier and hundreds more hirundines, while the willows down towards the pines were alive with Chiffchaffs. Despite a good look around I could find no sign of the reported Pectoral Sandpiper.
Back at Lade the hirundine passage appeared to have picked up this afternoon with steady pulses of birds south along the beach.

                                Curlew Sandpiper, Burrowes

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