Saturday, 22 May 2010

Saturday 22nd.May 2010

Firstly , a moth photographed by Keith yesterday on our Duke of Burgundy trip . Small , but with distinctive markings for someone in the know , Dean . Keith would be obliged for some help.

Another very hot day , so I decided to get out reasonably early , dropping Carol in town to do the weekend shopping , whilst I made a quick visit to South Norwood Country Park , to check out a Great Spotted Woodpecker nest site that Keith had passed earlier in the week , during a lunchtime walk out from work . He had described the location , and as it was quite close to the road , ideal for this quick visit . From 10 metres away , you could hear the constant racket of an unknown number of juveniles , emanating from a hole 6/7 metres up a Willow . It wasn't long before the first adult arrived at the tree with a bill crammed with food , took no notice of me , my camera and tripod , set up below on the path , and started feeding one of the youngsters . This species of Woodpecker would lay 4-7 eggs in a single brood . The male flew off , and a few minutes later , the female arrived , with her food for her ravenous brood . She took up position just slightly lower and to one side of the hole , enabling a sighting of one of the racket makers , which looked as big , if not bigger than her . The pair continued backward and forwards with food , and every now and again , the female , after delivering her food , squeezed into the hole to do a bit of housework , bringing the rubbish out with her . The incessant racket got louder every now and again , as one of the youngsters ventured to look at the big world outside , still calling for more food . I could have stayed all morning , but Carol waiting with the shopping might not be too pleased , so I left the family to it , but I cannot say in peace .
A cup of coffee on returning home , then off for a look at Spring Park Pond . Still very quiet for damsel/dragonflies , just 4 male Large Red Damselflies were recorded , all in perfect condition , unlike the posted last weekend . A single Orange Tip and 3 Large Whites were also recorded , and whilst there , Common Whitethroat , Blackcap and Chiffchaff were all in full song .

I made one more visit before lunch , to the Farm Lake . As I arrived , several Swallows were skimming the water , but unfortunately I had the 100mm. lens on , and they were some way off . Around the banks , Oxeye Daisies have opened in good numbers since my last visit . The only Damselflies seen , were good numbers of teneral , freshly emerged specimens , taking their first flight , and not coloured up enough yet for positive identification , but I would expect them to include Azure and Common Blue , and Blue Tailed to be amongst them . Large Red were also recorded here . Butterflies were few , just a single Brimstone male and a female Orange Tip , which I followed as she nectared on Ragged Robin , then stopping to examine a single Garlic Mustard/ Jack-by-the-Hedge plant . As she hovered around the three flowering stems , I thought , yes , she's going to lay . But , she never did settle or lay , and flew off much to my annoyance . After she had gone , I examined the three sets of flowers , and found an Orange Tip egg on each of them , further enforcing the 'cannibalistic caterpillars' statement . If you remember , when I saw the other female lay her egg and then found it , it was white , but as the eggs mature , they turn this orange colour . This particular plant is growing on a large felled tree trunk , so is easy to find , and I will try and post the caterpillar , and possibly the chrysalis , when they appear . No sign yet of the Little Grebe family , and bad news for the female Mallard , as she has only one ducking from her original 12 . One of the young Coots seems to be gone as well . Most likely cause for all losses would be Grey Heron , the Kelsey Park heronry is not far away , and the are often seen in the shallow water , and Foxes , of which there are good numbers in the area . A last look around the lake before leaving gave a surprise , a male Mandarin . Then , beyond him amongst the Lilly pads , a female . Another movement close by turned out to be a duckling . It took 10 minutes of stalking to get a shot of all three , and when I did get it , the male looked as if it had been pulled through a hedge backwards . The species usually has a single brood of 9-12 , the nest being in a hole in a tree . The last time I saw a female on the lake , she had about that number of young with her , but I only saw her the once , and that was a couple of years ago . Perhaps this pair have encountered the Heron or Fox ? That might also explain the state of the male , trying to defend his family .

The jury is still out on last night's raptor , 2 for Honey Buzzard , 3 if you count me , and one against . I've never seen one before , but it was definitely different to Common Buzzards that I have seen .


Dean said...

Grapholita compositella.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Nice photo's from the G/S/Woodpecker nest.
Nice to see a Mandarin family. To think that there are more Mandarin's in this country than there are in China,is wierd when you think how big China is.

Warren Baker said...

Another good read Grenie, and a nice montage of photo's.

I'll be seeing the Juv. Great Spots in the garden soon then :-)