I was at the castle by 5.30 this morning to record the moths with Steve, because of the wind I wasn't expecting a lot but there was actually quite a nice selection, including several new for the year, Puss Moth is a nice moth and we had 4 Alder Moths, a Grey Pine Carpet, my first Poplar Hawkmoth of the year plus Knotgrass and maybe over 60 Maybugs, not one of my favourites. We also recorded our first ever Small Waved Umber taking the site total to 414 and the year list to 99, later Steve came back and saw several Speckled Yellows a day flying moth which made the total 100 by the end of April.
I started my bird walk by 6.30am the BARNACLE flew over with a GREYLAG and later there were 15 Greylags on the lake. I had good views of a male BULLFINCH in the car park and a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER flew over there.
I headed for the woods to find a place to sit just off the main path, reminding me of how all this bird-watching lark started with my Dad all those years ago! I wasn't disappointed, 2 Squirrels ran by within about 2 ft, one stopping briefly on a moss covered log, would have been a cracking photo, obviously I was a bit slow! A TREECREEPER skirted round nearby trees, a couple of CHAFFINCHES played around in a Silver Birch. Best of all were 2 MARSH TITS that were collecting food within about 10ft then flying off into the undergrowth and nearby base of a tree.
Back out in the open and the CUCKOO sang regularly and 2 SPARROWHAWKS drifted over. Other birds today of note today were, NIGHTINGALE, GARDEN WARBLER, LESSER WHITETHROAT (2), REED BUNTING, SWALLOW, SKYLARK and YELLOWHAMMER.
|I thought this Whitethoat was just about to eat the Bee!|
|Out of focus Spwarowhawk!|
May 1st - Dungeness.
My first trip away from the patch for what seems like ages, I picked up Stephen at around 6.50am and we were sea-watching by around 7.40. It wasn't long before our first birds went by, the first of possibly 600+ BAR TAILED GODWITS, flocks were seen throughout the day anything from 1-120+ birds in amongst these were good numbers of KNOT, GREY PLOVER a few SANDERLING and DUNLIN as well as a few TURNSTONES and WHIMBREL. We stayed until 11am by this time we had added 6 POMARINE SKUAS, 20 VELVET SCOTER, 4 BLACK TERNS, 2 BRENT GEESE, 1 ARCTIC TERN, 15 LITTLE TERNS, 2 BLACK THROATED DIVERS, 1 RED THROATED DIVER, 2 LITTLE GULLS, 3 RED BREASTED MERGANSERS, 100+ COMMON SCOTER and a couple of flocks of SHOVELER, there were also 2 Swift and a Great Skua which I missed. After 11am we headed to the reserve, there wasn't loads around, although I did add SWIFT, so we moved to Scotney Gravel Pits and the Midrips, Scotney held a few Whimbrel and over 150 Bar Tailed Gowits as well as a few Grey Plover.
|Part of the 150+ Godwits at Scotney|
The Midrips is a place Stephen and I had heard of but never visited, it was a really pleasant surprise, you can only visit when the red flags are not flying, there are three nice shallowish lagoons here we had again loads of Bar tailed Godwits, 15 or so AVOCETS, a single summer plumaged CURLEW SANDPIPER, 2 GREENSHANKS and a few each of Grey Plover, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank and Whimbrel, also here several Hairy Dragonflies were battling in the strong wind. Even here we saw Bar Tailed Godwits going by on the sea and a Velvet Scoter plus 7 Little Terns, so we headed back to the hide on the point.
|Hairy Dragonfly, Midrips|
It was slower than the morning but I did add GREAT SKUA, there were a few Harbour Porpoises surfacing every so often and 4 more Pomarine Skuas went by, we stayed about an hour and a half and the Bar Tailed Godwits were still flying east or north depending how you look at it. A really enjoyable day and made a nice change from the patch.
Today was just a quick mid morning walk, the wind was pretty non stop but my first Small Copper was seen, staying sensibly low, also another first for the year was a Beautiful Demoiselle, unfortunately neither posed for long. On the bird front the GREYLAG was still sitting on eggs, it seems like the poor bird has been sitting there for a couple of months!! I'm sure it hasn't but I keep thinking each time I visit the goslings will be on the lake. One of the NIGHTINGALES sung by the bridge and the pair of KESTRELS were seen, several SWALLOWS flew north and a GOLDCREST was in full song near the lake.
|Bull and Birches|