A dental appointment this morning , meant that I arrived at Down House to do the Bird Survey a bit later than usual today , but all in all , it didn't make much difference to the species recorded . A meagre 16 species were recorded today , but there was a biting wind blowing across the site , the only shelter being in the dip where the site joins West Kent Golf Course , where it felt almost tropical . The only highlights , as such , were 3 very colourful Green Woodpeckers , a Mistle Thrush , singing his heart out , and a mixed Tit flock , working it's way along the hedgeline by the side of the cricket field , which included this little one . With visitor numbers building , I didn't hang around , and headed towards the Greensand Ridge , for a cuppa and a chat with my Warden , home now after his back operation .
To get to his house , I had to pass one of the sites where refugia are layed , and I couldn't help but stop and have a look on the way . Once again , considering the wind that was now ushering in grey clouds , the visit was quite successful . In all , five male and one female Adders were found , probably more were out in the sunnier conditions earlier . At one glade , I had the female and two males , one of them pictured here , tasting me on the wind . Most of the animals found today had 'cloudy' eyes , like this one , indicating that they would soon 'slough' , shed their old skins , and be seen again in bright new skins , ready for the mating season .Also found were 2 Slow Worms , both were under corrugated tin . Two mammals were also found under these tins , a Pigmy Shrew under one and a Short-tailed Field Vole under another . In a large area of dead Bracken , and 2/3 metres from the refugia , I found this pair of males , two heads bottom right hand corner , although laying apart in the earlier sunshine , now preparing to lay together in the cooler temperature . I left them to it , but would expect that they would go back underground in the worsening conditions .
I did eventually tear myself away and arrived at the Warden's house . He had not been able to refill the bird feeders since getting home , so that was the first job , whilst he saw to the other important one , the tea . Whilst replacing the feeders , I noticed a pair of birds fly in and land on the Walnut tree . I assumed that they were Finches , until one called , calling me a 'twit' , repeatedly , a pair of Nuthatches , the second hidden bottom right . I thought it would be a waste of time going for the camera , as they would be off , but they didn't . I set up the tripod and took a few shots , and still they stayed . From their 'jizz' and the fact that this one wasn't calling , I am assuming that this was the female . As this one was calling , I was very sure that this was the male . Strange that only a short while ago , Simon-Mote Park - A Wildlife Patchwork , posted a similar shot of a Nuthatch on a branch rather than a tree trunk , and I like others commented how unusual it was . I was hoping for the ultimate shot , both birds on the same branch , but the female flew off , closely followed by the male .
14 hours ago