Hooded Grebes - Patagonia - November 2016

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Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Garden & Frog Firle 30/6/13

A Moth trap produced a bit of variety this morning, with the big interest in the Hawk-Moths. Afterwards a walk up on Frog Firle produced a good variety of Butterflies and Orchids.

Garden Moths -
Lime Hawk-Moth - 1
Privet Hawk-Moth - 1
Small Elephant Hawk-Moth
Sycamore - 1
Poplar Grey - 1
Spectacle - 3
Small Magpie - 1

Frog Firle -
Marbled White - 2
Small Tortoiseshell - 15
Adonis Blue - 2
Small Blue - 3
Burnt Orchid (late form) - 56

 Lime Hawk-Moth
 Small Elephant, Privet and Lime Hawk-Moths
 Burnt Orchid
Small Tortoiseshell

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Seaford Head 27/6/13

A late morning walk on the Head produced hardly anything. The only bird of note was a Red Kite drifting north over Harry's Bush.

An overnight Moth trap in the garden produced 3 Small Elephant Hawkmoths, and a good number of the more common Moths.

Red Kite over Seaford Head

Monday, 24 June 2013

Orchids in East Sussex 24/6/13

A great morning out visiting many Orchid sites along the downs. A total of 9 species were seen, but surprisingly I couldn't find any Bee Orchids despite seeing some last year in various locations.

Totals are:

Man Orchid - 1 (courtesy of Peter Whitcomb)
Fly Orchid - 6
Greater Butterfly Orchid - 50
White Helleborine - 14
Fragrant Orchid - hundreds
Early Purple Orchid - 1
Twayblade - hundreds
Common Spotted Orchid - hundreds
Pyramidal Orchid - 3


 Man Orchid
 Fly Orchid
 Greater Butterfly Orchid
 White Helleborine
 Fragrant Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid

Friday, 21 June 2013

Isle of Wight 21/6/13

A successful day on the Island with Mick, John and Jake G. Mick drove and we got the 8.30am ferry from Portsmouth. Once on the island, it was half hour to the superb female WILSON'S PHALAROPE (my 2nd in the UK). It showed well on and off in the hour we were at Yarmouth, sometimes pretty close as well. It was a stunner.

Next stop was Compton Bay where we saw a minimum of 6 Glanville Fritillaries on the sloping cliffs. A new species for me at long last, and my incentive for visiting today. Also we saw a Clouded Yellow and Painted Ladies being the only migrants.

A few disruptions on our return journey due to an engine blowing up on one of the ferries creating a long delay meant we arrived back on home turf at 8.30pm. A great day out and a good laugh at the same time.

 Wilson's Phalarope


 Glanville Fritillary
Wood Tiger Moth


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Eastbourne Downs 20/6/13

My Dad came across this hybrid Frog Orchid x Common Spotted Orchid along the Eastbourne Downs. A good looking Orchid and even better its the first record for Sussex.
 




Monday, 17 June 2013

Elephants 17/6/13

Small Elephant + Elephant Hawk Moth

Saturday, 15 June 2013

PACIFIC SWIFT - Trimley Marshes, Suffolk 15/6/13

With the mega alert at 10.45, I anxiously got my gear together awaiting a hectic twitch. That soon came true as the Pacific Swift was still present at 11.10 meaning that it could potentially stay. Thankfully it did and with driving at a sensible speed (???) I soon arrived, but not, as I still had a 2 mile jog to go.
A couple of pacemakers were at hand, and half hour later (I'm not as fit as I was) I was watching this magnificent bird. What a relief, and also a fantastic looking bird. 
 



Pacific Swift at Trimley Marshes

Friday, 14 June 2013

Cuckmere Haven/Valley 14/6/13

A very nice walk up to Charleston Reedbed and then yet another look at the AGP. Pretty quiet as expected, but a nice selection of Dragon/Damselflies and plenty of Reed Warblers on territory. The AGP was showing very well, I wonder if tonight will prove tempting for it to move on elsewhere.

Totals are:

American Golden Plover - 1
Reed Warbler - 8
Black Swan - 1
Yellowhammer - 2
House Martin - 1

 AGP preparing for it's Friday night bunk!!!
 
 American Golden Plover
 Yellowhammer
Swallow

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Grey-headed vs Ashy Headed Wagtails

Without reference to any books, following on from DC's comments on his blog, I have researched a couple of photos today. No doubt any decision will be made on this bird but its good to learn a few things.



Grey-headed Wagtail at Cuckmere Haven - 12/6/13
 
Italy Wagtail - Motacilla flava cinereocapilla
 
Comparing the above two photos is actually quite difficult. The expected dark necklace effect is very evident in the Cuckmere bird, whereas the Ashy does not reveal this.
The supercilium behind the eye in the Ashy is very evident for a 1st summer/female bird, and I would have thought would have stood out more on the Cuckmere bird if there was any hint of Ashy.
 
http://www.manchesterbirding.com/greyheadedwagtailhybrideltondocmanchesterbirding.com.pdf - shows an adult which is believed to be a hybrid thunbergi/flava.
 
