essex buzzard

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Neil Freeman
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby Neil Freeman » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:31 am

Good report and Photos :D

I am going to be in Dorset next week for a family break.
It seems that this late season is going to be a bit of a blessing in disguise for me with some species still about that would normally be just about finished :D

Neil F.

essexbuzzard
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:27 pm

Isle of Purbeck, Thursday 16 August.
After wind and rain Wednesday,conditions improved so we had one last day to see some butterflies. There are many choices here,but we decided to go to Durlston Country Park,Swanage.
Our trip began with a very nice ride to Swanage on the Swanage Steam Railway. You can walk to Durlston from the station, but,to save time,we got the bus.
In the dips sheltered from the wind,we were pleased to see good numbers of Lulworth Skippers,including some that were laying eggs. Also in the shelter,were several male Small Blues,which was surprising,but a delight to see. Several Common and one Adonis Blue were present here too.
Present all around the site were Marbled Whites,quite late in the season. Dark Green Fritillaries were seen,along with several very similar(when speeding past) Oak Eggar Moths. Abundant Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were no surprise, and Walls and Small Skippers were seen.
By late afternoon,spots of rain were falling,so we made our way back to the railway,and home,satisfied that we hade a great last day.
Had a chat with a couple of people at Durlston,our impression is that Lulworth Skippers have done quite well this year,despite the wet weather,but perhaps helped by lush grownth of the caterpillar foodplant,Tor Grass. If so,this bodes well for next year as well. I hope so,for they are smashing little butterflies and i love them! :D
Photo's to follow.

essexbuzzard
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:13 pm

Photo's from Durlston CP:
Attachments
durlston cp 007a.JPG
lulworth skipper
durlston cp 006a.JPG
egg laying lulworth
durlston cp 005a.JPG
lulworth female
durlston cp 004a.JPG
lulworth female
durlston cp 003a.JPG
adonis blue
durlston cp 002a.JPG
small blue
durlston cp 001a.JPG
lulworth skipper male

essexbuzzard
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:27 pm

East Kent,Bank Holiday Monday.
While most of the country enjoyed another day of increasng cloud and rain,east Kent seemed to poke out,so,with a rare B.H. off,i decided to head to Lydden Temple Ewell Downs,a Kent Wildlife Trust reserve near Dover.
The weather did indeed live up to the forecast,with some reasonable sunny spells,especially in the morning.
Soon,i was on the Downs of this extensive site,looking firstly at some Autumn Ladies Tresses,the last orchid to flower,and one of the smallest. I love the way the flowers open up the spike in a spiral. Sometimes, spikes next to each other,will have flowers going in opposite directions.
Meadow Browns were abundant in this first section,and there has been a good emergance af Adonis Blues-with the weather this year,i didn't know if there would be. Several fresh Common Blues here too-when seen next to the Adonis,the colour differance is obvious,even in flight. Chalkhill Blues,though fairly plentiful,were showing their age. Several Small Heath in this section as well.
After enjoying these butterflies,i walked to the top,behind the trees,and down to the next section of downland. This is where the main colony of Silver Spotted Skippers is found. While some were showing signs of wear,there were still some fresh adults,especially females. Numbers were reasonable,if slightly below average. While the Skippers were mostly at the top of the slope, a few Walls,Brown Argus and single Marbled White,Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral were near the bottom. Worn,old Gatekeepers near the bushes.
Plenty of food for the adults here,with abundant Marjoram,Small and Devil's-bit Scabious in bloom.
By late afternoon,the weather had cought up with me,so it was time to leave,with the memory of a good day,at a top site,which is surprisingly little visited,even on a holiday,when most other places had the day ruined by the weather.
Photo's coming up. :D

essexbuzzard
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:37 pm

Photo's from B.H.Monday,east Kent:
Attachments
lydden t.e 008a.JPG
silver spotted skipper,east kent
lydden t.e 007a.JPG
silver spotted skipper female
lydden t.e 006b.JPG
chalkhill blue
lydden t.e 005a.JPG
adonis blue
lydden t.e 004a.JPG
adonis blue
lydden t.e 003a.JPG
meadow browns
lydden t.e 002a.JPG
common blue
lydden t.e 001a.JPG
autumn ladies tresses

