Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wednesday 27th. April 2011

Just before 8 o'clock this morning , I met Phil/Sharp by Nature , at The Old Lodge Reserve , managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust , on Ashdown Forest . The first thing Phil did was to put on a fleece , to combat a strong , cold wind , blowing in from the NE , I hadn't bothered to bring a fleece . It was soon evident that the wind was not only strong and cold , but had an adverse effect on the birding , with much less song than last visit and fewer birds to be seen . But we started our walk around , Phil's first on the reserve , and at least the wind blew away the clouds and revealed blue sky , but it was still cold . We did soon manage to find birds like the several pairs of Stonechats , who incidentally were the stars of the show , this male and female favouring a sheltered dip on the top track , which also attracted Common Redstarts , several Warblers , Goldcrest and a pair of Song Thrushes . After a couple of hundred metres , the smell of smoke and burning filled the air , and we came upon an area of devastation , mainly outside the reserve , but encroaching some 20 metres onto the reserve , caused last Monday evening by some idiot having a barbecue in one of the tinder dry car parks . The fire almost reached a house on the edge of the reserve , but was fortunately extinguished just before it got there . But the site produced an opportunity to a Carrion Crow that we watched fossicking about for a charred meal . At the top of the slope leading down to the small stream , Phil picked up a Common Buzzard being mobbed by a Corvid in the distance , and when the Corvid gave up a second bird joined the first , and it was very noticeable the difference in colour between the two birds . Later , when the temperature rose somewhat , 7 were seen together , albeit at even a greater distance than these together with a Kestrel . Many fewer Redpolls were seen today , just a handful busily flitting from Pine to Pine , constantly calling , before disappearing into the tops of the trees . We did get a very distant sighting of the Ravens , although when we passed the nesting area , there was nothing seen or heard . We managed to see 5/6 Common Redstarts , but like the other species , they were not willing to come close to the camera , in fact the female wouldn't even face the camera . The odd Tree Pipit was seen and heard , but they too didn't perform as normal , probably due to that wind . In all 36 species were recorded on the visit .

Other interest found included ,

several Green Tiger Beetles , several very busy Wood Ant nests ,one of the few flowers found , Tormentil/Potentilla erecta , a member of the Rose family ,and an enormous web in the top of a Gorse bush . We thought at first it was Brown Tailed moth , but it turned out to be full of tiny spiderlings . 2 Green Hairstreak , 1 Orange Tip , I Brimstone and a White sp. , rapidly blown past on the wind were also recorded . A fleeting glimpse of 2 Roe Deer and a few Large Red Damselflies , completed a most enjoyable day , in very good company .

And finally , in answer to a couple of comments made on previous posts :

ShySongbird - It would be wonderful to think that the Large Tortoiseshell would re-establish itself here , but so few individuals seem to migrate from the Continent there is very little chance of this happening . My feeling is that it was a migrant , encouraged by the run of SE winds at the time before the sighting , and it's condition being that of specimen that was coming to the end of it's cycle , the fresh specimens being due on the wing late June/July .

The Wessex Reiver - Thank you for your time and effort spent in identifying the 'wasp type insect' , which turned out to be a Bee . We both came up with the same conclusion , so hopefully we are both correct .


ShySongbird said...

So nice to see the Stonechats Greenie, a bird we don't see in this area. A very good read again and it sounds like you and Phil had a good visit, just a shame about the idiots :( it surprises me they have the intelligence to strike a match!!

Thank you for the reply...maybe one day...

Phil said...

I forgot all about the Roe Deer Greenie. As predicted, I crashed out last night. But I managed to avoid spilling my wine down me which is always a result!
A great day yesterday, I will return!