After yesterdays successful twitch for finally my first Marsh Sandpiper in the UK at Cliffe Pools in Kent (6 Black-winged Stilts also present), I was back on the motorways today slightly further north in Essex to Canvey Island for yet more Dragonfly action. For years I've been wanting to see the Southern Migrant Hawkers that have colonised certain parts of Essex, and most notably on the delightful(??) island of Canvey. Me and Dad left early and arrived on site just after 7am and soon found our first male Hawker. Due to the cloud cover we only managed to see around 10 males, and while most were settled and showing well, by the end of the morning we mostly saw them hunting along the long ditch. Also present were many Scarce Emerald Damselflies. A great morning out.
Despite regular visits to the Cuckmere recently, this evening was the first notable session for migrants. The lower water levels on the meanders doing some good as two juvenile Little Ringed Plovers were present. Other common bits were present but most pleasing were the two young Oystercatchers that have finally spread their wings. How birds like these survive on the scrape is a miracle but this is now the second year running of successful fledging.
Its been a few years since I saw Purple Emperors in Sussex, so I made the effort on what is likely to be the last good day for a while. The Knepp Estate seemed the most reliable, and although its not the greatest place to find them low down, I had several nice views of 13 individuals including one on the ground. The usual other bits seen/heard during the four hours I was present.
On Saturday, a walk in the Cuckmere produced my first Common Sandpiper of the autumn, and the two young Oystercatchers are nearly ready to spread their wings.
Another long hot day out in the Sussex countryside was very successful. I started at a private site where a male Honey Buzzard and male Goshawk flew through, and then the rest of the day was spent on Ashdown Forest catching up on some newly emerged Dragonflies (namely Brilliant Emerald and Keeled Skimmer) and a few different Orchid species, and a bonus singing Wood Warbler. A cone and a flake was also very welcome.
male Honey Buzzard - click on image to enlarge
Birds Nest Orchid
singing Wood Warbler
Brilliant Emerald - just about make out the incurving anal appendages and the yellow frons. My first perched photo of this species.
A brilliant morning was spent with Dad watching and photographing these superb Common Clubtail Dragonflies in West Sussex today. With sightings during the week (many thanks Simon and John) we were semi-optimistic in finding one, but to find up to ten individuals and for them to be showing so well was completely unexpected. This was a new species for me which now nearly completes the set for the UK Dragonfly/Damselfly list.