The image below has been brightened and contrasted beyond belief to get an idea of how dark the ear coverts are compared to the rest of the head. The dark eye stripe is still visible and the ear coverts are darker compared to the rear of the head, and the crown. Above the eye seems to be the darkest.

Grey-headed Wagtail in Cuckmere Haven
 
 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Potential Grey-headed Wagtail - Cuckmere Haven 12/6/13

This chappy was found mid afternoon along the river bank south of Exceat Bridge. Obviously very noticeable straight away with no supercilium, dark blue/grey head and pale throat with yellow strongest on the vent weakening out up to the upper breast. With these features combined, there is potential for it to be a 1st summer Grey-headed (Yellow) Wagtail.
 
The pale throat is very misleading though 1st summer birds can show this, see http://www.birdingworld.co.uk/CleySpring2007.htm .
 
On the right side of the head, close ups reveal some very disjointed white marks. The white mark nearer the base of the bill is a feature of thunbergi, with other pale marking possibly showing characteristics of Ashy-headed Wagtail, but this would stand out much more so. http://birdingfrontiers.com/2013/05/13/grey-headed-wagtail-id/ shows a female which much more white above the eye, so I would imagine a 1st summer male would show this also.
 
Anyway, comments welcome and i'l dig deeper for more info.
 



probable Grey-headed Wagtail in Cuckmere Haven



American Golden Plover still present this evening.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

American Golden Plover - Cuckmere Haven 11/6/13

I was very fortunate enough to have found this brilliant looking AGP. First found at 11.45am on the scrape, my initial impression was American, though knowing the somewhat difficulty identification issues related to this family, I played a very cautious game. It took flight several times and showed very well in the grotty weather, however I had no camera with me. After several phone calls, driving rain and dodgy photos through my phone and bins, the id. was still not certain.

John and Doreen Cooper, soon followed by Bob Self arrived on site, and with decent views and clinching photos of the underwing, the id. was clinched. Maybe to some a delayed pager message, to me it was best being cautious, but thankfully many got to see this county mega. Throughout the evening it showed well, and with good weather several plumage features were added to the notes which are detailed below.

The last twitchable AGP in Sussex was back in 1988 and the last was in 2010, both in West Sussex. This is the 3rd record for Sussex.

 
the long legs are shown here along with the rather small rounded head
and short bill. Also a rather thin looking appearance.
the dark centred mantle feathers are easily contrasted against
the pale edged juvenile tertials and coverts. On close inspection
the coverts and tertials were very worn, indicative of a 1st summer.
the long primary projection, roughly 2-3cm past the tail tip. European GP would show
1cm projection and Pacific GP would project no more than the tail tip.
Close inspection reveals 4 visible primary tips past the tertial tip,
ruling out PGP.
the thick white line behind the ear coverts very noticeable, but only
on this side.
this image portrays the slight foot projection, ruling out European GP, but
also too short for Pacific GP. The wings also appear
long and thin.
the grey underwing with no obvious white rules out European
GP.
American Golden Plover in Cuckmere

Frogs and Turtles 10/6/13

Spent the afternoon looking at the Frog Orchids near Eastbourne where I counted 25 spikes.

The moderate SE wind then sent me down Splash Point where in 2.5 hours Bob and me saw:

Great Skua - 1
Sandwich Tern - 10
Common Scoter - 50
Mediterranean Gull - 7

Afterwards, with such a lovely evening, I cycled up to Bo-Peep where there were lots of Corn Buntings and Skylarks, but best of all was a purring Turtle Dove. Good to see it back again.



Frog Orchid

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Devon .....hmmm 5/6/13

Myself, Jon King and Ads Bowley successfully twitched the long staying Lesser Whitethroat this morning in Newton Abbot, Devon.
After I drove through the night, we arrived at 3.40am, and first saw the bird around 5am. It was very skulky (reminding me of an Orphean!!) and after listening to it for a long while it was decided it was an eastern form. There was a hint that this bird might have been an Orphean, but no idea where that rumour started.

After this great start, we caught up with Cirl Buntings and Dippers, before moving to south Wiltshire for the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly.

I arrived home at 4.40pm, needing some much needed sleep.

A great day with great company as always, fantastic weather and scenery, but hopefully a rarity will get seen next time!!!

For those that don't understand, the Western Orphean Warbler turned out to be a bloomin Lesser Whitethroat. Grim!!

 Cirl Bunting at Labrador Bay
 Dipper on the River Dart
 Marsh Fritillary at Cotley Hill, Wiltshire
Small Blue at Cotley Hill