Friday, 5 March 2010

Friday 5th.March 2010

A sunny morning , but with the temperature hovering around 0C. , it was going to be a chilly walk around the grounds of Down House , doing the regular Bird Survey .
I must admit , that the total species recorded , was the best for some time , 23 . The formal and walled kitchen garden did the best of the 6 areas surveyed , with 12 species . Nothing spectacular , but 3 Nuthatches chasing each other around an Apple tree , and of course the ever present Rose Ringed Parakeets , which , I am pretty sure , are already nesting , At this rate , they could well get 3/4 broods in before the weather turns for the worse .
As I entered the large meadow , I was scolded from the Yew tree on the boundary of the woodland by this Wren . In the middle of the meadow , I managed to get reasonably close to this female Green Woodpecker feeding on the ground . Once again , my inadequacy in the lens department let me down , as trying to get even closer with the 100mm. lens , she spotted me and was off . The lens wasn't to blame for the poor shot of one of a pair of Goldcrests that I found in the Sandwalk woodlands . It was down to the fact that neither would keep still , but as they are the first of the species that I have seen for some time , I decided to include the record shot .
All through the woodlands , the male Hazel catkins are fully open , releasing their pollen into the air , to be hopefully caught by the female flowers , which have already lose the vibrancy of colour that they had when they first opened . A Song Thrush sang for most of my visit , and I also briefly glimpsed and hear a pair of Bullfinches . The rest were the expected species , and as the temperature started to rise , more and more species were singing .
From Down House , I headed up onto the Greensand Ridge for a quick look for reptiles . I just visited the most likely Adder spots , but , being that much higher , and cooler , nothing was found . I had to make do with just one Common Lizard , basking on a sheltered bank .
My last call before heading home for lunch , was at Keston Ponds . A check of the Mandarins resulted in just 7 seen . No doubt , having seen them mating some weeks ago , the others could well be nesting , or hiding in Warren's wet woods . A strange comparison showed up , when on one hand large areas of the top and bottom ponds were frozen over , albeit thinly , whilst on an anchored floating platform on the top pond , one female Coot was sitting out in the open on her nest , and a second , at the other end of the platform , was well tucked away in an area of regenerating Yellow Flag Iris .
And finally , just for ShySongbird , I found this clump of Primrose , tucked at the bottom of a South facing wall in the vegetable garden , which is much more advanced than other plants I have seen .
Tomorrow , early start for hedgelaying competition near Newbury , Berkshire .


Warren Baker said...

Surely you dont begrudge me a mandarin Greenie :-)

When can I expect a Grass snake?

Phil said...

I'm amazed you found a Common Lizard Greenie, I thought it would be a while before they appeared. Thanks for advice today re medication and darkened rooms, I can't make any guarantee's for the future though!

ShySongbird said...

Greenie! Thank you. You sent me my favourite flowers! That is so nice. You have put a smile on my face :)

It is great that you are starting to look for reptiles, that is definitely a good sign that the year is moving on.

Nice to see the Wren, I find it difficult to photograph them as they always seem to skulk around.

I hope by the time you read this you will have had an enjoyable day and hopefully some success at the hedgelaying competition.