Archive for the ‘Dragonflies’ Category

Before we left this morning we were treated to the sight of a Barn Owl hunting in the field at the end of the garden. Eventually, it perched in a tree.

Our first stop this morning was Kelling Heath in search of Dartford Warbler. This specialised habitat is never prolific for birds but has a specialised population that cannot be seen elsewhere. We located a suitable area and waited for the birds to show themselves, but without luck. A conversation with local told us that they had bred here but seem to have moved on in the last couple of weeks.

Our next stop was for refreshment at the Old Reading room in Kelling. This rather unique combination of a second-hand bookshop, art gallery and tea shop made a pleasant break.


Driving West along the coast we came to the small reserve and bird observatory at Walsey Hills. There was little bird life in the scrub, but we did find 4 Little Grebes and a Green Sandpiper on the small lake.


Continuing west we arrived at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust at Cley Marshes.

A Peregrine Falcon flushed the ducks and wading birds as we approached the marsh. From the hides, we saw Little Ringed Plover and Green Sandpiper along with more common waders.

Green Sandpiper

Little Ringed Plover

Lapwing (left), Pied Avocet (Top Right) and Ruff (Bottom Right)

Back at our cottage, we found a Hummingbird Hawkmoth resting on the cottage wall.

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Whimbrel [sp] (Numenius phaeopus)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Humming-bird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum)

A morning trip to the RSPB reserve on the coast at Titchwell, prompted by the reports of a couple of good birds the night before. As we walked down the track to the freshwater marsh a Great White Egret flew across the reeds giving excellent views. Scanning the marsh from Island hide Sue picked out some small waders, Dunlin, but on checking one had a down-curved bill and a reddish tinge to its body, a Curlew Sandpiper. Back on the path, and with the help of others we had soon located the first of our targets, a Red-necked Phalarope. It was distant and only its behaviour of feeding at a frantic pace made it stand out at that distance. There was no sign of our second target, a Glossy Ibis, which had arrived the evening before and had last been seen flying into the reed-bed. Also present was a flock of 18 Eurasian Spoonbills, over 200 Black-tailed Godwits and 20 Ruffe.

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Red-necked Phalarope. Photo by Tom Wilberding (https://www.flickr.com/photos/twilberding/)

As we walked back to the centre scanning the salt marsh, a bird flew across my view and immediately disappeared into the marsh vegetation. It was slender winged, grey with black wing tips and it had a white rump. Although it did not reappear to confirm its identity I am pretty sure that it was a male Hen Harrier, the rarer of our two Harrier species.

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Male Hen Harrier. Photo by Radovan Vaclav (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rado_vaclav/)

An excellent mornings birdwatching

Taking a break from nature watching Sue and I went shopping at the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival held in the walled garden at Holkham Hall.

There were around 60 stands from local producers and on display were everything from meat to cheese; from vegetables to fruit; from cordial to gin and whisky. The great delight about these festivals is going from stall to stall testing and tasting the goods on offer. We brought some provisions for the holiday before stopping at a farm shop in Walsingham to complete our shopping. It is always good to savour the local produce.

 

Red Admiral and Comma

Back at our cottage in the afternoon, the garden contained a host of butterflies – Red Admiral, Large and Small White; Comma and Small Tortoishell along with a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Later in the evening, we saw a Barn Owl flying across the field and around 10.30pm we heard a Tawny Owl calling and then at least two Barn Owls calling, well more like screaming, as they objected to its presence in their territory. Amazing sound – I have never heard then call before.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
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)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

On the way to 2 weeks in North Norfolk, our lunch stop was at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Welney. This reserve is famous for its wintering geese and ducks but can be good at other times of the year as well.

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Overlooking Lady Fen it is clear that the hot summer has been a real problem here as o be there is no water to be seen. This means that there are no pools and as a consequence no birds! The feeder station, however, does not disappoint and there are a large group of Tree Sparrows along with the Goldfinches and House Sparrows. A Brown Rat entertained us as it tried, and succeeded in climbing up the feeder frame to get to the feeder tubes.

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On entering the main hide we saw that the main reserve area was also very dry. This is something of a concern as it not many weeks before the wintering swans, geese and ducks begin to return from the breeding grounds and this will not be a suitable environment for them. The highlight here was a party of Yellow Wagtails, mostly this year’s birds but with one very bright adult.

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Yellow Wagtail. Photo by Don Sutherland (https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapperg/)

 

AS we walked to the northern set of hides we were accompanied by Small White butterflies, with the occasional Speckled Wood, Large White and Small Tortoiseshell. A large number of migrant Hawker dragonflies were also present together with some Common Darters.

Speckled Wood and Common Darter

Arriving at the first hide we had a view of the water channel and a Kingfisher alighted in front of the hide but disappeared before I could get a photograph.

