Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Tuesday 8th. May 2012

Another grey start , so I headed to Down House to do the bird survey . 23 species were recorded , about average . Summer migrants recorded were Blackcap , Chiffchaff , Common Whitethroat and Swallow . No sign of the Roe Deer and the only species to make it to the viewfinder was this Song
Thrush , singing his heart out in the formal garden . I intended going on to the Greensand Ridge to look for reptiles , but the promised clearance looked unlikely in the near future , so I headed for New Hythe , patch of fellow Blogger Phil / Sharp by Nature , to see if I could get into the Nightingale fest that has been going on down there . I parked at the waterworks entrance , and within 20 metres had the first of many Nightingales singing , in fact I had three birds before I got to the diver's bridge . Also singing were Common Whitethroats , Willow Warlbers and Reed Warblers . As usual , I had a look around the ditch for any signs of Water Vole , and saw movement some way down the ditch . It seemed a small specimen , and indeed turned out to be a juvenile . I watched as is swam to where a
Bramble stem from the bush on the bank had reached the water . It then proceeded to climb the stem to get to the upper leaves . Once it  to where the stem went more horizontal , it proceeded to strip off the leave to eat . At first it seemed to eat every leaf but the ones between it and the camera , but
eventually it moved more into the open , allowing better shots . A second juvenile appeared but kept well under cover amongst the dead reed stems . While mesmerised by the climber , I saw another local blogger , Alan Woodcock / Snodland and Surrounding Area , about to cross the bridge and beckoned him over . We had met in Snodland the previous winter when the Waxwings were over in good numbers . Alan was pleased to get some shots , as he told me he only had shots of adults . Alan also put me on to the Nightingale hotspot , so after the climber dropped into the water and disappeared into the bank , I went back into Nightingale mode at the Brook House track , and was not disappointed , finding good numbers , even though it was almost midday , when things tend to go
quieter . I also manage to get the shutter going on one individual , I think he was too interested in what he was singing to worry about me . Also found on the scrub area were St.Georges Mushrooms /
Tricholoma gambosum . By now , the clearance in the weather had become heavy drizzle , so |I headed back to the car and had my lunch . I decided to still call at the Greensand Ridge on the way home and got there in not much better conditions than leaving New Hythe . The first three small
sights didn't produce much as regards reptiles , but they did produce a Peacock butterfly , it must have seen the same forecast as I did , and another held about a dozen Scorpion Flies , all males ,
identified by the orange Scorpion -like tail . The reptiles started coming , 2 Common Lizards , 8
Slow Worms , including a couple of large males with blue spots , 6 Grass Snakes of assorted ages ,
including one that obviously didn't want to be recognised , all found under refugia . With the conditions , I was resigned to not finding an Adder , but then came across this large female , and I'm
reasonably sure I saw her on my last visit , but some 150 metres distant from today's position . As well as the Peacock , I recorded two male Orange Tips , this one looking like he wished he hadn't
bothered emerging . Along with the Bluebells and Greater Stitchwort , Red Campion / Silene dioica ,
a member of the Pink family is trying to cheer things up , along with swathes of Yellow Archangel /
Lamiastrum galeobdolon , a member of the large Labiate family . Some plants have already gone
through their flowering period , and fruits are starting to form , like Bilberry / Vaccinium myrtillus , a member of the Heath family .
And the clearance ? Half way home from the Greensand Ridge , the sun came out , the temperature rose by 5C , it was warm , but it didn't last for long .
As I said , not a sign of the local blogger at New Hythe , probably boning up on Rat Pack numbers at home .


Phil said...

I must have just missed you today Greenie. I did the second Nightingale survey at New Hythe West of the railway line in TQ76A, starting at 0630 and finishing at Brooklands at 0915. Haven't had much chance to do anything but surveys and shelter from the rain lately it seems. Off to Mull very soon and then hope to get back to some sort of normality (apart from moving house).
Still enjoying your excellent posts!!

Warren Baker said...

I too was a bit miffed by the late arrival of the forecasted clearance, I was looking forward to it so much!

Good to get a photo of that juv. Bank Vole, plus the Nightingale :-)

ShySongbird said...

A Bank Vole and a beautiful Nightingale in one post...excellent! And butterflies to remind me that it is supposed to be Spring and not, as it seems here, the middle of Winter! Another great post Greenie.

alan woodcock said...

Hi,pleased you managed to get some photo`s of a Nightingale.