Friday, 14 May 2010

Friday 14th. May 2010

Unsure of what the weather had in store for today , I decided not to go too far afield , and made my first stop at Knoll Park , Sevenoaks , in another attempt for Common Redstart and Cuckoo . Again , I came away empty handed on these two species , in fact the whole park was very quiet indeed , apart from lots of Willow Warblers singing their hearts out . In the morning sunshine , this male Pheasant looked really dapper , the wattle on his face looking unreal . On the open grassland to one side of the house , I put up two Green Woodpeckers , which flew to the nearest tree , then dropped down again and carried on feeding . I got as close as I could to them , but as soon as I got to that certain distance , they flew away a short distance . Eventually , I did manage to get shots of them both , the female , with the plain black moustache , and a little later , the male , with his black and red moustache . Shortly after this shot , they got fed up with me and flew well away , to feed in peace . I only saw one and heard two Tree Pipits during my visit , which is unusual for the site , but I did manage a shot of one of them in full song .
From Knoll Park , I made the short journey to Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve , a Kent Wildlife Trust site . If anything , this site was even quieter that the first , as all that was seen from the first hide was a family of Canada Geese , one Shellduck , a few Lapwing , and the usual Coots , Moorhens and a few Tufted Ducks . The walk between hides was not much better , with the odd Blackcap and a pair of Bullfinches . The second hide produced , nothing , but I could hear birdsong over towards the other hide near the reedbed . Sure enough , the song of the Reed Warbler was constant as soon as I opened the flap . The first views were of males , deep in the reeds , and constantly on the move . After some time , the odd bird showed towards the front of the reedbed , but even though singing , they didn't stop for long in one place . Every now and again , a non singing bird appeared , and that gave the opportunity of a series of shots . A few LTTits along with a Chiffchaff landed in an adjacent Willow , but like the Reed Warblers , didn't keep still and moved on . I decided to head around the other side of the large lake to look for the Kingfisher around Willow Hide , which didn't show up either . As I approached the hide , a Coot was on her nest , surrounded by a nice show of Bog Bean flowers . When I entered the hide , I was told by the couple inside , that I had just missed a Mink , swimming between the two islands in the lake . I headed down to the end of the large lake and was about to turn back , when a Garden Warbler started singing from a Hawthorn . I must have spent a good half hour , trying to get a clear shot of the bird , but , as you can see , I did not manage it . Of interest , whilst I was trying for that shot , not only the Garden Warbler was singing , as in very close proximity , Common Whitethroat , Chiffchaff , Blackcap and one , possibly two Cetti's Warblers were in full song too . Just four butterflies were recorded on site , 3 Green-veined Whites , one pictured nectaring on Bugle , and a single male Orange Tip . My last shot before leaving , was this Rabbit , who wasn't at all bothered by my presence .
As the sun had decided to show itself again , I decided to stop on the Downs and check the refugia , only to find one of the other surveyors was just leaving . So I just had a quick look around for butterflies . The sun had tempted a few out , and I recorded 2 Large White , 1 Orange Tip , 1 Brimstone , 7 Grizzled Skipper , 10 Dingy Skipper and 2 Peacock . Let's hope the warmer temperatures which have been forecasted do arrive , and the butterflies get flying again .


Warren Baker said...

Surprised you didn't stop off for a cuppa on my patch Greenie, could of shown you the Cuckoo :-)

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Do you think there was a little smirk on Warren's face when he wrote that :-)
It seems as if everything you went for today wasn't playing ball, still what you did see wasn't bad. Nice photo's.

Ken Browne. said...

PS. Have a good weekend Greenie.

ShySongbird said...

It seems you are definitely ahead of us, it has been so cold again here, more like February, so no sign of butterflies or anything else very Springlike.

An interesting post again, Greenie. I haven't seen a Green Woodpecker for some time and never managed a photo.

Nice to see the Reed Warbler, a slippery customer to photograph among the reeds I'm sure!

I also enjoyed seeing the Whitethroat on your previous post.

Wilma said...

Super shots of the green woodpeckers!

Anonymous said...

Green Peckers & Reed Warblers are difficult species to photograph. Well done on doing so, Greenie.