Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Happy Solstice

Visited Grain again this morning between 09:00-12:00, wandering around in a t-shirt in the hot weather and despite the clear blue sky, a few migrants were in the coastal scrub. 21 blackcaps, 12 chiffchaffs and singles of whitethroat, sedge and reed warblers. I also had a group of 20 blue tits which seemed to be moving south through the scrub and a coal tit, presumably all migrants. A local fisherman mentioned to me about large green lizards that he keeps seeing near to the sandy beach just south of the outfall, presumably they are common lizards, so something for me to look out for in the future. Also 10 species of butterfly including a wall which is the first one i've seen at Grain for quite a while and thinking back probably the first one i've seen for a couple of years since my first post for Shorne marshes where I had 2. Back home and in the garden were 2 chiffchaffs, a brimstone and holly blue. Whilst gardening I also disturbed around 10 froglets which i'm right chuffed about. My pond is so full of newts that any tadpoles get eaten and never survive. This year I moved frog spawn into a newt free pool and once the tadpoles were large enough moved them into the main pond and it looks as though my strategy has worked.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Catching Up

Luckily for me a couple of rare waders that had turned up in the county had stuck around so I spent part of today having a good time at Oare Marshes looking at a white-rumped sandpiper, plus an excellent high tide wader roost. Whilst the white-rumped sandpiper remained distant other waders were a little more confiding. Large groups of golden plover flew in to join those already settled.


At one point I estimated the number of golden plovers to be 850. A group of 10 juvenile curlew sandpipers also flew in and started feeding amongst the dunlin and 2 little stints. In amongst the grazing cattle there were also 11 yellow wagtails.
I then moved onto Marshide to a site where a week ago I heard about a colony of willow emerald damselflies that had been found by Dave Brown. Unlike a week ago I had my camera and managed to find 7 individuals that were still in good condition.


So why a willow emerald? Well the pterostigma on the wings are pale and large and the appendages (this is a male) are pale and contrast with segment 10.
In this shot you can also see the forward pointing spike (bronzy colour) on the lower left side of the thorax.

I also had 3 red admirals, 2 commas a small white, banded demoiselle and blue-tailed damselfly.

They had all better watch out though cos in the bushes is lurking…


This beautiful wasp spider was at head height, what a cracker.

I then moved onto Grove Ferry and had great views (albeit slightly distant) of the juvenile Wilsons Phalarope.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Surprisingly …Grain!

I’ve recently been visiting the scrub and coastal bushes at Grain in north west Kent or to give it its proper name Grain Country Park although you wouldn’t see a sign to confirm that. Most of the time the amount of scrub and bushes is just daunting for a single observer to cover and you don’t end up seeing that much anyway but last Sunday was different. On arriving at Grain car park I had barely gone 60 yards and had already noted 1 redstart and 10+ lesser whitethroats. It was already an unprecedented visit and I was mildly panicking due to the number of migrants that I was seeing and hearing all by myself. As I wandered along the footpath that borders what is left of Clubb pits I had a group of 8 Lapland buntings fly west and they were followed by a further group of 4 a few minutes later. I continued to pick up whinchats and garden warblers, whitethroats and blackcaps. I then moved to the scrub areas bordering the Swale and added pied flycatcher and willow warbler. Also managed to clock up 8 species of butterfly as well. A great morning, fingers crossed I get another one like it soon, although it is Grain I’m writing about.