Dave Brown

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

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:11 pm

Added a few photos to update my last diary entry.

With temperatures hovering around the 8 or 9 degree mark over the weekend it came as no surprise that we did not see one Butterfly. This is heading for one of the coldest Aprils of recent times in this part of Kent. Today is no better and looking at the forecast for the week it will not be a surprise if we see no more butterflies here until the 1st May.
Attachments
Firecrest.JPG
The beautiful Firecrest taken at Dungeness Lighthouse Garden.
Small Copper.jpg
Small Copper (or Hoggers butterfly) at Dungeness.
GV White.jpg
Green Veined White near Appledore (Kent).
Hare.JPG
Distant photo of a Hare at undisclosed location in Kent.
Ruff.jpg
Ruff at Pett Level (Sussex).
Peacock.jpg
Peacock at Hamstreet Forest complex.
Egyptian Goose.jpg
Egyptian Goose at Dungeness.
Muntjac Deer.jpg
Muntjac Deer trying to hide at a location near Mildenhall (Suffolk). Photo taken from the car.
Speckled Wood.jpg
Our 1st Speckled Wood of the year, and in our garden.
Grape Hyacinth.jpg
Wild Grape Hyacinth on a roadside nature reserve at Tuddenham (Suffolk).

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

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Thu May 12, 2016 3:15 pm

A Mixed Bag.

I was wrong in my last update for despite the very cold weather we did see a few butterflies before the end of April. Small Copper, Small White, Peacock, Green Veined White and Orange Tip. How they managed to survive I don't know for I was in my winter coat for most of the period. However, a few warm spells brought them out for short periods. On the 28th April it was actually warm enough for a Clouded Yellow to fly in at Samphire Hoe and disappear along the railway bank. The same site also produced 2 Dingy Skippers. It was not until the 1st May that numbers really increased with many Green Veined Whites and Orange Tips being seen on our visit to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. It took until the 4th for our first Grizzled Skippers at Dungeness and of course many Small Coppers. The 3rd had produced our first Green Hairstreaks of the year with 2 at Wye NNR. A visit on the 9th saw increased numbers with 4 Green Hairstreaks and 9 Dingy Skippers.
Yesterday (11th) we found 17 Wall Browns within a 200 metre strip along the cliffs at Capel and today we found 4 Small Blues at Kingsdown. So an encouraging start to the butterfly season.
If only I could say the same for our moth trap. Bit of a disaster really. Very low numbers and variety within our garden. I am sure that all the local house building going on is having some detrimental effect. I have had to rely on others to view a few decent moths. Scarce Prominent and Red Twin-spot Carpet probably the best.
The saving grace has been the birds. It started with a Red Kite near Faversham (20th), a fine male Iberian Chiffchaff singing and showing at Northdown Park (23rd). A good find by a hard working and dedicated local patch worker. The same day also saw us watching a Black Brant at Pegwell Bay. Much to our surprise the Glossy Ibis appeared in front of us at Pett Level on the 27th April after being missing for about 3 weeks. Finally the best bird of the period was undoubtedly the Rufous Turtle Dove we saw on a housing estate in Otford on the 1st May. There is a story behind this bird which is from the Central Asia area and an occasional migrant to Europe and even Britain. The bird first appeared in a residents garden late February but was very erratic. He even managed a few photos and kindly sent them to the County Recorder. However his garden could not accommodate the numbers of birders expected so actual site details were withheld.
The County Recorder and others searched the general area to see if the bird could be seen from a public area without affecting the residents. However it was not seen again by any birder until the 30th April and this time it could be viewed from a public road. Over the next week or so a few hundred birders have seen the bird and without any disturbance to the locals, who incidentally have been encouraging to visitors. Some even offering tea and biscuits, most very inquisitive. Where had it been too for about 2 months can probably be explained by its habit of disappearing for long periods during the day and only being seen early morning and evening and then at some distance.
With an improvement in the weather we look forward to some good sightings ahead.

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

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Tue May 31, 2016 3:41 pm

Only a few decent days for Butterflies

Here in East Kent the weather recently has been on the poor side for butterflies and moths. Mainly as a result of cold northerly winds, heavy cloud or cold nights.
Not ideal conditions for May. The lack of moths in particular is effecting all catches along the South East coast so it is of no surprise that little of interest has been seen. Still we keep trying and hoping.

Friday the 13th produced 4 Red Kites around the Hamstreet area and another later over Ashford. Clearly there was some movement of Kites through Kite that day.
Monday the 16th became warmer and Butterflies beckoned. A visit to Bonsai Bank near Canterbury produced the hoped for Duke of Burgundy. At least 10 in total were seen together with 2 Dingy Skippers, Green Hairstreak and Peacock. This is Kent's only reliable site for the Dukes although small numbers do exist in the Wye area where they were formerly more numerous. The next day we only managed to find 2 Brimstones in the Hamstreet area but were more lucky with Hairy Dragonfly with at least 5 and our first Blue Tailed Damselfly of the year.
Thursday the 19th found us at Swalecliffe (Kent) watching 2 Roseate Terns. They stayed most of the day fishing off shore but always too far for an acceptable photo. Roseate Tern is a good Kent record these days with few lingering for the day. It was about time we checked out the Orchid situation and found a field of 35 Early Purple Orchids near Hastingleigh. Nearby 3 Fly Orchids and 7 Lady Orchids were in full flower but another day of few butterflies.

