Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Tuesday 6th.April 2010

Forgot to mention yesterday , had my first Swallow of the year , over a cold Hayes Farm .
Starting this post wit a who am I ? - answer at the end .
With no volunteering , and the sun shining , I decided to split the day between the Downs and Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve . Arriving on the Downs near Sevenoaks , I wondered if I had made a good decision , as the Southerly wind was blowing in at right angles , and it was chilly to say the least . I started looking for reptiles , but , not surprisingly , very little was found . The odd Slow Worm , but nothing more . What I did notice though , was that there were a lot more insects about than on previous days , and they included my first sighting this year of Bee-flies , this one , Bombus major , with that strange looking proboscis in front , but with a fur coat on for the cool conditions . I did get a brief sighting of one Adder , but it looked as if was going back underground , not a bad judge . In a sheltered corner , I found the first one laying out , but also within a couple of metres , a Peacock butterfly . This was soon followed by two male Brimstone sighting , both patrolling the woodside edge , looking for females . Some small mining type bees were also seen , but too mobile to identify . Overhead , a pair of Kestrels were hunting , held aloft by the strong wind , and that was also helping a Skylark in full song . A singing Blackcap , out of sight was in the bottom corner . Apart from that , just the expected species were found , but no sign of Common Buzzard , which are often seen here . I was almost back at the car , when I found these 4 male Adders , laying out on top of a felt , in their usual early season get together , with a 7 Spot Ladybird , one of many seen today .
It was only a short drive to the Sevenoaks Reserve , and , being lower , was partially sheltered from that wind . I headed for the main hide , and on my way , came across this Goldcrest , searching for food on a Silver Birch , reminiscent in manner to a Tree Creeper . Nothing much at the first hide , but on my way to the second , another singing Blackcap , but always on the move .
Lots of Great and Blue Tit song all over the Reserve , together with many Wrens and a handfull of singing Chiffchaffs . On my way back to do the other side of the main lake , another Peacock ,
this one allowing a photograph . The shutter had only just operated , when another butterfly chased it off . This time it was a Comma , my second sighting of the year , although Carol has also had a couple of sightings in our garden . A few more Peacocks were seen , but this was the only Comma . On a small island on one of the smaller lakes , was this Heron , sat on her nest , the only one that I could see , but I suppose every Heronry has to start somewhere . My approach to a small lake was greeted with a lot of honking , from the two adult Greylag Geese with seven youngsters in tow , and they look very young indeed . Throughout the day , I had attempted to get a shot of one of the several singing Blackcaps that I came across . As I headed back towards the car park , another was singing intermittently from above . I scoured the Ivy clad tree for quite a while , before I finally found him , around the back , singing and preening , hence the intermittent bit , mind you , he hadn't done a very good job on the hair ! As I watched him , a Long Tailed Tit landed almost alongside , but , as I attempted a shot , it was off .
When I got home , Carol made a cup of tea , and we sat with it on the patio . I was telling her about the day's sightings , and she said that she couldn't believe I had seen so many butterflies , as she hadn't seen any , except the one that just landed on the sun lounge roof , a Peacock , which just stayed soaking up the now milky sunshine . 'I wonder' I said , and went into the garage to check on our hibernating Peacock . There was no sign of it , and Carol said that is was there over the weekend , so we just might have seen our Winter guest , leaving it's accommodation .
For those scratching their head still , this was the exact bird that decided to dive , at the same moment that I hit the shutter , a Great Crested Grebe , another bird having a bad hair day .


Phil and Mandy said...

You have some glorious pictures there Greenie, well done

Warren Baker said...

A not dis-similar day to me greenie, - insect wise!

Kingsdowner said...

A good day, especially with a bee-fly (I'm sure you must have had it warmer up north). Great shot of the goldcrest!
Hopefully I'll be up adder-hunting soon.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
What a very rewarding day you had. A great assortment of wildlife photographed, especially the Butterflies including my favourite, the Comma.
I bet you and Carol was sad when you found out that your Peacock had decided to make it's way in the big wide world.

Dean said...

You seem to be having a good time of it, where you are Greenie. Some great stuff there.

Phil said...

Great stuff Greenie. Love the Blackcap shot and the final Grebe shot, it reminded me of something but I couldn't remember what, until I looked in the mirror after I got up this morning!