Another very early start to Rainham Marshes on Saturday morning resulted in some superb views of the elusive super skulker that is the Baillon's Crake. Following a walkthrough the reedbed in the dark, soon after dawn the Crake was found and we had several good views of the bird within an hour.
I couldn't resist a visit to the long-staying Short-billed Dowitcher at Lodmoor in Dorset last weekend. After a very early start it was found quickly, feeding openly on the marsh at dawn, even sleeping out in the open at one point.
Later in the day it was very active in some nice sunlight.
An added bonus was the Monarch Butterfly at nearby Easton. The Monarch is a common species in North America, famed for its mass migration south each year. This butterfly has probably arrived on the remnants of the recent hurricane weather system crossing the Atlantic.
Despite several visits to the site over the day the Monarch remained absent, no doubt due to the lack of sun and very windy conditions. On the third visit it was finally found, flying up to roost in a tree. Not the greatest of views, although this angle shows the damaged wing of this long distance flier.
Here is what it would look like on a good day (photo taken recently in Porto Santo)!
Portland Bill was relatively quiet, with a few Wheatears passing through:
A Kestrel was hunting near the Observatory:
Here the Kestrel is cleaning its bill after catching and eating a vole: