Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Birding Year at Reculver

With the festive season upon us, I would imagine I will only be able to manage the odd birding trip out in the next week or so as no doubt, many family visits will be planned etc so I thought I would put together a few of my favorite shots taken this year at Reculver. There are lots that could have been included and these may appear in another post. Its been another good year on the patch although I have neglected it for some time throughout the year but did manage 3 patch ticks, Stone Curlew, Marsh Warbler and Spoonbill. Despite these new patch birds I think the prize has to go to the first winter male Desert Wheatear that appeared near the end of the year. Not only was it a super looking bird but it performed well for the camera. Hopefully next year Reculver will turn up something good I have not seen there before and fingers crossed I may be able to find something good myself and take a few photos. There are quite a few photos so settle down with a cuppa whilst you look!

Black Redstart

Dark bellied Brent Geese

Bearded Tit

Grey Plover 

Reed Bunting 


Snow Bunting 

Stone Curlew 


Yellow Wagtail

Desert Wheatear

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Southern Delights

After the success of finding a Scarce Emerald Damselfly at a private site near Reculver, I returned on quite a few occasions and early July whilst looking through the Damselflies I flushed a quite large damselfly and immediately thought this was something different. One of the first things I noticed on this individual was the bi-coloured pterostigma, a key feature of the Southern Emerald Damselfly. I had only seen this species once before at Cliffe Marshes which is about 40 miles away so was stunned that I had found this nationally rare damselfly near my home, in the presence also of the Scarce Emerald Damselfly. This is the gold medal of the damselfly world in my opinion and it would be nice to think that both the Southern and Scarce Emerald Damselfly are slowly going to spread in the county, i'm sure there must be plenty of unwatched habitat around Kent. Thankfully during my visits, the camera was called into action and I was able to get a number of satisfying images of the Southern. Fingers crossed for their return next year where once again I will hopefully spend many hours in the field studying and taking photographs of these fascinating insects.

Southern Emerald Damselfly

The Long tailed Blues of 2013

There was unfortunately no repeat of the 2013 invasion of this stunning little butterfly but a few articles have been written this year with one I believe in Atropos magazine which i'm told has a photo of mine in it of the Long tailed Blue. I was very lucky to drive down to Kingsdown Leas at Dover last year and saw the first few individuals and managed along with a few other enthusiasts, take a number of shots of them. Better was to come when they were seen egg laying and a month or so later and with plenty of eyes looking and hoping for this momentous occasion, the first British born wild Long tailed Blues appeared. I spent an afternoon down there with a good number of people seeing these fresh individuals and again was lucky to capture a number of photos. With a good showing of the food plant, Everlasting Pea in the Reculver area, I spent a session with a few friends looking for them and was we lucky or what for we found a few fresh individuals. As word got out, many enthusiasts started arriving in the next few days and a good number were seen. This was most definitely one butterfly that I never thought I would have the chance of seeing on British soil but am very thankful for the opportunity to do so. Will they return in the next few years, I suppose we will just have to wait and see but it would be nice to think so.

Long tailed Blue

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Few Personal Finds

A few minutes from where I live is a superb private site tucked away to the south of Reculver which has yielded 20 species of dragonfly and damselfly for me this year, not bad for a small site. I made numerous visits this year to see and photograph the various species on the wing but on one visit in early July I cycled to the site after work and looked in a small area that had recently dried out where numerous Emerald Damselflies were on the wing. Whilst checking through them I noticed a chunky individual fly up from the grass and land again. After scrutinising it for a while I come to the conclusion that it was a female Scarce Emerald Damselfly, a very rare damselfly in these parts with the nearest known colony over 40 miles away at Cliffe Marhes RSPB. This individual was in superb fresh condition and while it may have wandered from a colony somewhere nearby, I couldn't help but think that perhaps it had emerged from this site. After checking various books when I got home and photos on the internet, it was very pleasing to know that my initial id was correct with this species. Thankfully she showed well for the camera and in a few visits I was able to grab a number of very pleasing images showing all the features needed to confirm this species. I continued to search this site but never found anymore Scarce Emerald Damselflies. Perhaps it was a wandering individual or perhaps a small colony is nearby somewhere, I shall look forward to looking next year. What I did know was that I was chuffed to bits that I had found a very scarce damselfly near home and better was still to come on my next trip here........... but that's another post for another day!

Female Scarce Emerald Damselfly