Monday, 9 August 2010

Dungeness, New Hythe and Home

I went down to Dungeness last friday. I had high hopes of seeing the six Heron species which were in residence at the time. These being: Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Grey Heron and Bittern. Unfortunately I only managed four, I couldn't find the Cattle Egret or a Bittern on this occasion. I blame it on the weather of course, it was very windy, often overcast and who can blame the larger birds for keeping their heads down. But you can't really complain I suppose when you've seen GW Egret and Purple Heron on the same day, plus 33 other species of birds. Not to mention some great butterflies, two of which are pictured below. The other photos that I took also fell victim to the strong wind, that's my excuse anyway.



This morning, I turned my attention to New Hythe lakes. Like a lot of places it has been very quiet on the bird front of late but today was a better day with some nice birds seen and a few other little creatures as well.

There was quite a lot of activity from the geese first thing with some sizeable flocks of Canada Geese flying between the lakes with all their usual honking and trumpeting. This gave it an almost autumnal feel even though the weather was warm and fairly bright.

After months of searching for my first Turtle Dove of the year here and finally finding one last week, lo and behold I found two today. One was on the wires on the far side of the river and another was on the wires over the sunken marsh where it was purring contentedly. Also here were Whitethroat, Greenfinch and a Green Woodpecker.

On the river I found two Little Egrets busily fishing as the tide flowed in along with a single Shelduck and later a Common Sandpiper. Around Brookland lake were two Linnets, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff and a Kingfisher which flew silently across the lake just inches from the surface.

Abbey Mead was almost deserted apart from a large female Sparrowhawk which drifted lazily across as it was escorted off the premises by the local Crows.

The hoverfly below which posed so nicely for me is I think Scaeva pyrastri which unfortunately doesn't seem to have a common name.

Below is a shield bug or squash bug, possibly Ceraleptus lividus but i'm by no means sure. If anybody can confirm or otherwise i'd be pleased to hear from them.

I'm very grateful to Greg for pinning this down to Gonocerus acuteangulatus. This species was originally confined to Surrey (Box Hill) but has now spread to Kent and the South East. I've actually found them at New Hythe on a couple of occasions now. Thanks also to Greenie for his help.


In all I had 41 species of birds at New Hythe today which is the most i've had for a while now. The only Hirundines seen were a couple of small flocks of Sand Martins. A Redstart was seen in the East Scrub last week as well but no sign of it today. This is a species I still need to find at New Hythe this year. I usually manage one or two in May but I missed out this year. Some of the other glaring omissions to my list include Goldcrest, Stonechat and Spotted Flycatcher. I think time is against me for achieving 100 species for the year. But you never know.
While walking back between Brookland and Abbey Mead with Dennis and Doreen Capeling we noticed some large insects in the top of the brambles. They turned out to be crickets and the one pictured below I think is a Dark Bush-Cricket, the second picture taken from below shows the ovipositor on the female. You saw it here first folks!
As I was getting into my car to go home from the car park I was pleasantly surprised to see a fellow blogger in the shape of Ken Browne come round the corner. We had a chat and compared cameras before he went off to try and find the Turtle Doves, I hope he succeded.

And's been quite a good week in the garden with Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and four Jays all paying a visit. Below are a couple of pictures of one of the four and very welcome he is too.


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Phil.
Great bumping into you today. A very good days total for New Hythe. The Cricket photo's came out well, along with the other insect pictures. Nice blog report Phil.
PS. I had no luck with the Turtle Doves ;-(

Warren Baker said...

Dont give up on that target of 100 Phil! There is easily time to reach it. Just put in some more Autumn vists. Good luck mate!!

Greenie said...

Phil ,
I agree with your comment re. photographing butterflies in the recent conditions , a nightmare .
Have been looking at your Squash/Shield Bug , and would put Coreus marginatus in the pot too .
Strange , we had 4 Jays in the garden the other day .
Good attempt at equalling Ken's 'Big 6' record .

Anonymous said...

Your bug is a Box bug, Gonocerus acuteangulatus (no longer restricted to Surrey as older books may suggest; now throughout Kent & much of southeast).


Phil said...

Greg. I did check this species out but was thrown by the references to it's historical rarity and it's original confinement to Box Hill in Surrey.
Very grateful for your help.

Phil said...

As ever, many thanks for your input.

Jann E. said...

I enjoyed your butterfly and insect shots, but that jay is amazing, compared to the jays in the USA.