A very quiet week for wildlife , but still busy volunteering and hedgelaying , has produced very little to post recently . It started with a re-visit to the cleared area on the Greensand Ridge with the other two people who monitor the site , one being the Sec. of Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group (KRAG) . It didn't look any better this time , but the consensus of opinion was that over time , the habitat will be much better , as long as the reptiles weren't damaged during the clearance . That will only come to light when they come out of hibernation and start to be recorded , fingers crossed . The clearance also meant that some refugia needed to be moved , so that was done at the same time .
I decided on a quick visit to Sevenoaks Reserve on my way home , and collected a crack on my windscreen for my trouble , which started to creep further and further down the windscreen on the following days . The only interest found was that the Great Crested Grebes , probably the pair that I watches looking for sites , had made their nest , a floating mat of vegetation attached to the branches of a tree that were trailing in the water . Only trouble now is that if the water level is dropped by removing a board from the sluice , their nest will be high and dry . They didn't seem bothered though , as both were seen catching good sized fish .
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent inside , finishing off the new shed , which I must say is looking very posh . Thursday up on the Common , was a much colder day than last week , and there were none of last week's insects on show because of that temperature .
By Friday , the crack was really worrying , and I had to hang around for the windscreen to be replaced , and as usual , or so it seems , I was on the end of the day's work list , but at least it is done now .
Yesterday , we were back down near the Hogsback , continuing with the last hedge of this season , which hopefully will be completed in a fortnights time . We had another dry day , this time without any Common Buzzard sightings , but were rewarded with a Skylark rising into the grey sky in full song . I didn't have binoculars with me , but I'm sure I saw it adorned with woolly hat , scarf and gloves .
Today I caught up with the Down House bird survey , and this time it was me in the woolly hat , scarf and gloves , on a grey morning made cold by a bitter wind . I must admit that at one point that today was going to be the lowest count ever , but as I got out into the large meadow , passing this Rose Ringed Parakeet on the way , which I think was on her nest . She only moved when another of her species flew over screeching . Nothing outstanding was recorded , but 20 species , better than the average visit , made the visit worthwhile , but noticeably very little birdsong . On entering the Sandwalk woodland , a large moss covered stump , covered in King Alfred's Cakes/Daldinia concentrica was found , looking like a severe attack of warts . These fruits start a brown colour , but very soon turn black and shiny . The floor of the woodland was covered in plants , busily racing to come into flower , like , Bluebells , Violets , and Wood Anemones , before the leaves of the towering trees shut out the sunlight .
As usual , I stopped in at Keston Ponds on my way home , but very quiet there too . One pair of Mandarin and three Tufted Ducks were the only change in residents .
The last stop was on the bottom lane , where this year , five nests are high in the Rook's favoured tree , but in the surrounding area , there were many more than the suggested ten birds to be seen and especially , heard .
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