The Spitfire and it's accompanying (and annoyingly noisy) heliocopeters been around a lot this weekend, came close enough for these pics yesterday afternoon. Couldn't enjoy the sound of the Merlin engine because of the helicopters I already winged about (miserable old git)
After a clear and cool night I didn't expect much in my moth trap, but wanted to have something to show Phil and Mandy when they visited this morning. I imagine my suprise to find this lively character in the trap. I succeeded in getting it into a jar and in the fridge without it escaping, while not getting a good look. A quick phonecall to Tony Morris as I thought it was a Bedstraw Hawkmoth like his of Wednesday last. When he arrived after a short interval I had had another look and thought what Tony confirmed - a Striped Hawkmoth, an immigrant, and apparently a first record for this species for St Margaret's. As it was so lively I felt it best to release it as soon as possible, but it made it's own escape and out the window after only one photo - byeee
Beautiful, isn't it?
Thankfully Phil and Mandy got to see it before we went orf to Sandwich Bay, where a walk out to Backsand Scrape was rewarded by these waders
First, a fine Wood Sandpiper
A small group of Dunlin - winter flocks can number thousands
This Common Sandpiper was one of several on the scrape
And now for a clanger, suddenly there was a brown thing flying across in front of the hide and into the edge of the reeds, where it lurked for several minutes, showing pale yellowy patches on its thighs and rear end, which led me to exclaim "Water Rail". Imagine my embarrassment when an aggressive Moorhen chased it out into the open, where it turned into a juvenile Moorhen. No wonder I have an undeserved reputation for "stringing", or misidentification
How can anyone make this into a Water Rail, I ask you
Oh well, this Little Egret came close and made up for it - even I can't get this one wrong
The while this oystercatcher was unimpressed, maybe it had a hangover, it's certainly red-eyed!
If you haven't done so already, have a look at kearsneybirder blog, Phil been in Sweaty Sock land and got some superb photos. Thanks to Phil and Mandy for an extremely pleasant morning, and it was pleasant to show them the Little Owl at Chequers, mentioned by Tony in has latest blog, well spotted Mandy