Sunday, 30 May 2010


On friday,after reading Paul Trodds piece on Rye Harbour I realised that I had nt been there for a couple of years so off to Sussex it was.It was exactly forty miles from my house to the car park at Rye but it was worth every foot.Three species of tern were present, common,sandwich and a solitary little tern,waders included avocet with at least three young, dunlin,ringed plover,bar tailed godwit,redshank and oystercatcher,hunreds of nesting black headed gulls with young,the noise and the smell were brilliant,good numbers of med gulls were nesting too.Three male wheatears were seen skylarks and linnets as well.The stars of the show were the sandwich terns, a never ending procession of birds returning to their nests with an assortment of fish for their chicks.The little tern was found in the quarry pools and was fairly distant so only poor pics Iam afraid but compare the size to the adjacent common tern and you realise how small they really are.


adonis blue on horseshoe vetch
Three flowers now in bloom on the cliffs are SAINFOIN which in french means wholesome hay and is commonly used as fodder for cattle there, NOTTINGHAM CATCHFLY, a campion with slightly sticky stems and WALLFLOWER grows wild on the cliff face.Also flowering now is birds foot trefoil the food plant of common blue butterfly caterpillars,it has many local names my favourite being grannies toe nails.Horseshoe vetch has masses of yellow flowers and is food for the adonis blue caterpillars.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


Adonis in greek mythology was a youth beloved by Aphrodite,Mother Shipton was a yorkshire prophetess born in Knaresborough,however on sunday morning a beautiful blue butterfly,the adonis and a rather well marked moth called mother shipton were seen near each other on langdon cliffs.As well as these two there were lots of wall butterflies out and these two common blues were making love in the green grass,not behind the stadium though(brown eyed girl,Van Morrison).Small heath, was also seen,they as far as I know never rest with open wings but always closed.On the bird front the ravens appear to have moved on now but it was pleasing to see three peregrines I was becoming alittle concerned about them as they have not been seen as regularly as usual this month,plenty of swallows were still arriving but little else on the move.

Saturday, 22 May 2010


After yesterdays greyness Friday was a day full of sunshine and after lunch I took myself off to Stodmarsh specifically to watch the Hobbies hunting down their dragonfly prey.taking up a position on the Lampen wall near the tower hide I didn t have to wait long for the performance to start what eyesight ,what speed and agility simply marvellous.I dont know how many there were in total but at least a dozen were in the air and they were slaying plenty of dragons.


I forgot to mention that Elmley is probably the best place to see hares,there were quite a few  around the reserve on wednesday morning.Also stoats can be seen running along the paths near the southwall hide.
Thursday morning at five o clock as the day began at Dover docks it was cool and grey,not what we had hoped for.The only birds worth a mention on the crossing were gannets,magnificent adult birds hung in the air at the stern,like Eric Cantonas seagulls,I digress.The day continued grey and gloomy,a visit to a small reserve at Ardres which was similar to Stodmarsh yielded the usual marshland birds but nothing out of the ordinaire.From here a drive to the coastal dune reserve of Mont St Frieux with the prospect of the mythical black woodpecker crested tits and woodlark.After a couple of hours searching through the mixed woodland and clearings we had found a pair of crested tits ,nuthatches, buzzard ,treecreeper,great spot and green woodpecker and a distant tree pipit, but the black woodpecker still eludes me and the woodlarks were not showing either.On the way back to Calais we went to the marshes at Bazinghen and Tardinghen,as we left the latter  a superb male Hen Harrier was seen hunting successfully last seen moving away with a young lapwing chick in its talons.As Calais appeared ahead the clouds started to clear and the first hint of sunshine glinted on the water of La Manche.Zilch oiseau in Calais harbour and only one juvenile gannet on the crossing.Too dull for photos,sorry,thats all folks.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Another early start today to Stodmarsh no less,good birding but not many photo opportunities turtle doves were to the fore as were several cuckoos,plenty of warblers,but very few swallows or swifts today,four greenshank from the ramp a kingfisher and apair of bearded tits were the highlights.Apair of common terns had taken up residence on a raft in front of green hide, the female I assume was being brought food by the male in the hope of something in return I expect.When I got home  I  found a new species for the garden hovering around the pond,a large red damsel fly was making itself at home .I am off to france tomorrow with Peter Wells so watch this space.


Elmley RSPB reserve on the Isle of Sheppey  is a fantastic place for birds but you need to be fairly fit to walk to the far hide at Spitend and the tide needs to be rising.On monday I arrived fairly early and had the place  to myself for four hours ,bliss.The entrance track is very good for seeing lapwing, redshank oystercatchers yellow wagtails and skylarks in close up using your car as a mobile hide.Avocets are the main attraction on the scrapes but a pair of spoonbills were sleeping,as usual, there on monday too distant to photograph but they did in fact wake up later on and one was an adult male with a fine yellow spatula.Reed and sedge warblers are fairly easy to see as are marsh harriers,other raptors included a pair of buzzards and two hobbies,one of which posed nicely if not quite  close enough to the road.Other sites on Sheppey are Capel Fleet ,Shellness and Warden Point.


A lovely sunny sunday morning on the cliffs made a welcome change from the cool conditions of early may.As early as 0730 there were dingy skippers and green hairstreaks on the wing,but the highlight in langdon hole was my first spotted flycatcher of the year.These once common summer visitors would arrive as regular as clockwork on May 1st,but now are no more than passage migrants locally and not in great numbers at that.It was heartening however to find several pairs of yellowhammers had arrived and were taking up territories in the area.

Saturday, 15 May 2010


After lunch today I made a quick trip to langdon cliffs to see what was about, quite a few butterflies were in evidence until a big black cloud put in an unwelcome appearance.Orangetips,green hairstreak,dingy skipper,small copper,peacock,speckled wood and an unidentified blue were all seen but the gloom brought an early end to the visit.As luck would have it this proved quite fortuitous,for on leaving the NTcar park a large bird of prey was circling over the valley.By the time Ihad parked and got my bins out it had drifted a bit further away but was clearly a Honey Buzzard,back in the car and a quick drive to a better vantage point and yes it had disappeared without trace as they frequently do.So a gloomy afternoon was  made considerably brighter,just like that.


I know this subject has been covered on other blogs but a trip to bansai bonk to see the Duke of Burgundy butterflies and lady orchids is an annual may time jaunt well worth recording.The lady orchids are slowly coming into full bloom and the three pics show how varied they can be in markings.Early purple orchids can also be found in the woodland off the path from Garlinge Green.