Thursday, 14 May 2009

Thursday 14th.May 2009

After yesterday's washout , it drizzled all day here , it was good that it was at least dry this morning , if not sunny , and the sun could be felt through that cloud at times .
As happened a few times over the Winter , we had just sat down to breakfast , when I saw a bird alight on one of the feeders , that caught my eye . I shot upstairs for the camera , thinking , it will be gone when I get back . Well , it almost was , but I managed one shot , through double glazing , and I think it is a juvenile Brambling . I stand to be corrected , but I can't make it into anything else . I just wish it had stayed for one shot head on , but it didn't .
I dropped Carol in the town , and set off for the farm lake , not expecting anything flying , just a general look around . First thing noticed was that the Coots , already with four youngsters , are refurbishing their nest on the edge of the reeds , with the male bringing long stems of last year's reeds and passing them to the female to do the job . The four youngsters are just being left to their own devices . The female Mallard is still watching nervously over the six remaining ducklings , strangely , I've never seen a Drake with her . The lady from the house has been feeding them , and they are less scared of humans now , in fact , two of the ducklings came up the bank and posed for me , almost at my feet . Since my last visit , two pairs of Tufted Ducks ( sorry Warren ) have taken up residence , and from what I witnessed this morning , one female could well be nest building in the very near future . Everything else seems to be as was , having seen the Swallows skimming drinks , apparently they are refurbishing their nest in the stables . Not a single Damsel/Dragonfly or Butterfly was recorded during my visit , but not surprising given the conditions .
From there , I went to High Elms , more for a walk and to check on the Orchids than anything . It was surprisingly mild up on Burnt Gorse , and I did actually see a butterfly , a single Dingy Skipper . No sign of any Green Hairstreaks on their favourite Wayfarer trees , but I noticed that many of the leaves on these tree seem to have been attacked by some form of Gall , leaving blister type spots all over . Also very noticable , was the crop of Beech Mast , that will provide food for many animals and birds later on in the year . I did find a couple of insect flying , being tiny day flying moths of the Pyraustra family . They are very small and very difficult to follow when they fly off as you approach , which they do on a regular basis . There are several of the family found on chalk grassland , and this one is P.aurata . Also found on Burnt Gorse , was a pair of Soldier Beetles-Cantharis rustica , commonly kwown as 'Bonking Beetles' , as it seems that it is the only thing they do . Like most of the insect world , the female of this species is much larger than the male , getting a free ride on her back . Lots of Green Lacewings were around , but I found them very difficult to photograph , as they were even more difficult to follow than the moth . As I was about to leave the bottom of Burnt Gorse , I came across the smallest Rabbit that I have ever seen , it would have fitted in the palm of my hand . It dashed into the undergrowth , and tried to hide itself . I took a quick shot and left it alone . On the way to the Orchid Bank , I checked on the Bird's Nest Orchids , and they have increased to eight . White Helleborines have increased to 101 , and I didn't cover all areas counted last visit . With the two Fly Orchids on Burnt Gorse , a total of 22 are now showing , and the splinted one is still alive too . Man Orchids are now numbering 6 , but still the single Greater Butterfly Orchid , still to come into flower . Whilst recording the Orchids , I came across one of the more common Ladybirds , the 7 spotted . Unusual , as the spot directly behind the head is one half on each wing cover . Birdwise , the usual suspects were seen/heard , but nothing out of the ordinary .
Haven't had any guesses on the flower question . Will post the answer tomorrow , if not guessed .


Warren Baker said...

Hi greenie,
i'm back from the dead (well near dead!) cured of man flu and rearing to go!!

Are you sure the bird on the feeder isn't a Juv. Chaffinch?

....and I bet all the chicks fall at your feet......

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie
I too wondered if that bird on the feeder isn't a JUv Chaffinch,althoughas much as I try to match it up to pictures in my various field guides I cannot find anything like it. I don't see how it can be a Juv Brambling. I like the pictures especialy the Bonking Beetle's.I wouldn't mind a couple of young birds at my feet.

Greenie said...

Warren/Ken ,
The bird was so white underneath , the 'red mist' set in to make it something else , but I'm going for Chaffinch as well , the mist having subsided .
Thanks for your help .

ShySongbird said...

Hi Greenie, I would have thought it was too white underneath to be a juvenile Chaffinch but I can't think what else it could be, the juvenile Brambling photos I've looked at don't seem right either. I do like trying to solve these mysteries but as I have spent hours trawling through flower photos to try and identify the flower on your earlier post and given myself a stiff neck into the bargain, I admit defeat on both! I will be glad when you put me out of my misery on the flower ID!!

Great post as always and looked like you had been using Mr Sheen on the Ladybird!

ShySongbird said...

Hi again Greenie, after taking another look in daylight I do think it must be a juvenile Chaffinch.