Sunday, 11 June 2017

Damselflies and Wagtails.

23rd May

A quiet visit at Seasalter produced two wagtails on the wall by the white post but no wheatears, I always think the long staying ones will breed but they always go in time.  I spent time looking for damselflies finding a variable damselfly along the entrance track. A female eider was an oddity found on the 'island', little else though.



26th May

A visit to Stodmarsh mainly looking for damselflies finding azures and blue-tailed.

 Blue-tailed Damselfly


Azure Damselflies



The Bonsai Bank, Grove and Seasalter.

13th May

Its been a long time since I have visited Denge Wood but I wanted to see the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary again so with directions and a three quarter of a mile walk I arrived at the spot, didn't look much different from before! It wasn't long before I saw up to four individuals along the walk through, may have been more if the weather had been kinder. Several garden warblers were in song as I continued the walk further towards the 'warren' where I found some  dingy skippers just sitting on the warm dry mud areas.  Also a buzzard made an appearance overhead plus two nightingales were in song and of course lady orchids.

 Dingy Skipper

Duke of Burgundy


14th 
 A visit to Grove was rewarded with three spoonbills flying over westwards.


 


18th May

First time to Seasalter since coming back from Kos and not a lot to report, just one wheatear near the huts and on the plots I managed to photograph some goldfinches.





Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Holiday to Kos

4th-11th

My usual Lesbos destination was fully booked this year as Thomas Cook cancelled all the April flights due to the thought of a migrant problem that does not exist. So I thought we might try Kos, it has a couple of wet areas so the internet told me so it could be nearly as good. However, it wasn't, nowhere near, I had a car for four days but there was a dearth of small birds. Not one wheatear, tern, etc., I learnt from the two regular birders there were special places to go that could have produced a wheatear or two, they commented they had never known such a poor year.

We stayed at Tingaki right next to the 'salt lake', a huge shallow lagoon which held c100 flamingoes, 5 curlew sandpipers, 2 greenshank, 1 common and green sandpiper, c.150 ruff, c.15 little stints, 2 ringed plovers, 2 LRPs, c.30 stilts, 3 Kentish plovers, reed warblers, cetti's, 1 tawny pipit, ruddy ducks, 2 little bitterns, 5 squacco herons plus hirundines, 2 cuckoos and most mornings bee-eaters were flying over, lots of crested larks, hooded crows, lesser kestrels. Spur-winged plovers were easy to see with at least four around the lake, bred in past years I was told.

Rollers are quite common near the airport as there are some sandy valleys that they like, I saw four altogether. A couple Eleonora's falcons, 2 long-legged buzzards and the kestrels were the only birds of prey I saw. What was common all across the island were jackdaws, everywhere, up in the mountains, all over plus odd to see several magpies here as well. My list amounted to only 51!







Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Wheatear Week


25th April

A few highlights from Seasalter today were; 8 whimbrel, 6 wheatears in the sheep field opposite the Sportsman, 2 Med gulls overhead, c.50 swallows, 54 turnstones roosting on the beach beyond the white post, another three wheatears by the huts again (might they breed), 6 mipits, 4 skylarks, 1 house martin and the lone rook seems to have made its return. 



 Is that a growth on the side of its bill

Skylark




29th

At Seasalter there were 9 wheatears in the sheep field opposite the Sportsman  plus three on the beach and one on the field along Seasalter Lane.  I went up onto Wraik Hill and looked down on the levels counting 140 corvids, didn't give much hope to the breeding lapwings and redshank ( I didn't actually notice any either), also 7 greylags and 4 Canada geese. I was pleased to hear a nightingale in the Wraik Hill car park plus 2 lesser whitethroats in full song and a buzzard  high up.  No yellowhammers along Pye Alley  but several whitethroats plus lessers and chaffinches.  Also two heavily armed helicopters flew over.  Returning, there was another nightingale singing half way down Foxes Cross hill.



 Goldfinches on the plots



30th April

A strong SE wind kept most things under cover plus all the wheatears bar one had cleared out, even the ones on the beach. I changed the plan and went to Oare finding Murray back on station plus a spoonbill was there to greet him along with a squadron of 28 knot, some in breeding plumage and a greenshank was flying about.







Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Bluebells and Nightingale and Grasshopper Warbler

19th April
Something different, I went to Kings Wood to photograph bluebells!



23rd April

Another visit to the patch and getting out of the car I heard a cuckoo  calling from over on the plots and seaward three whimbrel flew past.  Moments later Julian arrived and then Geoff, who was already there as well, texted,  'greenshank on the beach'. We crossed the road down to the beach just in time to see and hear it flying west.  Last evening, I made a short visit and heard a nightingale on the plots, so this morning I hoped it was still going to be there. Sure enough it was keeping company with the grasshopper warbler close by and further on, super ears Julian heard another which he located enabling me to get a record shot. I could see it singing but couldn't hear a thing!



Two or three cetti's made their presence known plus plenty of song from sedge/reed warblers, wrens whitethroats, goldfinches, one long-tailed tit and a couple of stock doves etc..  Later, I went to the Sportsman and the sheep field opposite held seven wheatears with another three by the huts. A short walk up to the wall revealed  four meadow pipits, 2 pied wagtails and three linnets and in the reedbed reed and sedge warblers.  On the sea there were seven great crested grebes, six brents and three shelducks.


PM.

Called into Dunkirk briefly to see four ring ouzels.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Grasshopper Warbler Returns

Sunday16th April

I had a walk around the plots meeting up with Geoff, birds seen were; 2 lesser whitethroats, 4 common whitethroats, several blackcaps, 7 swallows, c.200 goldfinches as they were tracking west all morning in small groups of 12-15, 1 reed warbler, 2 stonechats, 1 grasshopper warbler, 2 marsh harriers, 2 common terns, c.40 teal. Moving on to Wraik Hill I saw 2 bullfinches on the side of the road, another lesser whitethroat and a nightingale singing away on the Foxes Cross hill slope. Later I returned to the seafront to photograph wheatears again.










Camera Business

9th April

A walk around the plots produced a willow warbler and a sand martin which were new for the year and a couple of cetti's, 3 chiffs and 3 blackcaps were noted.

10th

I went up onto Wraik Hill for a change and could see shelduck out on the levels plus 4 Canada geese and 4 greylags with a white farmyard goose keeping them company. On the Hill itself, a couple of chiffs, 1 willow warbler, wrens, robins and a swallow. Moving back down to SS Lane I saw heron, marsh harrier and a stock dove. 

11th 

A photography day looking for wheatears where I found 3 by the huts plus a few linnets, 3 swallows 1 sand martin and a grey plover on the beach at high tide.




15th

First thing this morning I went to PCworld to get an A3 printer that was on offer then back down to SS finding a few wheatears and pied wagtails to photograph.









Monday, 17 April 2017

Yellow Wagtails and Wheatears

8th April

What a hot day, shirtsleeves at this time of the year! Mainly a photography day along the LNR and around the huts where I found a wheatear and further on 2 yellow wagtails plus lots of reed buntings coming onto the wall to feed on insects.  Also I noted 3 Canada geese flying westwards and I counted 90 shelduck just off Castle Coote with 11 wigeon. 










Heat haze was a problem with photographing birds on the hot wall.