Wednesday, 24 July 2013

New Hythe Lakes - 24th July 2013

Greylag Goose - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Today I managed to get up to Leybourne Lakes for an hour and have a wander around mainly in search of Odonata and I was not disappointed; birds as expected were quiet and remained hidden most of the time. However we did see a Chiffchaff and a young Robin near the entrance, plenty of Canada and Greylag Geese on Ocean Lake together with a few Mute Swans, all had almost mature young in tow, in addition a couple of Cormorants were on a nearby boat. Seen in the bushes alongside the stream by Ocean Lake were some young Blue Tits and a female Black Cap whilst in the stream some Mallards.

Mallard  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
In the Conservation Lake were a Heron, some Coots and a couple of Dabchicks, also seen at various points were some Magpies, Wood Pigeons, a Green Woodpecker, Great Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Tufted Ducks and some Moorhens.
Tufted Duck  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Not a lot I know but my concentration was equally divided between Birds, Butterflies and Odonata so on to the other categories, at the first bridge by Ocean lake were some Comma butterflies whilst among the many Common Blue Damselflies (including three or four ‘homochrome’ forms)were a fair few Banded Demoiselles.
Banded Demoiselle  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Common Blue Damselfly  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Common Blue (homochrome) Damselfly - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Alongside The Ocean Lake were Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, Small Skippers and some Six Spot Burnet Moths whilst at the fork for the Dipping Pond were a couple of Black Tailed Skimmers.
Small Skipper - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens

Small Skipper - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens

Gatekeeper - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Six Spot Burnet Moth - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Black Tailed Skimmer - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
At the Dipping Pool a Migrant Hawker patrolled unceasingly whilst a few Emerald Damselflies flitted among the reeds, another Migrant Hawker was egg laying.
Emerald Damselfly - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Migrant Hawker Egg Laying - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
On the return route alongside the wood by the Reed Pond a pair of large brown dragonflies were hunting as they were not competing they may have been a pair of Brown Hawkers, but I am not good enough at identification to confirm this, also on this stretch was a Peacock Butterfly.
Peacock Butterfly - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
As always I am happy to learn from my mistakes so please let me know if I have made any identification.
A Baby Coot - not quite the fluffy duckling that Mallards and Tufteds have.


Monday, 15 July 2013

Cliffe Pools 13-7-2013

Saturday saw Wendy and I take a trip out to Cliffe, it being July and scorching hot I did not expect to see much bird-wise and hoped that the Butterflies and Dragonflies would make up for this but it was a lifetime spot that made the day for me. From the Car Park a scan of Kingfisher Pool revealed a number of Black Headed Gulls, Coots, Canada Geese and Greylag Geese whilst the odd Wood Pigeon and Carrion Crow were in the woods behind us. The butterfly spotting got off to a quick start with a Small Heath, Small White and several Meadow Browns whilst Common Blue Damselflies abounded.
Common Blue Damselfly - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The walk to Radar Pool gave forth Goldfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, and several Comma Butterflies.

Comma Butterfly - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

From the viewing platform over Radar Pool I was slightly saddened that with the exception of a couple of Common Terns and 3 Oystercatchers the nearby islands had been taken over by Black Headed Gulls who were also making a huge amount of noise from the pool behind me, I am sure there was more variety on the islands last year. The water provided more Coots, Great Crested Grebes, a solitary Tufted Duck, a single Dabchick and some Pochard.
Unknown (to me) Dragonfly
On the way to Flamingo Pool I saw some distant House Sparrows and a Great Tit. There were more white butterflies along with the few blues however they remained unidentified due to their constant movement (hence why no Photos either) Fortunately this Cinnabar Moth happily stopped for a photo.
Cinnabar Moth - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

On Flamingo there were a number of Great Crested Grebes including a pair briefly displaying.
Great Crested Grebes - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Along the far shore were a large number of Bar Tailed Godwits all in summer plumage along with a few Lapwings and what I believe to be Whimbrel (though I am more than happy to be corrected to Curlew - the view through my scope was not any clearer than this heavily enlarged shot).
BH Gulls Lapwings and Whimbrels? - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
There were also 2 flocks of Avocets with a few Little Egrets and some Shelducks. The heat was getting to me so I returned to the car seeing a Collared Dove, a Dunnock and a Magpie on the way. I decided to drive round to the other side of Radar where sadly the water provided nothing new however I did find a pair of Whitethroats busy collecting food for fledglings.
Whitethroat - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
I was attracted to a small bush by some reeds from which I could hear some high pitched peeping (not unlike a squeaky wheel on a bike) and decided I was looking for a really small bird and then saw one flitting around at the back of the bush, I then saw some tail feathers of what I thought was a dove in the bush and the small flitting bird which turned out to be a Reed Warbler landed next to it.
Reed Warbler with young Cuckoo in background (apologies but autofocus latched on to leaves not the Warbler)
Then it dawned on me, the dove was a Cuckoo and I was watching a pair of Reed Warblers frantically gathering food for it. Whenever either of the adults returned the Cuckoo let out the high pitched squeaking which did not equate to its size in any way. I was fascinated and as they were unconcerned by my presence I was able to watch them for about 15 minutes, despite the length of time photo opportunities were very few and I had no wish to disturb them with random clicking.
Juvenile Cuckoo  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Other sightings for the day included a Heron flying low over the BH Gull island being heavily mobbed, a Green Woodpecker, a Cormorant and some Starlings, heard but not seen were Jackdaws and a Chaffinch. Other wildlife seen was a rapidly scampering lizard, a pair of young adult foxes and this dragonfly whose wings glistened with coppery sparkles my knowledge is poor on Odonata and I am going to plumb for a female Darter of some sort.
Female Common Darter ?
Only 26 bird sightings for the day, but a once in a lifetime experience with the Cuckoo especially as numbers appear to be plummeting (in fact this was the first Cuckoo I have seen or heard this year) so I was more than happy.