Dave Brown

This forum contains a topic per member, each representing a personal diary.
User avatar
Neil Hulme
Posts: 2637
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:27 pm

Re: Dave Brown

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:26 am

Hi Dave,
Putting it another way, if I had access to it and it was slightly closer to me (distance would have been no object had I not already seen one in the UK), would I travel to see it? Definitely, as there is currently no data to suggest that it isn't a genuine migrant from the south-west.
BWs, Neil

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:10 pm

The owners of the house are really nice people with a fantastic wildflower garden,and being into nature they were fully aware of the potential significance of the sighting, contacting 3 or 4 of us immediately. They have since allowed some access so at least a dozen of the locals have seen it. I am sure further access will be allowed if it sticks, although I understand that it has only been since once today. If it remains and you are in the area, (perhaps if a Scarce Tortoiseshell turns up somewhere), access can be arranged (without crossing my palm with silver).

User avatar
Neil Hulme
Posts: 2637
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:27 pm

Re: Dave Brown

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:15 pm

Thanks Dave. Please arrange for the Scarce Tortoiseshell/Monarch double whammy. 8)
BWs, Neil

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:07 pm

I understand that there has been no further sighting of the Monarch butterfly since late yesterday morning despite suitable weather.

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:48 pm

We seem to have spent all our time since our last update chasing/ checking out reports of possible/ probable/ actual Scarce Tortoiseshell here in Kent. So far it has eluded us and all we seem to find are Small Tortoiseshells, including 6 on our own garden buddleia. With regards the Monarch sighting. So far we have not found any potential local source for an escape, or release, although we are aware that many people regard the sighting as unlikely to be of wild origin. I however remain optimistic that it was from the Iberia area as weather conditions were right with many migrant moths being reported.

15th July 2014.
The only decent thing today was an Oak Eggar caught in our garden trap. The first for our garden.
16th July 2014.
With predicated wall to wall sunshine it had to be Cliffe RSPB where Southern Emerald damselflies were being reported. There is a very small colony there which seems to cling on without too much evidence of major expansion. The highest count we have heard of this season is ten, although we ourselves only managed to find two. Once you know the right spot (near the second mound) it is easy to connect with the Scarce Emerald Damselfly, which on this occasion found 60 plus in the preferred ditches. Luckily, to aid identification, the more common Emerald damselfly is present in much lower numbers at the same spot. It was also noted a large number of Ruddy Darters had emerged.
Back home in the garden two Painted Ladies were feeding on the buddleia bush. Our first sighting of the year.
17th July 2014
Our moth trap provided the usual summer visitors although a White Point was the highlight.
A welcome message by one of the locals stated that an Adult Bonapartes Gull had just arrived on Oare Marshes. Presumably it was last years youngster returning. We arrived to find a massive crowd of four watching the bird on the estuary. A most welcome sight to relieve the mid summer scarcity of good birds.
A adult Med Gull flew over, a Common Sandpiper on the mud and a Whimbrel was along the creek. The numbers of Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns was very high but only one Small Tortoiseshell.
18th July 2014.
Our good friends at Ruckinge saved the day with a Silky Wainscot and 4 Svensson's Copper Underwing. A tour of the local Hamstreet woods found 3 Purple Hairstreaks (a much under recorded species) and 2 Brown Hawkers.
We were sitting down to our evening tea when a message pushed all the right buttons for an immediate departure. A Scarce Tortoiseshell had been seen several times at Oare Marshes. We were there within 40 minutes to be greeted with the news that it was only an Oak Eggar. In fact 4 of them. Still nice to see, but not the hoped for jackpot. 2 Med Gulls flew over and 22 Whimbrel called as they flew over the East Flood.
19 July 2014.
Secretly we hoped that Oak Eggar would turn into a Scarce Tortoiseshell so today we were back at Oare checking anything that moved. The Oak Eggar numbers increased to 6 but none turned into the Scarce T. There was many Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Large Whites, Small Skippers and even 2 Peacocks, but nothing that resembled the star that was being reported in reasonable numbers from East Anglia.
Around tea time I received a phone call from Ruckinge asking where we were. I was taken back by this as we had no reason, or so we thought, to be in that area. I left a message that we have a Monarch butterfly in our wildlife garden was the urgent voice. Your joking was my shocked reply, knowing that they really would not do that to us. Followed immediately by we are on our way. We arrived just in time to watch it fly into a tree to roost. Three other people were already there and had seen it well.
There has followed a discussion on its potential origins, with the feeling being that a wild origin could not be ruled out and was probably favourite, based on weather patterns, likely source of origin and time of year. (Less than a week later a Continental Swallowtail was seen near Whitstable, Kent).
20 July 2014.
A trip to Dungeness found us looking at Angle-stripped Sallow, another rare moth trapped. Together with Waved Black trapped near Biddenden this was a good morning. Made even better when a phone call said that the Monarch butterfly was back in the garden. This time we managed to get a few photos, (already published in previous dairy updates), before the on set of some of the worst rain we have seen for a long time. Despite this we found it again roosting in the same tree and 4 other people managed to connect with it.
Another Four Spotted Footman, Reed Dagger, Sycamore and Elephant Hawkmoth were on show.
21 July 2014.
I understand that the Monarch was seen briefly before it departed not to be seen again.

