Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Tuesday 2nd. October 2012

Another catch up on three visits made recently , in between the rain . The first was last Thursday to Knowle Park at Sevenoaks , to see if there was any movement with this year's rut . A pleasant enough day , but by the time I reached the high ground near the house , I had only come across small groups
of does , with the odd very juvenile buck amongst them . I searched the areas just below the high ground , where in previous years I have found contenders , biding their time before moving up to the high ground , but found not a single one . In total I found about 50/60 does and juvenile bucks by the time I had got back to the car , but as the car came into view , so did two bucks , between me and the sun . I needed to get on the other side of them , thinking that they would be off as soon as I got too
close . But , they kept their eye on me , and allowed me to slowly work my way past them . I got a few shots of them 'head to head' , but not exactly what I was hoping for . They both looked ready for the rut , having beefed up those neck and shoulder muscles and also acquired the air sack on their
throats to enable them to roar out their dominance . But I'm afraid all these two were interested in was feeding under Sweet Chestnut trees , so it might be  a while before any action takes place . On Friday I made another visit up on the Greensand Ridge , and whereas last visit I had 8 Grass Snakes and no Adders , this visit produced no Grass Snakes and 8 Adders , 5 males and 3 females . I'm reasonably
sure that this female was the one I photographed in the Spring , when I found her trying to swallow a Wood Mouse that she had caught . Surprisingly , a couple of the males found were still in their silver
and black breeding colours , but the other three were either non breeders or had already returned to
their less striking , more normal colouration . Also found were large numbers of Common Earth-balls /
Scleroderma citrinum , looking like potatoes all over the place . Over the weekend , whilst helping Carol in the garden , I came across a female Lesser Stag Beetle , which would probably looking for somewhere to over-Winter , so I pointed her in the direction of the rotting woodpile in the bottom
corner of the garden . Of interest , I read that this species lives as an adult for up to a year , unlike it's larger relative the Stag Beetle , which only lives for a matter of weeks . With the weather on the change by lunchtime , I headed off early to a different Kingfisher site , which gets the morning sun earlier than outside Willow Hide at Sevenoaks . All very well , but no one told the Kingfishers , not even hearing a call . While I was waiting , a few things dropped in . This Cormorant bobbed up very
close , and shortly afterwards , the highlight of the visit for me , when a Weasel had a mad few minutes , no more than 5 metres in front of me , chasing up and down in the long grass along the fenceline . The frustrating thing was that it was so close , and yet the long grass prevented me from getting a clear view of the animal , and definitely no chance of a photograph . As quickly as it
appeared , it disappeared . A Grey Heron flew in , and stood like a statue in the water . Some time later , it's dagger-like bill was thrust into the water , and breakfast was served , a good sized Roach , I
think . A bit of juggling , and a few seconds later , the breakfast was ready to slip down , and shortly
afterwards , the bird flew off , no doubt to digest it's meal . Other interest included a Common Buzzard that only gave brief glimpses in trees bordering a large open area , a Mistle Thrush that was seen off by the local Starling gang , and a male Kestrel that got similar treatment from the local
Corvids within seconds of alighting on a dead Oak .


Warren Baker said...

Those Deer just cant be bothered Greenie :-) Wait till the first frost, that will get 'em active :-)

Rohrerbot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rohrerbot said...

You are incredible. I love all these shots. What a collection of pics you present today.

ShySongbird said...

An interesting and varied post Greenie and some excellent photos. I shall look forward to some action from the deer eventually, I seem to remember you caught plenty last year.

I was oohing and aahing over the first photo of the Grey Heron which is one of my favourite birds when I came to the second, brilliant!! A prize winner I would have thought!

Marianne said...

Last year the first rut action I saw at Knole was on 20th October - that's not to say they weren't at it for days before though... Lovely post, Greenie, lots of stuff to enjoy. The gorgeous Adders do it for me :)