Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Little Marlow GP (29th June)

Usual dragonflies/damselflies but also my first Brown Hawker of the year

Hatchet Pond (28th June)

A fairly successful trip for dragonflies/damselflies. I recorded the following:

Large Red Damselfly
Small Red Damselfly (x2)
Southern Damselfly (x1)
Azure Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Red-eyed Damselfly
Emperor Dragonfly (x2)
Downy Emerald (4 or 5)
Four-spotted Chaser
Black-tailed Skimmer
Keeled Skimmer
imm. male Common Darter (x2)

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Bricksbury Hill (NE Hants RSPB trip)

Photos from 21st June

Variable Damselfly
Keeled Skimmer

Small Magpie, 2x Scarce Chaser

Photo from 19th June

Unknown damselfly

Fledgling Wren

Photos from 14th June

Hairy Dragonfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Azure Damselfly

Photos from 13th June

White-legged Damselfly, Sundew, Blue-tailed Damselfly

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Bricksbury Hill (23rd June)

The annual North East Hants RSPB group visit for Nightjars. The amount of people that turned up was phenomenal - the highest I have ever seen it.

The total species encountered was fairly low as to be expected. What was disappointing was the lack of Woodcock.

We started well with a Hobby sitting on a tree briefly but it took until 9.30pm until the first Nightjar started calling. I managed to scope it briefly in the top of a tree and then it dropped where it was joined by a female.

I was so tired and cold that decided to quit early.

Jealotts Hill (23rd June)

Got news of a Grasshopper Warbler at Jealott's hill so popped down there at lunch time. When I got there were two birders there one of which had been there some time and couldn't find it.

I walked down the road for about 100yds and suddenly heard it. I got the 2 guys over to me and suddenly there it was reeling on a post by the side of the road. It sat there for a couple of minutes before dropping into the field.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Error in post (14th June)

I've just spotted an error in the post of the 14th June - I said I saw a Hoopoe! What a liar, what I meant was a Cuckoo.

It has now been corrected.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Rapley Lake (22nd June)

When I eventually reached the lake it was quite good.

Lots of Common Blue Damselflies, an Azure Damselfly, several Four-spotted Chasers, a couple of Black-tailed Skimmers, a couple of Emperors, a few Large Red Damselflies and species of the day 3 Brilliant Emeralds.

There was a darter sp. on the way back to the car but it flew away before I could ID it.

There was a female Mandarin with 5 ducklings on the lake

BTW: There is a film crew here - I understand its for the new Harry Potter movie
On the way home popped into Thursley Common but couldn't find any Black Darters. Species recorded were:

Common Blue Damselfly
Azure Damselfly
Large Red Damselfly
Four-spotted Chaser
Several Keeled Skimmers
Downy Emerald

Amberley Wildbrooks (21st June)

Things didn't start promising but as it warmed up things got better.

Plenty of Azure Damselflies, a few Blue-tailed Damselflies, a Four-spotted Chaser, a Large Red Damselfly and best of all a Variable Damselfly. Later another Variable close by and another on the way back to the car.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Shopham Bridge (20th June)

An afternoon visit for damselflies/dragonflies and things didn't start well as one side of the river had some very inquisitive cows.

However, on the other side of the river things were better.

There were lots of Banded Demoiselles, a couple of Azure Damselflies, a couple of Blue-tailed Damselflies and best of all 3 adult male Scarce Chasers.

Popped over to Burton Mill pond but nothing there of interest.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Ham Wall RSPB (14th June)

Left home at 7.20am and reached the coordinates at about 9.20 - but the coordinates were wrong but I eventually found the right place.

I parked in the car park and tried to find directions to the bird but nobody was particularly precise. After walking around the wrong loop once, where at least I could look at the damselflies and dragonflies, I eventually found the place where the Little Bittern had been seen.

What now followed was a very long wait [7.5 hours - a new record] in the searing heat - I am well and truly sun burnt! During this time the Little Bittern was heard to call fairly frequently up to lunch time but very little after this until about 5.30 ish (call is a low "bock" repeated at intervals).

While waiting for the Little Bittern to show I had plenty of time to look around for anything else. There were very large numbers of Blue-tailed Damselflies and a few Azure Damselflies. Also 1 Banded Demoiselle, large numbers of Four-spotted Chasers and a few Black-tailed Skimmers but best of all was 2 female Hairy Dragonflies - one of which I managed to photograph at very close quarters.