Things went really quiet until the afternoon of the 22nd when a Gull Billed Tern was found on Dungeness RSPB Burrows Pit. It stayed over 5 hours and delighted its many admirers. It's been 11 years since the last twitchable one in Kent. They have always been scarce on the East side of Britain and always attract some attention.
Another quiet spell was only enlivened by the finding of 10 Fly Orchids at Yockletts nature reserve on the 25th. However the next day was definitely different. First it was warm and sunny, secondly a Adult Laughing Gull was found at Dungeness Beach. After admiring its finer points a walk around the area produced 21 Common Blues, 9 Small Coppers, 4 Small Heaths and 2 Silver Y. Of equal interest was the sighting of Hoggers, head down, looking for his beloved Small Coppers. Head up for 10 seconds to say hello as we passed, then head back down immediately. Can't imagine any Small Copper escapes his attention. The Painted Lady seen later near the New Lighthouse escaped both our attention. Can't say I have heard of too many this year so far.

The next day saw us looking at 12 fine specimens of the Late Spider Orchid near Folkestone, with a fly over Red Kite. We did see 5 Wall Browns and many Common Blues. If only all days could be like this.
Saturday 28th saw us back at Dungeness. Passing Hoggers, with friend, in the Moat, again with head down presumably counting Small Coppers, we headed for and saw the Male Common Rosefinch in the trapping area. A stunningly attractive bird in fine crimson dress spent a good deal of time singing but not always showing. Not to be outdone we found 4 Small Coppers, 9 Small Heaths and a late Grizzled Skipper of our own. Like Hoggers we have noted the fall off in numbers of Small Coppers this week so first brood must be nearly over.

To end this review period we visited Parkgate Down yesterday to see 60 plus Monkey Orchids in fine flower, and amazingly for a Bank Holiday Monday, not another person present. The cold winds however meant that we did not see one butterfly on this nature reserve. We called in at a nearby site to see 25 Lady Orchids, 2 Fly Orchids and our first Birds Nest Orchid of the year.

In summary this period has been one of mixed fortunes, but mainly disappointing on the butterfly front. Hopefully we are due some fine sunny weather.

I shall put a few photos on later but I am aware of Pete's request to reduce repetitive photos so will think about what to post.

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

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:48 pm

Belated update with photos to match my last two diary entries.

We have only made one distant trip since our last update and that was to see Swallowtails and Norfolk Hawkers in their Norfolk stronghold. More details to follow in our next diary update.
Attachments
Duke Of Burgundy.JPG
Duke of Burgundy at Bonsai Bank (Kent).
Laughing Gull.JPG
Laughing Gull on the beach at Dungeness. Adult bird in full summer plumage.
Grizzled Skipper.JPG
Grizzled Skipper at Dungeness.
Green Hairstreak.JPG
Green Hairsteak near Wye (Kent).
Late Spider Orchid.JPG
Late Spider Orchid near Folkestone
Gull Billed Tern.JPG
Record photo of the Gull Billed Tern at Dungeness RSPB. Always staying towards the rear of the pit.
Birds Nest Orchid.JPG
Birds Nest Orchid near Stelling Minis (Kent).
Fly Orchid.JPG
Fly Orchid at Yocklets Bank (kent).
White Helleborine.JPG
White Helleborine near Harrietsham Kent.

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

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:37 pm

Firstly I would like to start this diary update by agreeing, like many others, with the excellent analysis of the season so far by Neil Hulme on his PD. He highlights what many of us have been finding, at least here in Kent and Sussex. My own Butterfly counts and sightings agree with his own findings with possibly only the Ringlet and Small Copper approaching decent numbers. Some suitable days I have struggled to find any butterflies, and equally dragonflies. The same situation appears to be happening on the moth front with only the well published invasion of the Diamond Back bucking like trend. We badly need a prolonged period of warm and decent weather.
I had plans to go and see the Large Blue this year, but suitable days were few and far between. The one or two decent days did not coincide with my availability so it will have to be next year.

