Sunday, 21 June 2015

Hawfinch In Packing Wood

Rarely do patchwork birders get ornithological rewards in return for all the hours of walks through familiar trails in search of something out of the ordinary. But today it happened to me as a distant and dumpy Hawfinch decided to sit on top of a tall Spruce like a Tinsel star on a Christmas tree, giving me time to slowly correct my mistake that the bird was initially a Crossbill! So today I slightly underservedly found my first local Hawfinch in 20 years of trying. A Happy Fathers day for me.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Moulting Marsh Harrier over the garden

 Marsh Harrier, with strong feather moult June 11th

Despite Shadoxhurst's mid-Kent position with the Isle of Sheppey to the North and Romney Marsh to the South, we rarely see Marsh Harriers commuting between the two. In fact it could be 10 years since I last saw one fly over the house. But yesterday's strong and cold North Easterly wind had me just the once pop-out to the garden and luckily spot this large, wafty, scruffy thing coming over from the south criss-crossing the sky in constant pursuit by crows.

At first I thought the bird was an adult female, but if it was, you'd expect it to be nesting with rather plump chicks at this time of year. Adult Marsh Harriers tend to moult in the autumn after the breeding season. On one of the pics it's possible to see some grey feathering appearing on the wings, so I'm hedging a bet that this is a one year old male bird, battling away in the wind eventually making it's way North, perhaps finally kicked off its parents patch.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Insects in the Shadoxhurst woods

Four Spotted Chaser
An afternoon of cycle ride searches for absent Butterflies around Shadoxhurst meant most of the interest seemed to be Dragonflies such as this Four Spotted Chaser (above), and also many Broad Bodied Chasers and the odd Hairy Hawker too.
What Butterflies I could find included several Brimestones, and what I'm sure will be the last of the Grizzled Skippers at Alex Pastures this year. The Speckled wood below was the smartest fly on the wing today.

Speckled Wood on the byway at  Duck Lane
Very few days left for this last remaining Grizzled Skipper a Alex Pastrures
A common Summer Sawfly species