So ended another very enjoyable period of wildlife watching.
Southern Emerald.jpg
Southern Emerald Damselfly at Cliffe RSPB.
Willow  Emerald.JPG
Willow Emerald Damselfly near Marshside (Kent).

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:24 pm

It gets harder
With a change in the weather on some days, becoming cooler and unsettled, butterflies and moths have been harder to come by. Some nights have seen very poor catches of moths here in Kent. However, we still have managed to connect with some good moths and are very grateful to those who invite us to see their goodies.
22 July 2014.
A visit to Dungeness found many Common Blues and Peacocks but little else butterfly wise. A Plumed Fan Foot was on show, whilst later in the day we saw Kent Black Arches and Olive at our good friends at Ruckinge.
23 July 2014
Following another reported sighting of Scarce Tortoiseshell at Oare Marshes we again scoured any likely spot there, but without success. Interestingly the numbers of Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks were much higher than a few days back.
24 July 2014.
Again we checked Oare Marshes for any Scarce Tortoiseshells, but again none present. We are destined not to connect with this species, at least in the current influx. Birdwise it was quiet with just a Ruff and Spotted Redshank present in addition to the usual more common waders.
On the way home we called in at a site for Broad Leaved Helleborine and noted over 100 in flower. This year so far they seem to have escaped the attention of the local deer population. Also noted was 9 Brimstone.
25 July 2014
Today was a Dungeness day and what a good choice. There was many Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Common Blues on the wing. Also nice to see was 4 Brown Argus. Dragonflies were represented by Emperor Dragonfly, Southern, Brown and Migrant Hawkers.
Moths were good too with Jersey Tiger, Tissue, Pigmy Footman, Dusky Hook Tip and Small Phoenix.
26 July 2014.
A good night with our garden moth trap with our 3rd White Point of the year, also included a Shaded Broad-bar and 4 Silver Y's, suggesting some migration going on.
28 July 2014.
A quiet day saved by our friends at Ruckinge. They had trapped a Marsh Oblique barred Minor. A very rare moth in Kent.
29 JUly 2014.
With little changing at more common sites we decided to visit Pett Level today. There was a good showing of Small Tortoiseshells, also 25 Sand Martins and 15 Little Egrets, but again a little disappointing.
We decided to divert to Dungeness and although there was a good showing of butterflies of the more common species, there was no sign of any scarcer ones.
A Black Tern and 3 Common Sandpipers were suggestive of some migration.
30 July 2014.
Back to Oare Marshes but again little change in butterfly numbers or species. Birds included 2 adult Curlew Sandpipers and 5 Ruff.
31 July 2014.
The garden moth trap produced a new for the garden in the form of the Ear Moth. We undertook a butterfly transect in the Hamstreet wood complex and noted 2 White Admirals and a number of Ringlets still on the wing. Otherwise it was rather disappointing with regards numbers.
01 August 2014.
Back into the Hamstreet Wood complex for our second butterfly transect this week, (covering someone whilst they have a operation). This time we connected with a Silver Washed Fritillary, 2 more White Admirals and a Purple Hairstreak. The place was awash with Peacocks with a decent showing of Small Tortoiseshells and Brimstones, with a few tatty Ringlets. The Hamstreet complex has great potential for butterflies, with just a little more management by the Forestry Commission or volunteers, it could rise above the already high level its at. Regular Purple Emperor is a possibility and should be a goal. Maybe even the reintroduction of Pearl Bordered Fritillary. Now that's an idea to put forward.
02 August 2014.
Today was catch up day with the Willow Emerald Damselfly at Chislet. Its early in the season but we only managed to find 7 individuals. This is a location that suffered badly in the winter floods. Whether this will affect the numbers of this rare British Damselfly remains to be seen. Really good numbers of Gatekeepers noted but the numbers of Small Tortoiseshells has fallen off.