essexbuzzard
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:49 pm

Wednesday 5 Sept.
Today found me back in east Kent. With the ripening Hawthorn berries,Autumn Ladies Tresses and Autumn Gentians,there was a slight sadness about this day,as a trip here in early autumn represents the end of the main butterfly season.
In the picture,Sugarloaf Hill can be seen on the right. This is a special place for me,for it is the first site i ever visited to look for butterflies,back in the 1990's. I wanted to see my first Adonis Blue,and having seen this site before,and remembering it had something like the short turf described in the earlier Jeremy Thomas and Richard Lewington book,i had a feeling it might be suitable. And,sure enough i found a colony,in effect,discovering my first colony on my own. Little could i imagine bach then,the wealth of site guides and info,or the camera equipement,at my disposal today. The Adonis i found that September afternoon wern't particularly good,and nor were the photo's,but i still have them,they have great sentimental value.
They are still present today,i saw several Adonis here this mornng.
So, this was not a morning about taking the perfect picture,it was about reminiscing,and about enjoying the early Autumn sunshine,and the last of the seasons butterflies.
Attachments
east kent 002a.JPG
folkstone downs,with sugarloaf hill to the right
east kent 001a.JPG

essexbuzzard
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:01 pm

Having spent the morning at the Folkstone Downs,i headed back to Lydden Temple Ewell Downs for the afternoon. There were sure signs of the ending season here,too, with butterflies fewer and more tatered than a couple of weeks ago. However,i did manage to get a couple of shots of the last fresh Adonis Blues and Silver Spotted Skippers of the season,plus a nice Small Copper,and a family of Buzzards-probably the most easern ones in the country-were much in evidence.
Attachments
east kent 005a.JPG
'teddy bear' skipper
east kent 004a.JPG
silver spotted skipper
east kent 003a.JPG
small copper

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Wurzel
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby Wurzel » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:02 pm

Great shots Essex :D They do look surprisingly fresh.

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:18 pm

They do,dont they? Small Coppers should continue to emerge untill October, but a Silver Spotted Skipper as fresh as that in September was a surprise and a delight,having seen a few tatty ones earlier,and a great way to sign off the downland season. :)
Now,lets see if i can find some of the Commas and Red Admirals that everyone else seems to be seeing...

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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:17 pm

Wednesday 19 September
Comma Day!
Waking up to blue skies,and a nice,if cool day forecast,today i decided to go to Bedfords Park,which is only about half-hour drive from home. By time i arrived,however,it was already clouding over,and it was really quite cold. :o
However,the sun did reappear at around 4 pm, and soon i was watching Comma's-including 11 on one Bleckberry bush! They are one of the few species that seem to have done well in 2012, in East Anglia at least. This is a good site for Small Copper,and i saw a few,including a couple of fresh ones,maybe 3rd generation. Just one Red Admiral was dissappointing,and not the numbers being reported in the far south.
A Spotted Flycacher was great to see.
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bedfords pk 005a.JPG
bedfords pk 004a.JPG
bedfords pk 001a.JPG

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Goldie M
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby Goldie M » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:19 pm

Great shots Essexbuzzard, I'v seen just two Small Copper's all season , no Wall except when I was in Dorset in May ,( too quick to take photo's.) No Adonis except a side view which isn't very good. also no Chalk Hill Blue's I came south at the wrong time this year, I think they'll have gone from Kent when I get there in October, although you did give me some hope :D Goldie

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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:24 pm

In the gardens at my place of work,in cool but sunny conditions, six Comma,four Red Admiral and a Large cabbage White were feeding on Vebena bonariensis, Wallflower 'Bowles Mauve' and Buddleija. The Buddleija was a particularly interesting one,as it's a dwarf one called 'Buzz' which is said to grow to only 2 ft (60cm). It also appears to be perpeptual flowering,as it had buds,blooms and dead heads at the same time. Well worth a try in a patio pot or garden too small for a normal Butterfly Bush. Remember,to get butterflies,it must get sunshine,not only in Summer,but Autumn as well. A late Peacock was nearby,but not feeding.
Attachments
29 sep 004a.JPG
29 sep 003a.JPG
29 sep 002a.JPG
29 sep 001a.JPG

