Sunday, 29 July 2012

Eagle Owl Ashford

Well I know there will always be a debate about where this bird came from and we'll probably never know if it's escaped from a private collection of birds somewhere or maybe been released by it's keeper maybe because food can no longer be provided in these tough times we face? Or could it be from the breeding population established "up north" or dare I say could it have crossed the channel?
Anyway all this aside it was a bird I wanted to see so I set off with Jim this morning to check it out.
We found Charter House in the centre of Ashford Town and pulled into the Shell petrol station to find two locals with the bird in their scopes. Great huge bird sitting at the top of the building on a ledge quite relaxed just surveying the area before it closed it's eyes and took a rest.
The locals tell us that they have found pellets and it seems to be enjoying the local pigeon population and has been around for several weeks now.

After enjoying the Eagle Owl for a while we moved on to Dungeness and as usual we took in a short sea watch.
The sea was alive with Gannets fishing and several Porpoise showed as we walked along to the patch (the warm water outfall from the power station) Although the patch was quiet we saw several Sandwich and Common Tern and a pair of Scoters on the sea. Lot's of Gulls about but nothing of note.

On the walk back to the car we found several Common Blue butterflies along with several large and small Whites, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers.

Common Blue Dungeness

Common Blue Female

Common Blue
We spent a few minutes walking around the newly replaced trapping area at the observatory before rain had us rushing back to the car and making the short drive to ARC pit. We spent a couple of hours in Hanson Hide where we had good views of Marsh Harrier, Bar Tailed Godwit, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Little Ringed Plover, Snipe, Common Sandpiper and we also found five Garganey and a Green Sandpiper. It appeared the world population of Pochard had dropped in today and although on arrival no Hirundines were present they seemed to drop in from everywhere and before long we had hundreds of Swift, House and Sand Martins buzzing about.
An Egret flew off, an Oyster Catcher flew back and forth in typical noisy fashion and Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Tufted and Shelduck completed the ducks on show. Greylag geese, GC Grebes and Wagtails added to the total as did Reed Warblers and Buntings. The trapping area held Dunnock, Blackbird and Whitethroat.

Dungeness Bird Observatory
View over ARC pit from Hanson Hide
From ARC pit we took a very quick drive through the reserve with little to report and then moved on to Folkestone Downs after a short drive along the coast. Our target here was butterfly again and we'd hoped for Blue Adonis but the second coming is not for a couple of weeks yet so we'll have to return later.
Along the path we find lot's of Skippers (large and small) lot's of Marbled White and I find one that appears to be laying eggs. There's also loads of Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large and Small Whites along with a couple of Small Heaths and another Small Blue.
We spotted several moths too including loads of Six Spot Burnets and the strange white one pictured below.

Vestal Rhodometra Sacraria
Common Blue Damsel
View across Folkestone Downs
Marbled White egg laying
Poppy Field Folkestone
A nice trip that the old fella missed as his backside is suffering from sofa itus at the moment which is forcing him to watch every televised second of the Olympics but do not alarm the doctor says it only lasts a couple of weeks every four years so he'll be joining us on our travels shortly.

1 comment:

  1. Not so sure about that Bri. His backside seems well rooted on that sofa. :D
    The sofa has started to develop a homer crease.