A few photos to sort and add at a later date.
Best wishes

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:38 pm

With continuing concerns over the possibility of collectors it is unlikely that I will be reporting on a successful visit to the Map butterflies in Dorset. I think the potential for these to be of wild origin is low, but you you never know in this world of climate change. It is a butterfly that is expanding its range and the site is on the south coast, two plus's in their favour. Anyway, for now, they are not available to the masses.
Sunday 03 August 2014.
With reasonable weather predicated we thought that it was time to catch up with the Black Darters in Ashdown Forest. We did have a brief look for the Short Toed Eagle, just in case it should still be around, but unreported. We had no joy, and since it must be a month since it's last sighting it's presumably back on the continent somewhere. A walk to the pools was pleasant but only revealed Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Large White and a Brimstone. Dragonfly activity at the pools was restricted by the occasional passing clouds but did include 2 male Black Darters, 7 Small Red Damselflies, 2 Keeled Skimmers, Four Spotted Chaser and Emperor Dragonfly. A number of Redstarts and Willow Warblers were seen but no sign of Woodlark and the Tree Pipits had gone quiet.
A detour on the way home saw 25 Green Flowered Helleborine near Eynsford ( I believe Kent's only site) and a Small Rufous (moth) at our friends at Ruckinge.
Monday 04 August 2014.
An afternoon at Oare Marshes seeing the usual waders although a flock of 15 Whimbrel was nice. Butterflies were mainly Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers. No sign of any Clouded Yellow at what is a fairly reliable spot.
Tuesday 05 August 2014.
A warm day meant a visit to Dungeness was on the cards. If any Clouded Yellow migration was going on this is as good a spot as any. Our luck was in as we spotted one individual near the sea watching hide, also a Hummingbird Hawkmoth. We also counted 30 Common Blues and 4 Small Tortiseshells. As we continued our walk we received a message that a Rest Harrow (moth) had been trapped overnight by a local and as available for viewing. A little while later was saw this very rare British moth. I believe there are only three or four colonies in Britain, with one being on private land at the Power Station. So it was pleasing to see this little gem following our last sighting some twenty years at Sandwich. Also present were 2 Channel Island Pugs, another fairly scarce, but increasing, British moth.
Thursday 07 August 2014.
Back to Dungeness, although much quieter today. We did see another Clouded Yellow, this time on the RSPB. Also a few Brown Argus and good numbers of Common Blues and Meadow Browns. Bird wise it was pretty quiet.
Friday 08 August 2014.
Another Dungeness visit for butterflies. This time finding 2 Clouded Yellows and a very worn Painted Lady. Still many Common Blues, 3 Small Torotiseshells and 2 Brown Argus. A few more birds about today including a Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, 2 Black Tailed Godwits, 2 Gargeney, 200 plus Sand Martins, 2 Water Rails (in font of screen hide, ARC pit), and a Yellow Wagtail.
Saturday 09 August 2014.
Despite the strong winds it was sunny and fairly warm, so we thought that a visit to Lydden NNR was in order. Although most butterflies were keeping their heads down in the strong wind we did locate 43 Chalkhill Blues, 9 Silver Spotted Skippers, 1 Brown Argus, 4 Common Blue and many Meadow Browns. Considering the wind this was not a bad day and the walk over the hillside was embracing.

Hopefully there is still time for a butterfly goodie, in addition to the Map, to arrive.
Best wishes
Clouded Yellow.JPG
Clouded Yellow at Dungeness.
Silver Spotted Skipper.JPG
Silver Spotted Skipper at Lydden NNR.
Silver Spotted Skipper2.jpg
Silver Spotted Skipper at Lydden NNR.
Silver Washed Fritillary.JPG
Silver Washed Fritillary on our butterfly transect at Hamstreet
Bonapartes Gull.JPG
Adult Bonapartes Gull at Oare Marshes
Bonapartes Gull2.JPG
Adult Bonapartes Gull at Oare Marshes
Black Darter.JPG
Male Black Darter at Ashdown Forest

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:28 pm

A really interesting week. Firstly we found a Silver Spotted Skipper on Wye NNR. Despite numerous visits over the years this is our first ever sighting there, although others have seen them. Second was the finding of a Osprey on our local patch. Only our second record there in over 30 years of watching. We even managed a few photos that have turned out to be record shots. I seemed to have had the camera on the wrong settings which has somewhat reduced the quality. We also had a first ever record for Raven on the same patch. So in summary, a really decent week despite variable weather.
SUN 10 Aug 2014.
First very heavy rain, then strong winds and finally both. No chance of any insects so we decided to do a bit of sea watching at Dungeness. Lots of Gannets and Common Terns moving but not much else. Of note was a small movement of Swifts out in the channel, we saw 35 others saw 100 plus, flying into a raging gale. They were also low over the water and only just avoiding the waves. Why they did not head for shore and safety, which was clearly visible, we do not know.
TUES 12 Aug 2014.
It was still very windy but the sun was shining. Not sure why but we decided to check Wye NNR and in a more sheltered spot we saw our first ever Silver Spotted Skipper at this site. Despite a big search we found no more but no doubt will be back when the sun shines again. Also seen 1 Clouded Yellow, 1 Painted Lady, 8 Chalkhill Blues, 5 Common Blues, 1 Brown Argus, a male Brimstone and 50 plus Meadow Browns. A few miles away we saw 20 Violet Helleborines although most had gone over.
WED 13 Aug 2014.
We decided to check Wye NNR again but took a lot longer to arrive than we imagined, for as we drove past Naccolt we suddenly became away of a Osprey flying and being mobbed by Herring Gulls. It sat on a telegraph post for a while clutching a small fish. After a while it decided it had enough of being mobbed and flew off. It was ringed with a blue ring on the left leg with the initials RJJ in white. We presume that is a Scottish bird. This is only our second ever record in over 30 years of watching this area. Moving on to Wye NNR we were equally surprised to hear and see a Raven flying around the Devils Kneading Bowl area. This is our 1st record for this area. Butterfly wise we refound yesterdays Silver Spotted Skipper, the Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady. Chalkhill Blues numbered 20, with 5 Brown Argus, 8 Common Blues, 40 plus Meadow Browns, 7 Small Tortoiseshells, the male Brimstone and a Peacock. On the way home we were amazed to find the Osprey again, this time on Conningbrook Gravel Pits. The day ended with a Common Buzzard over the house at 16.45 hours.
Thur 14 Aug 2014.
Others had seen the Osprey yesterday evening at Conningbrook so we thought we would check the area again. After a while it reappeared and flew around before landing on a post. Whilst we had been waiting the Raven flew over and away towards Hinxhill. A Clouded Yellow flew through and 3 Common Buzzards were seen plus 2 late Swifts.
We ended the day at Oare Marshes but little new was seen. In fact much the same birds as a week ago.

