My great friend Pete Simpson had been back in the UK from his adopted home in The Philippines for a couple of weeks. He had stayed with us early on and we met for a curry with Marcus Lawson and Gary Howard in the week. This weekend Pete joined me, Laurence Pitcher and Andy Lawson at Dungeness for a few beers and the obligatory curry. We stayed at the Observatory overnight and made the most of the time for some birding and a bit of mothing.
Saturday afternoon produced the usual fare of early autumn passage migrants. A Common Sandpiper and a juvenile Merlin at Scotney, 3 Whinchat at Bretts and Dengemarsh Gulley, 2 Wheatear, 1 Redstart and 3 Hobby were all nice to see but expected. The Point produced an early Wryneck which proved incredibly skulking and elusive for hours, but kindly gave brief views just as Pete and Laurence arrived. 2 Arctic Skua off the fishing boats had been hanging around a few days and a Cuckoo flew past Hanson Hide on the ARC as I watched the waders feeding on the islands - Golden Plover and Lapwing predominated. A movement of Sand Martin went through the RSPB Reserve late evening with one flock of over 600 birds heading south.
Sunday dawned early as I had to plug the moth trap. While Dave headed off to put up the nets I started to pot up my catch. I was hoping for a few migrants but was happy with some new and different local species - 2 Grass Emerald, 4 Yellow Belle, 4 Pale Grass Eggar, Oak Eggar, Tawny Shears and Marbled Green were all new for my trap. Dave returned and checked my ID's and then allowed me to check the Observatory trap. A Maiden's Blush was unusual for Dungeness. Barry Banson arrived with a bag full of moth pots from his trap including a stunning Oblique Carpet, another Marbled Green and for comparison a Tree-Lichen Beauty.
Birding was slow. Another Merlin, this time a female and a Peregrine over The Point and a Tree Pipit over the Obs. The usual waders and the resident Goosander at ARC and finally ( first time I've seen it this year) the Great-white Egret, and a family party of five Garganey at Dengemarsh before another brief look at the Glaucous Gull at the fishing boats rounded off the weekend. Great to see Pete off before his return to The Philippines and also great to see Laurence after so many years. Lets not leave it so long next time...