Monday, 26 July 2010

At home (23/07/10)

Got woken up in the early hours by a noisy pair of Green Woodpeckers feeding on the grassy area outside my house. A juvenile and an adult.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Dungeness (17/07/10)

A very breezy day in the south-east made birding quite tricky.

Immediately on arrival I went to the ARC pit and eventually had good views of the bird I came for, i.e. White-tailed Plover (139). A very pretty little bird with long yellow legs, typical plover type shape and a pale head and face. A noticeably short tail gave it a front heavy appearance. Basically buff above and pale below with a well demarked buff breast with black wing tips. Seen once in flight where the very distinctive wing pattern was seen - very much like Sociable Plover and also Sabine's Gull in appearance. At the same place were a couple of Green Sandpipers and two Little Egrets.

Next stop was the patch at the power station where I managed eventually to find a Yellow-legged Gull (140) and half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls. Couldn't find any Roseate Terns.

Now over to the RSPB reserve and had a look at their books. I then got directions to where the rare herons were showing. I then walked to Denge Marsh and waited with some other people to see the herons.

First up was a flying Bittern followed by one of the Purple Herons (141) which flew from right to left and disappeared into the reeds (possibly the male as it was quite well marked). A female type Marsh Harrier was seen quartering the reeds but it didn't put the Purple Heron up. Finally I had couple of reasonable flight views of the Great White Egret (142). This meant I had seen 5 different species of heron today!

I then caught a duck in flight which at first I thought was a Shoveler but in fact it was a Garganey!

I then returned back to the ARC pit to see if there were better views of the White-tailed Plover but there wasn't.

Odonata species recorded:

Azure Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Ruddy Darter
Emperor Dragonfly

Monday, 12 July 2010

Thursley Common (10th July 2010)

A very good day at the common including a new place for White-legged Damselfly. The only birds were a couple of Swifts and a female Redstart.

However, recorded 17 species of Odonata:

Black-tailed Skimmer
Azure Damselfly
Brown Hawker (2)
Common Blue Damselfly
Four-spotted Chaser
Banded Demoiselle (1)
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Small Red Damselfly (c10)
Keeled Skimmer
Large Red Damselfly (6)
Emperor (3)
Black Darter (c10)
Emerald Damselfly (c5)
Downy Emerald (3)
Common Darter (1 female)
White-legged Damselfly (c20)
Golden-ringed Dragonfly (1)

Pictures: Keeled Skimmer, Downy Emerald, Small Red Damselfly, White-legged Damselfly, Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Emerald Damselfly, Common Darter, Black Darter

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

6th June 2010 (Little Marlow GP)

Had my lunch here again and saw plenty of blue damselflies, a Banded Demoiselle, male Emperor and a male Ruddy Darter which actually sat on my hand at one point!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Strumpshaw Fen/Lakenheath (4th July 2010)

There was me thinking that trying for a scarce dragonfly was going to be difficult, but oddly it was dead easy!

I left home at 5.15am and arrived about 3 hours later at the Strumpshaw Fen reserve. I then walked through the meadow, along the river, down past Fen Hide, back through the meadow and along the river again. A quick look near Fen Hide and finally continued along the river until the path turned back towards the visitor centre and followed it back to the visitor centre. Finally another quick jaunt through the meadow.

The first damselfly I saw was an Emerald Damselfly (later there were a lot more). I wasn't until the time I visited Fen Hide that I found what I came to see, a Norfolk Hawker, which showed exceptionally well clinging to a reed. I counted at least another 10 Norfolk Hawkers around the reserve (identified at least 3 females and a male). It's jizz was fairly striking with the large green eyes looking like head lamps on the end of a brown dragonfly, lacking the yellow tinge to the wings of the Brown Hawker and quite a strong fairly direct flight.

Other species around the reserve included:

Blue-tailed Damselfly
Four-spotted Chaser
Black-tailed Skimmer
Southern Hawker (my first of the year)
Common Blue Damselfly
Azure Damselfly
Common Darter
Red-eyed Damselfly

Birds included:

Marsh Harrier (136)
Green Sandpiper (137)
Little Egret
Kingfisher (perched in front of the visitor centre briefly)

It was a shame I couldn't find any Swallowtail butterflies.

I phoned birdline to hear that a River Warbler had been found near Norwich - the shame was that access wouldn't be granted until the evening. As I had already seen one I decided to give it a miss and drove to Lakenheath.

I wasn't expecting to see any Golden Orioles as it was far too windy - and I was right!

I walked down to the far screen and on the way encountered a large Grass Snake making its way across the path into the reeds (the 3rd sighting of Grass Snake in as many weeks). I estimate it was about 2.5ft in length.

There were a few Brown Hawkers flying around I managed to get a quick photo of one that alighted briefly.

Birds included:

Marsh Harrier (male + female)
Bittern (138) (seen when watching the harriers and it flew past them!)
Photos: Black-tailed Skimmer, Southern Hawker, Norfolk Hawker, Emerald Damselfly, Brown Hawker

Friday, 2 July 2010

NE Hants RSPB trip to Farnham Heath (01/07/10)

A stroll around the reserve revealed a singing Woodlark and Tree Pipit, a female Stonechat and then later on 2 fly-over (briefly seen) Woodcock (134) and best of all two male Nightjars (135) which started churring at about 9.30pm. One of the males seen quite well over the main heath.

A dragonfly species flew over at about 9.00pm but couldn't be identified, possibly a hawker sp.