So ended another period of wildlife watching which we have thoroughly enjoyed.
Silver Spotted Skipper3.jpg
Our first ever Silver Spotted Skipper at Wye NNR.
Chalkhill Blue.JPG
Chalkhill Blue at Wye NNR.
Record photo of the Osprey. Only our 2nd ever record on our local patch in 30 years of watching.
Record photo of the Osprey in flight.
Record photo of the Osprey in flight.

Posts: 1964
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Liphook, Hants

Re: Dave Brown

Postby Pauline » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:04 pm

Sounds like an exciting week Dave! For 'record' shots that Osprey isn't half bad - in fact I can just about read the numbers on its ring. You must have been delighted to see it :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:42 pm

Thanks Pauline. Yes, the Osprey is always a delight to see, especially here in Kent.

What can we say about the past week. Cold, windy, not August weather at all, and clearly different to June and July when we were treated to glorious sunshine and good insects to match. Its been really hard work seeing butterflies, let alone trying to photograph them.

Friday 15 August 2014.
Saw the Osprey again at Conningbrook but little else of interest.

Saturday 16 August 2014.
Wondering what to do today for a change a text message sent us quickly to Swalecliffe where a Terek Sandpiper was on show. Unfortunately it had chosen a popular stretch of beach for its stay and it was not long before first a dog walker, then a kite flyer, flushed the bird, for it to disappear for good. Although it was a very windy day it was surprising crowded with people so we took our leave and called in at Conningbroook. The Osprey was not to be found and presumably had continued on its southerly journey.

Sunday 17 August 2014.
Despite the warm and dry start to the day it was not long before the rain arrived. By that time we had arrived at Dungeness to see 7 Egyptian Geese, 26 Yellow Wagtails, Common Sandpiper, Great White Egret, Black Necked Grebe and 500 plus Sand Martins. Butterflies were few with just a couple of Small Coppers, about a dozen Common Blues and a few Meadow Browns. With black skies all around we headed home before the deluge started only to receive a call as we walked through the front door to say that a Juvenile Montagu's Harrier was showing near Dungeness RSPB reserve entrance. Forty Five minutes later we were watching this magnificent raptor catching dragonflies over the wheat field.

Tuesday 19 August 2014.
Back to Dungeness where the 2 Small Coppers were joined by a Small Heath. Still the Common Blues and Meadow Browns with a decent number of Migrant Hawkers. Birds noted included a Little Ringed Plover, 4 Little Egrets, Common Buzzard, 3 Willow Warblers, Sandwich Tern and 300 Sand Martins.

Wednesday 20 August 2014.
With a hint of warm weather we decided to check East Kent. The Glossy Ibis and 3 Little Egrets showed at Pegwell, together with a few Peacock, Red Admiral and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. 5 Emperor Dragonflies toured the pond fighting each other as they got too close.
Then on to Sandwich Bay which was disappointing. We did see a Lesser Whitethroat, Black Cap and 3 Willow Warblers but butterflies were almost non existent apart from Meadow Browns.

Thursday 21 August 2014.
In strong winds and cloudy weather on Wye NNR we struggled to find butterflies but in the end we were quite pleased with 2 Silver Spotted Skippers, a Clouded Yellow, 20 plus Chalkhill Blues, 9 Brown Argus, many Common Blues and Meadow Blues with 1 Small Tortoiseshell. The cloud came over, the temperature dropped and that was that.

Friday 22 August 2014.
Another day at Dungeness, another day struggling to find insects. A Clouded Yellow and Small Tortoiseshell were the pick of the bunch. Bird wise it was also quiet with Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Garganey, 10 Willow Warblers, Peregrine, Common Sandpiper, Common Buzzard and 2 Little Egrets.

With one or two exceptions the wildlife has not been what you would normally expect for mid August.
Chalkhill Blue5.JPG
Chalkhill Blue at Wye NNR.
Montagus Harrier.JPG
A record photo of the distant Montagu's Harrier at Dungeness near the RSPB.
Glossy Ibis5.JPG
Glossy Ibis in flight at Pegwell Bay.
Water Rail.JPG
Tempted in the open for a snack in the pool this Water Rail was on view for a few minutes at Dungeness RSPB
Autumn Ladies Tresses.JPG
Autumn Ladies Tresses at New Romney (Kent)

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:15 pm

It has been sometime since I updated this diary. Basically we have been out in the field most days and have had limited time to write up any reports. Have we seen much? Yes we have. Have we taken photos? Yes we have, but had no time to download them. In between all this we had had the Bank Holiday and undertaken a couple of butterfly transects. So since our last update we have tried several times to see Adonis Blue around Wye NNR and failed miserably. The first August/ September period that we can remember not seeing them. We have one more costal location up our sleeves.
Wye NNR has proved disappointing this autumn with numbers of everything appearing well down. On the plus side we have been seeing good numbers of Small Copper at Dungeness. In addition we keep picking out Clouded Yellows, although in small numbers. Wye NNR has also produced the odd Autumn Gentian. A plant always nice to see but with it comes the awareness that Winter is not far away.
Probably our best day this period was Wednesday 27th August, and at Dungeness. We had gone with the intention of seeing the Red Necked Pharalope on the ARC pit, which we duly did. Realising that a small fall of migrants had taken place we searched the area seeing the well camouflaged Wryneck on the ranges. Hearing of news of a Pied Flycatcher in Dengemarsh Gully we arrived to find a small group of the locals also searching when someone called Melodious Warbler. Indeed there was, and showing well. We never did see the Pied Fly that day, but to give a flavour of migration we will list the highlights.

