Monday 21 July 2014

Whimbrels and Hawk-moths

Lade - 0600hrs - muggy and overcast, nw 2 - An oppressive night with high humidity, more akin to the tropics than Romney Marsh, drove us out for an early morning wander. We worked Mockmill Sewer which was alive with juv Sedge Warblers, Whitethroats and Linnets. Been a while since I ventured out here, perhaps a month ago, when the adults were still in full song. Not so today though with just the occasional cursory burst from fraught looking adults now finishing off second broods and going into moult. At the southern end of the sewer Barney flushed a Snipe, something of a red-letter bird in these parts, from a spectacular splash of Purple Loosestrife. A few Marbled Whites were on the wing and will probably be the last of the summer as they appeared early this year and only have the briefest of flight periods.

                                Purple Loosestrife, Mockmill Sewer

                                Marbled White, Lade

Out on the Desert a roosting flock of 160 Curlews (many in heavy wing moult) were flushed by a Marsh Harrier revealing four Whimbrels and a Grey Plover in their midst. Throughout the day a further three Whimbrels were heard over the cottage heading south, plus one Greenshank.
On south lake a Common Sandpiper along the margins and a Black-necked Grebe amongst scores of Dabchicks and Great Crested Grebes.

                                Poplar Hawk-moths, Lade

                                         Ruby Tiger, Lade

Back at base the moth trap yielded Fan-foot and Ruby Tiger, new for the year, and an influx of five Poplar Hawk-moths.
An afternoon visit to the gravel pits in heavy rain revealed two Green Sandpipers and another Whimbrel, plus hundreds of immature gulls including two adult Meds and a juv Yellow-legged, ten Shelducks and five Teal. A pulse of 50 Sand Martins moved south.

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