Monday, 21 February 2011

Monday 21st. February 2011

Yet again , another grey , cool and uninviting morning , but at least it wasn't raining or drizzling .
I decided to get out and have a look up on the Greensand Ridge , where , over the Winter , contractors have been removing vast swathes of Rhododendron , in the area where the refugia to monitor reptiles have been laid . I was under the impression that all the work would be done by hand tools , so was knocked sideways to find caterpillar tracks of a large machine in two of the most prolific areas , as far as reptile records are concerned . Overall , the area looked like the aftermath of a nuclear explosion , and I can only hope that no damage was done to hibernating animals . The person in charge is on holiday at the moment , but the damage has been done now , and that cannot be changed . I walked around the other refugia sites , and they have not been so badly damaged , and only time will tell what impact the work has had on the populations concerned .
On the brighter side , I did find some year firsts on the site :First Primroses in flower .First Lungwort/Pulmonaria officinalis in flower .On the bank of a lane-side ditch , my first Daffodils in flower .Although not the first , I couldn't resist another shot of Winter Heliotrope/Petasites fragrans .
I had a look in at a very quiet Bough Beech reservoir in the hope of finding something interesting , but that didn't work out , with just common species being seen from the causeway , and a biting breeze coming off the water . I stopped at the feeders in the orchard , which were alive with mainly Blue and Great Tits , but no sign of my hoped for Marsh Tit or Brambling .A single Greenfinch did break up the Tit monopoly , and whilst watching three Great Spotted Woodpeckers squabbling high in the branches of a large tree in an adjacent garden , a Nuthatch flew through the lens and onto the feeder , to join the 'monopoly' . On the scrape behind the barn , which looks more like a small lake at the moment , a pair of Wigeon stayed well out of camera distance on the far side .
On the way home for lunch , I looped into Sevenoaks Reserve , without the sunshine of last Monday's visit , and without the Bittern sighting too . Here too , the breeze off the water was cold , and this reflected on what was seen . Sorry to those fed up with the Black-necked Grebe shots , but I managed to get really close to it today , and in the still water , sheltered by the clay spit . The two Great Crested Grebes were still deliberating on nest sites , in between feeding . This one came up quite close to the bank , and looked very dapper in it's breeding plumage , even if the sun wasn't out . As I put my gear back in the car , the air filled with the chattering of Finches , as a flock of 150/200 swirled overhead , before heading off towards the Willow Hide area . The light was not good enough to get a make on them all , but assume that they were mainly Siskin with a few Redpoll in the mix too .
When I arrived home , Carol had a bowl of hot soup ready for my lunch , just what was needed .


Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
Sorry to hear about the damage that the contractors have done. Why don't people like this check what's involved before hand.
Shame there wasn't more bird species on the feeders at Bough Beech.

ShySongbird said...

My favourites! Primroses :) How lovely to see those on a cold and wet day like we have had here today. All the wildflowers seem so much more advanced there Greenie, I thought I was doing well with Snowdrops, Winter Aconites and Daffodils just about in bud last week but you do seem ahead of us.

What a shock you must have had to see the devastation caused by the contractors. I know you can't change anything but I do hope you get to 'have a word' with those responsible!

Nice to see the Nuthatch, they always seem elusive to me and I for one am not fed up with the Black-necked Grebe photos.

Phil said...

Act first and think later or not at all seems to be the motto Greenie. Hopefully it looks worse than it is.
At least you got some pics which is more than me lately.