Wednesday, June 29, 2011


After a few more days surveying in Kent decided to head down to Dunge in the evening, staying overnight at the Obs.
Boy I wish I was a mother or is it spelt moth-er, anyway there were loads of them, most having been caught last night but the most important one the night before, patiently awaiting the longer distance twitchers. First up were two guys from Somerset (one very thin and one very fat), I am sure they wont mind me saying, who had driven from Somerset after work. They were twitching Britains second only Dusky Marbled Brown in the last 150 years. Apparently the supporting cast (also in the egg area of the fridge) was very strong with Small Marbled, a green Barred Red, Scarce Black Arches, Speckled Footman and the pyralid Eudonia delunella. The warden reckoned it was the best night he had had since being at Dungeness.
Then at around 10pm came Steve Whitehouse and his crew, fresh from the Spey Valley! I did try a few jokes about it having just flown off, after I had accidentally left the lid off etc but I am sure they had heard them all before.
Just to annoy people I took a picture of the Dusky Marbled Brown

The next morning was up a bit late and joined the moth-ers at the traps whereupon I was able to guess correctly another Small Marbled (must be a natural!). Also there was another pyralid Acrobasis tumidana. With my new found over confidence I spotted a rather white and fluffy looking moth and for some reason felt an urge to stroke it. "Is that an Ermine"? I enquired,
"No" came the response "its a Brown-tail, dont touch it, they're bastards, I hate those things, they give you a rash and can make you very ill, sometimes lasting for years" I couldnt believe it, that was probably the only moth I have ever touched. I spent the next few hours waiting for a rash which luckily never appeared.
To take my mind off it I had a wander down to the patch. There was a juv YLG here yesterday but couldnt find it today. Best I could muster was 7 Meds and 2 Common Gulls, a first summer and adult which I thought was pretty early but apparently they breed somewhere local.

On the way back was pointed out this Hummingbird Hawk Moth sunning itself on the Power Station perimeter wall, not sure I would have guessed it from these views. Much easier done in flight.

Some people dont like Dungeness, but I think its great. I mean look at these lovely flowers!

Wheatears have bred again, somewhere around here

Well, here's the tatty adult.

and here's one of the juvs

The immature Glauc was still about apparently about but couldnt find it today

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Siskins (+a butterfly)

Garden Siskins getting tamer all the time, so had a go at getting some photos

Streaky juv

Ad male with a ring, unfortunately couldnt get the right angle to read it

Meadow Brown (garden tick) not that I'm listing you understand

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Changeable Kent

No bird photos today so here is some lovely photos of the weather
A gloriously sunny morning was gradually giving way to some rather ominous looking clouds

Which eventually became a pretty spectacular electrical storm

Avocet family at Oare Marshes

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Garden birds

Long-tailed Tit passing through

Young Swallows still hanging around outside front of house so couldnt resist a few more photos

Friday, June 17, 2011

More surveying in Kent

This time at Northward Hill RSPB.
The North Kent Marshes are one of only 3 British strongholds for breeding Shoveler. The larger bird left of the male at first sight looks it could be the female but it is actually a young bird from an earlier brood.

Here the size is now apparent with a very young male also in the creche

Oystercatcher family

Not so sunny today with some very dark grey clouds (sun just shining through a small gap to the west)

The photos below were from a site to the south east of the main reserve on a slight hill. The views were very impressive with a view of the capital on one side and turning 180 degrees a sight of the North Sea.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Stoborough Swallows

The local juvenile birds are still being fed by the parents. After a quick fly around they are onto the wires to await their food deliveries

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Purbeck Seabird Survey

Out counting the breeding seabirds today from Old Harry to White Nothe with Kevin and Trev Haysom. Lovely day for it.
Started at Old Harry

Probably too many photos of Old Harry there, sorry about that but such great conditions for photography. Birds of note here were a pair of GBBG, some HG and two House Martin nests.

One of the House Martins making its nest dome

Another GBBG family

This Fulmar nest within spitting distance of the cliff top!

The local Peregrines nest site

Cormorant colony (click to zoom)

Local Shag

Next stop Durlston auk colony

A bit further on from the main colony were a few more Guillemots including this bridled morph.

and another one near Blackers Hole

This bird between Blackers Hole and Dancing Ledge doesn't look so well marked as the other birds

4th bridled morph at Dancing Ledge

Onto Winspit where there was yet another bridled morph bird

Part of the Winspit colony

Cormorant drying off near Kimmeridge Bay

Nesting Shags also about

This adult was constantly pecking this juv on the head

Gad Cliff Cormorants, can you see them?

How about now?

Coastguards putting in some practice