Sunday, 15 March 2009

Sunday 15th.March 2009

Well , it certainly looked like Spring whilst having breakfast this morning , even though Carol said it was still chilly outside , which probably accounted for the fact that when I looked down the garden at the feeders , and orange ball in the Tamarisk caught my eye .
I dashed up to the back bedroom window and got this shot . After a while , he was happy to come down onto the path and start feeding on the seed there .

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 .


Ken said...

Hello Greenie
What a great day out nature watching you had today, such variety. I like the photo of the Comma, one of my favourite Butterflies.Well done with getting the Brambling also.

Warren Baker said...

I enjoyed the post today greenie,
I really want a pic of a Brimstone. I saw one today for the first time in years on my patch, but like you say, they just don't stop!

Kingsdowner said...

A good start to spring there!
Well done for the great Brimstone shot - the one that kept visiting yesterday didn't alight once.
For reptile sheets, do you (or rather 'they') prefer corrugated iron or felt?

Kingsdowner said...

I visited Fackenden yesterday for the first time, and duly lifted the lids.
Three slow worms were found (one each under felt, iron, and plastic) and two adders were under a plastic sheet.
This is reassuring for me, as I've chosen clear plastic in my own garden.
Thanks for the pointer.