Well now to my update and to be honest not that exciting update with just one or two exceptions.
Early June was remarkable for the Diamond Back moth. We even had a maximum count of 42 in our garden on the 06th June. Every where we went we were recording very high numbers. If only that was happening to some migrant butterfly species.
02 June 2016. Saw us looking at 26 Late Spider Orchids near Wye (Kent).
04 June 2016. Our maximum count of Red Admirals so far was 9 at Dungeness.
05 June 2016. This date found us at Rye Harbour NR watching a fine summer plumage American Golden Plover. A very smart looking bird which stayed fairly faithful to a particular island for a few days. A check of Walland found our first 14 Red Eyed Damselflies of the year but only one Hobby.
07 June 2016. A check of Wye NR found only 4 Man Orchids, 5 Wall Browns and 7 Common Blues. All well down.
08 June 2016. A struggle but we eventually found 2 Heath Fritillary out at East Blean Woods.
09 June 2016. A piece of good news following some habitat management. 20 Marsh Cinquefoil were found at Dungeness NNR along with excellent numbers of Marsh Speedwell. In a public area and available to all. Nearby at Littlestone many Sand Catchfly were coming into flower.
11 June 2016. Our annual trip to see both Fen Orchid and Swallowtail in the Fens. Numbers of the orchid appeared down, or at least not in flower yet, but we did manage 4 Swallowtails and 5 Norfolk Hawkers. Calling in at Breckland on the way home we found the rare Marbled Clover moth at Cranwich, a new species for us, and 86 Military Orchids at the Rex Graham NR.
12 June 2016. A surprise moth caught by our friends at Ruckinge was the Splendid Brocade. A once mega moth for Kent numbers do seem to be slowly increasing. Still, only about the 4th we have seen and much appreciated.
14 June 2016. We found a new to us site for White Helleborine south of Faversham. 22 plants in various state of flowering.
15 June 2016. 20 plus Late Spider Orchids in flower near Folkestone but very few butterflies. 5 large Skippers probably the best.
Nearby 4 Bee Orchids were in flower along Hythe Seafront. This is in an area that has rumblings of possible development. Nearby 4 Lizard Orchids at undisclosed site.
16 June 2016. Back to Wye NR and our annual search for the very rare Black Veined Moth. We managed 7 individuals which is slightly down on last year.
19 June 2016. A mega day. A Great Knot has been present in the Titchwell/ Holme area for a few days. Although it went missing on the 18th when news broke early AM that it was back at Titchwell our resistance broke and off we went. We arrived at the RSPB to find the place heaving with Birders/ dog walkers (public path to sea), families and just about everybody in Norfolk. We were lucky to find one parking place as someone left, (the car park holds 120 cars), and even luckier to find that the Great Knot was showing fairly well on the Freshmarsh. We would dearly have loved to stay longer but the pure volume of people, push chairs, dogs and general walkers was slightly off putting for a bird reserve.Titchwell is clearly a popular reserve even for non birders, so we retreated to the quieter environment of the Brecklands. Here we again found a Marbled Glover moth and many Spanish Catchfly. Did I say quieter, the volume of traffic on the A11/ M11 was horrendous. Not sure if it was being Fathers Day that just made everywhere so busy.
21 June 2016. A Cattle Egret on the RSPB at Dungeness and a Greenshank over were the highlights.
23 June 2016. At last a decent haul of Silver Y's with a count of 27 in the Hamstreet Woods. 2 Brimstone but only 7 Meadow Browns. The highlight had to be the Turtle Dove purring along a wood ride. One of a few that seems to have escaped the shooters guns on the Continent.
24 June 2016. For the 2nd day running we saw a Turtle Dove, this time at Wye NR. A quick visit to Hothfield found 8 Keeled Skimmers over the Bog pools. Our first of the year.
25 June 2016. After a few years of looking we finally managed to locate the scarce Oxtongue Broomrape. This odd looking Broomrape is clearly taller and whiter than its Common Cousin. 8 plants were present near Kingsdown (Kent).
30 June 2016. A Spoonbill was present on Scotney GP in its usual mode of sleeping with the bill tucked in. A tour of the Dungeness area found 5 Marbled Whites and the usual Small Coppers but other butterflies were in very low numbers.
02 July 2016. Finally a decent count of Heath Fritillary at East Blean Woods with 52 recorded. Many Ringlets but only 1 White Admiral.

In summary I would say a quieter than normal June with many days of unsuitable weather for insects. Many cold nights that we did not even bother with the moth trap. The start of July is not much better, but as always we will give it our best effort.
Dave

dave brown
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Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:25 pm