Bird wise there were a few distant Buzzards and a couple of hunting Hobbies. Also here was a Little Egret, Kingfisher and Cuckoo.

Best of all, this place appeared to be a very good area for Bitterns which later in the day were seen flying over the reeds. I had two in the Little Bittern spot, one near to the entrance track and then one on the other side of the road towards Noah Hide. There were lots of Cetti's Warblers calling around the reserve, but I can't recall seeing one.

Finally at about 5.40 the Little Bittern started calling very close to path and suddenly someone called that they had it. "Its poking it's head of the reeds" he said. After panickly scanning the reeds and then spotted it - it was so obvious. It had climbed almost to the top of the reeds at a distance of about 10 feet (amazing to see a large bird like that hardly bending the reed it was clinging to). The pinkish breast, dagger like reddish-yellow bill and black crown were seen very well. After a couple of minutes in then flew low right, over the path, and onto the marsh on the other side. Saw the large creamy white patches on the wings as it flew.

I finally then went to Noah's Hide to try and see an Otter but without any success. I was getting tired and needed to get home, otherwise I would have stayed longer.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Ash Lock (Hants)/Thursley Common (Surrey)

Looked like a very good day for dragonflies and I wasn't to be disappointed.

From Ash Lock it was obvious that there were a lot of damselflies about and a bit later there were a fair number of dragonflies as well. I recorded the following:

Banded Demoiselle
Large Red Damselfly
Azure Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Red-eyed Damselfly
Emperor Dragonfly (up to 6)
Possible Hairy Dragonfly (but still haven't really identified one exactly).
Black-tailed Skimmer (2 or 3)

Now onto Thursley Common where spent the first hour trying to identify an Emerald which would not sit still! While waiting for better views I was rather surprised to see a White-legged Damselfly in the vegetation next to me - I tried to get a shot but didn't manage a very good one although I may have a better one of another I saw from the boardwalk.

Eventually I managed to see enough of the front of the face and the body to identify the emerald as a Downy Emerald. Later I saw another 3 on the other side of the moat pond.

Around the boardwalks were a fair number of Keeled Skimmers and lots of Four-spotted Chasers. Also two Hobbies seen, one seen extremely well over the bog.

Other species of damselfly/dragonfly recorded:

Beautiful Demoiselle
Large Red Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Cambridgeshire/Suffolk (7th June)

Decided today was the day to go to Wicken Fen - how wrong!

Left home in gorgeous sunshine but when I reached the fen it was chucking it down with rain. I had to sit in the car for an hour before it eased.

I then got a permit and made my way to where the Squacco Heron was showing. It couldn't be seen from the hide but could be seen quite well from the bank beside the fen.

Other birds seen at the fen were a few Marsh Harriers, Cuckoo, a Barn Owl hunting, heard a Grasshopper Warbler and a couple of Avocets. Also a gang of young Whitethroats all sitting in a row on a branch and a few showy Cetti's Warblers.

As the sun wasn't really going to show I decided to go to Lakenheath Fen - a good decision.

A pair of Golden Orioles were showing on their nest (a hammock of what appeared to be dried reeds). The female was sitting on the nest and could just be made out and then suddenly the male arrived and the female got off the nest. The male then peered into the nest as if to say - "what's this in here?" and then the female came back and sat back on the nest. The male flew a short distance away and could be seen brilliantly in the tree. The gorgeous gold and black plumage with a small gold mark on the wing and a black bandit mask.

Also at the fen I heard a Bittern and saw at least 4 Hobbies showing very well. A dragonfly on the way back could have been a Hairy Dragonfly but I failed to identify it exactly.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

3rd June damseflies

1. Blue-tailed Damselfly
2. Common Blue Damselfly - I think!
3. Red-eyed Damselfly

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Little Marlow GP (+ Thames) - 3rd June

Lunch time visit for birds/dragonflies:

2 Snow Geese
Common Blue Damselfly
Red-eyed Damselfly
Banded Demoiselle
2 Emperor Dragonflies
Large Red Damselfly

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Maidenhead Office Park (2nd June)

Ate my lunch next to the ponds at work. While there recorded the following:

3 Emperor Dragonflies
Large Red Damselfly
Red-eyed Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly
3 Four-spotted Chasers

Monday, 1 June 2009

Little Marlow GP

Lunch time visit to eat my sandwiches and a quick birdwatch/dragonfly watch.

Nothing special in the bird line but my first Red-eyed Damselflies of the year, 3 Large Red Damselflies and lots of Common Blue Damselflies.