PEACOCK BUTTERFLY, MY FAVOURITE
I'll start with the only bird news of the week; an Osprey which flew purposefully past as I stood open mouthed on the patio on Wednesday morning. If it hadn't been for the strident call of an indignant Herring Gull in hot pursuit I probably wouldn't have seen it. I take back anything derogatory I may have said in the past about Herring Gulls!
Other than that i've found it all quiet on the avian front, in keeping with other watchers and bloggers from what I understand. Although a visit to New Hythe lakes with Terry on Wednesday did produce a couple of Common Sandpipers from the bucket seat, two Kingfishers, one carrying a small fish,and a small flock of what looked like Shovelers flying over. There was nothing for it but to turn our attention to the undergrowth, which is where I found the splendid Speckled Bush Cricket below lurking.
In the sunny spells hoverflies made an appearance and the two species below were the most noticeable due to their numbers and striking appearance. I've given the ID's my best shot, but my best shot is sometimes not up to the mark. Here goes........
I also got my first shot this year of a Migrant Hawker below. Brown Hawkers, Emperors, Common Darters and Ruddy Darters were also on the wing.
The picture below is of a Small Red-eyed damselfly, taken from a distance at the dipping pond in the country park. I've included it partly because of the interest in this fairly uncommon damselfly, but also because it's perched on what seems to be a floating mass of black eggs. One of several such clumps which looked remarkably like frog spawn, which it obviously isn't. Any ideas?
I went to Elmley RSPB reserve on Thursday for a few hours with my Uncle. We hadn't planned on Elmley, our first choice was Oare marshes, but when we arrived it was absolutely chocker. Luckily Elmley wasn't too far away. We had a quick look around the small pond first and saw plenty of Marsh Frogs above who were basking around the margins, no doubt cursing our intrusion as they jumped headlong into the water. A small Grass snake also slipped easily into the shallows as we approached, quickly disappearing into the reeds before I could point my camera.
Once again though the birds were few and far between and apart from a couple of distant Marsh Harriers nothing much was seen. Most of the Yellow Ragwort plants carried one or two black and yellow striped caterpillars of the Cinnabar moth. I like these, they stay still while you take their picture, especially if someone is holding the plant for you in the strong breeze.
Butterflies were plentiful and species seen included Small Skipper, Small Heath (above), Peacocks, Small Coppers (below), Small Tortoiseshells, Gatekeepers, Red Admirals, Meadow Browns and Common Blues.
At the first hide we did see a few waders, including Lapwings, Common Sandpipers, Green Sandpipers, Ringed Plover, a Greenshank and a Ruff. A couple of Yellow Wagtails and a Kestrel made up the numbers.
I only got one picture of a dragonfly which was this lovely Ruddy Darter above which joined us for lunch on one of the benches near the hide.
I was lucky enough to see Ruddy Darter, Migrant Hawker and Brown Hawker in the garden this afternoon. Only the Migrant Hawker stopped for a picture or two, above and below, i'm very grateful to it. I'm going to miss my garden when we move!