JULY 2016
We started July by doing a count of Common Spotted Orchid along the rides in Birchet Wood (Orlestone). Our best ever count of 745, which is well up on previous years. Surprisingly few butterflies.
The 5th July saw us checking out Samphire Hoe. We did find 3 Marbled Whites and a few skippers but little else.
With the promise of a fine day it was into Dene Park (Tonbridge) to look for the Purple Emperor. Although numbers are low this wood is probably the best place in Kent to connect with PE, or not in our case. Despite spending 3 hours there we failed to connect with any. It seems that numbers may be as low as 3 or 4 individuals this year. Although they have been photographed this year I have heard of no count over 4. Two Silver Washed Fritillary and 4 White Admirals tried to cheer us up, but some how its not the same missing the glorious Purple Emperor.
Thursday the 7th July turned out to be a warm day so it was into Bourne Wood (Hamstreet) to check out butterfly activity. We were not disappointed, with 10 Silver Washed Fritillary, 3 White Admirals, 20 plus Ringlets, many Meadow Browns, and a fine Purple Hairstreak.
The White Legged Damselfly in Kent is fairly scarce and primary an insect of the west of the county. Lately it has been recorded further east of its known haunts. Over the last few years we have checked several potential new sites for it and today, the 8th July, we struck lucky. Whilst checking a ride in Longrope Wood (Hamstreet) we found 3 males. Probably only emerged over the last day or so. Confirming a East bound spread. I am aware of another private site near Shadoxhurst where the species has been seen the last two years. Not sure of the reason for its expansion but its most welcome.
Saturday 9th July found us in Surrey looking for a new Orchid for us. This is the Narrow Lipped Helleborine. A National scarcity with only a few known sites. The site was a wood called Sheepleas. A delightful wood with at least 25 plants present and caged. We were a little early and found most plants to be a week or so away from flowering. Not only the Orchid was present but also 34 Yellow Birds Nest in full flower. A strange looking plant of the Beech wood that lacks Chlorophyll and obtains its food from the soil leaf mould. Looking quite similar to the Birds Nest Orchid, of which 20 or so were present but had all but gone over. Our eagle eyes soon found a Magpie Inkcap in the dark undergrowth of the Beech wood. We ended our enjoyable visit seeing 5 Silver Washed Fritillary with many Ringlets and Meadow Browns.
We ended the day at Ashdown Forest. Our hope was to see the Silver Studded Blue but despite extensive searching it was not to be. Also the distinctive dragonflies of this delightful area were a bit on the thin side with only 2 Keeled Skimmers being of any note.
Sunday the 10th July found us at Dungeness looking at the Glossy Ibis which had been present a couple of days. A Whimbrel flew over, as did 150 Swifts, but butterflies were thin on the ground.
Tuesday the 12th July saw us checking out the damselflies at Oare Marshes. We always hope to find a Scarce Emerald as one was photographed a couple of years ago but today it was just 9 of the more expected Common Emerald.
Back into Longrope Wood on the 13th July. This time no sign of any White Legged Damselflies but butterfly numbers were looking good with 2 Purple Hairstreaks, White Admiral, 2 Essex Skippers, 14 Marbled Whites, 90 Ringlets and 61 Meadow Browns. Probably best of all was the two purring Turtle Doves. What a pleasure to hear this now scarce bird of Britain.
Ever the optimistic it was back into Dene Park on the 14th July. Again, no sign of any Purple Emperors in another 3 hours of looking. 5 Silver Washed Fritillary, 1 White Admiral and 1 Purple Hairstreak were some reward but we still left feeling empty handed. We then headed to Lullingstone Park where things were much better with 17 Dark Green Fritillary, 40 plus Marbled Whites and lots of Large Skippers, Ringlets and Meadow Browns. A much more uplifting experience.
Nearby, the group of Green Flowered Helleborine were nearly at their best.
Another trip to Longrope on the 15th July again failed to find any White Legged Damselfies, although 4 Purple Hairstreaks and 5 Marbled Whites were pleasing. Nearby the ditch at Warehorne contained 27 Common Emerald Damselfies. From memory our best count at this site. No sign of any White Letter Hairstreaks in the few remaining Elms.
Sunday 17th July found us again out of the County. This time it was in Breckland again. The many Maiden Pink were in full flower in Ramparts Field, Icklingham, supported by Breckland Thyme, both new plants for us. Many butterflies were present with Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Copper, Small Heath, Ringlet and Meadow Brown all represented in varying numbers. Again Cranwich Heath failed to deliver the rare Tawny Wave moth but this time Proliferous Pink was in full flower. Another new plant for us. Nearby a Muntjac Deer was seen at Mildenhall and the small nature reserve at Brandon yielded a few plants of Field Wormwood. This small NR is only about 50 metres by 50 metres, in the middle of an industrial estate, but hold one of Britain's rarest plants (Field Wormwood). It appears to be well respected by all the workers as no sign of any litter, damage or other issues you may expect from a very busy environment.

So far you will have noticed a distinct lack of notes about moths from our garden moth trap. That's because basically it has been very poor. For example our best moth on the 18th July was Swallowtail. Other nights its been even poorer. Some nights I have not even bothered with the moth trap. As the words say in the song, things can only get better.
Dave
Last edited by dave brown on Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Allan.W.
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Re: Dave Brown

Postby Allan.W. » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:47 pm

Hello Dave'
Good to see you found White legged Damsels in Longrope,nice find ,had no luck there myself but I d id photograph at least 2 (poss 3) different males along the back Dyke at Warehorne,haven,t been back to the Shadoxhurst site for a while ,but I know that good numbers have been seen close by, At Warehorne ,as you know the Common Emerald is also having a good season,or at least it was ,but I now see that the tall grasses /herbage has all been cut along the back dyke,same at Kenardington,so that's a great habitat ruined in one foul swoop ! You may also be interested to know that Small Red eyed Damsels,also appear along the dyke that runs parallel with the railway line,on the pumphouse bank ,I couldn,t say how regular it is here ,but I did manage a couple of pics last year. Regards Allan.W.

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

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:09 pm

Hi Allan,
Yes I have seen all the cut vegetation along the ditches by the Military Canal. It does seem odd cutting it at this time as it was home to all sorts of Dragonflies, Damselflies and some Butterflies. Presume it was the Environmental Agency doing ditch maintenance rather than the farmer, but either way it has not helped the wildlife. Pity they could not have waited another month when most insect activity would be dying off.
I was aware of the presence of the Small Red Eyed Damselfly thank you although I have only seen Red Eyed there so far this year. Also so far I have only noted one White Letter Hairstreak in the large elm by the railway bridge. Slightly worrying.

