Thursday, 29 April 2010

Breeding birds survey and odonata survey

A good days surveying today, birds followed by odes and butterflies, although plenty of paper work this afternoon to make up for it.
This morning there was an obvious increase in migrants with cuckoo, turtle dove, lots of reed warblers, black caps and a single garden warbler. the latter two were singing and fighting over the same territory, a great chance to hear both songs side by side.
Moths have been a bit bleak of late, partially due to my lack of effort but I managed to flush a streamer this morning along with a few micros awaiting id.
The dragonfly survey went fairly well with 4 species- 16 large red, 8 Variable, 4 blue tailed damsels as well as 3 hairy dragonflies. A few more bugs about too.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

More damsels

This afternoon I managed to add another damselfly species to the list, there were at least 10-15 Variable Damselflies out at Reserve X. As far as i can see this is a pretty early record, but hardly surprising considering the warm weather of late. Hope to get photos tomorrrow.

Weekend in Norfolk

A weekend spent in Norfolk based at Watton in the Brecks. As such i managed to add a few species to the year list including, Stone Curlew, Wood Lark, Tree Pipit, Crossbill, Tawny Owl and Garden Warbler. Not too bad considering it was a non birding weekend!
A couple of moths were also caught for good measure, both new for the year too....However I still need to id them, hopefully it can be done with the photos.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Migrants at Pegwell

A good day for birds today at Pegwell, partially due to the fact I had a guided walk this morning and a disturbance study in the afternoon, basically all day in the field with bins round my neck and scope on the shoulder, beats the office! On the 'signs of spring' guided walk we saw a good selection of migrants including Chiffchaff, whitethroat, Willow warbler, Whimbrel, lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Swallow, all in fairly good numbers also a single Sedge warbler, Buzzard and Marsh Harrier. A fantastic performance of 2 displaying Sparrowhawks was probably the highlight for most. Other than that were 8 common seals, a couple of early purple orchids and 200+ Common Twyblade orchids, both orchid species were showing rosettes and short spikes only, but it should be quite a sight in a couple of weeks!
This afternoon the Whimbrel continued coming and going with Phil having a day total of just under 200 which is probably a site record. Other than that 2 Greenshank, 240 Dunlin, 10 smartly plumaged Grey plovers were amongst the more usual fare. While locking up this evening a Spotted redshank was feeding distantly with an additional Greenshank. The Spoonbill and a Serin were also seen 1st thing this morning but not by me.

Weekend walk in Worth area

A pleasant walk from home to the obs, sandwich and back again with Ruth on Saturday was very nice, not too many birds but a few whitethroats, blackcaps, swallows and sparrowhawks were evident. The walk also saw us pass some moorhens busy feeding young and Ruths favourite residents-the 'large black' pigs which all had the ahh factor.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Quiet, but a few bits moving

A fairly quiet day today although a bit more migration was evident. with a total of 40+swallows, 3 Whitethroats, a sedge warbler, many singing Blackcaps as well as Whimbrel constantly calling at Pegwell, a late Jack snipe also put in a brief performance today. A Spoonbill was present on the mud this morning, unfortunately I was not!

Dark edged Beefly

Edit: Just locked up Pegwell and to my surprise the Spoonbill was still present although pretty distant, as such distant shot attached. It can only be a spoonbill-its white...and asleep!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

First damsels

A 5am start for a cbc at Pegwell today..although the first stop was reserve x where I had left my newly acquired moth trapping generator from screwfix, I was fairly surprised to see the light still shining, a run time of 7hrs and it was only half empty all this for £70, money well spent so far! Unfortunately there were only hebrew charactors and clouded drabs in the trap but it was a very cold night thanks to the persistent northerly wind.
Onwards to Pegwell where the usual species were seen, although there was 1 year tick in the form of a green sandpiper which dropped in from height to check out the 'new' pools in Stonelees. At least 1 Whimbrel was calling overhead mid morning but not seen.
Heading back to reserve X i was greeted with the sight of emerging Large Red Damselflies, in half an hour I saw at least 16 and managed to find 2 exuviae, which according to the new dragonflies of Kent book, represents the first confirmed breeding (exuviae) in the East Kent coastal area! A fairly long day but nice to get the damsels.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Weekend in Essex

