Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Wednesday 1st.April 2009

No volunteering today , so I headed off to turn some tins on Fackenden Down , near Shoreham , Kent . Even though it was sunny , there was a chill to the wind early on . The cold nights still seem to be holding back the emergence from hibernation of many of the reptiles . In total , six Slow Worms and six Adders , all males were recorded on the site . Only one was found under refugia , and another couldn't make it's mind up whether it wanted to be recorded . on , under , or near the refugia . The other four were close to refugia , and my favourite was a male sunning himself in a fissure on a fallen tree .
Birdwise , there were several Skylarks up and singing , along with several Blue , Great and Long Tailed Tits togeter with Chaffinches , Greenfinches and Goldfinches . In the furthest field , a male Kestrel was perching , and then making dives into the long grass , before returning back to it's perch . He was so intent on what he was doing , at one stage , he alighted on the top of the small tree that I was standing next to , trying to get shots of him . If you ever wondered what the back end of a male Kestrel looks like ---Just after taking this , he looked down , saw me and shot off down the other end of the field . Butterflies were few and far between , but I did record Brimstone , Peacock , Comma and my first Small Tortoisshell of the year , but it didn't stop for a photo . I decided to go on to Bough Beech on the strength of Warren's news , that the Ladies Smock was in flower , and hoped for an early Orange Tip . I went directly to the furthest end of the reserve from the Oast House , where Ladies Smock grows in abundance , both along the hedgelines and in the adjacent wood . No sooner did I get out of the car , when I heard Buzzards calling . From the field corner , I could see four Common Buzzards drifting overhead on the thermals . The views only lasted seconds before they lifted higher and drifted out of sight . No Orange Tips were found even though the Ladies Smock was indeed in full flower , but whilst looking in the adjacent wood , for the second day running , I put up Deer , but this time what looked like a herd of females , including two pure white animals . They were of in a flash before I could get the camera out , but I did get a distant shot through the trees of one of the white animals . Walking back to the car , I was serenaded by at least three singing Chiffchaffs , and then a Blackcap burst into song from the middle of a thorn bush . I know it is a terrible shot , but he wasn't prepared to move out of the bush , so I took this as a record of my first singing Blackcap of the year . Before getting back in the car , I had a look over the hedge across the reservoir . Cormorants seemed to have taken over all the floating islands , but a Grey Heron was diligently fishing in the shallows . A final look aroung the field edge confirmed that no Orange Tips were around , but I did find a Comma feeding on Goat Willow and a Peacock pretending to be a dead leaf , resting on the ground .

The Causeway was heaving with the good weather birders , so I left them to it and headed home .
Nearly forgot , on the way home , had my first Swallow of the year , just below the Greensand Ridge ,


Warren Baker said...

So there are singing blackcaps out there then Greenie.!

As for your suggestion on felt/tin for reptiles, If I could get some I would try it, but i think it would be interferes with, or tidied up!

Funny you should think of two 'Chats' I took the pic of the 'whinchat type' going away from the sun. I walked the hedge row, and came up the other side, into the sun, and thought, 'hey that whinchat is now a stonechat. Could the whinchat have flown off and left the stonechat!!!!!

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Looks like you have had a great day out, nice variety. Tell me Greenie, what sort of wildlife do you like the best, as you seem to enjoy photographing most things.
Like most places Bough Beech is always the same on a nice day, isn't it, all the fair weather birder come out.

Greenie said...

Ken ,
I don't actually have a favourite .
What I tend to do is to just follow nature through the year .
It usually goes- Adders , Orchids ,
Butterflies , Dragon/Damselflies , Wild flowers ,Fungi , and all the while , Birds and Mammals . Hopefully getting photographic opportinities when they arise .
The old 'Jack of all trades - Master of none' syndrome , but it keeps me off the streets .
Hope Pam is doing OK .