Dave

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Matsukaze
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Re: Dave Brown

Postby Matsukaze » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:55 pm

Here in Somerset the White-legged Damselfly is hugely under-recorded, almost certainly because it is unobtrusive and keeps to the rivers, avoiding the still-water dragonfly hotspots. It tends to occur in places with good Banded Demoiselle populations and can be found where the grass bordering the river has been allowed to grow long, where it likes to shelter and can easily be disturbed.

Dsc01119.jpg


Dsc03519.jpg

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

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:45 pm

Being that I am so far behind with my Diary updates the only way to catch up is just to do a brief summary. I have been so busy lately that paper or computer work is taking a back seat.

I shall start with the 19th July 2016 when the highlight was finding a nice patch of the scarce plant Red Hemp Nettle at Dungeness and being directed to Yellow-wort, another scarce plant at Dungeness. We ended the day watching Speckled and Grey Bush Cricket. The following day (20th) we saw the returning Bonapartes Gull at Oare Marshes, now in Adult plumage.
The 21st saw many fresh Peacocks and Red Admirals in Longrope Wood, Hamstreet but the only other real interest was 2 White Admirals and a purring Turtle Dove. Touring Walland Marsh and area we found several Marsh Mallow plants in full flower. The 23rd July was a really good day with 4 Silver Washed Fritillary in Bourne Wood, 2 more in Birchet Wood and 3 in Longrope Wood (Hamstreet). Longrope was enjoyable as it also produced 2 White Admirals, 2 White Legged Damselflies, 2 Purple Hairstreaks, Marbled Whites, Essex and Small Skippers with many Ringlets, Meadow Browns and Peacocks. Disappointingly we saw our only White Letter Hairstreak of the year, this one at Warehorne. This location used to be reliable for the species but perhaps that is it. Maybe another site lost despite several Elms present.
The 23rd July proved a good day when the noise and sight of many gulls mobbing something brought our attention to a distant Black Stork drifting high and away over the East of Ashford. Despite touring suitable feeding areas in the vicinity we failed to relocate it. Presumably it carried on its merry way still be harassed by the gulls. It was much too brief and distant for any photos.
The 24th found us in the New Forest the intention was to look for Bog Orchid, Southern Damselfly and Scarce Blue Tailed Damselfly. Although mild the weather was dull and cloudy and we failed on all 3 targets. We did see a couple of Silver Studded Blues at Latchmore Brook. The day will be remembered more for the vast numbers of holiday makers and cars every where, plus the traffic jams.
Our good friends at Ruckinge produced Rufous Minor (moth) for our perusal on the 26 July. This was followed by probably our highest ever count of Peacocks when we recorded 117 in Longrope Wood on the 28th July.
31st July saw us watching a Crescent Striped and Sussex Emerald at Dungeness with many Common Blues and Small Coppers in the area. Nearby we saw a Painted Lady on Dengemarsh and 2 more on Walland Marsh. Still more Peacocks with 42 on one Buddleia bush on Walland Marsh.
Nothing much happened until the 4th August when finally our resolve cracked and off we went to see the Purple Swamphen which had been present for nearly a week. We had to wait 45 minutes before it showed well on the pool edge for about 5 minutes before disappearing back into the reeds. The Buddleia bushes near the Visitor Centre were alive with the more common butterflies but did include at least 2 Painted Lady's. The bird was only present one more day before disappearing altogether.
We have struggled to find Willow Emerald Damselflies this year with our best day tally of 5 on the 6th August. Quite the opposite with Common Blue butterflies at Dungeness with a minimum of 100 on the 7th August, 175 on the 14th August and 125 on the 17th. 6 Wall Browns and 2 Silver Spotted Skippers at Wye on the 9th was good.
Even better was the 11th August when we bumped into Goldie and her husband at Lydden. Silver Spotted Skipper was both our targets and we managed 11 that day with 125 plus Chalkhill Blues. 1 Wall Brown and many Autumn Gentians added to the interest. It was so nice to meet Goldie as it is all fellow UKB's.
The 16th August produced 19 Silver Spotted Skippers at Queendown Warren, with a high total of 20 Brown Argus.
We managed a Dungeness rarity on the 18th August when a visitor found a Stone Curlew on the RSPB. This is the first we have managed to connect with in 30 years of visiting the area. They used to breed at Dungeness some 50 years ago so it would be good to see them make a comeback to the area. The day got even better with a Manx Shearwater at sea and 3 Jersey Tigers and a Restharrow moth at the Observatory. A cracker of a day.
The next few days were back to earth until the 26th when 2 Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen at Dungeness with 250 plus Autumn Ladies Tresses near New Romney.
We end this update with a little story. On Saturday 27th August we visited Wye NNR with the intention of looking for Adonis Blue, 6 seen. Whilst searching we found a large Green Cricket which I photographed. Not knowing much about Crickets I assumed it was Great Green Bush Cricket. We saw 14 in total and I managed to photograph 4. We didn't think any more about them until we saw David Walker, Dungeness Observatory Warden, on Thursday 01 Sept, when I showed him the photos to ID. I was taken aback when he said that they were all Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets. Even I knew the significance of this species as until then Dungeness held the only known British breeding population. David is proud of this fact and will often escort interested people to see them. The Dungeness population is about 10-12 so our find of 14 at Wye is significant in terms of numbers breeding in Britain. Even better news was when he and GH visited the Wye site on Saturday 03 September and found at least 19 individuals. Many thanks to DW and GH for identifying the species and for visiting the site to confirm numbers. Britain now has two known sites for this species, but being as they are about 25 miles apart it must be likely that others could exist, but yet to be discovered.
PS I really must get a book on Crickets and Grasshoppers.