As the post title suggests I spent the weekend in Essex. Both mornings were spent at Foulness island a private MOD site. A pleasant couple of days birding, we saw a few bits and pieces including a Spoonbill (sleeping as they always seem to do) and a very late Tundra Bean Goose, both of which were year ticks. Also present was a small trickle of Yellow wagtails and 2 Med gulls, apart from that migration was pretty slow due to a strong North Easterly with a few chiffchaffs and a single whitethroat.
If anybody reading this is living in South East Essex and would like to have access to Foulness Island; a really fantastic place to bird, with an impressive list of rarities please check out the following website more members are being accepted to help out with the WeBS counts.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

first few moths and Sandwich Terns are back

Today was a relatively quiet day doing many things away from reserves. I did manage to see 2 Whimbrel, 32 Sandwich Terns (good to see them back!) and a Wheatear while unlocking the hide so I suspect there was more to be found on a better inspection. The wheatear (poor pix attached) looked fairly interesting, on first look it seemed it was a male but the lack of grey back seemed a bit odd, also there was much pale fringing to the flight feathers, Phil and I were musing with the idea that it could be a male with retarded post juvenile moult or possibly a female greenland type...any ideas?
I put the moth trap on for an hour in the garden last night and managed the first few (countable) moths of the year- Engrailed, Common Quaker, Hebrew character, diurnea fagella, Agonopterix alstromeriana and an unidentified tortrix. A fairly solid start considering it was just 1 hour and it was fairly chilly.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Early start

An early start today for a breeding bird survey at Pegwell. Pretty routine birds today with nothing overly exciting, nor were there particularly good numbers of common stuff unfortunately, however a Little grebe in an ephemeral pool in Stonelees was a slight surprise. The main high point of this morning was when it rained for about 2 mins, all of a sudden there were 4 Willow warblers, 2 Blackcaps and 5 Chiffchaffs in the car park bushes, just shows what is out there. Year ticks today were Willow warbler and a Sand Martin that flew over as I returned home, a very nice male Marsh Harrier was quartering the land opposite Pfizers factory.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Mini Fall

I woke up to heavy rain on the window this morning so went back to sleep fairly swiftly, however when awaking again the sun was just coming out so I grabbed my bins and camera and had a walk around X. As I opened my front door I was confronted with at least 5 singing Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps and a pair of bullfinches…that was just the garden!
At X there was a lot more of the same, no year ticks this morning but there must have been in excess of 30 chiffchaffs and 15 Blackcaps around, as well as the Redpoll flock, 2 Buzzards, the Kestrels were getting intimate and the whole reserve was alive with song. The coast must have been pretty good.
A quick walk in the Worth/Ham area this afternoon after a few beers and a fine win over Man U yielded pretty similar results, 3 buzzards moving North together, a single Swallow and it was good to see a few house Sparrows in the hedgerow, don’t see too many of them in the area

Friday, 2 April 2010

An hour at X

Ever feel like your being watched?

I managed to spend an hour or so walking around reserve x this morning before the rain started to come down. On entry it was clear that there was a slight increase in Chiffchaffs in the area with up to 5 singing, also a Blackcap in the area. Apart from that it was grey and fairly quiet, I was hopeful for a Sedge warbler but that’ll have to wait for now. I did manage to add Common Lizard to the list as well as finally achieving some fairly good pictures of the Lesser Redpoll flock, the Brambling remained hidden behind a mass of twigs thus photos impossible, nice to see it again though.

I doubt the Fan tailed warbler will be seen at Pegwell for the weekend, unless the weather vastly improves, nice to get that flying over yesterday morning while checking the cattle. Puts me on 107 for Pegwell now, seems very low but should rise pretty quickly in the next few weeks hopefully!