Once again , I am indebted to my neighbour for the loan of his laptop , to enable me to do a catch up post , but once again , without the ability to 'crop' the pictures , but , hopefully by Monday , things will be back to normal .
Last Monday , with the promise of some good weather , I headed for Ashdown Forest in good conditions . As I approached the Reserve , in rolled the clouds , out went the sun ,and , up got the wind , and with a Southerly wind , and nothing to stop it after the South Downs , I was starting to realise that looking for migrants was not a good idea . Apart from Corvids and Chaffinches , I was almost half way around the reserve before I found any interest , a pair of
Stonechats . The male was in superb breeding colours , and pursuing the female all over the place , then having to see off a rival male , trying to muscle in . Whilst following the Stonechats , something made me look skywards , to reveal a Common Buzzard , drifting on the wind , searching the open areas . Two juvenile female Fallow Deer , and that was the lot , most disappointing . On the way back , I stopped off at a road junction that always has a good show of Early Purple Orchids , and , although the plants are not yet in flower , the leaves are pushing
through well , and the first Orchids will not be far behind . Before reaching home , I made my first visit of the year to the Farm Lake , which looked very bare with all the reeds and sedge brown , waiting for this year's growth to begin . A Grey Heron flew off from the bank as I approached the lake , and it was soon seen why he was there . The water was almost seething with frogs , singly and in pairs spawning , easy pickings for the Heron . This particular corner of
the lake is always favoured by frogs , and with so much spawn in the shallows , it looks as if the banks will be alive with froglets again this year . Walking on around the bank , at least half of it
is covered with the early flowering Coltsfoot . Later in the year , when the flowers have finished , the leaves will appear , joining the Ragged Robin and Cowslips , when they come into flower . More croaking from amongst the left overs of last years reeds , produced what could only be described as 'a ball of Toads' . Somewhere in the middle of this is a female that has come to the water to breed . As she did so , she was set upon by several males , all wanting to
be the one to mate with her . With none willing to give in , the ball gets bigger , and sometimes , the female drowns by being kept under the surface by so many males . No sign of any Toadspawn yet , but it usually is a couple of weeks later than the Frogs .
A quick look up on the Downs yesterday , produced my first female Adder of the year , and not surprising , given an afternoon temperature of 16C . As can be seen , the zig-zag pattern is not
so vivid as on the male , and they are usually this light/dark brown coloration . The hole into the heather roots , is probably the entrance to where she hibernated .
And finally , a male Adder , with a spider , that I watched walk all over it , and having just walked off the Adder's head , vanished into the vegetation .