Thursday, 14 June 2012

Thursday 14th. June 2012

Sevenoaks Reserve was where I headed this morning , arriving about 0830 to pleasant sunshine , but combined with a stiff breeze . The West Lake was almost devoid of birds as I headed towards the small Carter Hide , finding another birder / photographer already set up inside . Our common target was Kingfisher , and during the time spent there , had plenty of sightings , but all flybys or perched at
distance . This male did get slightly closer , but perched in a swaying Willow , was not the easiest of sitters . In between sightings , a pair of Coots brought a couple of very small youngsters out into the
open and started feeding them . It was interesting that the male , on the left with the wider white plate on the forehead , seemed much better caring for the two little ones than the female . Caring being the
operative word , as in the shadows on the far side of the lake , a Fox was eyeing up his next meal , the young Coots . The other birder left , telling me that on his last visit , he and five others in the hide had the male sat on the perch out in front for two and a half minutes . I think I have said before that I have never had a Kingfisher on the perches outside either Carter or Willow Hide . I too moved on , finding
it warmer in the open than in the hide , and passing several small rabbits , not in the least bothered by my proximity . Plenty of birdsong on the way to and around Willow Hide , but almost nothing out in front . On the way down to Long Lake , several Garden Warblers were contesting for best song , and
one actually showed just long enough to get a shadowy shot . From one of the fishing pegs on Long Lake , the Lily pads were dominated by Red-eyed Damselflies , chasing off other species , and ever
ready to clasp a passing female , mate with her , then stay in tandem whilst she layed her eggs which he had fertilised . Azure , Common Blue and Blue-tailed ( pictured ) Damselflies were all taking
advantage of the improvement in the weather , and getting on with the job in hand . I had several sightings of Downy Emerald , including a mating pair , but never managed to get focused on any of them . Down at the little meadow between Long and East Lake , three Grass Snakes were found , the
biggest being this one alongside one of the fisherman's pegs . It was here also that I spent the best part of an hour , being frustrated whilst trying to get another male Downy Emerald in flight , but after
much cursing and swearing , I find it can help , I managed to get a few passable shots , but I won't mention how many I dumped . Having struggled for ages , the male then decided to rest , and not as I
have seen them before , heading high into a tree , but almost at ground level , right in front of me . In fact , he was so layed back , that I was able to get almost on top of him , to get a close up of the
thorax , and the hairs that make up the first part of his name . The rest didn't last for long though , as he was soon disturbed by a damselfly , and very soon after , was back patrolling his patch . With things quiet , I decided to head for the Greensand Ridge , but Ill save that till tomorrow , as it looks like its back to normal weather-wise then .


Warren Baker said...

Yep, we've had our window of ''better weather'' Greenie :-)

Lovely dragon shots today, never seen a downy emerald

Marc Heath said...

Great shots, like the Emerald shots, a species I am yet to see.

ShySongbird said...

A fascinating post Greenie and wonderful shots of the Downy Emerald, I've never seen one either. Lovely shots of the damsels too.

Well done with the Kingfisher. I would be glad to just see one, it has been a very long time since I did!