Mid Summer is a time for catching up with friends and long put off domestic duties, preparing for the more exciting autumn period, that for us birders begins slowly in early June with the first returning waders, and steps up a gear from mid-July as the variety and number of wader species increases daily and the first gales blow in scarce seabirds. Over the coming weeks long-range weather charts will be studied carefully looking for the right wind and weather conditions to induce a seawatch or an arrival of waders. In the meantime we had a fantastic evening with some close friends, Mark and Janice Hollingworth and Janet Turley, in Greatstone on Saturday. We stayed over and Mark suggested I ran the moth trap in his coastal garden - too good an opportunity to turn down.
On arrival I discovered Mark was the only person I know to have a wild Pyrammidal Orchid growing in his front garden - amazing! His previous house, in Loose, had a colony of Common Spotted Orchid alongside the beautiful stream that ran through it. Very lucky.
|Small Angle Shades|
|Small Elephant Hawk Moth|
Eight Small Elephant Hawk Moths and five Elephant Hawk Moths were the highlight for me, but a mixed catch included a few new species with a stunning Small Angle Shades, an Obscure Wainscot and a Cypress Carpet. The latter is listed in the book as Uncommon or alien host and was first recorded in Kent in October 1999. However they have apparently become quite regular in the last 12 years and are now quite regularly recorded even in central Kent. The next moth was a real star - quite common but new to me and very distinctive (always a bonus) - especially from the front - The Spectacle.... very aptly named.
Processing the moths was great fun with Janice and Mark joining in. It is definitely much easier with two other people helping to identify and confirm the species and reading out the range descriptions - thanks guys. After a wonderful cooked breakfast we stopped at the ARC to see a Little Gull and a rather out of season female Goosander, before walking around the RSPB reserve. Back home after lunch left time to do a few hours weeding in the garden and setup the trap for some more mothing.
A good catch produced two smart new species: Scallop Shell and The Miller, plus an Elephant Hawk Moth and a Poplar Hawk Moth.