Friday 31 October 2014

Pomarine Skuas and Grey Phalarope

Lade - warm, dry and sunny, s 3 - Another cracking `summers` day to finish off the month and by early afternoon the temperature had reached 20C. There were five species of moths in the garden trap, including Large Wainscot and Cypress Carpet, and once again a Goldcrest was calling from the firs. We slogged out to Mockmill in shorts and T-shirt, but there was little of note apart from a few Mipits, Blackbirds and Robins, plus at least 50 grounded Skylarks in the airport field. The warm sunshine this past week had brought forth an impressive two metre tall Great Lettuce, which I was so surprised to see that I had to get a second opinion as to its identity. Mrs Moth confirmed the id saying that the milky sap from the plants stem contains Luctucin, a sleep inducing sedative that if taken in excess could result in death. Mmm, interesting stuff on this Halloween evening. 

                                Cypress Carpet, Lade

                                            Great Lettuce, Mockmill Sewer

                                Meadow Pipits, Lade

Dungeness - 1430-1600hrs - I nearly didn`t make it to the fishing boats this afternoon, but was mightily pleased that I did as on arrival was told of a Grey Phalarope that had just drifted east on the sea. I wandered down the beach to be joined by AP and PM and after a scanning the sea for 20 minutes or so AP picked up the phalarope, if a little distant, but a good call none the less. We wandered back to the boats to join DW, TG, PB and MH and over the next hour had seven Pomarine Skuas, pass west, several very close and all showing well in the superb light and disturbing the gulls en-route. There was much banter regarding the number of Mediterranean Gulls in the general vicinity - were they moving, or just drifting back on the tide only to reappear again? Who knows for sure, but we reckoned a figure of 200 was a conservative estimate, and personally the largest number of Med Gulls I`ve ever seen at Dungeness. Also noted, a pair of Eiders, 20 Little Gulls, 20 Gannets, 10 auks, 50 Kittiwakes and singles of Red-throated Diver, Merganser and Common Tern. Once again, a cracking little seawatch to end the day and completely different to yesterdays Brent fest.     

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