Tuesday 28 October 2014

Dungeness,Tern and Flycatcher.

Yesterday in the sunshine Pete and I had a great birdwatching day at Dungeness. It was very poor photographically but some good birds seen including Red-crested Pochard, Black-necked Grebe, Bearded Tit and Great White Egret. We then had a call from Matt telling us that the Cattle Egret was still at Pett Levels so a quick call there was successful eventually. Then back to Rye where we saw 2 Barn Owls from the Bittern viewpoint. Several Clouded Yellow were also seen at Dunge.

Black-necked Grebes.

After playing around and cropping the White-winged Black Tern pictures this one turned out quite well. We didn't go and see the tern again yesterday but apparently it was still showing well.

White-winged Black Tern.

Today I had another quick attempt at the fantastic Red-breasted Flycatcher that has now been at Beachy Head for 7 days. This was my 4th visit to see this bird and I did manage to get my best image yet, although well short of the 2 images Matt managed today!! He also added quite a bit of excitement by finding a Little Bunting which unfortunately did a vanishing act before anyone else had managed to see it, although a couple of people heard it as it flew over.

Red-breasted Flycatcher.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Long-tailed Blue one year on.

Earlier in the year I was very surprised (amazed) to get an e mail from Philip Howse OBE who informed me he was writing a book concerning the colour, pattern and mimicry of butterflies. The book is called 'Seeing Butterflies' and the publishers had seen an image of mine that they wanted to use as the cover picture. At this point I checked it wasn't April 1st!!  I sent a copy of the photograph to him but never expected it to be used, so I was further surprised when I looked for the book on Amazon a few weeks ago and saw that the picture had indeed been used. The photograph was of the male Long-tailed Blue that Nigel had found at Birling Gap on October 5th 2013. Fortunately he had phoned me to tell me about the find and when I arrived we re-found the butterfly after a lot of searching. The book came out October 8th this year, one year and three days after the picture was taken. Once again a big thanks to Nigel for the great find!!

The original photograph.

The book is published in collaboration with the Royal Entomological Society and is available at all good book sellers!!

Tuesday 21 October 2014

White-winged Black Tern.

At last I was able to get out for a full day yesterday. With the weather looking pretty good to the East it was decided to go to Rye Harbour. This was made more inviting with the possibility of my first ever White-winged Black Tern that had been at Castle Water since Saturday.
Just after arriving at the hide the Tern flew in and started to preen amid the Green Plover flock. Also present were 3 Little Stint, a Golden Plover, a Ruff along with sightings of Marsh Harrier and Kingfisher. After a while of watching the Tern come and go we headed to the western end of Castle Water where we were able to watch the Tern hawking for flying insects. Trying to get some pictures was not easy with the bird moving quickly and not coming particularly close but I was pleased to get some shots of this spectacular bird.

White-winged Black Tern.

Even this late in the year several butterflies were seen with up to 8 Clouded Yellow and Red Admiral and from the hide a fresh looking Small Copper. Dragonflies were also very numerous with several male Migrant Hawkers and lots of Common Darters, including several mating pairs seen.

Friday 10 October 2014

Tawny Pipit at Tide Mills.

Late morning I had a call from Matt telling me he had re-found the Tawny Pipit that was first seen earlier in the week. Before I got there he had had some decent close views and managed a few good shots. I had never seen this species before and I was pleased to get a few record shots of this great little bird as it did its roadrunner impression!!

Tawny Pipit.

Following this it was a walk along the Cuckmere where once again the local Dunlin put on a great show. 


Thursday 9 October 2014

Autumn Blues.

With things not really going too much to plan at the moment it has been difficult to get the time or the inclination to get out lately. In fact the only trip out over the last week was a walk from Woodingdean last Friday. Although it was an enjoyable walk there wasn't that much of interest to see. Possibly my last Whinchat of the autumn and several Red Admirals flying around, but the most interesting thing was strangely 'Snails'!! At the very top of the hill there were around 20 fence posts covered with snails that were presumably there to see the winter out. Why they would choose the tops of posts, that would be more exposed to any really cold weather, I do not know. If anyone knows why they should do this please feel free to comment.

Woodingdean Snails.

Other than that I have spent a bit of time in my garden hide (the shed) to try to get used to photographing birds again. Not much luck yet and certainly nothing rare expected but a few shots of Blue Tits so far.

Blue Tit.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Ten Species on October 1st.

With the 3rd brood Wall Brown being so good this year I was quite keen to see if any would be showing on Pevensey Levels, not an area where the 3rd brood would normally be expected. However, despite arriving in drizzle, the weather soon improved and although a strong breeze picked up it was warm enough for several butterflies. Nigel and I were very pleased to get our target with 4 Wall Brown seen and all were strangely females. A total of ten species of butterfly were seen including a very fresh Small Tortoiseshell and a Clouded Yellow. The most numerous species was the Red Admiral, which also produced the only photo of the day. Other than butterflies a very nice Grass Snake was seen warming up in the sun and Common Blue Damselfly, Migrant Hawkers and lots of Common Darters were around.

Red Admiral.