Thursday, 29 August 2013

Chalkhill butterflies

Monday 26th August 2013 Warm, dry and sunny. Loss of the computer for a week co-incided with a week off work, during which time I spent every morning birding come rain or shine. Now I have the computer again I will write about the last day of my late summer break, which was bank holiday Monday. The day started quite early with a walk from Shuart to plumpudding stables, and a wander along the railway embankment, hoping for a few arrivals. As it turned out, there had been a bit of a clear out of birds, there really wasn't much around. I did have the excitement of 2 Tree Pipits calling and flying west, and there were a couple of Wheatears on the coast, plus a sprinkling of the usual warblers. All very nice, but not quite what I was hoping for. Mid morning as i was walking back to the car an alert from Birdguides told me the Bockhill birders had found a Western Bonnelli's Warbler, which would be new for Kent, so I set off in the direction of St Margarets Bay, with Matt Hindle close behind. Unfortunately when we arrived at the site we joined a small group of birders forlorngly looking at a group of trees where the warbler had been seen over an hour previously, but not since. Matt and I didn't stay long, but we did enjoy the many butterflies in the area, especially the Small Coppers. On the drive home I decided to take a detour to the KWT reserve at Temple-Ewell to look for butterflies, my first visit this year. Walking up the hill through the chalky meadows i could see many Chalkhill Blues, some very tatty but others looking pristine.
I met Dave Mairs on the walk, and while chatting we found at least 3 Spotted and 1 Pied Flycatcher. We walked on to the area where I usually see Adonis Blues, and although it was really quite windy we were in luck and found a few of these lovely bright blue butterflies. I also saw briefly a single Silver-spotted Skipper, plus several Wall Browns. A really nice relaxing day out.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Wood Sandpipers at Coldharbour lagoon

Sunday 11th August 2013. Warm, dry with a westerly breeze. I had planned to meet Tim Hodge this morning for a walk around Reculver to look for waders, especially having heard of a Wood Sandpiper being seen yesterday at Reculver. Just before leaving the house Chris Hindle kindly text me to say there were 2 Wood Sandpipers in Coldharbour lagoon. I've only ever had fly-over Wood Sands at Reculver, there isn't really a great deal of suitable habitat to attract them to land, and even Tim said he's never seen one actually in the saline lagoon at Coldharbour. Waders don't normally stay long in the lagoon as the public path runs alongside, and the cyclists in brightly coloured attire, and the joggers and dog-walkers usually flush everything away by mid morning, but not today. When we arrived about 9 o'clock there were 2 rather splendid Wood Sandpipers at the eastern end of the lagoon, along with 2 Common Sandpipers and 6 Dunlin, all giving good views.
We saw a couple of smart Willow Warblers, and walking back we started taking note of the insect life along the paths, noting a few Black-tailed Skimmers, Red-eyed Damselflies, Common Blue Damselflies and a Brown Hawker flew past along the hedge a couple of times, a scarce dragonfly at Reculver. We also saw a few butterflies, including a Wall that Tim picked out, which was a bit flighty in the wind, but nice to see.
A walk near Reculver a little later was entertaining, with around 30-40 Clouded Yellow butterflies, and many more Common Blues. There were a couple of Emperor Dragonflies, planty Common Darters, a single Ruddy Darter, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies, and 10+ Common Emerald Damselflies.