Monday, 15 August 2011

August 12th-15th- A mixed bag!

I've had a pretty varied last few days not much intense bird-watching but certainly a few interesting bits and pieces. Just to rewind very slightly Thursday 11th, I had 1 SWIFT over, I always start making a note of these August birds as September birds are not common here.
The morning of the 12th went without incident a LITTLE OWL, once more in the car park was probably the highlight. The young SPARROWHAWKS were still begging for food and I again only found one WILLOW WARBLER. At lunchtime I headed to a local gravel pit near where I work and found 1 COMMON SANDPIPER and 2 HOBBIES, here again it was relatively quiet.
Saturday was a non event bird wise but I did find a Long horn Beetle whilst walking round the castle with my wife.
Cormorant close to walk
Longhorn Beetle

Saturday in the garden

I set the moth trap up at home Saturday night and had 22 species in the trap Sunday morning the highlight being a Flame Carpet which flew off before I got any photos! The rest of Sunday morning was spent at Dungeness mainly sea watching, hoping for a Shearwater or two. I didn't see any Shearwaters but was pleased with 20 ARCTIC SKUAS  in little over an hour, plus a few COMMON SCOTER, 6 BLACK TERNS, 13 KITTIWAKE, 100+ GANNET a LITTLE TERN and scores of SANDWICH and COMMON TERNS all heading west. There were good numbers of Hirundines and lots of YELLOW WAGTAILS going over. I missed the Glaucous Gull, (I might be the only Kent birder not to see the bird in 2011!!) but did find good numbers of WHEATEAR round the fishing boats.
Wheatear at Dunge

Little Egret at Dunge

Later in the day news reached me, rather belatedly, of a White Rumped Sandpiper at Dungeness, I made a rare excursion but it wasn't there when I arrived, it had flown towards the south end of Arc Pits, as I didn't have a lot of time and it had been gone longer than previous times it had disappeared, I headed that way. There were 3 LITTLE GULLS there and 4 RUFF had a quick look in and then decided against it. My time was up so I headed home, just as I passed the entrance to the reserve the phone rang the bird was back in front of the hide!! a bit of manoeuvring and I was back in the hide only to find it gone again!!!! The joys of looking for rare birds, I remember now why I don't do this often :-) If only I'd stayed............!!?
Sunday in the garden!

Robin in the garden

Elephant Hawkmoth Sunday walk with Bec

So to this morning, Stephen arrived before me and while I was searching the car park he called to let me know he had found a Whinchat in the wheat field. I headed off noting several WILLOW WARBLERS, NUTHATCH, SPARROWHAWK, 6 HERRING GULLS, SPOT. FLY and BLACKCAP on the way.
Before I got the field in question the phone rang again and Stephen was watching a Grasshopper Warbler at the bottom of the same field!! Within a couple of minutes I was watching the GRASSHOPPER WARBLER (106), we get them almost annually now but they are difficult to find at times by their very nature, so this is always a bonus! Back to the other bird, it had moved up the field but Stephen had got it in the scope and the second year tick of the day, WHINCHAT (107) was sitting up on the wheat, excellent!! Thanks to Stephen, my mixed bag of the last few days ended on a high.
Grasshopper Warbler this morning

Distant Whinchat this morning


Steve Ashton said...

A nice "mixed bag" Alan with Whinchat always a good bird to see.

Dean said...

A great set of photos there, Alan.
I`ve been looking out for a Elephant Hawk cat, but to no avail.

Greenie said...

Alan ,
Great mixed post .
Your Longhorn Beetle is Strangalia maculata .
Another two great patch ticks .
Shame about the WRS .
Been looking for EHM caterpillars on Rose Bay Willowherb at High Elms , but not been successful .

Warren Baker said...

Things are certainly on the move now Alan, I am desperately looking for my first patch Gropper!!

Mike H said...

Great post Alan,Whinchat and Gropper in the same field!! Must be time for another stroll round your patch

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Steve, Thanks, it was an interesting few days, I'm hoping the Whinchat stays around to let me get some better pics!

Hi Dean, Thanks, I think that is the first one I've found, I hadn't seen much else so was pleased to find something different.

Hi Greenie, Thanks for the clarification on the Beetle, it was nice to two birds on the same day doesn't happen a lot and the EHM was a bonus :-)

Hi Warren, it certainly is starting to hot up, my first Gropper was 2002, they must be here every year but I don't always find them, just a matter of time for you I suspect :-)

Hi Mike, Thanks, it's always worth a look round if you are in the area, it seems to be producing a nice run of birds at the moment :-)