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Wednesday 31 July 2013

Adult Red Kite and juveniles

Came across an adult Red Kite and 2 juveniles on Tuesday, as you can see the weather was not great hence the poor photos.


One of the juveniles - pale edge to the coverts

The 2 juveniles contesting  the same spot.

Joined by the usual Crow

Adult arriving

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Bearded Tits - Ingrebourne Valley

A big thanks goes to Les Harrison for finding these little gems, they represent a 25 year blocker for me, so many times I have gone for them but they always seem to be roaming small flocks or singles that disappear as fast as they show up.
There were 3 birds, adult male and female and additionally a juvenile so given the habitat in the Valley it is possible that they could have bred locally.

Unusual to see them high up in Willow though.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Monday 22 July 2013

Canvey and Vange

Canvey Point

July 21st

I decided on a brief visit to the Point as it turned out rather cloudy early a.m at a Peregrine site, photos were never going to be decent so I headed for the Point and arrived at 9.00am.
Harry was already there and although there was not a lot of movement as yet being too early in the year, we did get a few ‘good’ birds.
Best of the lot was a Little Tern seen @9.58am but we also had 5 Whimbrel, 5 Mediterranean Gulls, a single Sandwich Tern and 184 Curlew Kent to Essex. Photos below are basically just record shots.

1st winter Mediterranean Gull

A rather distant Little Tern

There were also 2 Dark Bellied Brent Geese seen distantly which must be summering over towards Two Tree Island.
Heaps of Commic Terns were following the dredging ship out in the deep water channel and they must have numbered 70 odd birds+ 2 or 3 Med Gulls.
A good visit so I left around 10.30am and headed for Vange Marshes, I was on a bit of a tight schedule so decided on a quick dash to the Reserve via home.

Vange Marshes

On the walk out there it seemed that the grass was alive with Small/Essex Skippers, Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns. Marbled White is still a rarity in the Ingrebourne Valley and as yet I have still not seen one there.
It seemed I had timed it spot on as there were a good number of Waders present with high tide more or less near its peak. Birds recorded were as follows

Curlew 11
Greenshank 3
Black Tailed Godwit 25
Common Sandpiper 2
Spotted Redshank 6
Redshank 12
Bearded Tit – 1 or 2 birds pinging
Green Sandpiper 2
Avocet 17
Ringed Plover 8

A very impressive list of waders, adding to that good numbers of Lapwing, just a pity that they are all so distant. I was also told of a Little Gull that was present but could not locate it but very pleased with just the waders alone, all in all a very good morning.

A good selection of Waders

Friday 19 July 2013

Purple Emperors

After finishing a survey mid-morning during the week I had the chance after to visit a site having heard that there were Purple Emperors in the Woods.
I have tried to see these majestic Butterflies on a number of occasions and failed miserably, I put it down to a lack of  dog poo, if you are not aware dog poo is like caviar to a Purple Emperor, an acquired taste, not for everyone but they seem to love the stuff, the fresher the better.
Below is selection of photos taken from the past week.

Purple Emperor

Dog poo is a favourite

4 on the ground

Marbled White

Silver Washed Fritillery

White Admiral - trying to get a photo of one of these is challenging to say the least

Purple Emperor

Red Kite starting to build a nest - failed breeder or spurred on by the weather?

Met him out in the middle of a field of wheat.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

North Kent Marshes

July 7th

It’s not often that you get perfect weather for surveying but I have to say, after the fog cleared on Sunday it was.
This was reflected in the birds on show, even the Hare’s were getting in on the act with a gathering of 6 animals undertaking frivolities in a Turnip Field.

On the way out Greenshank, Avocet, Bar Tailed and 2 Black Tailed Godwits were recorded along with a distant Common Buzzard, a little foggy to start with but by 7.00am wall to wall sunshine.
With the sunshine came Dragons and Butterflies, my first Large Skipper of the year, Broad Bodied, Black Tailed Skimmer and Four Spot Chasers were seen along with a handful of Emperors.
Darters were just about everywhere and a single Painted Lady was also seen.

Unlucky Damsels, one got away though

On the bird front Bearded Tit broods were very evident with 3 separate groups seen so it looks a good season for them; no Mediterranean Gulls this week after 4 adults were seen last week moving through with the Black Headed Gulls.

A very good survey which was rounded off by 2 Green Sandpipers on one of the Fleets and my first Autumn Wigeon of the year or possibly a summering bird, who knows.

Saturday 6 July 2013


July 2nd

For the last 3 month’s I have been surveying constantly with not much of a chance to visit my local sites, or for that matter sites further afield. I am not moaning, how could I, whilst surveying I also got to see some great birds and I get paid for it, I am very lucky.
All weekends have been taken up with London’s Peregrines but with surveys now nearly finished, I have a little more time on my hands.

Such was the case this morning when I decided to visit Dungeness, I know, the wrong time of year but good to get down there just the same.
On arrival I checked the sea and watched for a couple of hours, nothing to write home about, 30 odd Gannets + 3 small flocks of Common Scoter numbering about 45 birds, plenty of Terns around but could not find the Roseate which I was told has been seen occasionally.
3 adults,1st winter and juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were on the shingle along with my first juvenile Black Headed Gull of the year so a nice little assortment mixed in with some Common and Sandwich Terns.

1st/summer- winter Mediterranean Gull with juvenile Black Headed Gull

Adult Mediterranean Gulls

The reserve as expected was very quiet, one thing I did not know is that Common Gulls breed on the Tern rafts, it seems the Terns tolerate them, probably viewed much the same as Black Headed Gulls.
The usual Marsh Harriers were around along with 2 Hobbies which were very welcome, although they defied all my attempts to get a decent photo.

Drinker Moth?

Even less sure on this one - Garden Tiger?


Common Gull with 2 large chicks on Tern raft, also Oystercatcher.

A good end to the morning and now looking forward to some autumn passage.