Wednesday, 14 October 2009

A couple of Autumn gems.

Dartford Warblers aren't conventional migrants, many of the British population remain in their breeding areas during the winter. So though do disperse, this may happen in areas where there are high populations, and when this happens they frequently turn up in other areas, the Kent coast being an area often visited.
There was one in a small group of bushes and trees along the cliff top at Bockhill today. When I first got to area I could hear it calling, it has a distinctive harsh churring call, and almost before I'd got myself organised it popped up on to the top of a bush.

As usual the auto-focus managed to get a twig nice and sharp in front of the bird and almost straight away disappeared down into the thickest part of the undergrowth, stopped calling and disappeared.

A little later I could see it moving about on the middle of the small pine tree and watch it wave its improbably long tail about.

The Dartford Warbler was first described in the UK by John Latham, a physician and eminent ornithologist who lived in Dartford. It wasn't on Dartford Heath that the first specimen was taken, but Bexley Heath, the Bexleyheath Warbler doesn't sound right though. John Latham lived from 1740 to 1837. He was a founder member of the Linnean sociey and was elected to the Royal Society in 1775. As well as being party to the naming of the Sandwich tern and the Kentish Plover, he also examined hundreds of specimens of Australian birds, sent to this country and named many of them.

While I was looking for the Dartford Warbler I was entertained by this hyperactive Firecrest.

And a one point this Peregrine shot straight over my head.

Although the Firecrest often came quite close it seldom came completely out in the open, but the fantastic head pattern lit up the area it was feeding in at any time.

The bright bronze coloured shoulder also stood out. It is the same size as the much commoner Goldcrest, but that is a much plainer bird lacking the head stripes and the bright patch on the shoulder of this little gem.

When it did get out into the open I failed to do it proper justice, but most of the time the light was poor. I believe that further along the path two Wrynecks were seen today, although when I walked along that bit I failed to see either.

The Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii)

A couple of different moths this morning. I thought that the moth above was a Dark Chestnut and when I posted the picture someone on the UKmoths group agreed, but since then I have been persuaded by another that in fact it is a Chestnut, the curve of the front edge of the wing pointing in that direction.

I was only saying to a friend yesterday that I hadn't caught a Merveille du Jour this year and this gem of a moth was in the trap this morning. In fact it is right in the middle of the dates I've caught them before, the earliest being the 8th and the latest the 24th.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Wrynecks, Firecrests and Dartford Warblers! Blimey, just for any one of those!