Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Wednesday 19th. March 2014

Another picture catch up on recent sightings include ; 
A survey of a pond with a fellow volunteer from the Common , who has a licence to handle Great Crested Newts , produced 15 specimens , some netted , others found under refugia . The larger one is a female and the white stripe on the male's tail can be seen on the other .
A few Common/Smooth Newts were also found , along with several male Palmate Newts , identified by the webbed back feet and the hair-like filament at the end of it's tail .
On the way out of the site , I saw a LTTit fly into Brambles with a feather in it's bill . Had it not been for that , you would pass the nest by .
An afternoon visit to Hutchinson's Bank in sunshine , found lots of Common Dog Violet / Viola riviniana in flower , along with 1 Peacock , 7/8 Comma , several in aerial combat already , and
6 Small Tortoiseshell , 2 of which were engaged in some serious courting .

A trip up on the Downs found another 3 , along with 3 Peacock and 13 Brimstone , including this , my first female of the year .
Several Bee Flies / Bombylius major , were also first sightings for the year . 
Like snakes , Common Lizards are able to 'flatten' their bodies , to maximise the warming up process , as this one shows .
Adders were at their constant 3 , including this male , who was just too fast with his tongue for the shutter speed on the camera . 
On my way home , I stopped to photograph a heavily laden Cotoneaster , which wouldn't have happened last Winter with all the Waxwings , and Winter Thrushes that arrived , and a Cherry tree in full blossom alongside .
A visit to the feeders in the woods , found the local ringers at work . It was mainly Tits being trapped and rung , but this Treecreeper made a nice change . In one of the ponds on the site , a female Mallard with 7/8 young , which she quickly shepherded into the vegetation .
A stop at Bough Beech Reservoir wasn't very exciting , except when a pair of Common Buzzards flew close to the Heronry , which put about 30 birds up in the air , 20+ in this shot . 
On the bottom lane , 9 nest are now completed at the Rookery , and the noise level is definitely rising . Interestingly , the Winter gales removed ever scrap of last year's nests , but a Carrion Crow nest in a tree close by , is still intact .

Getting ready to leave the house early for the last hedgelaying outing of the season , Carol spotted this fine specimen strutting about the back garden . I just managed a few shots before he flew off noisily back towards the woods .

And finally , although it is out of the news now , the flooding still continues locally , with several gardens and two rugby pitches under water . Mind you , that could be the least of their problems after what I spotted on the way past ! There are also a large number of yellow plastic ducks floating on the surface , so Jaws shouldn't go hungry .
And really finally , The Robins seemed to desert their nest down the garden in Honeysuckle , but today we noticed them in and out of the Ivy on the garage . Sure enough , another nest , this time in a spot where they can see Carol putting out the mealworms that they have been feeding on all Winter .


Warren Baker said...

Interesting how as to ID a palemate newt Greenie, i'll have to look out for them :-)

Not much point ringing Treecreepers, they are one of the most sedentary birds going ;-)

Phil said...

Great post, and great shots Greenie. Not so sure about your dodgy Great White Shark though. You sure you weren't "Newted" at the time?

Marc Heath said...

Great selection Greenie, love the Newt id bit, a helpful resource indeed.

Derek Faulkner said...

Given your mention of LT Tits nesting and no doubt other birds also already have nests in this early Spring, isn't it a bit late for hedge laying this year.

Alan Pavey said...

Nice post Greenie, newts to nests, those LT TIT nests have always been a little tricky to find, great Adder pic too.

roger.wood800 said...

Hey, those Small Tortoiseshells are engaged in exactly the same behaviour as a pair I saw earlier this month!
The thing was - and I'm ready to admit I could well be wrong - the impression I was getting was that there was enough roundedness to the body of the one on the right for it to have been a female?