Friday, 9 September 2011

Friday 9th.September 2011

I set off this morning to see how the Fallow Deer rut was progressing at Knole Park near Sevenoaks . I quite expected to at least hear some bellowing up on the rise above the house , but , all was very quiet , with not a single animal being found on the traditional rutting hill . When I went last year in mid October , I felt that I had just caught the end of the rut , which is why I visited today . With nothing happening rut-wise , I set off to look for a species of fungi found on site last year , Devil's Fingers/Clathrus archeri . Once again , I failed miserably , as after much searching , not a single specimen was found .Once again , when found last year , they were going over , so again , an earlier visit should have proved successful . Off the beaten track , a lot of the Bracken had been flattened , and these areas seemed to attract many of the deer found , like these two females , one much darker 

than the other , probably due to in breeding between the resident population , which also includes another introduced species , Sika Deer . None of the older stags were seen today ,probably still feeding up before the rut , as they will not eat during it . Just a few young bucks were seen , like this
one . There were also quite a few juveniles around , like this one , reminded me of the two fawns
that I found in the long grass back in mid Summer . The birds were few too , just a single Green Woodpecker , what looked like a family group of Pied Wagtails that might have contained a Yellow Wagtail amongst them , but wouldn't let me get close enough to be sure , a mixed Starling / Corvid flock , and of course the inevitable Rose-ringed Parakeets , were all that was seen until just before
leaving , when I spotted this female Pheasant , as she ushered three youngsters off the track and into
the cover of the Bracken , this being one of them . I stopped on the Downs on the way home , but things were no better there , a few Slow Worms , a very fresh Comma and a still presentable male

Common Blue . The best to the eye though was a large stand of Devilsbit Scabious , that gave
the hillside a purple hue . I had to pass Sevenoaks Reserve , and as things had been so quiet , I decided to have a short visit . Everything was quiet where I had the Kingfishers last visit , but found
a few Teal preening themselves outside Willow Hide , and a family group of Tufted Ducks (sorry
Warren) , on Long Lake . Almost fully grown now , the mother is back right . The small meadow was not so sunny today , which reduced the activity there , but there was a couple of Hornets criss
crossing the area . Following one , I watched it catch a Crane Fly , dropping into the grass with it's
meal . It moved several times , with me following , before it finally took it's meal into the tree , for some peace and quiet . I couldn't leave without a last visit to the Kingfishers , and once again was rewarded with several sightings of two birds , and also watched them diving for fish . Although they
were first seen on the perches from last visit , one did move a bit closer , perching on the branches
of a swaying Willow , from which it also made a couple of attempts to catch fish . That's closer than last time , perhaps third visit will find one of them on the sticks .


Phil said...

Looks like mid to late Sept for Knole park then Greenie.
Lovely shots of the Kingfisher. I think I might do a bit of a stake out in that hide soon!

Marianne said...

Nice post, Greenie. I have spent lots of time in Carter hide at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve and have twice had a Kingfisher on the right-hand stick - both times it happened within two minutes of me sitting down. I got a few photos the first time ( but the second time (Monday before last) it was gone too quickly.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Greenie,
Its always a bit of a hit and miss time of year, you had a good hit with the Kingfisher though :-)

As for Tufties, well I might get my second vist by one on the lakes this winter, but dont hold your breath :-)

Alan Pavey said...

Well done, with Kingfisher shots again Greenie and the Hornet in action!!

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
Shame you missed out on the rutting, still good excuse to go again.
Great photo's of the Kingfisher, a male by the looks of it.
I am due to pay Sevenoaks a visit, would loe a chance to shoot some Kingfishers, not literally.