Thursday, 11 October 2012

Wednesday 10th. October 2012

This month's bird survey at Down House produced a better than average count of 24 species , nothing special amongst them , and no sign of any Roe Deer for a change .
Inspired by Marc's ( Reculver Birder ) brilliant Kingfisher shots posted recently , I have spent some time , probably too much , trying to improve my own efforts , and not doing very well connecting with the species , then when the opportunity presented itself , having the wrong settings and finishing up with grainy efforts that will not be posted . Whilst waiting at the same post a couple of mornings
later , the only species to get anywhere near was this juvenile Moorhen , which climbed the post and
had a cleaning and stretching session , before finally jumping down . Needless to say , the Kingfisher has not presented itself on the post , I could kick myself for missing the opportunity . Giving up , I headed to the small reserve where the 'tree laying' took place last Winter , and soon after arriving found John , one of the leading lights of the reserve . There followed a very pleasant amble around the reserve , turning up a few interesting species . Turning logs and refugia , I found a
juvenile newt , probably Smooth / Common , but John managed to trump that with two juvenile Great
Crested Newts , one pictured , a Grass Snake , and after sifting through debris on the edge of one of
the ponds , a dragonfly larva , which I believe is a Common Darter . Whilst walking around , we chatted how the fungi hasn't seemed to get going this year yet , but we did find a few species to provide interest .
Aniseed Toadstool - Clitocybe odora ,
The delicately shaded Mycena pura ,
and my favourite , Eyelash Fungus - either Scutellinia scutellata or S.umbrarum . Both can be found on damp ground and the difference between the two is 'shorter , less conspicuous hairs' according to my books . Another attempt at Kingfisher shots , this time at Sevenoaks Reserve , produced one sighting , with the bird flying down the lake to the stick outside the hide , the merest of touches on the stick , and it was gone , not to be seen again . Fortunately there was other action , almost using the same format as the Kingfisher , when a Mute Swan started it's take off in the far corner of the lake ,


heading straight towards the hide , then aborting the take off right in front and landing to the right of the hide . I would mention that it did not attempt to land on the Kingfisher stick . Having landed , it paddled back in a circuitous route to where it had started in the far corner , only to repeat the performance twice more whilst I was in the hide . Also landing noisily in front of the hide were eight
Egyptian Geese , that had fled from the sheep fields beyond the lake when the farmer began rounding up the sheep on a quad bike with the assistance of a dog . Just before leaving the hide three skeins of
geese , mainly Greylag appeared from over the trees . Most overflew the hide to land in the East Lake , but a few looped back and landed out front , to be followed by a small flock of Canadas . With tomorrow looking like a washout , and with the sun still shining , I detoured to the other Kingfisher site on my way home . Unfortunately there was a working party on the site , so I had a wander around the local footpaths . One of these passed through a maize crop , some of which had been cut recently , and was providing food for a large flock of Corvids , split about equally between Jackdaw and
Carrion Crow , like the two pictured . Not a lot else was found apart from on one particularly muddy
area , when a Common Frog hopped across my path , perhaps looking form a spot to hibernate  . A final attempt for the Kingfisher now that things had quietened down , also failed , but a consolation
was a male Migrant Hawker that posed on the stock fencing directly in front of me .And finally , a
reflection shot that caught my eye , across the East Lake on the visit to Sevenoaks Reserve .


Marc Heath said...

A bit of everything in that post, some lovely shots.

Warren Baker said...

Do you ever re-visit your hedge laying efforts Greenie, to see if the hedge has been successful?

Mute Swan on a stick..........mmmm....might take a bit of waiting for :-)

Nice post today mate.

Phil said...

Keep trying for the Kingfisher shot Greenie, i'm sure we'll see a result here soon.
Can't remember the last time I saw a Great Crested Newt, in my early teens I think. We used to sell them to a pet shop in Maidstone who sold them on as Japanese Salamanders, this was 45 years ago I hasten to add.

ShySongbird said...

A good read as always Greenie and a nice, mixed bag with some lovely photos. I particularly liked the swan, goose, frog and Mycena Pura...what a lovely and (as you said) delicate colour it is. Bad luck with the Kingfisher, so frustrating for you.

It is so difficult to imagine that strange little creature will become a beautiful dragonfly!

Ken. said...

Nice blog you certainly covered many species of wildlife. Nice photo's to go with itWould love to sea a Great Crested Newt it would be a first.