Thursday, 10 September 2009

Thursday 10th.September 2009

Firstly an apology for forgetting to post the identity of the caterpillar and moth that I found at Keston ponds . They were both ID'd by Dean/mostlymacro , as a Buff Tip moth caterpillar , and a migrant moth , Rush Veneer . Thanks very much Dean for you help .
Fancied a change of scenery today , so headed off to Leybourne Lakes at New Hythe . Usually I visit during the Winter for ducks , but thought I'd give it a try . The most noticeable thing on arrival , was the lack of water in the drainage ditches , some completely dried out . One of my targets was Water Vole , but with the conditions as they were , I didn't hold much hope . Surprisingly , Odonata were still using the dried up ditches as if they were still full of water , with good numbers of Migrant Hawker males patrolling their territories . Also seen , were 6 male Ruddy Darters , one posing for the camera on some gone over Black Knapweed heads . The lack of water in the ditches did not seem to deter the Damselflies , as they were making the most of the warm sunshine in sheltered corners . A pair of Blue Tailed Damselflies , and a pair of Common Blue Damselflies , both pairs in the ring or wheel position . Also seen were plenty of Common Darters , a few Red Eyed Damselflies and two male Brown Hawkers .
With quite a breeze blowing in exposed positions , Butterflies were not found in large numbers , in fact the most numerous were the Whites , Small , Large and Green Veined , which made up the majority of numbers found . Speckled Wood , Comma , Small Copper (pictured)
and a very fresh Painted Lady , which could be one of the last ones I find , with the night time temperatures forcasted to fall over the next few days .
Very few birds were found during the first part of the visit , and the scrub area was particularly quiet , I had been hoping for a couple of migrants there . On the lakes were the expected Coots , Moorhens , Tufted Ducks and Great Crested Grebe . The usual Canada and Greylag Geese were found in good numbers . A fly over Grey Heron was about as exciting as it got . I crossed the railway tracks , and on my way towards the river , met a local birder Allan , who told me that he had just got his first ever Spotted Flycatcher for the site , and also a large Tit flock with a Chiffchaff tagging on . We chatted for a while , then went on our separate ways . It was good to meet you Allan , and enjoyed the chat . As I reached the river , Bullfinch and Blackcap were heard , but neither species showed itself . A short way along the river , there was a lot of wing slapping on water , but I could not see what was causing it , due to the thick vegetation along the bank . When I got to an open area , I found three Mute Swans just leaving the water and onto the far bank . From the way two of them carried their wings , I would say that they were males , and the third , a female or juvenile . The two males seemed to be handing out a lesson to the third one , with both of them pecking and one at times , holding the third one down . This must have been the source of the noise earlier on . After giving the third one a hard time for several minutes , they all walked away as if nothing had happened . Something had obviously happened to the next bird I saw on the far bank . It was an adult Grey Heron , that looked as if it had a broken wing and a broken leg , as it was getting agitated with the conflict with the three Swans , ans was trying to get away from it , but it's injuries wouldn't let it . There was nothing I could do , so had to leave it to it's fate . Shortly afterwards , I came across Alan's Chiffchaff , having separated from the Tit flock , but not lucky enough to find the Spotted Flycatcher . I found a male Kestrel hunting over the Sunken Marsh , and am pretty sure I had a Cetti's Warbler , with a subdued song , not far from the paperworks .
Which was where I had the strangest sighting of the day , when I caught sight of a Common Wasp flying with what looked like a small piece of wood or straw , trailing behind , held in place by it's legs . Fortunately it landed almost in front of me , and I managed to get a couple of shots . The piece of wood or straw , turned out to be a female Common Blue Damselfly , that the Wasp must have caught . Once it steadied itself in the stiff breeze , the Wasp proceeded to have the Damselfly for elevenses . I wouldn't have thought that the Wasp could have handled the Damselfly , but I was proved wrong , and as I left , one third of it's meal had already been consumed . Whilst looking for Odonata at one of the fishing platforms , I thought I had come across yet another Hornet from a distance , but it turned out to be the largest of the Hoverflies , Volucella Zonaria . The only reptile found on the site was a Common Lizard that was sunning itself on a piece of wood , but not interested in posing for the camera .

By the time I got back to the car , I had recorded 37 species of birds , best being a seen/heard Kingfisher low near the Diver's Bridge , 7 of Odonata and 7 of Butterflies . I got a flyover from a Mute Swan as I was leaving , and just hoped that it was the one that was getting a hard time , and now doing it's own thing .
Halfway through posting this , Carol called up 'what's that on the lawn at the bottom of the garden '? . Camera in hand , I went to check it out . It turned out to be a young Fox enjoying the last of the sunshine . I got 4 shots before he left , and will post them on a quiet day .


Warren Baker said...

interesting about the wasp Greenie. You did well with 37 species of birds.

Phil and Mandy said...

Good selection Greenie, the poor Heron though! Phil

Dean said...

No probs regards the id`s you mentioned, Greenie.
You`ve identified several fungi for, which i`m grateful for.
Cheers.. Dean

ShySongbird said...

Very worrying about the Heron but what interesting behaviour from the Swans. I have never come across that before, it would be fascinating to find out what it was all about.