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 .