Birds- Melodious Warbler, Wryneck, Red Necked Phalarope, 4 Whimbrel, Redstart, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Black Terns, Arctic Skua, 10 Whinchats, 35 Yellow Wagtails, 6 Wheatears, 300 plus Sand Martins, Lesser Whitethroat, many Whitethroats, 3 Stonechats, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Avocets, 7 Med Gulls, 30 Common Terns and 8 Sandwich Terns.

Insects- Clouded Yellow (along the shore line), a number of Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells also along the shoreline, including one ST that flew out to sea.
Many Migrant Hawkers, in fact hundreds.
One of the best migration days at Dungeness we can remember for some time.

The next day, the 28th August, we checked another migration hotspot call Foreness (near Margate). We had 3 brief views of the Barred Warbler found by one of the hard working locals, but otherwise it was just a few Whinchats and Whitethroats with large numbers of Migrant Hawkers and Large Whites.
The next two days were back at Dungeness where the Melodious Warbler and now 2 Wrynecks showed reasonably well but the number of general migrants was reducing each day. We did see a migrant moth called a Cosmoplition, another Clouded Yellow, also a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in our garden.

Catch up to continue over the weekend.

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:19 pm

Catch up continued.

Sunday 31 August was another good day spent at Dungeness. Still migration going on with a Honey Buzzard, 5 Common Buzzards, 4 Hobbys, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 25 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Blackcaps, Garden Warbler, many Willow Warblers, 500 plus Sand Martins, 2 Swifts, the local 2 Ravens and finally a Glossy Ibis flew in over us and landed on Dengemarsh. On the insect front Migrant Hawkers were abundant and at least 10 Red Admirals in the area. Near the sea edge we saw a Turtle Dove, presumably plucking up courage to make the leap into the unknown on the migration challenge. A real scarce bird these days and a much welcome surprise.
The next day, Monday, was much of the same although numbers were down. 2 Spotted Redshank and a Curlew Sandpiper had arrived on the RSPB. The Hummingbird Hawk moth visited our garden again.

Tuesday 02 September saw numbers pick up gain with at least 5 Spotted Flycatchers present along with all the usual migrants. A Great White Egret arrived but best of all the numbers of butterflies had risen. Another Clouded Yellow was seen, as was several Small Coppers, 5 Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Small Tortoiseshells, Small Heaths and a Red Admiral. We called in to see our friends at Ruckinge where they had trapped overnight the Cliffden Nonpareil and 2 Chinese Characters (moths).

Wednesday 03 September we undertook our two butterfly transects. Good numbers of Red Admirals seen, together with Commas, Brimstones, Speckled Woods and some rather tatty looking Meadow Browns. No surprises but then it is a woodland in early September.

Friday 05 September. What a day. Nothing rare but the sort of day we dream about at Dungeness. A big fall of migrants seen by us that included 11 Pied Flycatchers, 16 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Redstarts, 2 Stonechats, Black Redstart, 3 Blackcaps, 7 Whinchats, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, with many Wheatears, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Sand Martins and Swallows. The sun had brought the insects out with Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Clouded Yellow, 14 Small Copper, 7 Small Heaths, 10 Common Blues, Brown Argus and dozens of Migrant Hawkers. The observatory moth trap included Pale Grass Eggar, Feathered Gothic and Chinese Character.
Some day.

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:56 pm

Moving forward.

Saturday 06 Sept 2014 was another Dungeness day. The number of migrant birds had reduced considerably so we concentrated on Butterflies. Although we found good numbers of Small Heath, Small Copper, Common Blue and Red Admiral little else was found.
Sunday 07 Sept 2014. We toured Walland Marsh finding many House Martins and Yellow Wagtails. Despite being only 20 minutes away, when news broke of a Red Backed Shrike found on Dungeness RSPB we arrived to find quite a large group of birders already present. Where do they come from? Anyway, it showed well to all comers during the course of the morning. Later a few of us scanned the skies nearby for raptor movement and clearly some was taking place. Many people stopped and asked us what we were looking at, but on our reply of Common Buzzards they all instantly drove off. Had they stayed they would have seen the Honey Buzzard that passed with 5 Common Buzzards, bringing our total to 19 Common Buzzards. Lack of patience, probably driven by instant news access. If its not on Twitter it can't be there, seems to be the trend. All the common migrants were seen in the area but butterflies were down. Migrant Hawkers however were numerous.
Monday 08 Sept 2014. Probably our last search of Wye NNR of the year. Yet again we saw no Adonis Blue. Meadow Browns hang on with 24 individuals seen, plus 8 Common Blue and a late and very tatty Chalkhill Blue.
Tuesday 09 Sept 2014. Back to Dungeness but things were quiet. 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Ravens present on Dengemarsh. A Merlin passed over the RSPB entrance track. The ARC found 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 10 Blackcaps, Kingfisher and many Willow Warblers.
Thursday 11 Sept 2014. We were on our way to Dungeness when news broke of a Barred Warbler in the desert. It's not really a desert as in sand, but an area of excavated beach that is all pebbles with some vegetation. It showed well with patience to the 10 or so people present. One good thing about the slog around the desert is the fact that butterflies can be found. We saw 15 Small Coppers, 11 Small Heaths, 6 Red Admirals and a Common Blue. Birds seen around the area included the Glossy Ibis, 2 Black Necked Grebes, 2 Whinchats and many Sand Martins, Swallows.
Friday 12 Sept 2014 was a poor day at Dungeness. The brisk easterly wind meant very little new was seen although 2 Whimbrel, 4 Wheatears with many Sand Martins, Yellow Wagtails and Swallows kept us interested.

