Archive for April, 2011

30th April 2011, Saturday

Beach Reserve

Highlights this morning included 114 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Whimbrel, 9 Grey Plover, 8 Knot and 140 Common Tern on the Quarry. At Ternery Pool 1500 Sandwich Tern, 130+ Mediterranean Gull and at least 1400 pairs of Black-headed Gull. Four Little Tern were high flying over Shore Ridges.


29th April 2011, Friday

RSPB Dungeness

A purple heron has just been seen at Denge Marsh!

Yesterday’s highlights included four hobbies, grey plover, knot, 15 whimbrel and 270 bar-tailed godwits,

More news later…

28th April 2011, Thursday

Garden Water Vole

Water Vole
I realised a Water Vole was coming to the pond in my wildlife garden at Dungeness, but capturing it on camera proved impossible, so we bought a Bushnell camera trap, and straight away got these images. The Vole has several holes around the pond, I think the pond attracted him because of the vegetation around it and I have a open compost heap with lots of vegetable peelings right next to the pond, although it can attract undesirables such as a Brown Rat a few years ago. I don’t know if many people have any records of Water Voles in their garden.
From Dave Bunney by e-mail.

28th April 2011, Thursday

Peasmarsh Fly

Gordon Jarvis found this fly in a Peasmarsh woodland and sent this image to us. It is the tachinid Hemyda vittata, a rather uncommon fly which was first recorded in Britain in the 1950s. Its distribution here is restricted to woodland in a few counties in the south-east, though its range does seem to be expanding in recent years. The larvae in common with all tachinids are parasitoids of other invertebrates, in this case true bugs of the family pentatomidae. This is not without its risks as there is at least one record of a tachinid larva being devoured by the still-living host after emerging from its abdomen!
Hemyda vittata

28th April 2011, Thursday

Beach Reserve

As numbers of rooosting Whimbrel on the Quarry are very low this year (10 yesterday) a dawn search was made to see if other parts of Harbour Farm were being used, only an additional 16 birds were found roosting with a small group of Curlew on the pools near the barns. It seems unlikely that numbers will go up as peak counts in the past have normally occurred arround this time. Bar-tailed Godwits on the other hand were around in good numbers with 160 feeding along the shore, 70 were on the quarry and several birds were on the Wader Pool. Also this morning a Short-eared Owl gave cracking views along Shore Ridges, 2 Great Skua were heading east offshore and another was lingering at the River Mouth.


Bar-tailed Godwits

28th April 2011, Thursday

Viewpoint and terns

Yesterday a Purple Heron was spotted from the viewpoint at Castle Water by Keith Gabriel, he sent the attached record shot below and a great picture of two displaying Common Terns. (Click on read the rest of this entry to see Purple Heron pic).


Read the rest of this entry »

27th April 2011, Wednesday

Another smooth x palmate newt hybrid

I reported finding one of these last year at Northiam.  Here is another likely specimen, found at Staplehurst, so rather pushing the RX area boundary a bit, but there is potential to find more of these hybrids I suspect.


 In this animal there is a tail filament Read the rest of this entry »

26th April 2011, Tuesday

Black Tern

Black Tern
At Pett Level a Black Tern stayed most of day at the pools, then headed inland at about 5pm – reported and photo by James Tomlinson

26th April 2011, Tuesday

Garden Safari

I’ve been catching up on some gardening chores over the Easter weekend, always a good excuse to ferret about in the undergrowth looking for wildlife. Invertebrates recorded in the Lime Kiln garden over the easter weekend included Holly Blue, Red-tailed Bumblebee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Azure Damselfly, St Mark’s Fly and the large ‘dagger fly’ Empis tesselata. These predatory flies get there names from the long piercing mouthparts which they use to spear their prey (or to feed on flowers as in the picture). Many of these flies are quite small, though E. tesselata is the largest British species, measuring up to about 1.5cm.
Empis tesselata
Read the rest of this entry »

25th April 2011, Monday

Castle Water

I was lucky this morning in finding another female Hairy Dragonfly ovipositing, she was closer to the edge of the ditch which enabled some better pictures to be taken. In the picture below if you look closely at the end of the abdomen on the left side you can see the ovipositor slicing into the dead floating vegetation, the eggs will hatch in 3-4 weeks and larval development takes at least two years. Also of note this morning at Castle Water the first emerging Broad-bodied Chaser, pictured below also.


Read the rest of this entry »