Saturday, 1 June 2013

Friday 31st. May 2013 - continued .

As I arrived at the Dungeness RSPB entrance , a look at the feeders and the nest boxes failed to find a Tree Sparrow , although I could hear them calling . Obviously no Kestrels nesting above the nest boxes , as the whole area was alive with wild bees .
The slow crawl along the track , usually full of interest , failed to live up to expectation , with just a single Common Whitethroat  seen and a Reed Warbler heard by the time I was 2/3rds. along .
My luck changed when I heard a Cuckoo calling , but it was some distance away , being blown about by the wind as it perched on a strand of barbed wire .
Concentrating on the Cuckoo , I almost overlooked a closer bird , a Hobby perched this time on a fence post .

Whilst on sight , several more sightings , all on the wing , but even better , the sky cleared and the sun came out . From the Visitor Centre to Christmas Dell you would never believe how quiet it was , with just Gulls over the water and a few Reed Warblers in the reeds . But amongst all the nothingness , the greatest rarity of the day was found , in the form of Phil / Sharp by Nature , a species rarely heard from never mind seen . After a catch up and a moan over the lack of wildlife , we walked together towards Dengemarsh Hide .
On the way , the Bramble bushes were covered with hundreds of these caterpillars . I thought at the time they were Knotgrass , but I should have realised that by the sheer number that they were in fact Brown-tailed Moth . The ones that can produce a nasty rash if touched .
Also found , were many of this lager caterpillar , here we go , head in noose again , which I think are Drinker . Phil went left , and I went right at the junction before Dengemarsh Hide . At Hookers Pit , the same or another Cuckoo was calling and often replied to by the Marsh Frogs .
Over Hookers Pit , large numbers of Swifts were gorging on the insects encouraged out by the sun .
Along the small track back towards the car park , a good sized Grass Snake , it's opaque eyes indicating that it will soon be 'sloughing' , shedding it's skin .
The slow crawl back down the track produced only the second heard Sedge Warbler , and just about a shot of this one as it disappeared .
At the farmhouse , a Tree Sparrow 'with bling' was more willing to pose ,
and I think I solved where the calls heard previously , came from .
It would be good to say that the ARC pit had more happening , but apart from this male Reed Bunting singing it's heart out , a few more unseen Reed Warblers and several Mute Swans , it was basically more of the same . Even a walk around the Willow Trail failed to produce any other bird species , but did produce a few Damselfies .
Immature male Common Blue .
This specimen should mature to be a green form (90% of population) female Azure ,
and a very recently emerged , probably female , Banded Demoiselle . A visit the screen on the other side of the pit , found one birder , who informed me that 'if I was there a few minutes ago , a Marsh Harrier caught and flew off with it's meal' , such is life , and birding . Returning to the car , another meeting with the 'rare species' , who had done about the same as I had on that side of the road

Before heading off to pick Carol up , a quick look at the top end of the ARC pit from the road , found nothing more exciting than an Oystercatcher in it's nest , with mate in attendance .


Spock said...

Both caterpillars are correct, [getting better greenie]. We will get you good at moths before long :)

Marc Heath said...

Sounds like a good visit Greenie.