Thursday, 16 June 2011

Heath Fritillaries

Tuesday 14th June was my last night shift at work. As the weather was pleasant I went for a walk to look for butterflies in Thornden Woods. This is now looked after by KWT, and parts of the wood are looking well managed. I had a short stroll west of the car park and saw 40 or more Heath Fritillaries, plus several Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells, and a few Ringlets, Meadow Browns, a Holly Blue, a Small Skipper and a Large Skipper. Not bad for a walk nor more than 200 yards. Back at the car park a Crossbill flew over calling.

I then went across the road and walked east on a small loop. Surprisingly few butterflies, but I did hear a Willow Warbler and 4 Crossbills flew out of the large pines.

While the day was still warm I drove over to West Brook Valley at Reculver to look for dragonflies and found good numbers of Azure Damselflies and a superb male Emperor Dragonfly patrolling the margins of a small pond. Unfortunately the Emperor didn't land while I was watching.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Chambers Wall June 11th

The Reculver area can be very much the same from one day to the next at this time of year, but it's always nice to be out in the fresh air. It was very cold this morning, I reached the fisherman's car park at just after 6am and took a liesurely stroll up to the railway embankment, on the way noting singing Cetti's, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Reed and Sedge Warblers, but a noteable absence of the purring song of the Turtle Dove, once common almost evrywhere in the countryside at this time of year.

I walked west along the railway to the green wall, the most excitement coming in the shape of a hare racing towards me. I'm sure if I hadn't been shuffling around trying to take it's photo it would have run right past me. As it was, it stopped about 20 feet away, then bolted off into the grass.

Not many birds to add, though a singing Lesser Whitethroat was nice. I also saw a pair of Cuckoos, including a 'hepatic' female bird, plus several pairs of Yellow Wagtails, swifts, swallows and martins, and a Sparrowhawk.

A surprise fly-over was a calling Siskin flying west along the railway.

The forecast was sunshine all day, but by 9 o'clock the skies were dark and it was still quite chilly. Very few damselfies seen today, and no dragonflies or butterflies to record.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

An early walk at Reculver

I reached the Reculver towers at 5am this morning full of anticipation to find a rare bird, as the rest of the country seems to be turning up rarities.

Although I didn't catch up with anything special, it was lovely to have the seafront to myself for a few hours, and the first good bird i saw was a Little Owl, sitting on top of a telegraph pole along the lane by the caravan park. I managed a record shot before it flew and sat on a caravan roof.

There were a few Common and Sandwich Terns offshore, I could hear them long before they were visible in the dull light. I managed to see 5 Little Egrets around the oyster farm, and a male Marsh Harrier flew east across the marsh.

In addition to the usual waders and gulls there were a few Yellow Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, a pair of Stonechats and singing Reed and Sedge Warblers. All across the marsh were Swifts feeding quite low, and many Sand Martins.

I returned to the car by around 8am, but shortly before then a Hobby came crashing over the oyster farm scattering the Redshanks.

I took a quick trip to Chambers Wall to try and see the Willow Emerald Damselflies. Again, no luck, but there were stacks of Red Admirals, Small Tortoishelles and a Painted Lady. I also saw a little way off what was probably my first Meadow Brown of the year.