Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Isle of Harty day 4, Shell Ness and The Swale NNR (23rd July)

I was only up and out the house by late morning but staying outside in the scorching sun isn't very fun so it was only possible to stay outside for limited periods of time.  From the house we where staying I cycled to Shell Ness, a beach comprising solely of shells!  As well as this, it is a national nature reserve with a large area cordoned of to reduce human disturbance to the nesting and roosting birds.  The trip there produced 1 Corn Bunting and 3 Yellow Wagtails.  Butterflies were a little more productive and included 1 Red Admiral and the numerous Small Whites, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns.

 Common Darter


At Shell Ness NNR, birds were more dominant and included my first autumn migrant WHEATEAR of the year, 3 Golden Plover, dozens of Sandwich Terns, 10+ Ringed Plover and several Whimbrel.  The most numerous birds about were Oystercatchers, which literally littered the shoreline, roosting in their hundreds on the shingle bank and similar numbers of Curlew roosting on the marsh.  15+ Dunlin also flew in and amongst them a further 14+ Turnstone, still in their breeding plumage finery.  Also of note were 5+ Red Admirals, 3 Small Coppers on the beach, 2 Marsh Harriers and 1 Common Seal just off shore.  On my return, 1 Corn Bunting was giving its jangling song just west of Shell Ness, followed by 2 Commas, 1 Emperor Dragonfly and most bizarrely of all a Hedghog crossed the path in front of me before ambling into the rapeseed field.  The day wasn't over yet as I still had to catch and release a Large White that had found its way into the house, not an easy job catching butterflies!

Shell Ness

hundreds of roosting Oystercatchers

Dunlin, juv. Ringed Plover and Turnstone

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