A bittern was present at Hooker’s pits all week. Up to three drake garganey could be seen on Denge Marsh and five hobbies were seen hunting over the reserve. Waders of note were: little ringed plover, grey plover, ruff, whimbrel, spotted redshank, greenshank, and common sandpiper. Forty Sandwich terns passed through on 27th and two common terns were present from 25th. Two ravens were seen on 26th and three the following day. Yellow wagtails, sedge warblers, reed warblers and whitethroats were all present in good numbers and there were occasional sightings of lesser whitethroat. Cuckoos were heard daily.
Archive for April, 2009
News has just come in of a CRESTED LARK at Dungeness.
This robust lark is typical of arable land right across Europe from the Middle East but stops abruptly at Calais Docks!
It hardly ever makes it across to this side of the Channel but can be heard among portside gantries and found grovelling in gutters close to Gravelines.
Its fondness for the Calais Hoverport led to it being renamed Carpark Lark.
Highlights over the past few days have included 6 Little Tern, 15 Swift, Greenshank and 7 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Beach Reserve, along the shore 3 Arctic Skua have been chasing Common or Sandwich Terns. On Harbour Farm 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 16 Avocet, Little Ringed Plover and Marsh Harrier. From the viewpoint at Castle Water 3 Hobby, 19 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Turtle Dove and 2 Garganey.
Always a good place to visit especially on a sunny spring day, highlights yesterday included Brimstone, Orange-tip and Green Tiger Beetle encountered often along the paths, Speckled Yellow (moth), Speckled Wood and Peacock were present in the woodland clearings, Azure and Large Red Damselflies were present around the footbridge near Holmans Meadow.
Green Tiger Beetle
The very first creamy white flower of Sea Kale was open today and was attracting many insects. Hundreds of thousands to follow in next few weeks, should look best in about ten days.
Following my earlier post with a photo of a possible female Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum) at Castle Water on Sunday, I found both male (top photo) and female (bottom photo) this afternoon at Iden Moat – at least 5 in all. (Click photos to enlarge.) This confirms the Castle Water female with its distinctive back stripes and 2nd and 8th abdominal segments, very like the one shown here. Males, with thinner abdomen, have broken stripes on the back and the typical ‘wine-glass’ marking on the 2nd segment. Considering these are already adults, it’s a very early emergence, though I’ve since heard that one was seen at Stodmarsh, Kent, on the 25th. These are beautiful damselflies, as the name pulchellum suggests, but they’re not that variable! Read the rest of this entry »
Red-eyed Damselflies are now emerging at Castle Water. The exuvia of this species are distinctive, the size difference between this and other coenagrionid species alone make them stand out. The second picture below shows the comparison between Red-eyed and Blue-tailed Damselfly exuvia. Another feature is the banding found on the apical half of the caudal lamellae, the third picture shows this, the median node is also obvious in this picture.
An early morning visit to a very misty Quarry today found around 100 Whimbrel leaving the roost, and little else (or at least little that I could see). The poor visibility made counting more difficult than normal, exacerbated by the fact that it also delayed the exodus, resulting in the bulk of the birds leaving in an impatient rush. Later on, I made a start on this years breeding birds, mainly surveying singing passerines between Rye Harbour Village and the path which crosses from the Beach Reserve to the Wood. A fine selection included Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat, Cetti’s Warbler and the still present Grasshopper Warbler near Corner Pools, which gave excelent views, while a Turtle Dove (below) also showed well at Narrow Pits. Also present today, at least 15 Avocet and a Little Ringed Plover were on Harbour Farm.
In yesterday’s glorious warm sunshine (what a contrast with today’s rain) four of us visited the watchpoint and hide in the morning. The first thing we found was a blue damselfly (above; click to enlarge) which ‘ought’ to have been an early (adult) Azure – new for 2009 – but didn’t look right. I’ve had two expert opinions that it was a female Variable Damselfly, a species that does breed on the reserve but wouldn’t be expected so early. Sedge and Reed Warblers were widespread and later we saw both Whimbrel and Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Terns, 5 Garganey (2 drakes), Marsh Harriers and a Stoat; butterflies included 3 Small Coppers. We also heard Cuckoo and Raven. In the afternoon I went back to the watchpoint area and found a Painted Lady and a typical adult male Azure Damselfly, and then examined the sheltered bays on Bourne’s side of the water, to find at least 50 Blue-tailed Damselflies, including a dozen or more adults (see smaller photos), again my first of the year.
The latest two moth-trapping evenings organised by Steve Wheatley for the Rother Woods Project took place on Thursday and Saturday at Hobbs Lane, Beckley (5 traps, 29 species) and Long Wood, Northiam (6 traps, 28 species). Both nights were clear and cold, though the campfire and coffee at Long Wood (thanks, Heather and Rodney) kept us warm! Highlights included 7 species of Prominents, Brown Silver-line, Maiden’s Blush, Lead-coloured Drab, Water and Scorched Carpets, and best of all a male Puss Moth found just as we were packing up at Long Wood. It’s still early in the season and the 43 species overall was a good total for April.