Monday, 14 April 2014

Monday 14th. April 2014

First , a quick catch up on the weekend , which involved a Bird Walk for one of the LNRs , which went well , even though the sun disappeared as we were starting . Highlights were , good views of a pair of Treecreepers , great views of two Stock Doves , plenty of Blackcap , Chiffchaff and Wren song , and watching a Blue Tit with nesting materials , drop into a hole in a tree just above our heads . Surprisingly common species like Chaffinch , Greenfinch didn't show , but a Mistle and Song Thrush on the ground together , gave good views of their differences . A close up view of a female Slow Worm found under a piece of felt was enjoyed by some , others noticeably eased to the back of the group , but all in all , the group seemed well pleased with what was found .
On Sunday , a visit up on the Greensand Ridge was treated with two short spells of combat , nothing

like the 36 minute epic battle though , and this time it was mostly amongst the vegetation .
This morning , I decided to go and look for Nightingales , and arrived at New Hythe just after 0800 to sunshine , but with it a very chilly wind . Walking in from the industrial estate , bird song was almost non existent , and by the time I arrived at the scrub areas , I was still waiting to hear a single note . Turning left along the ditch , it wasn't until I had almost reached the diver's bridge before I finally heard a few notes . Heading up towards the railway crossing , a couple of other birds broke into song , but not in full stream . In all , I heard 5 possibly 6 singing males , but when one of the rangers came by on his electric cart collecting rubbish , with camera at the ready on the seat beside him , he said he had heard 10 singing males on his round , but like me , hadn't seen a single one . I made my way down towards the fisherman's car park , usually a good spot and en route met Alan / Snodland and Surrounding Area ( link on my side bar ) , who was just returning with his two dogs from that area , having found none there either . We chatted , and I mentioned his brilliant shots of the over wintering Hoopoe ( please use the link and have a look yourself , especially the ones when a raptor was probably overhead ) . I said that I would love to see the bird , but couldn't work out where it had been seen . Alan then kindly offered to show me on his way home , so off he set with the dogs , whilst I headed back to where I parked the car , then drove to meet up again on the other side of the site , near the Shell garage . A short wait after parking again , then along came Allan and dogs , and we headed up some footpaths , climbing most of the time . Suddenly , Alan leading took a worn path to the right and came to a stop at a fence , overlooking an area of short grass at the back of a big house . Alan had not seen the bird on his way down earlier , but quickly spotted it , almost as far away as it could get , but it was there . Alan headed off home , and I watched the bird , feeding and resting , but hardly moving out the 1m. square that it start in . Not knowing how things would pan
out , I attempted a few distant shots like this one . An hour went by , and still it had hardly moved ,
but I was able to point it out to two birders who arrived . Slowly , very slowly , it came a bit closer ,
and whilst I waited for it to get closer still , I managed to get several shots of a pair of Green
Woodpeckers , a species that I normally only manage the odd shot before they fly off . This was the
closest the Hoopoe came , after which it slowly made it's way back towards where it started from , and I left it in peace . Had it not been for meeting Alan , I would never have found the bird , so a big thank you to him . Arriving back at the industrial estate and making the same entrance , it appeared that all the birds were having a siesta , with hardly any song at all . I did find a family of Coot
youngsters , waiting for their parents to return with food , and in the ditch heading down to the diver's
bridge , a Water Vole watched my every step as I passed by , and by the diver's bridge , found the
first of two Large Red Damselflies , the other one in the scrub on the other side of the ditch . A couple of very short burst of Nightingale song from deep in the scrub , and where the path passes under the power lines , another hidden singer , this time a Reed Warbler in a small reedbed .
A look under the refugia on the side of the scrub produced lots of slugs , a few Slow Worms and this
Devil's Coach Horse /Staphylinus olens , a member of the Rove Beetle family . Butterflies seen on site , Sm.Tortoiseshell , Orange Tip , Speckled Wood and Peacock , this one nectaring on Ground
Ivy /Glechoma hederacea , a member of the large Labiate family . Before leaving , a last look where I
found the Water Vole found it eating lunch , and had me wishing I had brought some with me .
And finally , I've looked every time I've passed by without success , but on my way home , on the
wires outside a barn on the bottom lane , my first 'local' Swallow .


Warren Baker said...

Cant complain about that lot greenie, a fantastic days ''wildlifing'' :-)

Spock said...

The only Hoopoe ive seen was in 18/19/20 April 1984 at Hutchinsons Bank.

alan woodcock said...

Hi,nice to have seen you again.Pleased the Hoopoe,after a long wait though,did eventually come closer.

Phil said...

Great post Greenie. So good I'm prepared to overlook the trespass:-)
Glad you managed to see the Hoopoe.
Nice to see a pic of a damsel fly at last!