Wednesday, 30 June 2010

29th June 2010 (Little Marlow GP)

My first two Brown Hawkers of the year.
Photos: Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Banded Demoiselle (female)

Monday, 28 June 2010

27th June 2010 (Pennington/Keyhaven to New Forest)

As the weather was going to be perfect I set out at 5.15am for Pennington Marshes. I then walked to Keyhaven on the inland side and back to Pennington on the seaward side.

A very pleasant walk with Whitethroats (including juveniles) everywhere. Other species seen around were 5 adult and 1 1st summer Mediterranean Gulls (133) congregated on the fishtail lagoon, 2 1st Little Gulls, 2 ad 1 juv. Little Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpiper, Little Tern, female Pochard and a Snipe.

The only dragonfly/damselfly was Blue-tailed Damselfly.

Next onto Burley Mill Lawn for dragonflies/damselflies. This is indeed a very good place with the following seen (and in some cases photographed):

Beautiful Demoiselle
Large Red Damselfly
2 Golden-ringed Dragonflies
2 Small Red Damselflies
Azure Damselfly
Keeled Skimmer
Black-tailed Skimmer
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Southern Damselfly
Four-spotted Chaseer
Common Blue Damselfly

BTW: I couldn't find any Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies.

I decided to skip Crockford Stream and then spent the rest of the afternoon at Hatchet Pond and recorded the following species:

Black-tailed Skimmer
Keeled Skimmer
Azure Damselfly
3 Emperor Dragonflies
Large Red Damselfly
Southern Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly
3 or 4Downy Emeralds

Also in the pine trees near the car park was a male Siskin.
Photos: Beautiful Demoiselle, Southern Damselfly, Mediterranean Gulls, Keeled Skimmer, Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

22nd June 2010 (Maidenhead Office Park)

Managed to photograph one of the Emperor Dragonflies:

21st June 2010 (Tundry Pond)

Still no sign of the Lesser Emperor.

A Little Owl heard calling.
Photos: Red-eyed Damselfly, Black-tailed Skimmer

20th June 2010 (Thursley Common)

Back to the common for more dragonflies and saw:

Black-tailed Skimmer
Azure Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly
Four-spotted Chaser
Large Red Damselfly
Downy Emerald
Banded Demoiselle

An unfortunate Mallard duckling was snatched from the water by a Grey Heron and while the duck Mallard went totally ballistic the heron drowned the youngster and then swallow it whole.

A couple of girls who were chatting nearby while I was trying to photograph the Downy Emeralds (one of which landed very briefly) pointed out that a Grass Snake was swimming across the lake - the same one as I saw last time?

Finally, around the heath I saw 4 Woodlarks and at least 2 Hobbies.

Photos: Grey Heron (with duckling), Common Frog, Sundew, Black-tailed Skimmer

18th June 2010 (Little Marlow GP)

Lunch time visit and the usual stuff including a nice Emperor Dragonfly.

17th June 2010 (Tundry Pond)

No sign of the reported Lesser Emperor

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Foreign Lands (13/06/10)

Well actually Wales!

My first big twitch of the year for a British tick saw me driving into the province. I took the slower but more scenic and interesting route around Gloucester rather than going across the Severn crossing.

The first (and only problem) of the day was that I was running out of petrol and it was still too earlier for most of them to be open, however, I managed eventually to find one.

First stop was a very scenic hill/mountain at Blorenge. I started walking down the hill and as I approached the waiting birders I hear the unmistakable song of my quarry, i.e. the Marmora's Warbler (126). Over the next couple of hours the bird was seen on and off (usually singing) and going in circuits (it used the gorse bushes and a handily placed rock. A few times the bird was seen to be carrying nesting material.

A very smart bird which was basically an ash grey colour all over with an obvious red eye, orangey bill and quite orange legs. When singing it was usually from the top of a bush. In flight it was very obviously long tailed and had quite a jerky flight and looked quite dark (very Dartford Warbler like). The song was quite scratchy like a Dartford Warbler but had more tuneful qualities.

