Sunday, 25 September 2016

A trio of egrets!

RSPB Havering Local Group's first coach trip of the new event's season yesterday Dungeness. Twenty two of us were on the outing and our first stop was the power station at Dungeness.

 After checking out the power station for the regular Black Redstarts without success, a female was seen later by some nearer to Dungeness Observatory, we climbed the shingle bank for some sea watching. The wind was stiff and coming in off the sea making viewing tricky, masses of gulls were moving to and from the power station outfall along with Common Terns and a few Sandwich Terns. Three Arctic Skuas drifted by low to the water and quite distant stopping occasionally to harry the gulls. Gannets adults and juveniles some spectacularly diving for food were moving by. While back inland a couple of Wheatears and one Whinchat were spotted.

Wheatear - Russ Sherriff

Back on the coach and we travelled the short distance back to the RSPB reserve. Stopping at the main entrance allowed some to alight and start their walk at the ARC Pits. Where they spotted possibly the bird of the day as it flew over and away from them. An orangy looking Harrier and either a Montague's or a Pallid the jury is still out!

A very interesting Harrier - Tom Bell
From the main hide 200+ Golden Plover were on the islands along with Lapwing and two Ruff.


Near to the main entrance and doing exactly what it's name suggests a Cattle Egret was feeding alongside the cows. Unfortunately it would often disappear out of site in to one of the ditches and was missed by a few.

Around the reserve lots of mainly Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers were seen.

 Female Common Darter

Male Common Darter


another male Common Darter

Our second Egret species was soon found with an amazing seven Great White Egrets on show at once. We actually saw more Great Whites than Little with eight or nine Great Whites around the reserve!
5 of the 7 Great White Egrets

This Great White showed better in the afternoon - Tom Bell


and a Little Egret - Russ Sherriff

 Common Sandpiper

Ruff - Russ Sherriff

Ruff - Russ Sherriff

Small Copper butterfly

 All in all we had a cracking day in glorious sunshine, some other highlights were Kingfisher, lots of Chiffchaffs, Marsh Harriers and Kestrels. Over seventy species of bird were recorded by our group and I hope to see you on the next trip which is to RSPB Titchwell in north Norfolk at the end of October.

Reed Bunting - Russ Sherriff 








Sunday, 11 September 2016

Dagenham Chase

Spent the morning at The Chase, highlights were 4 Whinchats, a flyby Kingfisher and a Stonechat which I only spotted when checking my images! Still fair numbers of Chiffchaff and Whitethroat around although I only noted 1 Lesser Whitethroat today.
Common Darter

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Speckled Wood there were plenty of these around today

Speckled Wood

Whinchat - three with a stonechat on Travellers Field but never came close unfortunately



Thursday, 8 September 2016

A Hummer in the garden

A Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum spent about five minutes this afternoon nectaring on one of our Salvias (Hot Lips). This is only the third one I have seen in our garden, although the second was about two weeks ago, seen disappearing over the fence, pretty sure it was a Hummer!

Wingspan 40-50 mm.
An immigrant species which sometimes occurs in large numbers, especially if there's an extended period of warm weather or southerly airflow.
It flies in the sunshine and hovers in front of flowers, sipping the nectar with its long proboscis, very much like the hummingbird which gives it its name.
The larvae feed on bedstraw (Galium), and some of these may hatch and give rise to autumn adults in an influx year. Taken from UK Moths website.





Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Blue House Farm

Spent a few hours today at EWT Blue House Farm. Pectoral Sandpiper was still showing from the first hide. Well when I say showing, it spent a lot of time hidden behind a few small straw like mounds and never really came very close to the hide. There were also 8 Ruff, 5 Little Ringed Plovers and a Green Sandpiper along with Lapwings. Two Greenshanks from the third hide and a few more Ruff, also A Water Rail scuttled across a small open area of water while a couple of Bearded Tits pinged from the reeds. Along the seawall a Wheatear showed well and Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Curlew and one Golden Plover were out on the saltmarsh.

Rubbish shot of the Pectoral Sandpiper

Ruff

Ruff

Little Ringed Plover

Stumbled across this Wheatear on the seawall

Wheatear

It obliged by sitting up on a fence post




Thursday, 1 September 2016

Bentley Priory in Harrow

Had a brief look at Boot Pond in Bentley Priory, The toe end of the boot was bunded from the rest of the pond back in 2014, creating hopefully a fish free area of the pond. The pond is looking good and the bund has vegetated nicely.

male Blue-tailed Damselfly





male Blue-tailed Damselfly

male Blue-tailed Damselfly

male Blue-tailed Damselfly

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Rainham Marshes

Been a while but I had a walk around the reserve this morning. Very quite for passerines except goldfinches of which there were plenty. Heard three Cetti's singing and a Chiffchaff, also saw just one Whitethroat. Best action was on Aveley Pool from the second viewing platform if you walk around anti-clockwise. There were 26 Little Egrets together, a juvenile Hobby hunting above the pools, Wood, Green and 3 Common Sandpipers, 3 Ruff, 5 Common Snipe, 26 Black-tailed Godwits and 4 Greenshanks. All waders were distant at the rear of the pools and with the heat haze getting even a record shot was hopeless. Also a female Marsh Harrier appeared from the reeds occasionally.
Twelve of the 26 Little Egrets on Aveley Pools

Male Kestrel below from the viewing point just before the woodland.



Saturday, 27 August 2016

Lesser Yellowlegs @ RSPB Vange Marsh

Day off yesterday so I spent the morning at Vange Marsh, another hot and sunny day with a heat haze across the marsh which made viewing the distant waders tricky. There was a superb selection though with Black-tailed Godwit the most numerous 40+, Redshanks and 7 Spotted Redshanks, Green and Common Sandpipers, 5 Ruff and a Lesser Yellowlegs.
View from the west bank

Water lilies in the ditch 


Terrible picture of the Lesser Yellowlegs!

Terrible picture of the Lesser Yellowlegs!