Saturday, 28 April 2012

Saturday 28th. April 2012

Well , yesterday's sunny periods were nowhere to be seen today , as from first light , grey skies and constant rain has been the order of the day , and apparently there is worse to come overnight and tomorrow , great . So , carrying on with yesterday's trip out : I returned to the causeway , and it was still as cold and windy as before , but there were signs of things getting a bit better .
A Grey Heron returning to the heronry in Winkworth Wood looked strange , caught in a ray of sunshine against a leaden shy .
Halfway down the main reservoir , I picked up six ducks in flight , but too far to ID .
After covering most of the reservoir , they approached the causeway , and I could see that they were now five Shellduck , a single female surrounded by four drakes .
They alighted on the surface about 25 metres out from the causeway and after a short time the female was mated by one of the drakes .
After a very quick wash , they all took off again , this time heading into a bay right down the other end of the reservoir , where no doubt , there was a repeat performance .
I didn't see any Swifts , but good numbers of Swallows , House and Sand Martins were probably wondering if they had made the right decision back in Africa .
I noticed a small wader fly over and land on the edge of the main reservoir . A search along the waters edge in almost gale force wind , revealed a Little Ringed Plover . Even with IS , I couldn't keep the camera still . That water is an inland reservoir , not the North Sea .
A last look at the North Lake , where the pair of Common Terns were still showing off their aerobatic skills . The water level at Bough Beech has risen dramatically since my last visit , and I just hope that not many ground nesters have been caught out by the rising level .
As I left the causeway , I could see a heavy downpour lashing at the top of the Greensand Ridge , but , by the time I got up there , the rain had passed over , but it like the Somme underfoot .
After all the excitement of my last visit , just one Adder , this female , was found during the visit . I'm not sure wether she was warming up or drying out at the time .
After finding just the odd specimen so far this year , Grass Snakes were by far the dominant reptile found , with eight specimens found over three sites .
Several were juveniles , and one individual at least had attitude .
The brighter periods mentioned earlier , did eventually appear , and the sun's warmth brought out a few more butterflies , like this Comma , nectaring on Bluebells .
This female Small White on Hawthorn ,
and my first Green-veined White of the year , trying to warm up whilst being buffeted by the still strong wind . Two Speckled Woods were also recorded , needless to say , fighting for the ownership of a sunny glade .
Underfoot , the Bluebells were superb , but there is always the black sheep in the family .
And finally , one of the fields I passed had large drifts of Common Field Speedwell / Veronica persica , looking as if a giant had thrown hand-fulls of blue chippings all over it .


Warren Baker said...

Well thats it for the weekend Greenie, put away the bins and camera, bloody weather :-)

ShySongbird said...

Another enjoyable post Greenie and some lovely photos, I particularly liked the Shellducks. I should think all the Hirundines are wishing they hadn't bothered to make that long journey only to be greeted by this weather! I have read that ground nesters are indeed in trouble in some places :-(

Phil said...

Super in flight Shelduck shot Greenie. Nice Grass Snake head too. Haven't managed Common Tern yet at NH, wouldn't be surprised if they don't bother this year:-(

Alan Pavey said...

You did well to see as much as you did everything was in sheltering mode and you still managed to find snakes, I must find out how you do that :-)