Monday, 26 March 2012

Monday 26th. March 2012

Carol needed some help this morning , so getting away later than usual , I decided to head for Kelsey Park in Beckenham , to check up on the juvenile Grey Herons , and hopefully get a shot of the adult coming back to feed them . It was still cool on my arrival , and the noise at the heronry was much less than on my last visit . In fact , some of the juveniles have already left the nest and could be found wobbling about the trees supporting the nests , but also a couple some distance along the lake .  I set up on the far side of the lake , and concentrated on the nest most out in the open , which had three
juveniles in it , looking a bit chilled as the sun had not yet reached their side of the island . It didn't take long though , for three juveniles left to their devices , to get bored and start squabbling amongst
themselves , and with lethal weapons like those bills , injury could easily occur . Needless to say , neither adult returned to this nest , but a couple did to other less open nests . This was the scene
when an adult flew in to the nest that I posted many weeks ago , with three small chicks in it . The adult was almost pushed out of the nest by the three juveniles , further advanced than the previous three , and , having disgorged the food into the nest , for the three to noisily fight over , got out of the
way and left them to it . Whilst waiting , a nice distraction was a very smart male Pied Wagtail that flew in behind me calling and landing on the grass . I was further distracted when I saw two Grey Wagtails land by the sluice , over the other side of the lake . At that point , I left the Grey Herons to try for the Grey Wagtails . As I got into position , the male flew off and landed on the heronry island , and the female flew out of sight behind the sluice . But , all was not lost , as a male Nuthatch was in the London Plane tree , doing his pee-pee-pee , Springtime call . A local birder that I met on a previous visit , showed me the hole that they usually nest in , so I took up station in the area and
waited . It wasn't long before the female Nuthatch arrived with some mud , and started making good the nest hole entrance , the fresh mus at the top left of the hole . When she was happy with that , she
started collecting nesting materials , which seemed to be flakes of bark from Pine trees . With plenty of Pines in the park , she was continuously backward and forward , and on leaving the nest hole ,
proved that the remedial work on the entrance was perfect , snug for her , and a deterrant for anything bigger getting in . And what was the male doing all this time ? He was on sentry duty , making sure
that the female was interrupted , or distracted from her work , and , every now and again , letting any
other males in the vicinity know that this was his territory , with another round of pee-pee-pee . Of course , every now and again , when the female wasn't about , he would hop down and make sure
that she was doing the job properly , not cutting any corners . Everything seemed to pass inspection whilst I was there , and more to the point , he wasn't caught whilst doing so . Higher up in the same
tree , the Jackdaws were still bringing nesting materials too , and of course , surveying all they own . The first 'new' butterfly of the year , as opposed to adults that have overwintered , was seen at the park too , a flyby Holly Blue , that would have spent the Winter as a chrysalis , starting life back in late August , early September last year .Two more 'new' butterflies in the form of Small Whites
passed through the back garden this afternoon , along with a worn Red Admiral that was nectaring on
Mahonia . Also in the garden , the first flowering Honesty / Lunaria annua , and overhead , in a clear blue sky , Carol spotted a high flier drifting over , and with only the 100mm. Macro lens with me ,
got this shot , which at least confirmed the ID , a Common Buzzard , not bad for 14 miles from Central London . Finally , help please on a large caterpillar with red dots along its length , I'm
reasonably sure it is a moth species .


Ken. said...

Nice shots of the Nuthatch. Was the top right hand corner of the nest hole made up with mud to snuggly fit the bird, as it looks a little like it, I may be wrong.
Good to see some more butterflies on the wing.
It is a shame about the fires on Ashdown Forest, is it anywhere near where you go walking.

Phil said...

Nice Nuthatch observations Greenie. I wish we got them here!

ShySongbird said...

Good to read the Herons are doing well Greenie. That is a wonderful Nuthatch series!!! The male was doing a good job watching his wife do all the work ;-) I am very envious, especially as it is a bird I don't see very often. I could hear one very close while out a few days ago but could not find it at all.

Nice to see a fit and healthy Jackdaw on your post today.

I can't find your caterpillar in any of my books so far.