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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:38 pm

A dusting of snow for East Anglia this morning-the first October snow i have seen here.
With a poor spring and summer,and a cold autumn,a depressingly early end to a poor season this year. :(
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27 oct 12 001a.JPG

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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:43 pm

WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND!
Like most of the country,East Anglia has had a short cold spell this week,with temps down to -6 or -7C. On Wednesday 12 December,overnight freezing fog had cleared by first light,leaving spectacular rime deposits on grass,trees and all surfaces,which lasted for two days. A true winter wonderland! :)
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12 dec 002a.JPG
12 dec 001a.JPG

essexbuzzard
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:48 pm

WAXWINGS!
After reports of good numbers of Waxwings coming to GB from eatern Europe,i have been desperate to catch up with some of these stunning birds. Several other people on this forum,as well as some of my Essex birding collegues,have reported sightings,but birds are mobile,and getting reports is one thing, birds still being present when i get a day off work is another!
However,there has been a flock around Maldon for several days now,and today i at last managed to get there. As i was driving along the road,there they were,in the roadside bushes-birdwatching has never been so easy!
As if that wasn't enough,the sun was shinning,the sky were blue and all the colours showed perfectly! I managed to get a few photos in the morning sunshine,before it clouded over and the rain returned.
Happy days! :D
Attachments
waxwings 006b.JPG
waxwings 003a.JPG

Susie
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby Susie » Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:45 pm

That's wonderful! :-)

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Wurzel
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby Wurzel » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:22 pm

Congratulations Essex, they're cracking birds :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

essexbuzzard
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:38 pm

Thanks guys! I have been desperate to find some ever since i heard they were coming over this year. To say i'm delighted to find some is an understatement!
And to find them during just about the only spell of sunshine we've had during the festive period is doubly fantastic! 8)
Cheers.

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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:07 pm

With snow last Monday,Friday and yesterday,Essex now has a five or six inch snow cover,and i have a day off work. In fact,there was much more snow yesterday than on Friday here in eastern England. The snow is dry and powdery,owing to the fact that temperatures remained below freezing during the snowfall.
While i don't agree with all the school closures,it has been great to see all the people (some young, some not so young!) out enjoying the better Essex slopes-the simple things are often the best in life.
Although the media like a good story,the authorities have in fact done a very good job keeping roads clear in this area,and i have had no problems getting around even on the minor routes.
So lets just enjoy the white beauty if we can!
Attachments
snow 21 jan ukb 002a.JPG
Essex landscape transformed by snow
snow 21 jan ukb 001b.JPG
A fairyland setting for drivers in Epping Forest

essexbuzzard
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Re: essex buzzard

Postby essexbuzzard » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:52 pm

THE FENS
On Thursday 24 Jan, i decided to take a winters day out in the fens.
Having seen several buzzards and kestrels on the way,i headed for the Welches Dam RSPB reserve where many wetland birds winter on the flood plain. But of more interest to me,on this occasion,was the excellent set of bird feeders there. Lots of house sparrows were present,as well as some much rarer(these days) tree sparrows. Also lots of reed buntings,gold,green and chaffinches, several fieldfares,a mistle thrush,which was guarding the remaining guelder rose berries against the fieldfares, several blackbirds,starlings,blue and great tits. All close up. Two great-spotted woodpeckers were drumming. As i was leaving,a tiny weasel shot past and a sparrowhawk was lurking nearby.
Then onto Welney wash,a Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve,to see swans and ducks. A mash harrier was quickly spotted,and a barn owl was hunting in broad daylight. Mute,whooper and bewick's swans easily seen nice and close and,with a heated observatory,visitor centre and cafe,this is birdwatching made easy! With the snow,ice and grey skies,the swans made a lovely evocative sight and sound against this flat,lonely landscape. Plenty of mallards,pochards and coots were prsent,too. On some evenings,there is a public floodlit swan feed,and this was the case today,rounding off a most enjoyable day out. :)
Attachments
welney ukb 002.jpg
welney ukb 001b.JPG


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