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At the next hide we immediately saw a Great White Egret and located a Common Sandpiper, but the Garganey reported as present here remained elusive. Again the lack of water was very noticeable

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Then it was time to recommence our journey. Arriving at the cottage that is to be our base over the next two weeks, we were delighted to find a Painted Lady Butterfly sunning its self on the patio. Later a Barn Owl was seen sitting in a tree in the field beyond the garden.

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Painted Lady. Photo by Dan Davison (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dannyboymalinga/)

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Western Yellow Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla flava)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

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A Day of uncertain weather forecasts saw me visiting Keith on his home patch along the River Medway in Kent.

Starting at Abbots Court the lakes were rather sparsely populated, but we were soon welcomed by a close flying Sparrowhawk, which having sized up flew off to look for more manageable prey. This was to prove the only highlight as we walked down to the estuary as the horse fields were empty (apart from the Horses). There were a number of Migrant Hawker Dragonflies and a single Common Darter.

Migrant Hawker (left and top right) and Common Darter (bottom right). Photos by Keith

Large numbers of Small White Butterflies were present along with Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Common Blue, but the best sighting was a single Small Copper.

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Small Copper. Photo By Keith

The tide was high as we turned north along the estuary towards Kingsnorth. A Thames Barge was moving up river towards Chatham and was seen later moored mid-channel.

There were large numbers of Greylag Geese on the fields and a small party of Canada Geese were seen flying away. Ahead we could see a Common Kestrel hunting over the fields.

It started raining but the showers soon passed over and we found this feather illustrating it’s waterproof qualities

Turning South we headed towards Hoo Marina. I spotted a bird that we flushed from the path but annoyingly it kept heading back into the path side vegetation before we could get a good look. This must have happened 4 or 5 times but each time we saw a little more and concluded it was a juvenile Yellow Wagtail. This was the only migrant passerine we were to see on the whole walk. On the waters edge were some little Egrets and Gulls, mostly Black-headed. One Black-tailed Godwit in flight plus a couple of Northern Lapwing were the only wading birds we encountered.

As we approached Hoo Marina we passed the boat graveyard. Many of these boats have been here for many years and some have become part of the landscape.

After Lunch at the Marina, we walked into Hoo village visiting the church and a small stream, but all we added was Stock Dove before we adjourned to Keith’s garden for refreshments

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
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)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Western Yellow Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla flava)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Small Copper [sp] (Lycaena phlaeas)
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus Lucorum)

This reminds me of a very good holiday we had in Menorca some years ago. I am sure it is more developed now but it is good to know that the wildlife is still worth visiting.

Martin Tayler's bird blog & nature photos

Menorca has the only resident population of Egyptian vultures in Europe (around 100 pairs) and so it would have been disappointing not to see them. We walked along the gorge from Santa Galdana on the south coast with wild flowers adorning the route to a backdrop of dramatic limestone cliffs and birdsong all around. We had sightings of booted eagle and black kites on our way and were well rewarded with good views of Egyptian vultures at the end of the gorge.

DSC05305DSC05287DSC05293DSC05321DSC05359Egyptian vultures

DSC05049Booted eagle

DSC05628Black kite

On the return journey we also saw a kestrel, more views of booted eagles and kites and even a pair of little egrets. The most stunning aspect of this walk was the birdsong; we had no difficulty in recognising Cetti’s warbler but were grateful to some birders who pointed out nightingales and Siberian chiffchaff. The nightingales were everywhere and filled the valley…

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On the way back from a trip to Peterborough, Sue and I stopped off at Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust for lunch and a couple of hours bird watching. From the main hide, we could see that the number of Whooper Swans present had risen significantly since our last visit back in mid-September with arrivals from the breeding grounds in the artic.

 

Also present were good numbers of duck species which also make their home for the winter on the washes of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk

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Eurasian Wigeon

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Common Pochard

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Northern Shoveler (m & f)

 

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Pintail (m)

The star birds of the day, although only seen briefly in flight were a group of 3 Common Cranes, which flew into the far side of the reserve before disappearing into the vegetation and out of sight. These once very rare birds are now increasing in numbers due to re-introduction programmes in Somerset and East Anglia.

Common Crane (Photographed Slimbridge Dec 2013)

Despite being the first weekend in November, we also saw a red admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly and a pair of Common Darter Dragonflies, witness to how mild the autumn has been.

Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Crane [sp] (Grus grus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

It has certainly turned chilly in London this past couple of days and so autumn cools as we move towards winter. So I thought I would put together some pictures of summer creatures as a reminder of the summer past

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper Butterfly

Common Darter

Azure Damselfly

Mint Moth

Ruddy Darter

Red Admiral

Meadow Brown

Small Tortoiseshell

 

 

Till next year

 

Titchwell Beach

A bright sunny morning so we headed towards the RSPB reserve at Titchwell. Our first stop was at Island hide where we were directed onto two Little Stints amongst the waders.

