A dragonfly tick in Essex and other goodies in Kent, 16 July 2017

A now traditional Sunday out with Jus and Andy. This week we headed 'darn sarf' to Essex and then over the other side of the Thames Estuary to North Kent.

As a rare dragonfly was our first target we didn't need too early a start so didn't leave mine until about 09.00. We made our way down the A12 and onto Canvey Island to a ditch we had been given directions to. and within minutes we'd scored with several mega Southern Migrants Hawkers. My first dragonfly tick for many a long year! We went on to see c12 of these beauties within just the first 200 yards of the ditch and one that perched up allowing very close approach. Only 1 female was seem though. Also along the same stretch were loads of Scarce Emerald Damselflies, several Ruddy Darters plus c5 Marbled Whites, Essex Skipper, Wall Brown, Small Heath and a profusion of Common Blues.

 Southern Migrant Hawker

Scarce Emerald Damselflies

Marbled Whites

Small Heath

 Essex Skipper (in Essex!)

Next stop was a trip over the Dartford crossing to North Kent and Oare Marshes. I'd not been to this site before but it was lovely. The summering Bonaparte's Gull was present on arrival on the foreshore but quickly flew onto East Lagoon where it showed very nicely indeed. By far the best one I've ever seen in full summer plumage. The lagoon was full of waders too - 2 Spotted Redshanks, c10 Dunlin, 100's of Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Golden Plover and a scattering of Ruff. Add to that a Yellow Wagtail, Peregrine, Garganey, a singing Turtle Dove, a very pale Common Buzzard, Brown Hawker and Black-tailed Skimmer and it made for a very pleasant couple of hours.

Bonaparte's Gull

Last port of call was Cliffe Marshes where after a long hot walk we reached 'the 2nd viewing mound' past the black barn and got some very distant views of the Marsh Sandpiper plus the family of 7 Black-winged Stilts (3 adults and 4 three-quarters grown but flying young), 2 Water Rails, loads of Black-tailed Godwits, Ringed Plover and a Mediterranean Gull. Far nicer in my opinion was a bee tick in the form of the rare and localised Shrill Carder Bee at our feet! Along the track we also had a Grayling, my first of the year.

                Shrill Carder Bee

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