Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Wednesday 4th. September 2013

A catch up on outings during the last few days , which included meeting Warren /  Pittswood Birds , in Willow Hide at Sevenoaks Reserve , both of us after Kingfisher shots . I also had the pleasure of meeting his long suffering wife , like Carol , I don't know how they put up with us , never in . Warren and I had a good catch up , in between visits from the Kingfisher . Also performing in front of the
hide was a Little Egret that was definitely on something , a Grey Heron that couldn't work out what
 all the chasing about was in aid of , and a Mute Swan that made quite a performance out of a wash
and brush up . I never did get the 'fish in beak' shot that I was hoping for , but got a few more of the Kingfisher trying . A look up on the Common found things very quiet , the only interest found was a
Buff Tip Moth caterpillar , looking fully grown and very smart . Back home , whilst having a cup of tea in the garden with Carol , we watched a Buff-tailed Bumblebee fly straight into a large spider web . From nowhere , a large spider scampered down the web , and within seconds , the Bumblebee
was wrapped up in silk and unable to move . The spider , which I think is a Garden Spider / Araneus diadematus , then attached a silk to the prey , and hauled it behind , up into the cover of the hedge . The High Elms butterfly transect over the weekend produced 12 species with dwindling numbers all round . On Tuesday I made another attempt at the 'fish in beak' shot , in cloudier conditions than before . I did manage to get a couple of shots , only problem being , the Kingfisher having dived front
on , but returned to the stick , back on , great , still a work in progress . When sunny and nothing happening outside the hide , I spent some time down at the meadow at the end of Long Lake , where
several male Migrant Hawkers were on the wing , but with cloud cover , the occasional specimen did
pose on the bankside vegetation . A female did emerge from the vegetation , but was immediately set upon by the males and that was the last I saw of her . On the Lily leaves , a few male Small Red-eyed
Damselflies were loafing , no doubt waiting for females to arrive at the water . The most interesting ting found on the visit was a very late brood of Great Crested Grebes . A female was some way out
on East Lake with four youngsters , one of which was being carried on her back , whilst the male was
trying and succeeding , to find food for his young family . The light was all wrong , as it often is on this lake , but have included the shots anyway . Today I did the Down House bird survey , finishing up with a reasonable , for the site , count of 22 species , but nothing out of the ordinary . With the 3 meadows having been cut recently , butterfly numbers were well down , with just 24 specimens of 6 species recorded . But , in the walled vegetable garden , the stripped leaves of some Horseradish
plants revealed a minimum of 50 Large White caterpillars , some fully grown like the one above , but
the majority in earlier stages of their development . The surviving caterpillars will pupate , spend the Winter as chrysalis , and emerge as adults next May/June . A very quick stop at the House Martins under the eaves at the farmhouse , found adults still feeding young at the nests . They'd better get a move on , but could be third brood . A look in at Hutchinsons Bank before
lunch found just two Clouded Yellow males fighting over ownership of the Cutting , along with two more amenable Small Tortioseshell and a good number of Common Blue . In the Rosebay Willowherb I found another two Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillars . Both were brown , I was really hoping to find an earlier instar of the species , which is green , but I think I'm too late this year .


Warren Baker said...

I've had to relent, and am going out with the wife tomorrow :-)

I see you got the Grebe with a fish in it's beak, if not quite the Kingfisher :-)

I tried for a flight shot of the Migrant Hawker, but failed dismally, unlike your effort - nice one!

Marianne said...

My patch is clearly the place to be right now :) Glad the Kingfisher is still performing. I might have another go tomorrow. Brilliant flight shot of the Migrant Hawker, and I'm envious of the Little Egret - never had close views of one at Sevenoaks.

Phil said...

Willow hide seems like a good spot for a local bloggers day out Greenie. Perhaps we should all meet up there and stake out the hide until that Kingfisher turns up and poses properly, eyes front.