A male Brambling , almost in breeding plumage , most unexpected now that things are warming up . He didn't stay long , and it wasn't long before the usual Jackdaws appeared to finish up what was left on the path .
Whilst I was hedgelaying yesterday , Carol found the first frogspawn in the pond , so I went down to have a look . Well , the small amount from yesterday has turned into a large amount today , and with four pairs of frogs , with the males on the backs of the females , ready to fertilize her eggs . I think it is referred to as the pair in ' amplexus ' , anyway , it is the first spawn I have seen this year , having been looking whilst out .
Anticipating the temperature increase would awaken more reptiles , I headed off to Fackenden Down , near Shoreham , Kent . I was greeted almost immediately by two Brimstone males , each trying to drive off the other . They were the first of an estimated 10/15 , all males , that I saw whilst on the site . Difficult to get a true figure as they are non stop chasing from one end of the site to another , except for this one , who must have been catching his breath , because , shortly after taking this shot , he too was on his way . I also had a single Comma and a single Peacock , neither of which stoppped for a photo . Suprisingly , the anticipated emergence of reptiles did not extend to the Adders . I only found two individuals , warming up in the morning sun together , as you often find them early in the season , especially close to their hibernacular , as these two were . The earthy one I'm sure was the one I found last visit , and the cleaner a newer emergent . One head is about in the middle and the other , top of the screen , just left of centre . A few years ago , I photographed a jumble of eight Adders around this time of year . Slow Worms did much better with nine being found , including this trio . Whilst on site , I met a couple walking their dog , who told me they had disturbed a good sized Grass Snake at the far end of the site . I went and had a look , but could not find it . There was not much colour on the site , but every now and then , there were patches of Violets , I think they are Sweet Violets , but I am not sure . After lunch , with the sunshine becoming milky , I had a walk over the Common , and once again found Brimstones (5) and Commas (6) , both of which species overwinter as adults , on the wing .
On the heather/gorse area , were 2/3 pairs of Long Tailed Tits , probably looking for nesting sites amongst the tall gorse which they seem to use each year . I also had a Sparrowhawk driftinf effortlessly on the thermals .