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:49 pm

A feature of our butterfly watching the last few weeks has been the number of Small Coppers and Clouded Yellows sighted. The downside has been our failure to record Adonis Blue, and Saturday 13 September was no exception, when we visited St Margarets (Kent). We did see 9 Red Admirals, 9 Speckled Woods, a Common Blue and best of all, a Painted Lady. The Autumn Ladies Tresses around the Monument had all but gone over.
Sunday 14 September was to see us back at Dungeness where 15 Small Heaths, 6 Small Coppers, 7 Common Blues, 4 Red Admirals and a Clouded Yellow were on show. At the Observatory was a Dusky Thorn moth and birds seen included Great White Egret, Little Egret, 4 Stonechats, 2 Wheatears and many Sand Martins.
Tuesday 16 September Dungeness delivered only our second ever Pale-shoulder Cloud (moth). Still a mega moth for Britain although a few have been seen the last 5 years between Folkestone and Dungeness. There has been something like 10 records in the last decade so perhaps one to watch for the future. It was hard to follow that act although 4 Clouded Yellows, 15 Small Heaths, 12 Small Coppers and a Glossy Ibis tried their best.
Wednesday 17 September 2014 found us at Pett Level but it was very disappointing with only 2 Bearded Tits and 75 Swallows of interest. On the way home we called in at our Ruckinge friends to see Brown-spot Pinion, Snout and Flounced Rustic.
Thursday 18 September was back to Dungeness for a fine Golden Twin Spot was on show, another scarcity, alongside a Gold Spot for comparison. Both very smart moths in their own right. Also another Dusky Thorn was present. For a change a migrant birds were present with Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail all seen, together with hundreds of Swallows and a few Sand and House Martins.
Friday 19 September, for ever the optimist, found us yet again at Dungeness looking at much the same as yesterday although 10 Whinchats were present. Butterflies had been struggling all week so it was no surprise when we only found 5 Red Admirals, a Small Copper and Small Heath.
Nighttime found us in Hamstreet woods watching a moth trapping session. It was slow going but 11 Oak Lutestrings were noteworthy, as was 3 Copper Underwings and 2 Oak Hooktips.
Saturday 20 September. Yes you have guessed. Dungeness again, but the only real change was that Great White Egret numbers had increased to 4 and the Raven was back. A surprise was finding a Meadow Brown butterfly in reasonable condition.
We ended the day on another moth trapping session in Hamstreet Woods. What a evening, with a stunning Cliffden Non Pareil on show supported by the National Scarce B moth called White Line Snout. A new one for us so worth the tired eyes the next morning. For looks the Flame Carpet took some beating.

A good period of wildlife watching tempered by the drastic reduction in butterfly species being seen. It has to happen sometime in September, but its still a shock to the system when it does. Summer is over.
Small Copper10.jpg
Small Copper at Dungeness
Small Copper11.jpg
Small Copper at Dungeness
Small Copper12.jpg
Small Copper at Dungeness
Meadow Brown.jpg
Meadow Brown at Dungeness . Not bad condition for late September.
Melodious Warbler2.jpg
Melodious Warbler at Dungeness
Yellow Legged Gull.jpg
Juvenile Yellow Legged Gull at Dungeness. (Hopefully I have got this right).
Yellow Legged Gull2.jpg
Juvenile Yellow Legged Gull at Dungeness. (Hopefully I have got this right).
Red Backed shrike.jpg
Record photo of the Red Backed Shrike

User avatar
David M
Posts: 7808
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Dave Brown

Postby David M » Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:17 pm

That Meadow Brown has to be a recent emergee. The sex brands are noticeable even in a photograph.

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:06 pm


Thanks David for your observation. I also came to that conclusion despite the late date of 20 September. We have seen it several more times since but probably unlikely to find a mate.

Its been a strange sort of September with some species in good numbers i.e. Small Copper. One feature that has applied to most areas is the lack of migrant moths. Here in Kent most locations are reporting a large drop in the number of species caught nightly. Occasionally one night or one species bucks that trend. This year in Kent it has been the magnificent Clifden Nonpareil, also nicknamed the Blue Underwing, that has stood out. It is mainly a immigrant species with annually less than 10 records for the whole of Britain. We ourselves had only seen 3 up to this year, but remarkably have seen 4 so far in September. We are aware of a minimum of 23 records this September so far spread over East and Mid Kent. Photographs indicate that most, if not all, are different specimens. This is based on plumage wear and condition, with a few having nicks out of them.
Not only is this important in terms of moths, as it could be breeding locally in addition to some immigration, but previous good numbers have sometimes been associated with the arrival of Camberwell Beauty. So keep them eyes peeled.

I know that we have shown a photo of the Cliffden Nonpareil last year but could not help posting more photos from this year. One shows two individuals caught together on Monday night, another shows one in the hand to give an indication on size (they are big and beautiful), the last shows one from the underside as it tries to climb out of the pot. Those who have seen one will know why mothers get excited about this species. Those who have yet to have that privilege have a real treat to look forward too. We are not aware of any claims of Camberwell Beauty accompanying them yet but you never know.