I almost forgot. We saw 2 Clouded Yellows at Dungeness on the 29th August. I have not mentioned the large numbers of Small Coppers at Dungeness this year. That's Hoggers Territory.

A really good and enjoyable period of wildlife watching.

essexbuzzard
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Re: Dave Brown

Postby essexbuzzard » Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:50 pm

Love reading about your exploits, Dave. Congrats on those bush crickets at Wye, we saw black-veined moths and late spider orchids there in June. Didn't know Silver-spotted skippers were at Queensdown warren,but I have been seeing them at Lydden for many years,and seemed in good numbers on 17 August,I was probably too early for Adonis Blues there. Never seen a Black stork,hopefully my time will come.

Pauline
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Re: Dave Brown

Postby Pauline » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:03 am

Smashing report on recent activities Dave and great find with the bush crickets :D :D

Allan.W.
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Re: Dave Brown

Postby Allan.W. » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:41 pm

Hello Dave,
Just thought you may be interested,i nipped up to the Kneading trough (bowl) ,straight from work this evening , and was lucky enough to find 6(min ) Sickle Bearers,as the sun went down ,I found them perched on the leaves of the stunted hazels, found 3 together, really pleased to find some,very striking insects , well found you !! also found 3 Wasp spiders,
3 Small Coppers,a few Small Heath ,Adonis Blue s several (roosting), but well pleased with the crickets (and the Small Coppers) ,once again a great find by you .
Regards Allan.W.

dave brown
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Location: Kent

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:20 pm

I thought that its about time I added a few photos to go with my previous reports. Obviously the finding of Britain's third Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket site, but currently only the second, as the one at Hastings appears to have died out, is the highlight for us of this particular period. I am not into Crickets so cannot take the credit for identifying them but have the Dungeness Bird Observatory Warden to thank for this. Luckily I can identify Clouded Yellow :) so was very pleased when the Sickle-Bearing Bush Cricket site produced 3 Clouded Yellows on the 6th September. The same date revealed a significant count of 28 Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets, and an indication that they must have been here last year to breed, but clearly overlooked. With such a high number present you would have thought that every visit would have produced sightings but this was not so as a visit on the 9th Sept produced none in dull but warm weather.

On Thursday 01 Sept we visited the other location at Dungeness NNR to see 2 Sickle-bearers but only 1 Tree Cricket. There is a large colony of probably 100 plus Tree Crickets present but they can be very hard to find during the day, but of an evening they sing their hearts out and can be heard some distance away. Lots of Small Coppers also present.
Attachments
Silver Spotted Skipper.JPG
Silver Spotted Skipper at Lydden. (Standing alongside Goldie who has already posted).
Clouded Yellow.jpg
One of 3 Clouded Yellows present at Wye NNR for a few days.
Sickle-bearing1.jpg
Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket at Wye NNR. They are big, almost the size of my little finger.
Sickle-bearing2.jpg
Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket at Wye NNR
Sickle-bearing3.jpg
Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket at Wye NNR.
Oxtonge Broomrape.jpg
Oxtongue Broomrape near Kingsdown (Kent). One of the rarer Broomrapes in Britain.
Jersey Tigers.jpg
3 Jersey Tigers at Dungeness. Once a rarity but now annual and probably breeding in the area.
Mother Shipton.jpg
Mother Shipton Moth at Wye NNR.
Stone Curlew.JPG
A record shot of a very distant Stone Curlew present for just one day at Dungeness. (18 Aug)

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David M
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Re: Dave Brown

Postby David M » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:38 pm

You've unearthed some real rarities there, Dave. That cricket looks simply amazing.

dave brown
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Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:15 pm

9th September 2016 to 15th October 2016(yes, a bit behind with the news).

I would like to say that the period in question has been dominated by lots of goodies, but unfortunately that is not the case. Everything has been hard work and after a series of fruitless nights I have even put the moth trap to bed for the winter. I don't really know what to say about butterflies, as apart from Red Admirals they have been none existent in places. Anyway, to put things into some sort of logical order I will put events into date order.

