Fallow Stag, Knowle Park.

Fallow Stag, Knowle Park.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

** 19th June Dungeness: 20th June: Halling.**

After reading Phil's blog the other day, when he went to Dunge I thought I would take a leaf out of his book(really we only went for the fish and chips). We didn't leave very early, we arrived at around 11.30am. I thought I would go and have a look on the sea, but it was very quiet. I think there was more fishermen that birds.
I scoped up all the birds within the area, and apart from a mass of Gannets not only diving for food, but also resting on the water. There was a shortage of Terns, the only ones seen, not only by me but a few other birders who had just returned from the power station outflow was Common, and Sandwich. There was also 4 G/C/Grebes on the water. I also found myself watch a small pod of Porpoise off the point, then while watching them moving right I found a large dark gull like bird resting on the water, and by zooming in it turned out to be a Bonxie(Great Skua). It stayed there for about 10-15 minutes of abouts, then it headed out to sea. I would like to have zoomed right in but the heat haze was too great.
Then we had  lunch, back at the Pilot Inn, which comes highly recommended. I assume that is where Phil went? Then it was on to the reserve. We popped  into the the centre to see what was on the board, and while there I managed to scope up a Redshank and the Bar Headed Goose that has been hanging around with the Canada's for a while now. Apart from that nothing out of the usual was seen.
I didn't have a lot of time left so it was off to Denge Marsh Hide. Apart from the Marsh Harriers quartering the reeds plus a few riding the thermals, albeit not that high, we seemed to be escorted there by a good number of Hobby's. From the gate to the hide we estimated there to be about 9. I did attempt to get a record shot of one, and yes I didn't exactly pick easy bird, but it you don't try you don't get, well that's my story and I'm sticking to it :-) Below is the result. It wasn't that low and I wasn't sure as to what camera setting I should use so that's probably why the quality is not  good.

Once in the hide I checked out the Tern rafts to see is there was any chicks about, and there was only one that I could see, it was on the raft that is out in front of the hide.All the rafts had a good number of Terns on them, one of them has got a Oystercatcher sitting, I have a feeling it is on eggs, as it was moving small stones around itself as if it's tending the nest. Most times they lay 3 eggs but at times it is between 2 and 4.
Nothing out of the ordinary was seen from here. The species seen was: G/C/Grebe,

Mute Swan, Grey Heron(3), Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Gadwall, Shoveller, Pochard, Tufted Duck, W/Pigeon, C/Dove, C/Crow (no sign of the Raven). A male Reed Bunting was flittering around in the reed area just outside the Hide, as was 2 Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies.
When I left the hide a took a walk up to the gate where in the shallows was absolutely 100's of small fish, what they was I have no idea but I am sure someone will be able to tell me, probably Phil seeing as he is a fisherman. This is a photo I took of them.( Thanks to Phil for the possible I.D of the tiddlers below, which are either Rudd or Roach, but according to his little grey cells he would go for  Rudd.)

On the way back I came across a Caterpillar at the edge of the path, which turned out to be a Lackey Moth.

Before leaving to go to the Hanson Hide I took another stroll this time along the path to  Christmas Dell Hide. No sooner had I started when I saw something crossing the path, this is what it saw.

I have been trying to find this in my books and online, and I am still struggling to name it. One would think it should be easy.....Help please.
( I  have had plenty of bloggers inform me that this is the caterpiller of the Drinker Moth. . Thanks to Mike H.   Greenie, and Das Bloger.) It is nice to know that there is always someone on here who will  help with identification.)
The Hanson Hide only held a few highlights those being a male Cuckoo flying very close past the hide window. The other visitors and myself could here it coming from afar. Another was to see a Ringed Plover drop in, because there is a shortage of waders on the reserve lately proberly due to the water lever being so high. The last bird I watched was a Reed Warbler moving up and down the reeds to the right of the hide.

Total species seen today: Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Bar Headed Goose, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, G/C/Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Gannet, Great Skua, G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Lapwing, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Mallard, Shoveller, Shelduck,Gadwall,  Pochard, Tufted Duck,  Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Bunting, Starling, Cuckoo, L/T/Tit, Whitethroat, Linnet, Blackbird, C/Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, W/Pigeon, C/Dove.
It has been a long time since I took a walk down to the river, and Common.  My first sighting was 3 Common Buzzards riding on the thermals in their regular area over the old disabled quarry. I I will list the species I saw at the end. The best birds(2) I saw today was Linnet looking resplendent in their breeding plumage, that could be the brightest colouration that I have ever seen on one.
I wasn't out that long so I will cut to the chase, the highlight of the walk was when I was taking a walk at the rear of the common when on the ground in front of me I saw this.

I had a idea that it was a orchid so I just had to clear the odd bits of grass around it to get a couple of photo's.

Not being in to flowers I am not sure what kind it is, the one I think  it might be is a Pyramidal Orchid, ( Thanks Greenie for the confirmation.) The only other wildlife I saw was 2 Emperor Dragonflies,3 Black Tailed Skimmer Dragonflies, and on the butterfly front I saw nothing but Meadow Brown's.

Species seen on my walk: B/H/Gull, Herring Gull, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Mallard, Oystercatcher, Lapwing,  Common Buzzard, C/Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie,  W/Pigeon, C/Dove, Green Woodpecker, Starling, Swift, House Martin, H/Sparrow, Linnet, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Pheasant. Robin, Dunnock,



  1. Hi Ken,
    Good to have your blog back up again. I would take a guess at The Drinker moth for that unidentified Caterpillar. I have posted one on my Flickr site take a look to compare!



  2. The Caterpillar is a Drinker.

  3. Ken ,
    Got to agree with the other two re. the Drinker .
    Your first ID - Pyramidal for the Orchid .
    You did well with the Hobby , as you say , not easy , and no chance to reset the camera .
    As for the fish , it's going to be a long time before they are served up with chips .

  4. I think you're right about the Oystercatcher Ken. It was sitting tight on the raft when we were there.
    I too struggle with birds in flight pictures but I think you did well with the Hobby, they're nearly as difficult as Swifts.
    The shoal of small fish are either Rudd or Roach, they're a bit small to tell but i'd probably go with Rudd.
    The Pilot Inn it was!

  5. Mike H.
    It is good to be back, and thank you for the caterpillar I.D.

    Das Blogist
    Again thanks for concuring with Mike re the caterpillar.

    Good to know that I got the orchid species identification corrent, and you are definately right about camera settings, I seem to be struggling with the settings all the time recently.

    The Hobby pic was hard, more luck than judgement Birds in flight are difficult for me, but I can't help but notice that your in flight shots are pretty good. What setting do you use, any chance of a quick email with some tips.
    Also thanks for the poss fish I.D.
    As for the fish and chips, pretty goog huh?

  6. Hi Ken,
    Fish & chips, and a bird filled day, cant go far wrong with that can ya!

    PS When I photograph birds in the sky, I usually put some positive exposure on, to counter the bright background ;-)

  7. Warren.
    Thank you for your advice for shooting birds in the sky.