Friday, 23 April 2010

Friday 23rd. April 2010

Over breakfast this morning , a pair of birds near the feeders , had me running upstairs to the back bedroom window , to get a shot of them . To lots of people , a male and female House Sparrow may be commonplace , but , in the 20 years that we have lived here , I could count on one hand having a single House Sparrow in the garden , never mind a pair . The day was off to a good start .
Something was telling me to return to the site that I had visited yesterday , probably , as I have felt cheated by the photos that I managed to get , many , through thick Heather , and as I was unprepared with the 100-400 mm. lens on the camera . The action did not last long enough to change the lens . Before long , I found myself at the same spot , but this time , with the 100 mm. lens already attached , and ready to go . Not surprisingly , no repeat of yesterdays combat , just one male Adder laying out , in the still cool sunshine . A walk around the site , found just one other male , seemed like my feeling was wrong . About half an hour later , I returned to the first spot , to find a female , possibly two , and at least three male Adders , all lying in a very small area . One , which I think was the incumbent from yesterday was lying coiled on top of the 1/2 females . I set up the tripod and waited . The other males left the scene and so did one of the females , into thick Heather . The male and female left , then proceeded to mate , exactly the same as had happened up on the Greensand Ridge on Tuesday . Difficult to say how long the mating went on for , as was also concentrating on 3 males that were 'circling' the mating pair . Eventually , one of these males got too close for the mating male , and he broke away and chased off the other male . Whilst he was away , another of the males tried to 'muscle in' on the female .
The original male returned to find the situation , and all hell broke out . I thought that I had had a good 'Dance of the Adders' yesterday , but today's was streets ahead , and I was in a better position , with the 100 mm. lens attached . You might have noticed a new header to my blog , this being one of approximately 75 , all of the same quality . At one stage , two males were 'Dancing' in the middle of the arena , the mated female was coiled in her original position , the second female arrived and watched the show , and later another of the males . As quickly as it started , the two females moved into the thick heather , closely followed by the others , and it was all over . Getting my breath back , I looked back at what I had taken , but the sunshine made it difficult , but when I got home , I couldn't believe my eyes . I would have liked to have posted more shots of the 'Dance' , but just recently I have noticed that a publishing company has been downloading some of my Adder shots without asking permission , so I am just posting the change in header . Some might be fed up with Adders , so they will be happy . For me , it's the end of an incredible week , two sightings of mating and two 'Dances' , who would ever believe it .
Like a 'dog with two' , I headed home , stopping off at the Common , at finding that all the singing by the Blackcap that I have posted a couple of times , has paid off , as I saw him and a female , looking as if she was nest building , in the same area as the Chiffchaffs and the LTTits . The temperature was very agreeable by now , and Brimstones were making the most of it . In one glade , I found 4 males refuelling on Dandelion , and in the area where Buckthorn grows , the females were laying their eggs in this , their foodplant .
A final stop at the Farm Lake didn't produce any surprises . A pair off Jays were fossicking in the shade , allowing just one shot as one of them hopped into sunlight . A Grey Heron was on the floating platform , but no sign again of the female Mallard and her brood . A Little Grebe was diving some way out , but no sign of it's mate , possibly on eggs . Amongst the perfect yellow of the Cowslips , an interloper . Probably the result of cross pollination with a garden plant . In the lake margins , Bog Bean-Menyanthes trifoliate is just coming into flower , with the most exquisite bloom . As I was leaving , a Moorhen seemed to get just a bit too close to the two Coot chicks , and the male Coot sent it packing . The Moorhen showing it's defiance by flashing it's white undertail .


Phil said...

Well Greenie, sounds like you really did top your previous post. Amazing stuff and I would like to have seen some more of your shots. Sorry to hear your photo's have been pirated, couldn't you copyright them?

Anonymous said...

Exciting stuff Greenie - now watch out your excellent description doesn't get nicked for a plot of Eastenders!

Isn't Bogbean a beauty - never seen that but I've just checked and it does grow in a couple of spots on the IoW so there's hope.

Anonymous said...

It`s definitely speeding up down your way Greenie. Great Stuff.

Talking of Eastenders, isn`t "thick Heather" a character in that ;-)

RogerW said...

Sounds like you had some great sightings, particularly the adders.
I had a bit of a surprise, too, during an afternoon visit to Fackenden Lane (between Shoreham and Otford), yesterday.
Up on the bank that the Small Blues favour - near the trough next to the gate - I saw what I took to be a very early Grizzled Skipper.
... and we're still a week away from the start of May.

Warren Baker said...

It's all down hill now greenie, you've peaked to early, how you possibly top today?

No doubt you'll try :-)