09 September. A day at Dungeness and surrounding area gave BUFF BREASTED SANDPIPER (an American wader), Wood Sandpiper, Cattle Egret and 2 Black Terns.
The urge to see a Butterfly was too much so we visited Wye NNR. No Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets but 5 Small Heathes and 3 Common Blues.
11 September. Wye NNR. 9 Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets. 3 Clouded Yellows, 4 Adonis Blues and 15 Silver Y moths.
12 September. Back at Wye NNR. This time 11 Sickle-bearers, 7 Adonis Blues and 6 Small Heaths. A Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the garden ended a good day.
13 September. Hamstreet/Orlestone area. 9 Small Coppers, 4 Common Blues, 5 Red Admirals, 3 Brimstone, 11 Rush Veneers (moth) and 5 Silver Y's.
17 September. A decent sea watch from Swalecliffe produced 9 Great, 23 Arctic and 1 immature Long Tailed Skua among the more common seabirds.
18 September. A walk around the lanes of Walland Marsh produced 11 Peacocks and 15 Red Admirals and lots of Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters. There
were a few migrant birds with Spotted Flycatcher and Lesser Whitethroat being the best.
20 September. A visit to Dungeness saw a Juvenile ROSE COLOURED STARLING, Black Redstart. Butterflies were represented by many Peacocks and Red
Admirals whilst a Red Underwing was about the best of the moths.
22 September. With growing interest in the Sickle-bearing site we again visited Wye but this time only 5 were on show. A nice Roesels Bush Cricket helped
a dull day, with only 1 Small Copper, 1 Adonis Blue and 3 Small Heaths on show.
25 September. It's always nice to see a Osprey and today we saw one sitting on a post distantly from Oare Marsh. Luckily for all it decided to fly around
and fish the Swale giving decent views to birders and general visitors alike.
28 September. Being decent weather wise we visited Longrope Wood. Butterfly numbers were low with only 2 Small Coppers, 1 Small White but a good
local record of 1 Small Heath.
30 September. A day at Dungeness was interesting. A visiting Lady birder reported to the RSPB, and insisted it was one, a Manx Shearwater on the ARC pit. Being that this would have been the first inland record for Dungeness it should have generated an immediate response from us locals, but
we have so many reports of birds that aren't, or could have been, particularly at weekends, that we leisurely made our way to check it out.
Wow. It was a Manx Shearwater, a first record for the RSPB site. Well done to the finder, and for insisting it was one. What it was doing there is
anyone's guess. It was not windy and there was no other sea movement. Goes to show the unexpected can and does happen.
We also saw a Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady.
02 October. A decent sea watch from Seasalter saw 2 Juvenile Long Tailed Skuas, 27 Arctic and 7 Great Skuas. A Painted Lady in our garden was nice
and one of very few we have seen this year.
05 October. With few butterflies at our regular sites we tried a new strategy of visiting less favoured sites. A walk along the Military Canal at
Kennardington was very rewarding for about from 14 Speckled Woods, 5 Large Whites and 1 Small White we found 4 Willow Emerald Damselflies.
To the best of our knowledge this is the first record for South Kent with the nearest other records being at Stodmarsh, some 30 miles away. This
is a species that is now expanding it's range from the North Kent/ Essex/ Suffolk area having first arrived in Britain about six years ago.
Its interesting that several Dragonfly species have expanded from the near Continent in the last decade, Lesser Emperor, Red Veined Darter,
Willow Emerald, Norfolk Hawker, Southern Emerald and Southern Migrant Hawker to name a few, but the same has not happened with Butterflies.
08 October. A day at Dungeness saw the Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, a Yellow Browed warbler and 2 Black Redstarts but little else.
10 October. Today we caught up with the Long Billed Dowitcher at Oare Marshes. A Clouded Yellow was the only butterfly we could find.
11 October. A visit to Dungeness saw very little in the way of birds and butterflies but a Bloxworth Snout and Pale-lemon Sallow were the first decent
moths for us for a while.
13 October. Distant views of a Osprey at Lade and 2 Ring Ouzels on the RSPB were the highlights.
15 October. A better day at Dungeness with better views of the Osprey at Lade Gravel Pits, a Brambling, 1st winter Caspian Gull, adult Yellow Legged Gull and
a Short Eared Owl at Dungeness.

You will note that we have hardly mentioned any moths. Well Kent in this period appears to have missed out on good numbers and good species.

I should have mentioned in our previous update that we saw a very good moth on the 02 Sept 2016. This was a Fishers Estuarine moth caught by
a mother in the Swalecliffe area. He does have a licence to handle this rare Kent species as part of his work. I believe that this is the species only
site in Kent, with just a few other locations in Essex. The actual location is managed for this species and is a good example of how wildlife can
be supported in an otherwise busy seaside and tourist attraction area.

Dave

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Re: Dave Brown

Postby David M » Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:10 pm

You look to have an amazingly productive local patch, Dave. I truly envy you.

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Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Sun Dec 25, 2016 5:36 pm

Late Autumn/ early Winter 2016.

I would really like to say that this period was great here in Kent, but the reality was that it was rather under whelming. Most Kent birders got their annual fix by travelling to Spurn for the almost mythical Siberian Accentor. Present for almost a week it attracted a few thousand admirers during its stay, many from Southern England. Despite the lack of anything good around here I could not work up the enthusiasm to join them, instead looking for butterflies that didn't seem to exist. Whether it was just me but I couldn't find any good numbers or anything that would have set the heart racing. Hopes of any Long Tailed Blues faded quickly and Clouded Yellows were in low numbers.