Also in the area were 5 Ravens (127) (probably a family group), Tree Pipit, two Siskins and two very smart Whinchats (128).

Next it was onto the Forest of Dean and Cadira Beeches where I immediately heard some Crossbills flying over but didn't see them. Crossbills were calling all the time in fact. Near to the car park was a very smart Wood Warbler.

I managed to find the area where my next quarry was to be found and immediately heard it singing. I then trudged through the undergrowth where I briefly saw the bird, an Iberian Chiffchaff (129), singing in a tall tree. I bit later the bird moved into a small spindly tree where everyone got good looks. I tried to photograph it, but the light was quite bad so we will see how they came out. The bird was basically a Chiffchaff but with possibly more yellow/green tones. The most distinct thing was obviously the song - roughly a "chiff chiff chiff chiff cheet chit-a-chit-a-chit-a-chit"

My next plan was to go for Pied Flycatcher and decided to go to the Nags Head RSPB Reserve. I was told by the warden where to go and I also asked for his advice on Dippers. I made my way to the hide and there was a group of three guys looking for something. I then found the something was a handsome Pied Flycatcher (130).

I then made my way over to a stream running north from Parkend - it was quite difficult going but I was rewarded with my favourite bird, a Dipper (131). This bird was perched in the middle of the stream on a mossy rock, doing its curtseying. The bird was quite a grey brown and could have possibly been a bird of the year.

Further up the road I walked near a lake and had a pair of Grey Wagtails (132) and a female Mandarin trying to chivvy her brood of three ducklings away from me.

All in all - a very successful day with all species required obtained.

Photos: Blorenge, Nags Head RSPB, Iberian Chiffchaff, Cannop Brook.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

New Forest (06/06/10)

Once again it was my turn to lead the NE Hants RSPB Group around Beaulieu Road Station. First of all though, I went to Acres Down to see if the Wood Warblers were in residence.

Along the ridge I bumped into a family group of 6 Woodlarks.

I eventually managed to pin down a Wood Warbler (120) a little further into the valley wood than last year.

One the way back to the car I nearly managed to get lost but eventually found my way back (and the detour added a Marsh Tit (121) and a Nuthatch (122)). Just as I was leaving the ridge 2 Crossbills flew over (123).

I then met up with the group and we did our walk around the forest.

Highlights included:

3 or 4 Redstarts
2 Hobbies
Wood Warbler
imm. Keeled Skimmers
Crossbill (at the car park)
Coal Tit (124)
Stonechat (125)

The group then went over to Acres Down for Honey Buzzard without any success.

Finally I went to Ober Water to look for Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly without any success but there were lots of Beautiful Demoiselles.

Thursley Common (05/06/10)

Pictures: Keeled Skimmer, Grass Snake, 2x Downy Emerald, Common Lizard
I was determined to identify the emerald dragonflies at the moat pond. After a lot of scanning I managed to get a good view of the face of one of the emeralds and it revealed it to be a Downy Emerald. There were 4 or 5 on the margins of the pond.

Other species included:

Azure Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly
imm. Keeled Skimmer
Four-spotted Chaser
Large Red Damselfly

Also around the heath were a Woodlark (119), a hunting Grass Snake in the margins of the pond and a Common Lizard on the boardwalk. A number of Tree Pipits were singing around the heath and I did hear one Redstart and one Dartford Warbler although they were'nt seen.

Lunch at Maidenhead Office Park

Pictures: Common Blue Damselfly, Four-spotted Chaser

A lovely day so sat out near the ponds for lunch.

Odonata species included:

Large Red Damselfly
Banded Demoiselle
Four-spotted Chaser
Azure Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly
Red-eyed Damselfly
3x Emperor Dragonflies

Bartley Wood (28/05/10)

A quick jaunt around Bartley Wood for dragonflies.

Once the sun came out there were a number of Large Red Damselflies, blue damselflies, Four-spotted Chasers and a few Broad-bodied Chasers.

Large Red Damselfly