I would like to thank our good friends at Ruckinge and Biddenden for the information on numbers and access for photographs.
Clifden Nonpareil.JPG
Two Clifden Nonpareils.
Clifden Nonpareil2.JPG
Clifden Nonpareil in the hand. They are big.
Clifden Nonpareil3.JPG
The underside of Clifden Nonpareil as it tries to climb out of the pot. This photo does not do justice to its beautiful underside.
Pale-shoulder Cloud.JPG
Pale-shoulder Cloud. A rare immigrant with less than 20 British records ever.
Golden Twin Spot.JPG
Golden Twin-Spot caught at Lydd on Sea. A scarce immigrant.

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:57 pm

Its raining Ouzels.
Well Ring Ouzels that is. Most years we get a few at Dungeness. If we see ten then we consider that a really good day. However, the 14th October 2014 will long be remembered as the day they fell out of the sky. We ourselves saw well over 400 that day, but the Observatory count was 550. There was still a few around the next day but most moved on during the 14th. It was not 400 in one go but a steady trickle from mid-morning, although one flock did hold 72 birds. Most impressive.

On our last update we mentioned the Cliffden Nonpareil. We are aware of at least 3 further sightings but not one sighting of the much hoped for Camberwell Beauty. During this period Clouded Yellows and Red Admirals have been numerous at Dungeness, and at least one out of range Black Darter, but no Beauties.

1st October to 15th October 2014.
Butterflies seen include Clouded Yellow, (maximum of 14 at Oare Marshes on the 10th), Small Copper, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood. Dragonflies include many Migrant Hawkers, Common Darters, Ruddy Darter, Common Blue. Moths have included the scarce Marsh Mallow, Feathered Beauty and Cypress Carpet. Insect wise we have seen Southern Oak Bush Cricket and the Western Conifer Bug.

Bird wise it has been a little disappointing considering the time of the year apart from the Ring Ouzel. Other species seen include Cattle Egret, Red Kite (near Faversham), Curlew Sandpiper, Raven, 3 Yellow Browed Warblers (all at Dungeness), Woodlark and American Golden Plover (Scotney). We have joined in with the Black Art of sea watching on several occasions, seeing 2 Balearic Shearwater, Great and Arctic Skuas. It seems a decent list but October normally brings many more migrant species.
We resisted the temptation to join the crowds and twitch the long staying Masked Shrike near Kilnsea and the Steppe Grey Shrike in Norfolk, preferring to relax looking for that something special here in Kent. Despite the poor weather on some days we have seen lots of Red Admirals, including some heading out into the Channel. Hopefully there is still time for one good butterfly or moth.
Photo's to follow.

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:35 pm

16th October to 12th November 2014.

Its been a while since I updated our sightings but it's not been a very productive period, or at least not as good as we hoped it would be. Moth migration has almost stopped, with birds and butterflies not doing much better. There have been a few surprises and treats, one being our latest ever Painted Lady on 6th November (Reculver, Kent). We also have seen a Clouded Yellow and 2 Large Whites on the 4th November (again Reculver, Kent). We are also still seeing the odd Red Admiral with our last one so far on the 12th November. Other butterflies seen in the above period are Comma and Speckled Wood.

Dragonflies have really tapered off but we have still been seeing Common Darter and Migrant Hawker. Decent moths have been Hummingbird Hawkmoth (21st October) in our garden, Red Sword Grass (17th October) Sandwich Bay, Delicate (30th October) Dungeness, Gem (31st October) Dungeness. Other insects include the Southern Oak Bush Cricket (30th October) Dungeness.

Our bird list for the period is reasonable but for the hours we have put in it could have been better, considering the fine weather and ideal migration conditions.
So where do we start, well the 16th was not bad with 2 Yellow Browed Warblers seen and one Woodlark at Dungeness. Then on the 19th a Cattle Egret arrived at Dungeness, with Yellow Legged Herring Gull and 3 Ring Ouzels. The next good day was the 25th October when we ventured over the border to see a fine male Red Breasted Flycatcher at Beachy Head. This bird was a stunner with a glorious red breast, but we failed to get a photograph. Still worth the long journey to see our first ever fully red breast male. All our other sightings have been females or 1st winter birds.
Next day it was back into East Sussex to see the moulting White Winged Black Tern on Castle Water, Rye. The very long walk was enjoyable, not just for the bird but for the 2 Clouded Yellows seen. Our 3rd visit within a week into East Sussex on the 28th October, (perhaps a season ticket is in order), saw a Cattle Egret on Pett Level. A sea watch at Dungeness on the 30th October was productive with a total movement of 1, 206 Brent Geese, 75 Little Gulls and 3 Great Skuas. Next saw a Grey Phalarope sitting on the sea with 65 Med Gulls and 4 Pomarine Skuas.
November started with a Dungeness rarity. A fine male Dartford Warbler on the ranges along a public road, with a Long Tailed Duck, 2 Black Necked Grebes and a Bittern on the RSPB. Back to the sea on the 2nd November when a Juvenile Sabines Gull was on offer for the morning, with a 1st winter Caspian Gull on the RSPB. Tuesday the 4th November saw us watching a fine male Lapland Bunting at Swalecliffe followed next day by 2 Cattle Egrets at Dungeness RSPB.
The 6th November was a fine autumn day enhanced by the sighting of a male DESERT WHEATEAR at Reculver. The next decent day was the 9th November when Dungeness RSPB entertained 6 Great White Egrets and a adult Caspian Gull.

