Sunday, 30 June 2013

Dartford Warblers and Others

The birding is proving to be hard work at the moment. The end of June through to early August is always slow. There is no migration movement, there is plenty of cover for the birds to hide in, and the birds are not displaying for territory or mates as they were a month ago. This summer seems worse than ever and my own experience would seem to suggest that a lot of the birds have simply not arrived this year.

I commented in a previous post on how I had only seen two Stonechats so far this year. Like buses the next time I went out I saw at least eight in the same location on Iping Common.

Male Stonechat

Juvenile Stonechat

Hoping for a repeat performance - I have only seen one Redstart and have not seen a Spotted Flycatcher at all. If I could also add Turtle Dove to that list I could be a happy man after my next trip out.

I would have added Dartford Warbler to that list but I did manage to catch up with a pair on one of the commons. I had caught a couple of fleeting glimpses at the same location but did not feel that it was good enough for my year tick particularly as on both occasions the birds did not reappear. Fortunately on a recent early evening visit I was able to watch the pair gathering food for about half an hour. I kept my distance and with poor lighting the picture opportunities were limited. The shot below rescued by heavy cropping and from strong back lighting was the best I could manage.

Another almost picture - One in the bush and one flying

I also visited Warnham LNR. There was nothing unusual about in the way of avian life but I had some really weird lighting conditions. All my pictures appeared to have a colour cast but when you look at them they have both green and magenta in the same picture. This cannot happen as they are opposite ends of the spectrum (as far as Photoshop is concerned) and anyway the whites look clean. Even when desaturated as in the second picture the colours look wrong. Marvellous things the eyes, the scenes all looked perfectly normal to me on the day.

Great Crested Grebe

Young Grey Heron

This young Grey Heron looks like a nice friendly bird, not like the older version below, a true predator.

Grey Heron - Pagham North Wall

Also at the North Wall a Common Tern but not much else.

Common Tern

I did walk down to the lagoon to see the Female Scaup that had been reported there but I seem to have picked the one day when there were no sightings.

Actually there was one other sighting. The local police checking out the north wall, the lagoon, and the spit, and challenging one suspicious individual out on the mud. Given the recent vandalism to the spit hide this can only be seen as positive.

Patrolling the Harbour

Do this every day and he is going to have an impressive year list in his note book.

When the birding has been slow I have been adding to my collection of Butterfly and Dragonfly pictures although it is only in the last couple of weeks that the butterflies have started to appear in any numbers.

Another Four Spotted Chaser

Silver-studded Blue

Speckled Wood
Small Tortoiseshell

Adonis Blue

There have been some missed shots as well. An Emperor Dragonfly, a truly impressive species, that did not land in all the time I watched it. I took about fifty shots of it in flight but there is not a single decent shot amongst them. Also  a Green Hairstreak, searched for but not found. Next time perhaps.

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