Little Stint

There was also a good number of Ruff and Black-tailed Godwits plus a few Redshank and 2 Red Knot. On Volunteer marsh were a large group of Northern Lapwing and a smaller group of Grey Plover. A single Oystercatcher was also present. The sea was quiet apart from a few passing gulls plus a group of 5 Oystercatcher and a single Red Knot flying westwards.

Ruff

Black-tailed Godwit

On the salt-marsh, we saw two Black-tailed Godwits ‘fencing’ using their long bills. Never seen behaviour like this before.

Black-tailed Godwits

Returning to the visitor centre we set out along the Fen trail. From Fen hide I had a brief view of a Bearded Reedling in flight over the reeds and on Pats Pool there were a large group of Mallard, Common Pochard and Gadwall plus a few Teal and Tufted Ducks. We located 3 Little Grebes in various parts of the pool and a Grey Heron.

Pat’s pool, Titchwell

Little Grebe

Leaving Titchwell we went a short distance inland to Chelsey Barns. This is reckoned to be the best site in Norfolk for the now rare Corn Bunting. We were joined by a couple of local birders who said that there appeared to have been a change in use of the Barns as there was no longer spilt seed in the courtyard (which was what attracted the birds) and as a result it is no longer such a good site to see the buntings although they are still seen here from time to time. Unfortunately, on this occasion, we were unlucky although we did find 3 Grey Partridge, another farmland species in serious decline, on one of the fields.

Common Darter (f)

Common Darter (m)

Red Admiral

Grey Partridge. Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Red Knot [sp] (Calidris canutus)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

Day 8 of our trip to Norfolk dawned to a brighter morning, so we decided to visit the Hawk and Owl Trust’s reserve at Sculthorpe Moor near Fakenham. The walk from the visitor centre took us first to the Woodland hide but the feeders here were quiet and we made our way onto Fen Hide.

 

In the distance, we could see a Kestrel hunting over the fen and a Sparrowhawk flew over the hide. A Kingfisher was seen hunting over the channels in the reed-bed before briefly alighting on a post in front of the hide.

Little Grebe

Collared Dove

Pheasant

In the tree hide the feeders were very busy with Nuthatch and Coal Tit the highlights.

 

Coal Tit

The wader scrape was quiet but we did see a number of Dragonflies including Common Darter, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker and Common Blue Damselfly.

 

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

 

RSPB Cliffe Pools

A bright sunny morning found Keith and me at the RSPB Cliffe Pools reserve in North Kent. August can be a quiet time for birds and so it seemed it would be on the way down to the reserve from West Court farm. Still, it is also a time when plenty of other things can be seen. Our first stop was the radar pools but apart from a large group of Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits, there was little to be seen, bird-wise. However the vegetation around the pools was alive with butterflies, mostly small whites and green veined whites, together with a single Painted Lady, a few Red Admirals and Holly Blues and a number of Migrant Hawker dragonflies; Common Blue damselfly and Common Darters.

Red Admiral

Painted Lady

Holly Blue

 

Migrant Hawker (f)

Common Blue damselfly

Common Darter

 

Perhaps our best find was at the small pond under the radar tower, where we found three emerald damselflies. There are four species of emerald damselflies found in North Kent and I didn’t immediately recognise this one. Later research, confirmed them to be the Willow Emerald. A recent colonist to south-east England, this damselfly was first recorded in East Anglia in 2007, it has now spread to Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and the north coast of Kent. This is my first record of this species.

Willow Emerald damselfly. Photo by Keith

Moving on there were no signs of Black-winged Stilts on the pools near the Black Barn. Black-winged Stilt is a rare visitor to the UK, but two pairs bred at Cliffe this year raising at least seven young. It seems that one family has apparently moved off across the Thames to Essex, but the other has remained at Cliffe. But they were not visible during our visit. Walking down to the sea wall, a flash of colour alerted us to a rather well camouflaged moth resting against the stone wall. This Red Underwing, mottled grey on top, was magnificently camouflaged until it flew revealing its brightly coloured underwing.

Red Underwing. Photo by Andy Rogers (https://www.flickr.com/photos/cobaltfish/)

Spot the Moth. Red Underwing blending into stone wall

As we left the estuary and turned back inland we were alerted to the calls of Greenshank and searching for these lead us to find a Eurasian Spoonbill and a number of other wading birds including Common Redshank and Whimbrel. We had just decided to move on from this pool when the clouds darkened and there was thunder and lightning followed by heavy rain. We sought shelter under the vegetation for 10 minutes but it did not seem like this was a passing shower and so we decided to make our way smartly back to the waiting car and a quick retreat.

A good day with my first record of willow emerald damselfly being the highlight.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Whimbrel [sp] (Numenius phaeopus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)

Red Underwing Moth (Catocala Nupta)

Western Willow Emerald (Lestes viridis)
Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)