A Clouded Yellow on the 22 October at Dungeness was expected but only 5 Red Admirals was disappointing. A flock of 15 Brambling in a local wood on the 23 October was hopefully a sign of things to arrive, but they didn't. Our friends at Ruckinge tried to save the day on the 26 October with a Merville de jour moth. Dungeness produced a Scarce Bordered Straw on the 27th October (remember last years major influx, this year very few). The same day they also trapped a Pallas's Warbler. What a little beauty. The strangest sighting that day was the trapping of a Short-Cloaked Moth. A moth more likely to be seen in June or early July rather than late October.
Two Ringtail Hen Harriers around the Shellness reserve on the 29th October was nice to see, as was a Cattle Egret at Grove Ferry the next day. The 1st November gave us a Shorelark at St Margarets, the 5th a Caspian Gull at Dungeness, the 6th Long Billed Dowitcher at Oare Marshes and the 8th a lonely Whooper Swan at Hythe.
It was not until the 9th November that things improved with a Male Ringed Necked Duck, Dartford Warbler and Cattle Egret at Dungeness. A stunning Stonechat was found and admired by a few. It's interest at the time was it's remarkable plumage. White and Grey. It was put down as a just a monochrome Stonechat as a few with this colour plumage have been reported over the years. It was present until the 5th December but attracted very few birders. Big mistake. On it's first day a sample of poo was collected and sent away for DNA analysis. A couple of days ago back came the result. It was a Stejnegers Stonechat. One of the Eastern species of Stonechat that breeds across Asia and Siberia. The fact that this individual did not match any shown in the field guides is our excuse for not identifying it correctly. The wonders of DNA. Although it does seem that in addition to carrying binoculars, telescopes and cameras in the field we now need to carry DNA kits.
The Ringed Necked Duck and Caspian Gull has been showing on most days up to the 24th December, with a Long Eared Owl on behind the Dipping pond (adjacent to the Visitors Centre) on most days.
The next highlight was 5 Waxwings near Pegwell Bay on the 25th November but the next day was probably the highlight for most Kent Birders. A Hythe local was driving along the seafront when he saw a tern dropping onto the water fishing. Thinking that any tern was worth a look in late November on went the brakes and a expression of delight, (not repeatable before the 9pm watershed), was said. It was a Fosters Tern from North America. Most Kent birders, and a few from further a field, managed to connect with this beauty during it's five hour stay. It then flew in the direction of Folkestone not to be seen again despite many looking.
A flock of 17 Tundra Bean Geese in a field at Stodmarsh on the 3rd December was not the hoped for forerunner of large numbers of Geese from the Continent. Meanwhile East Sussex had a surprise in the form of a Desert Wheatear at Normans Bay. It had been present for about a week before we headed south to view the bird on the 7th December. As normal with this species it was very confiding during its stay and gave most visitors excellent views.

That has been about it. Very few late Butterflies, even fewer decent moths, and apart from late Common Darters, very few Dragonflies. Still, it makes us look forward to 2017 with even more interest.

I will post a few photos soon.

Happy Christmas to you all.
Dave

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Re: Dave Brown

Postby David M » Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:24 pm

You may not think the latest period was 'great', Dave, but it's clear you live in a wonderfully diverse part of the UK from a nature perspective so keep making the most of it.

Whilst my area is decent, it's a pale imitation of yours!

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

Re: Dave Brown

Postby dave brown » Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:34 pm

Happy New Year to all.

Well, December was not unexpectedly quiet from a Butterfly perspective. We did see 2 Red Admirals and a Peacock, but missed out on a few sightings of Brimstone in the Hamstreet area. One or two Common Darters managed to linger on into the start of the month but a few early frosts put paid to late insect activity. A few moth species put in an appearance but we had put our trap away for the winter.

Thanks David M. Like everywhere else in the Country this area is continually being developed and all those little secret corners are disappearing. With the farmers around here now ploughing up the margins it will be even harder to find wildlife. Not sure what the answer is as people need houses and food, but nature is definitely second best at present. Nature reserves are too far apart to give wildlife corridors. Only Road verges and Railway lines seem to offer any opportunity.
During the year we did find White Legged Damselfly, Willow Emerald Damselfly and Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets in areas not recorded before, so maybe some hope.

Anyway, 2017 is with us and so another year starts. Lets hope Butterflies (and everything else) can recover from the poor year of 2016.

As mentioned in my last Diary update I attach a few photos taken in late 2016. The content, mainly birds, reflect the cold and often windy period in question.

Best wishes to all.
Attachments
Small Copper.jpg
Small Coppers were one of our last butterflies of 2016. This one was at Faggs Wood (Hamstreet). Aberration?
Small Copper2.JPG
Small Coppers were one of our last butterflies of 2016. This one was at Faggs Wood (Hamstreet).
Fosters Tern.jpg
This 1st Winter Fosters Tern was a most unexpected, but appreciated, Kent tick on the coast at Hythe.
Fosters Tern2.jpg
This 1st Winter Fosters Tern was a most unexpected, but appreciated, Kent tick on the coast at Hythe.
Waxwing.jpg
Probably one of Britain's most recognisable birds. This Waxwing was at Pegwell Bay (Kent).
Desert Wheatear.jpg
Desert Wheatear on the beach at Normans Bay (East Sussex).
Ringed Necked Duck2.jpg
This Ring Necked Duck seems to have taken up residence at Dungeness RSPB.
Dotterel.jpg
A distant Dotterel resting on the beach at Dungeness during a break in its migration.
Snow Bunting.jpg
Snow Buntings are often approachable but hidden like this one at St. Marys Bay.
Shorelark.jpg
This Shorelark was hunkered down out of the wind and rain at St. Margarets.


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