Sunday, 18 September 2011

In place of skuas

It's not often I correctly predict weather conditions favourable to good birding here on the south-east corner but Saturday was one of those rare days, as the Bockhillers reported on Birdguides.Unfortunately I couldn't be there to witness it - a list of sightings that far exceeds anything I've seen in my few years of seawatching at Kingsdown.

But having spent a few hours gnashing and grinding my teeth, I admit that there were a few compensations on the weekend:
Devil's-Bit Scabious is now almost at its best at Lydden, and the blue sky and buzzards overhead added to the beauty of the place. And nobody about - I can't believe it. This is surely one of the most stunning sights of the year. Does the public spend all weekend in front of the TV?

A quick visit to the ARC pit at Dungeness gave some interesting views, with a plethora of little waders to identify including Little Stints and Curlew Sandpipers, a Little Gull and a visit by three Black Terns, flying in their ethereal floating way over the lake in search of food.
There was also a female Goosander that paddled slowly past the hide, generally with head under water - now one of my books says that the Goosander is "usually a shy bird, easily scared off even at long range". Not this lady.

At the point the long-stay Long-tailed Skua had, of course, flown, but on the shingle some of the lovely tiny plants were still flowering,
and a Leopard Slug crossed my path.
If you want to know more about the fascinating procreational techniques of this species, please use the usual search engines - I don't want hits from unwanted visitors on this blog, thank you very much.

And finally, the garden of some friends has been occupied by large numbers of miner bees that have excavated burrows in the lawn, flower beds and paths. Judging from the photo supplied (many thanks) they are here for the Rugby World Cup. "The fly-half is hovering......"


Mel Lloyd said...

That devils bit carpeting Lydden is simply stunning. I've never visited in autumn and clearly need to correct that oversight. Anyone who lives within 5 miles and has not been to see it ought to be seen by a psychiatrist. M

Marianne said...

Pity about the seawatching, but these are some brilliant and inspiring photos. Love the Devilsbit Scabious field (will see if I can go and have a look at the weekend), and I'm a big fan of that Leopard Slug!

abbey meadows said...

A nice show of plants K.

Kingsdowner said...

Mel, I agree... maybe I'll write to the local paper..... but on second thoughts maybe not.

Hi Marianne, hope you can make the time to visit. The best swathes are in the middle of the reserve, which can be reached by parking at the railway bridge.

Thanks N, they are very summery still on the shingle (sorry to rub it in).

Thanks for your comments, all.