Archive for August, 2006

31st August 2006, Thursday

Doleham, Brede Valley

4 ochre Whinchats and a m Stonechat crouching on barbed wire in the reed-swishing wind. The Phragmites seed-heads are now at their most glamorous: glossy and imperial purple.

reeds 06-08-30.jpg

Tiny birds flit from thorn to scarlet thorn, island-hopping across the perilous vastness of the open valley floor. They are often too quick to recognize as they dash across the gaps, but there are Blue Tits, Lesser Whitethroats, a Bullfinch, Chiffchaffs, Goldfinches and reckless Spotted Flycatchers which pause for airborne pirouettes.

A Barn Owl bursts from a creaking Willow. Otherwise – silence, but for the rasp of dry dragonfly wings, the hum of a harvester beyond the hill and the squeak, rattle ‘n’ roll of the half-hourly Marshlink.

31st August 2006, Thursday

Thorn-apple

At Castle Water a colony of Thorn-apple, Datura stramonium, has established along the water’s edge where there is no public access. The trumpet-shaped flowers are about 10cm. long and have an attractive symmetry. The fruits are very spiky and give the plant its name. It is a member of the Nightshade family, so should have 5 petals, but this one appears to have 6!!! All parts of the plant are highly poisonous.

Datura is the subject of some beautiful paintings by the American artist Georgia O’Keefe (see below) and its hallucinogenic properties are extensively discussed in the classic ’70s “Don Juan” books by Carlos Castaneda. (Cliff)
Thorn-apple flower

for a photo of the fruit Read the rest of this entry »

30th August 2006, Wednesday

Dungeness Bird Observatory

The highlight of the day was a Purple Heron which flew south and out to sea at 0820hrs. Large numbers of seabirds feeding offshore included 100 Gannets, 20 Arctic Skuas, 200 Sandwich Terns and 15 Black Terns. A Sooty Shearwater also flew west. It was still very quiet on the land with just singles of Marsh Harrier, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Whinchat, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Pied Flycatcher and two Spotted Flycatchers of note. 

David Walker (from DBO website)

30th August 2006, Wednesday

Viewpoint

Whilst cutting reeds at the viewpoint, I came across some interesting wildlife, on a patch of willowherb an Elephant  Hawk-moth (pictured) was busy munching its way through the leaves, several Common Lizard (pictured) were basking on a rotten Willow stump, and Blackening Waxcap (Hygrocybe conica) were appearing in the damp soil. Also of interest were 2 Wasp Spider, it appears that this species is increasing on the Nature Reserve, this being the second new site found in the past week.

rxxelephant hawk-moth munching-.jpg

for lizard picture… Read the rest of this entry »

30th August 2006, Wednesday

Beach Reserve

Bird highlight this morning was a Dotterel roosting amongst the 230 Golden Plover on Flat Beach, the roosting group were close to the road, so gave good views. Also this morning Little Stint, 2 Marsh Harrier, 12 Grey Partridge, 25+ Meadow Pipit and 60+ Linnet. Yellow Wagtail continue to be in good numbers, with several hundred on the Beach Reserve and Harbour Farm.

rxdotterel.jpg

for another photo… Read the rest of this entry »

29th August 2006, Tuesday

News from RSPB Dungeness

Today’s sightings included: pintail and garganey on ARC pits.

Raptor-wise marsh harrier, merlin and hobby were seen on the reserve.

A good variety of waders were showing well from ARC and Denge marsh hide these included: grey plover, knot, ruff, snipe, black-tailed godwit, whimbrel, greenshank and green and common sandpiper.

A little gull was seen from ARC hide.

Willow warbler and chiffchaff were also recorded.

29th August 2006, Tuesday

Around the Reserve

Highlights from a walk around the Reserve yeterday included, 4 Black Tern, Arctic Tern, Hobby, 30+ Sand Martin and Kingfisher at Long Pit, Garden Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher at the edge of the wood. At Castle Water 2 Whinchat were at the south end. Butterflies included Brown Argus (pictured), Clouded Yellow, Small Copper and Speckled Wood.

rxbrown argus.jpg

for another photo Read the rest of this entry »

28th August 2006, Monday

Black Tern

In this afternoons blustery northwesterly winds the passage terns found some shelter on the new pits of Rye Harbour Farm. In a group of 80 Common Tern there were a few Sandwich and a single juvenile Black Tern. Sadly, most pits are out of bounds while the embankment is finished in the next few weeks.

Picture shows the Black Tern between 2 Common Tern.

juvenile Black Tern

and in flight… Read the rest of this entry »

28th August 2006, Monday

News from RSPB Dungeness

Some swifts are still passing through the reserve, whilst large numbers of sand martins are fattening up before their journey back to Africa.

A few waders were reported today, these include: greenshank, black-tailed godwit, and common sandpiper.

A few grey wagtails were also seen.

28th August 2006, Monday

Common seal

There was a common seal seen off Pett Beach at about 1200 yesterday
Judy Eaton