Saturday, 24 June 2017

Last few weeks and Morden Hall Park, 24th June 2017

Apologies for no recent posts, as I have been in the middle of an exam period at my school. While revising I have been drooling at the number of sightings coming in from nearby; a week long Red-Footed Falcon at Frensham, which we'd planned to see today had it stayed. The Elegant Tern down on the coast, as well as a Red-backed Shrike today at Thursley.
However, I have seen many little things, some unusual, some I've forgotten, everywhere.

26-May: A hawkmoth sp. was seen by my sister in our garden at 21:15 one night, but not seen again. After a Lime Hawkmoth flew onto a friends arm in Carshalton last July, she suspected the same species!
28 May: On route to India vs New Zealand in London, a Cinnabar Moth was flying around the tube.
June: A young robin has been commanding our garden, chasing adult Goldfinches off.
June 23: A pair of Blackcap have bred at school, distracting me considerably during me exams as they sing and chase each other around the entrance area.
June 23: A Hobby chased some Swifts over Wimbledon Common in a drive through.
June 24: Another cricket match near Woodmansterne held 5 Swallow, 2 Blackcap, 1 Chiffy, 9 Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and more owl reports without me seeing anything.

After a cricket match in the morning, the quickest walk in Morden Hall was quiet with a small shower causing all the butterflies reported to disappear, frustratingly. While the Reed Warbler sang briefly and 2 Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff were around, the only butterfly found happened to be a Ringlet in the meadows, while Banded Demoiselles flew around and the breed of Grey Wagtails bobbed about on the channels. One Peregrine was seen when we left, chasing a few pigeons.

'Feed me'

Grey Wagtail

(What is this insect?) 

f Blackcap

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Banded Demoiselle

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Flying Kites, 3rd June 2017

At about 19:15, I was outside in the garden looking west at the Swifts when I spotted a big silhouette coming our direction. I darted inside, and 30 seconds later was outside as 'the big silhouette' drifted over at about 80m up. Whilst I took a few snaps, it was easy to tell that it was definitely a Kite - and not a child pranking me. After it had gone into NW into the distance, I went inside to have a look at the pictures, which had come out as silhouettes - that annoyed me. So I went outside, and a starling alarmed as another Kite came over much higher, going SW. More poor silhouettes. So are they Reds, or is it a possible Black? Well, to me it is a...terrible picture, not offering anything, other than the conclusion they were probably Reds. But here they are.
(Red) Kite1


Red Kite

Red Kite
Red Kite
Another garden record!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Dungeness RSPB, 1st June - Surprise!

This morning we set off to Dungeness, which is another reserve which I'd never visited before. After stopping briefly in Ashford, we continued on and accidentally missed a turn. From the trees ahead, I saw a white bird appear. I sat up, as I was wary of Cattle Egrets, but I thought it was a Little Egret. Suddenly, as it went in front of the car, 10m or so up, I realised. BARN OWL!!!!
And it was gone. Although it was slightly odd as it was 11:07 in the morning, it is a day flying owl, so it wasn't ridiculous.
When we arrived at midday, we started to drive down the mile road leading to the visitor centre when a bird caught the corner of my eye. I turned hurriedly to glimpse it plunge into the high grass. When I had been allowed to leave the car after asking to get out, it came out.
After none in my life, 2 in one hour! It was an amazing sight, as several birders got out to watch it hunting over the road and fields, then disappear into the distance. A few awful but precious pictures as it flew around.

Barn Owl- it's not smoking but it seems to be the tail of a
vole/mouse which it had caught!

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl
While watching it, I was amazed to hear a Dartford Warbler behind - when I eventually tried to find it again it wasn't there, so no proof meaning no addition to my life list. What a cracking start to the day!
From the Firth Hide, there was unfortunately no sign of yesterday's Ortolan Bunting so I missed that rarity. 2 Avocet were there however, and there were lots of Shelduck.

Avocets

Shelduck

Avocet
Further around, a few insects were seen.

Green tiger Beetle
Silver-studded Blue

Silver Studded Blue
Small Tortoiseshell

Moth sp. - would be grateful for help on ID
Raptors began to flow, with 2 Marsh Harriers patrolling distantly. 

Marsh Harrier
There seemed to be countless Sedge and Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and Chaffinch everywhere. 

m Chaffinch

Sedge Warbler


 Around 30 Whitethroat were also seen.

Whitethroat
Another Marsh Harrier soared distantly. 

Marsh Harrier
A few more things seen at the Denge marsh hide. 

Great Crested Grebe

Painted Lady

Little Egret

Lackey Moth butterfly
Further on, it started with 1 Hobby, then turned to 3 to 5 to 6. They never stop darting about, so I couldn't get a great picture. 
Hobby

Hobby

Hobby feeding
After watching Springwatch, we weren't surprised to see this covering a few bushes. 


A Sedge Warbler did a display flight in front of us, then sang in a tree. 

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler
A fair number of Cetti's Warbler were noticed, and 2+ Cuckoo sang infrequently. A pair of Linet were added to the list, and a Hobby perched on a dead tree around 200m away. (How a helpful old woman spotted this I don't know!) 

Linnet

Hobby preening
We had heard that the 'rarer' birds included an Ortolan Bunting, 2 Great White Egrets - one of which did a fly-by but seemed to go towards Rye Harbour - and a Rose-Coloured Starling. When I spoke to a few birders, they had lost the Starling. On the way back, I spotted a small group of Starlings, with a few young birds and a pinkish bird, which I thought was this bird. Just as I focused on it, it went to the ground and then flew off 10 minutes later. Very frustrating. I can't add that to my life list yet. 

juv Starling

Oystercatcher

Silver-studded Blue
A great day, and a great place. I can only hope to come here more often. 
With exams coming up, I probably won't be posting often at all now, as I probably won't be heading to parks in spare time.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Morden Hall Park again, 31st May 2017

This afternoon, while the sun was out, we went for a walk in Morden again. Immediately, many more insects were about with hundreds of bees and wasps, as well as damselflies. By the mill, a pair of Grey Wagtails were bringing food to their young, who seem to be in the crevices of the old mill. 

Grey Wagtail - left is male, right is female

m Grey Wagtail
On one of the quieter, wilder path through the woods, many more creatures were busily going about their lives. During this, a Great Tit was picking off insects when a male Sparrowhawk darted through the trees about 10 metres from me, narrowly missing the bird and then flying out into the open again. Another awesome experience! 
Canada Geese and 3 Gosling
The reedbeds were once again very pleasant, with 2 pairs of Reed Warblers now hiding. Unfortunately, there was no sign nor sound of the Cetti's Warbler, but it might have been on the far sound, where we probably wouldn't be able to hear it. 

Reed Warbler 1

Reed Warbler 2
Also, at least 4 pairs of Blackcap, 2 Nuthatch and 3 Chiffchaff - 1 with some mixed notes with Willow Warbler, Blackcap and a tiny bit of Iberian Chiffchaff too, which I am familiar with after going to Spain last year. it was definitely a normal Chiffchaff though, with the majority of the song being normal. A Kestrel flew overhead, but not much else was around bird-wise. Butterflies included Speckled Wood, Brimstone, whites and blues.

Speckled Wood
A huge variety of damselflies were around, including the below. 
Banded Demoiselle
Southern/Northern? Damselfly - need some help on these ones 

Northern/Southern
Small Red Damselfly

Banded Demoiselle