Friday, 16 July 2010

Dungeness RSPB Friday 16th July

I've been away for a few days this week and didn't get back until wednesday evening. Before I went I heard the news that the famous White-tailed Plover had pitched up at Dungeness after it's grand tour of England and Wales. This bird has had a habit of turning up somewhere, staying a couple of days at most and then moving on, so I thought my chances of seeing it at Dungeness when I got back were slim. I was wrong.

There was still a strong wind blowing when I arrived at the ARC car park which was to wear me down by the end of the day. I quickly walked along to the viewing screen with everything crossed but my legs, hoping that it hadn't moved on since the latest report from yesterday afternoon. Of course it hadn't and I soon located it in the distance hunkering down from the wind behind the Purple Loosestrife growing on a slender gravel island. Too far to see much detail but I had at least seen it. My plan was to return after a circuit of the main reserve when I was sure it would be closer and would no doubt be up for a photograph. It's on it's holidays after all.

I'd like to say the birds were on the wing, but that's absurd because the wings are on the bird! (anon). Sorry, couldn't help a small (mis)quote. Anyway they weren't and who could blame them with that horrid wind. I tried to take a few bird shots but they didn't come out too well. The Great Crested Grebe below was helpful though and seemed to be enjoying the waves.

So again I've had to resort to other winged creatures and if you've had your fill of butterflies I suggest you look away now!
By the time I reached Christmas Dell birds noted included Oystercatchers, lots of small groups of Linnets flying past, given away by their twittering flight call, four Little Egrets, Pied Wagtails working harder than usual to catch their prey in the wind and a single Kestrel still hovering effortlessly. As I came out of the hide I saw a family group of three Sedge Warblers, an adult and two youngsters in the Gorse to the right, but the only Hirundines seen were Sand Martins which were pretty abundant all over the site today. A little further on I found this striking damselfly resting on the brambles. In my previous post I said that i'd learnt a lesson with green damselflies but I guess it's back to the drawing board.........any ideas?
Thanks to Greenie for confirming ID as Emerald Damselfly. Click on the link to visit his blog.

On the way to Denge marsh hide I looked up and was pleased to see a Hobby above me. It didn't stay long but it was good to see another one here as the last two visits drew a blank on this species. Once inside the hide I soon added Common Tern, adults and fledglings. A few Pochard and the usual Geese species also made the list as did a dozen or so Swifts. But star billings had to go to a Purple Heron and a Great White Egret, both seen over and into the reed beds on the far side of the lake.
The dragonflies pictured below are I believe Ruddy Darters, they were sheltering from the wind on the lee side of the brambles along with some other small darters which were a lighter colour and were probably immature specimens or females.

I've posted the picture of the Burnet below because this one does seem to be a six spotter, unlike the other ones i've snapped which all appeared to be five spotters. This was the only one of these I saw today.

Peacocks seem to be back on the wing again and this one below was as fresh as a daisy. The colours, which shone in the warm sunshine were absolutely spectacular.

Still on the subject of butterflies, here's a picture of a couple of Meadow Browns enjoying a little Al Fresco session in the warm sun sheltered from the wind and prying eyes, well apart from mine of course.

So, Dungeness produced the goods again for me. Only a somewhat measly 39 species of birds recorded today but that includes White-tailed Plover, Purple Heron and Great White Egret. Faaaantastic! By the way when I got back to the ARC viewpoint the WT Plover was still in exactly the same spot as it was first thing. It obviously doesn't like the wind and neither do I.
And finally.......... This young Moorhen below was mopping up the spillages under the feeders in the visitor centre car park. Bird brain he ain't.



Greenie said...

Phil ,
No problem with the Ruddy Datrers - all black legs , no yellow stripes on side of thorax .
Your Damselfly is a female Emerald Damselfly .
Lovely fresh Peacock .

Phil said...

Thanks Greenie. I was hoping you'd say that. The clue being the angle of the wings at rest presumably.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
The fact that the wings are not held along the abdomen when at rest is a good clue , but not always so .
The Emerald and Scarce Emerald are more robust than the other damselflies , but less than the Demoiselles .

ShySongbird said...

Another delightful post, Phil with lovely photos again. Glad you got to see the White-tailed Plover, I had read about it on another blog.

I always enjoy seeing the butterflies. I haven't seen one Peacock this year so far, last year I saw more of them than anything else, probably still quite early for them though.

Glad you got your Emerald Damselfly. After my comment on your last post I realised mine must indeed be the Emerald by the wing position...well that's what I'm hoping :)

Warren Baker said...

Hi Phil,
nice to see your trip was well rewarded with some butterflies, oh and the plover and Purple heron :-)

Ive resorted to the flutters again today :-)