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 .