Friday, 21 June 2013

Boneparte`s Gull & Heath Fritillary

Oare Marshes - 0845hrs - mild, overcast, sw 2 - Decamped from the Marsh today in the company of Marshman and the Joker to north Kent for a change of scene, and very successful it was too. First stop, Oare Marshes, one of my favourite wader sites where the main spectacle was around 300 Blackwits on the east flood. The views from the road side pull-ins were sublime, where we also noted 20 Avocets, 10 Redshanks, plus a motley selection of eclipse ducks, 3 Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Cormorants and immature gulls. A Hobby fizzed over and a pair of Marsh Harriers worked the west flood. Sedge, Reed and Cetti`s Warbler were vocal and several Bearded Tits showed in the reedbed, while a party of Swifts hawked insects rising off the sea weed along the sea wall. From the Faversham creek side we joined a small group of birders to admire the 1st summer Boneparte`s Gull that`s been knocking about for a week or more. This was our second of the year (having seen the Eastbourne bird) and to be honest it would`ve been easy to overlook when hunkered down amongst the Bhgs, being passed off as a Little Gull. As it happened it swam about a bit and generally showed quite well, albeit at some distance.
Somewhere-in-Kent - A stake out for Honey Buzzard duly delivered the goods with at least two birds noted during an hour; one showed particularly well as it flew above the woodland canopy. Common Buzzard and two species of woodpeckers also noted.
East Blean Wood - Considering how gloomy it was we took a bit of a chance this afternoon and visited this terrific Kent Wildlife Trust wood to look for Heath Fritillary. However, it was warm, so nothing ventured and all that...
Sauntering along the managed rides admiring the Wood Ant colonies and Common Cow-wheat we came to the first large clearing where the Joker spotted a butterfly. It eventually landed on a grass stem affording cracking views of what was a fresh Heath Fritillary with its wings closed. As the sun briefly broke through the cloud cover it then flew around and soon landed on a chestnut leaf, whereupon it basked with wings fully open. We watched spell bound as this beautiful little insect soaked up the rays - what a stunner. Try as we might this was the only individual we could find. 

                                Common Cow-wheat

                                Heath Fritillary, East Blean

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