Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Tuesday 22nd. May 2012

Although better was promised , I arrived at Sevenoaks Reserve with grey skies and a very cool wind blowing . Plenty of birdsong on the way to the Public Hide , but just Shellduck , Greylag families feeding on the bank , and very distant sightings of two Little Ringed Plovers was a s good as it got . Moving on a calling Goldcrest , but no sign of any Great Crested Grebes at either of their nest sites on that side . The first of several Garden Warblers heard whilst on site , just before Tower Hide , which produced Moorhens and Canada Geese . No sentry at Slingsby Hide , but several Reed Warblers calling from the reedbeds . I settled down to see if I could photograph one of them , whilst
also watching the gully used by the Water Rail . No luck with the latter , but this probable female Reed Warbler obliged , collecting nesting material from last year's heads . I had lots of sightings , but very few clear ones , and with that wind , it wasn't easy , and I was getting cold . A Wren landed on
the Elder tree just outside the hide and posed for a shot , before dashing off again . A little later , movement over by the small hide turned out to be a female Blackcap , seemingly collecting food ,
hopefully for a successful brood . Needing to get out into the now sunshine , I got one more
opportunity with the Reed Warblers . Another unseen Garden Warbler as I left the hide , and plenty
of male Blackcaps , still in good voice around the site . On the way back , I could hear the constant calls of young Woodpeckers , but when I found the nesthole , I couldn't get near it , mainly because it
was pointing towards the water , but got a couple of shots of the adult bringing in food . I hadn't noticed them as I passed first time , but on my return , a family of Egyptian Geese were on one of the
outer island , and it looked as if they had a good brood . They lay between 5 and 8 eggs , and it looked as if this pair had towards the upper number of youngsters , all under the female on the right .
On the way down to Carter Hide , I found a juvenile Long-tailed Tit , no sign of the rest of the family . The lack of GCG breeding continued on this side of the reserve too , the site where I
photographed the pair mating , is now occupied by Coots . I spent some time trying to find and photograph my umpteenth Garden Warbler , without success , by whilst waiting had a Sparrowhawk
flap and glide over high up . As I crossed the bridge over the Darenth near Willow Hide , I was watching a male and female Banded Demoiselle , when I noticed a very large Pike , bigger than the
one the Cormorant tried to swallow , lying alongside the tree roots in shallow water . Apart from the thousands of biting mosquito type insects around , there were also large number of Alder Flies /
Sialis lutaria , lifting off for their maiden flights . Odonata seemed to be enjoying the better weather ,
and Common Blue , Azure - pictured devouring one of the biting insects , Blue-tailed and Large Red
Damselflies were all found in adult , but mainly immature forms . Best find of the visit though was a red beetle that said Cardinal Beetle , but not quite . I couldn't work it out whilst on site , but when I
got the book out at home , I could see it had the wrong coloured head . The Cardinal Beetle / Pyrochroa coccinea has a black head , and this one's head was red . It turns out that it is , believe it on not , the Red-headed Cardinal Beetle / P. serraticornis , the first time I have come across this species .
I spent the afternoon up on the Downs looking for reptiles and recording butterflies . Dealing with the reptiles first , all I could muster were 5 Slow Worms , not a sign of anything else . Butterfly species did much better with 12 recorded . But , the numbers of butterflies are still woefully low , as
can be seen here . Small Tortoiseshell ( 1 ) - pictured  , Dingy Skipper ( 24 ) , Small Heath ( 7 ) , Grizzled Skipper ( 6 ) , Orange Tip ( 3 ) , Green Hairstreak ( 3 ) , Brimstone ( 8 ) - including a male ,
on left , trying to mate , unsuccessfully , with female , Holly Blue ( 4 ) , Small White ( 4 ) , Large
White ( 2 ) and my first Common Blues of the year ( 4 ) . And finally , the Early ? Purple Orchids on
site are much fewer in number this year , just 13 plants , but , due to the weather , are still showing well .


ShySongbird said...

Oh dear, I somehow missed Monday's post! I particularly liked the photo of the two Orange Tips. I remember the problem with the grazing last year, how disappointing that it seems this year will be similar. I think I asked you last year if Natural England could intervene as you said it is an SSSI?

You saw lots of interest on this post, so nice to see some Odonata and sunshine! Well done with the Reed Warblers, so difficult to capture I find. Twelve butterfly species was good! I only managed three yesterday. I have seen your beetle though, I had it on my blog two years ago, seen on vegetation by a small, local lake.

Two interesting posts Greenie and great photos!

Warren Baker said...

Thats more like it eh Greenie, better weather and much more to see! Great Photo's today :-)