So what should be one of the best periods for bird migration in Kent failed to deliver any Pallas's, Dusky or Raddes Warblers. We also missed the Dungeness Great Grey Shrike and Red Rumped Swallow. Nor was there any Butterfly or moth surprises. Still at least the weather has been mild keeping our energy bills down. There is still time for one last surprise so we will keep looking.
Best wishes.
Painted Lady.jpg
We have seen very few Painted Lady's this year, so this one at Reculver on the 6th Nov was a surprise.
Clouded Yellow.jpg
A late Clouded Yellow at Dungeness.
Yellow Browed Warbler.JPG
Yellow Browed Warbler trapped at Dungeness Observatory.
Distant record photo of the moulting White Winged Black Tern at Castle Water, Rye.
Lapland Bunting.jpg
Lapland Bunting seen at Swalecliffe.
Ring Ouzel.jpg
One of many Ring Ouzels seen at Dungeness this autumn.
Great White Egret.jpg
One of at least 6 Great White Egrets currently at Dungeness.
Brent Geese.jpg
Part of one on the many flocks of Brent Geese that passed Dungeness in October and early November.
Little Egret.jpg
Little Egret at Pett Level. Now a very common sight in Britain.
Egyptian Geese.jpg
These Egyptian Geese at Dungeness are now becoming regular in Kent , having spread out of their Norfolk stronghold.
Grey Plover.jpg
Moulting Grey Plover at Oare Marshes.

User avatar
Goldie M
Posts: 3134
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:05 pm

Re: Dave Brown

Postby Goldie M » Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:57 am

Hi! Dave, the Warbler photo is great, I was at Reculver in July and saw my first of the year Painted Lady there so your shot of the PL brought a pleasant memories back to me Goldie :D

dave brown
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:54 pm

13th November 2014 to 25th December 2014.

Firstly, best wishes to everyone for a really happy Christmas. For most people it is a family time of fun and togetherness. We are no exception, but do go out birding on Xmas Day morning (well there are no butterflies out at the moment). To our surprise today we also saw a few other birders out and about. How times have changed. When we first started birding on Xmas Day, about 25 years ago, we would see no one else, so had the chance to experience walking in solitude. Now the roads are busy and others are doing the same.

Well the period in question has been interesting on occasions but repetitive on others. An emergency visit to the dentist on the 16th November proved very interesting. I had an emergency appointment at Canterbury and was driving along the A28 past Chilham when a bird caught my eye. I knew immediately that it was a Great Grey Shrike but could not stop at the time. Following treatment I returned past the same spot and there it was again. This time I confirmed the ID then put the news out. Being so close to the road, and plenty of parking available, this showy bird has proved very popular with a few hundred people visiting during its so far stay of 6 weeks. A really smart bird that has become quite faithful to one particular field. Its been seen to take a wide range of prey, even storing some on thorny bushes.

Dungeness has had its moments, with one of the best being when 3 Cattle Egrets appeared in the same field. Two are still present, although they moved to the Cattle along Dengemarsh road. Despite the nearby factory and scrap car dealer they often move to within 50 metres of the road, affording everyone good views of this former and much sought after mega rarity. A day at Dungeness at present should yield Cattle Egret, up to 6 Great White Egrets, several Little Egrets, up to 4 Black Necked Grebes, a 1st winter Scaup, several Goldeneyes, Smew and Gossanders. Caspian and Yellow Legged Gulls are regular, as are wintering Firecrests. Nearby Walland Marsh marsh is holding 28 Bewick Swans, 1 Whooper Swan and 4 Bean Geese, often in the same field. In summary Dungeness makes a good day at the moment.

Little else is happening in Kent at present, although the American White Ibis present at Sevenoaks KWT reserve provides a talking point. It is probably an escape but the interest waxes and wanes depending on the current view. No one has so far traced an escape origin. No one has owned up to the loss of such a valuable bird. It arrived at the end of the Autumn migration period and following strong winds. Its a juvenile bird, meaning it was born this summer. Juveniles are more likely to get lost and wander due to lack of experience. No trace has been found of a breeding captive pair so far. It has been visited by many of the top twitchers, many of whom probably think its an escape but hope thats its not. So an interesting bird found on a reserve that is nice to visit for a change.

You will have noted that so far that the theme has been about birds. Basically insects have finished for the year but we have been lucky to see the odd Peacock and Red Admiral in periods of warm sunshine, but nothing for 3 weeks. On the 26th November our last moth of the year was a beautiful Mottled Umber.

Hopefully there is still time for one more goodie before the year is out, but if not we have still enjoyed 2014.


Goldie- Pleased you have happy memories of your visit to Kent. Reculver is an interesting location and provides a nice seaside walk.
Probably our last Peacock of the year, basking in the sun at Dungeness RSPB.
Great Grey Shrike2.jpg
The Chilham (Kent) Great Grey Shrike.
Cattle Egrets.jpg
The two Cattle Egrets at Dungeness (sorry only one caught in full view).
Whooper Swan.jpg
Whooper Swan on Walland Marsh. A scarce Kent bird that has joined the Bewick and Mute Swan flock.

Return to “Personal Diaries”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests