Saturday, 23 July 2011

Saturday 23rd. July 2011

Well , as I pulled out this morning in glorious sunshine , I thought my last minute decision to head for Ashdown Forest was a good one . But , there again , you can't win them all . As I crossed the Greensand Ridge , the cloud cover increased , and by the time I reached my destination , it was fleece weather , with very little sign of the sun , and once again a strong breeze . Usually , on opening the car door at Old Lodge Reserve car park , some bird song is heard , but it wasn't like that today .The odd Chaffinch , a distant Gt.Spotted Woodpecker and the occasional corvid was all that I had heard by the time I reached the viewpoint above the small stream . Although it was still cool , I also looked at the small ponds on the way , hopefully for Odonata , and found none .
Then it would have to be Golden-ringed Dragonfly along the small stream I thought to myself . But the small stream was also like a graveyard , apart from a couple of Large Skippers . A female Stonechat showed at distance and a Common Whitethroat called and showed a bit closer , but nothing better . The small stream looked and sounded the part , but nothing was on the wing over it , was I too late ? Then , some four metres out from the bank , and totally inaccessible , I spotted an emerging dragonfly , still clinging to it's exuvia . It's size and green eyes said it had to be a Golden-ringed I set up the tripod and took the first of several shots . The cool conditions , with just the occassional sunny spell seemed to slow the process down considerably . I couldn't leave the tripod and go looking elsewhere as I did with the Black-tailed Skimmer last year , so could only hang around , taking a shot every now and again . The abdomen lengthened and the markings started to show , and the abdomen was fully inflated , but no movement on opening those wings . I left it to do things in it's own time , and on heading back to the bridge , found a second species that I had hoped to come across , the Black Darter , but this proved to be the only one found today . A single Common Darter was the only other Odonata seen today . Close to the car park , I found a reminder of what today's weather felt like , in the form of Amanita rubescens / The Blusher . I must admit , I was pleased to get out of the wind , having found nothing else on my way back .
Another decision on the way back home , worked out better , with a stop at Bough Beech Reservoir , but I feared the worst at the time , as I was the only person there on the causeway . A quick scan around didn't produce much more than a couple of Green Sandpipers , way over the other side of the North Lake and several noisy Common Terns , arguing over the fishing rights . Then a movement down by the waters edge of the North Lake , turned out to be a Little Ringed Plover , looking absolutely tiny against a Black-headed Gull , which it was seeing out of the parish . A bit later on , I found another , looking as if it was on a nest , but later again , found it in the same pose out in the open , and just after taking this shot , saw a juvenile appear from under the adult and head off to feed along the waters edge , so I guess that solves the 'nesting' shot . As I was packing everything to head home again , I heard and saw the two adults fly over the causeway and onto the edge of the main reservoir , where they both had a wash and brush up , once again looking tiny , this time alongside a Greylag Goose , before flying back over the causeway to the North Lake and their offspring . Just one other bird of interest was this Common Sandpiper , which flew in and started feeding immediately .
I didn't feel so bad when I got home , and Carol told me that it was very similar weather here . Hope it's better for tomorrow .


Rob said...

An interesting size comparison between the Little Ringed Plover and the gull there Greenie - the LRP is so dinky!

Alan Pavey said...

Nice to find the emerging Golden Ringed and I didn't realise Black Darters were as close to us as Ashdown :-)