Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Dungeness RSPB Tuesday 6th July

I've confessed before about having a weakness for Dungeness. Not just the RSPB reserve but for all things Dungeness. The fishing boats drawn up on the shingle, the old huts and chalets, some of which are converted old railway carriages. The mix of dilapidated outbuildings and newer wooden bungalows, some selling fishing tackle and bait wrapped in newspaper, and others displaying paintings and selling home made arts and crafts from ramshackle outbuildings. The gardens full of weird and wonderful creations made from flotsam and jetson and shells that forever wash up on the pebbles following the Channel storms. I like the old lighthouse whose light would cut through the mist and whose fog horn used to boom eerily like a giant Bittern when I used to fish there through the night on occasions in my youth. And I even like the nuclear power station whose outfall of warm water just off the shoreline which we called 'the boil' attracts the fish who in turn attract the sea birds who in turn attract the birdwatchers.

Dungeness RSPB is where I headed today, once again drawn like a magnet. I soon stopped to watch a couple of Reed Warblers in the reed bed who seemed to be in nest building or repairing mode I think. Or maybe they're building an extension ready for a second brood.


While I stood and watched I noticed the Little Egret below working it's way towards me. Stopping occasionally for a lightning stab into the water catching the small fish that were basking in the shallows. I do love their yellow feet, it's like they've stood in the paint pot.


The early sunshine bought out a few butterflies. I saw my first Painted Lady of the year and also my first two Small Coppers pictured below.


Further along the track I found this fledgling Reed Bunting. It's the first i've seen as young as this but there's no mistaking it. He looks just like his Mum!
The Dungeness freshwater fish species this week is a Rudd. A very nice fish which has a flattish head and slightly protruding lower lip which enables it to feed off the surface, sometimes being caught by fly fishermen using dry flies. They don't usually grow much above a couple of pounds., especially given that these shoal fish are preyed upon by Grebes, Egrets and Herons and Terns. Pike and Perch are also very partial.


At the moment every Heron that moves comes under close scrutiny to make sure it isn't one of a certain Purple pair that are currently hogging the limelight. Even the reception of a long flight by a Bittern across the front of Denge Marsh hide hardly caused a ripple while I was in there this afternoon. Most people were much more interested in a fleeting, long distance glimpse of the Purple Heron which lasted two seconds and started the usual was it or wasn't it debate.
No prizes for guessing what's on the menu for the Reed Bunting below's youngsters. I can just hear them now saying 'not green caterpillars again'!


As I walked back towards the visitor centre I stopped and listened to quite a loud high pitched buzzing. At first I couldn't tell where it was coming from but then I glanced down and noticed lots of little bees buzzing around my feet. I think they are miner bees because they were going in and out of and digging small burrows in the soil. The picture below shows one doing just that. It seems to have blue eyes but I can find no reference to that characteristic. I will try to ID them and add it to the post later.
Mamy thanks to Rob at Wight Rambles for IDing this Bee for me. Click on the link to visit his blog.


And finally.............I saw four Common Lizards on site today. The first three I couldn't photograph because they were too quick and the fourth one I couldn't photograph because it was being carried off by one of the resident Kestrels near the entrance to the reserve. I'm pretty sure it was immediately fed to one of the fledged Kestrels which were sitting on the farmhouse chimney top. Now, what were their names again????


Greenie said...

Phil ,
Great set of shots , think my favourite must be the juv. Reed Bunting .
Very philosophical start to this post , thought you had been on the paint stripper again !

Warren Baker said...

I often have daydreams about moving to dunge phil, one day.........

Great Reed Bunting photo's.

Anonymous said...

Phil, your bee looks like one I found last year on local Fleabane and Knapweed, called Anthophora bimaculata - see what you think.
I have never been to Dungeness but the picture you paint of it makes me want to visit.
Nice shot of the Reed Bunting with nesting material.

ShySongbird said...

I have no idea how I missed this post, Phil :( You are firmly placed on my sidebar so it shouldn't happen (slapped wrist time!) but I have really enjoyed it and the photos are beautiful! I particularly liked the Reed Buntings and the Little Egrets.

I haven't seen one Painted Lady this year and when you think what an influx there was last year!