Archive for the ‘Dragonflies’ Category

Migrant Hawker

Posted: August 29, 2019 in Dragonflies, Natural History
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Some pictures of Migrant Hawker Dragonflies at London Wetland Centre of Tuesday

One of the hottest days of the Summer saw Keith and I at the Wetland Centre in West London in the hope of finding some migrant birds. As it was there seemed to have been little evidence of migration with just an early morning report of a Whinchat, which I don’t think was relocated during the day. There was plenty to see however with numerous dragonflies and plenty of butterflies, even if the latter was restricted to 2 species. We also saw a Little Ringed Plover and a Common Lizard.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Dragonflies

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)

Butterflies

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Common Lizard

Ruddy Darter

Posted: August 23, 2019 in Dragonflies, Natural History
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Yesterday I published some pictures of Common Darter and mentioned a similar species, the Ruddy Darter, so I thought today I would publish some pictures of that species for comparison.

Common Darter

Posted: August 22, 2019 in Dragonflies, Natural History
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The Common Darter is one of our commonest Dragonflies and can be easily seen as it has the habit on warm days of resting on fences and on pathways, where it can take up the heat.

It has a mixture of Red and Yellow on the abdomen and this distinguishes it from the similar Ruddy Darter which has a darker red body with no yellow. It is found across most of the UK and flies between June and September, although it has been recorded in all months except January to April.

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The reserve was relatively quiet bird-wise with the highlights being a small passage of House-martins and a juvenile Buzzard, which unusually was laying on the ground. I heard it had been around the reserve for a couple of days and had been harassed by the resident crow population, so perhaps it just wanted to keep out of sight.


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Lets settle this here and now!

Lets settle this here and now!

Migrant Dragonfly

Migrant Hawker

Marsh Frog

Marsh Frog

Wasp Spider

Wasp Spider

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Common Lizard

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

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Continuing the series of photos taken at the London Wetlands Centre whilst attending the wildlife photography workshop.

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Hall Place

Keith wanted to visit a couple of my local sites which he had not seen before and so we began the day at Hall Place Gardens in Bexley.

We started at the hide which overlooks a quiet section of the River Cray and can be a good spot for Kingfisher but no luck today. We then moved on to the main garden, where we found my first dragonflies of the year in the riverside vegetation, Banded Demoiselles and Common Blue Damselflies.

We also found a Grey Wagtail feeding under one of the bridges

A walk around the less busy parts of the garden added Jay and Mistle Thrush together with Greenfinch, Blackcap and Garden Warbler.

We returned to the hide for our lunch but still were unlucky with the Kingfisher. We did have an obliging young Robin, which perched for photos and saw a Red Admiral butterfly.

Robin (juvenile)

We then moved onto Danson Park in Welling, where we added a number of water birds including Great Crested Grebe, Coot and Tufted Duck to our day’s list as well as Blue-tailed Damselfly and Holly Blue butterfly.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Garden Warbler [sp] (Sylvia borin)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
White Wagtail (Pied) (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

It may be cold outside but before long spring will be here, with all the delights it brings.

Comma
Buff-tailed Bumblebee
Orange-Tip
Speckled Wood
Blue-tailed Damselfly

Our first stop this morning was the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Holme Dunes. Leaving the centre I visited the Bird Observatory and spent some time looking for migrants in the beachside shrubs and trees, but apart from some common woodland birds, the only migrant seen was a Common Whitethroat.

Common Whitethroat in the beachside vegetation at Holme

My next area to visit was the Broadwater, but when I arrived at the hide, one of the wardens explained that the local cattle had broken down a fence during the night and that they had to repair it which was disturbing the birds and so the Broadwater was devoid of birds except for a single Mallard and a party of Pied Wagtails. After meeting up with Sue, our next stop was on the Saltmarsh, where there was a single Eurasian Curlew and a party of 40 Common Redshank plus a few Little Egrets.

Travelling on we had lunch at the RSPB reserve at Titchwell and then walked out to Fen hide where we found two Turtle Doves sitting in a tree. This is the rarest of UK’s breeding doves, which is a summer migrant from Africa and have suffered a very significant decline in numbers of recent years due to climate change in their wintering grounds and shooting around the Mediterranean area.

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Turtle Dove (taken in Norfolk Sept 2017)

Robin (top left), Migrant Hawker (top right), Small White Butterfly (centre right) and   Reed-bed at Titchwell (bottom)

One other treat of our visit was as we sat drinking a cup of tea and watching the bird-feeders we saw some Wood Mice scurrying around under the feeders, no doubt picking up the seed that had fallen down.

From here we walked onto Pat’s Pool, where there was a large flock of Gadwall and a single Red-Crested Pochard. A Great White Egret flew into the pool and a Marsh Harrier quartered the reed-bed at the rear of the pool.

Our last stop of the day was at Cholsey Barns, which is a farming area where I have seen Grey Partridge on previous visits. Today we were unlucky and didn’t find any, but did have wonderful views of a Male Marsh Harrier and the starlings on the telephone mast were an impressive sight.

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Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
European Turtle Dove [sp] (Streptopelia turtur)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)                                                                                        Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

With similar weather conditions to yesterday, our day started out at Weybourne Beach for some sea watching. Before we arrived at Weybourne, we drove across Kelling Heath and narrowly avoided running over 3 Red Legged Partridge who were feeding in the road.

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Red-legged Partridge. Photo by rawdonfox (https://www.flickr.com/photos/34739556@N04/)

 

In a 90 minute watch from Weybourne beach, a Great Skua, a Fulmar, 12 Northern Gannets and 20 Common Scoter were the highlights. Another Skua was also seen distantly and it was not a Great Skua, but in those conditions and at that distance, it was impossible for me to be sure of its identity – possibly an Arctic Skua but the juveniles of the other 3 species can look very similar at distance.

 

Our next stop was at Thursford Woods, a remnant of Ancient Woodland, containing some of the oldest trees in Norfolk. It is a good site for Grey Partridge but none were to be seen in the fields.

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Walking down through the forest the tracks were full of Speckled Wood butterflies.

Speckled wood (left), Red Admiral (top right) and Robin (bottom right)

At the bottom of the track, we arrived at the pool. It looked rather devoid of water, as witnessed by a Grey Wagtail and a Robin walking on the surface (on the mud). We spent some time sitting on a bench just listening and waiting. There were a good number of Ruddy Darters present and one brave male even came and sat on the bench with us. Then we retraced our steps back to the car park. Sue spotted a Common Frog in the path side vegetation.

Woodland Pool (left) and Ruddy Darter (right)

Arriving back at the car park, I had one last scan for Grey Partridge on the fields before leaving to return to our cottage.

Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra)
Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Northern Fulmar [sp] (Fulmarus glacialis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Great Skua (Stercorarius skua)
Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)