Thursday, 21 August 2014

Thursday 21st. August 2014

Catch up time again , starting with a Monday morning visit to Sevenoaks Reserve , but unfortunately there was very little interest found , even the Kingfishers refused to pose , giving just a couple of fly-byes to the hopeful photographers waiting . It was good though , to catch up with fellow enthusiast Graham , the first time we've bumped into each other this year , having managed to do it several times last year . Even the weather closed in , but before it did , I did manage to find some
Small Red-eyed Damselflies on the lily pads down at Long Lake . I spent Tuesday morning on the causeway at Bough Beech Reservoir , where the water level is at a nice level to attract passing waders , with mud showing all around the main reservoir and the North Lake , but someone forgot to tell the waders , with just a few Common and Green Sandpiper feeding on the North Lake , until a passing Common Buzzard spooked a Black-tailed Godwit , which then came to rest with the many
BHGulls on one of the ridges , where it had a wash and brush up , before returning to where it flew from originally . The only other interest found , was a long winged bird with a large bill , that landed
on the water about 2/3rds of the way to the right hand point on the main reservoir . It looked really
interesting at the first angle , but when to turned slightly , it had that immature gull look about it . I've sent thr pictures to a couple of people , and both came back with immature Lesser Black-backed Gull , but what a bill on the first shot .
A cool wind greeted me yesterday morning when I arrived at Old Lodge Reserve on Ashdown Forest , with Black Darter high on my list to find , but the first hour or so was spent walking the reserve , looking for anything of interest , as it was like a graveyard . Just Corvids and Tits along the top path , nothing at all on the four ponds heading down to the stream in the valley , so it was nice to
be welcomed by a confiding Wren . Half of the stream was in full sun , but nothing was moving , so I carried on up the other side of the valley and followed the power lines back to the car park , adding almost nothing to what had been seen . I started the second circuit taking the other path down to the bottom of the gully and coming back up the gulley to the top path . I must admit I thought of heading back to the car at this point , but decided to give the ponds and stream another go . The second pond
did produce an Emerald Damselfly and the fourth produced three Small Red Damselfly , but no sign
of Black Darter , but photographing anything in the wind was very awkward . I went back down to the stream in the valley , and although most was now in sunshine , not a single Odonata was seen . It wasn't all bad though , as while I was there two juvenile Common Redstart were feeding in the area ,
and one posed on a concrete post just over the stream , but as can be seen , it too was troubled by the wind . The same fence line produced a scowling Whitethroat , but always scowling from within
vegetation . Whilst at the stream , and elderly couple arrived , hoping to see Golden-ringed Dragonfly , so they were not happy with my lack of sightings either . I left them to it and started back
to the car , on the way spotting a female Common Redstart , sunbathing out of the wind in a Holly . The rest of the way to the car was no more exciting , and I reached it without having seen a single raptor , most unusual for the site . After a spot on lunch , I decided to have a look at two other ponds over the other side of the forest before heading home . Things improved on the Odonata front with both Brown and Migrant Hawker seen on the walk to the ponds and Emperor patrolling over the first one . The surprise though was when a male Broad-bodied Chaser , in pristine condition , flew up to
confront the Emperor , before settling down again on Gorse . The species can be found into this month , but usually they are well past their sell by date by now . A couple of minutes later , a female BBC appeared over the water and the male attempted to do his duty , but she rebuffed him , and I
watched her fly off and settle a short distance away on some bracken , and like the male in pristine condition . She was finally disturbed by a horse and rider , and this time when she flew in , the male did do his duty . A couple of minutes later , she was ovipositing in the shallows , with the male
patrolling above her . Of interest , the vegetation she is laying amongst is Myriophyllum aquaticum / Parrots Feathers an invasive introduced species , which has almost completely covered this pond , and I don't think there is a remedy to eradicate it . The other pond , which hasn't got the Parrot's
Feathers , yet , contained my favourite water plant leaf , that of Arrowhead / Sagittaria sagittifolia .
On the way home , I stopped off at the site just below Biggin Hill airport , where a fellow enthusiast found Chalkhill Blue a few weeks ago . The clouds were building , but a quick look produced nie species of butterfly , including 4/6 Clouded Yellow , one of which was only too happy for the warmth
of my finger during a prolonged cloudy spell . The Chalkhill Blues were still on the wing , but
pristine couldn't be used to describe the males , having lost most of the scales from their topwings .


Graham said...

Yes good to bump into you again Fred - bit more luck with Kingfishers today. John from Bough Beech mentioned you saw some Spoonbills there on Tuesday norning?

Greenie said...

Graham ,
That was over a month ago .
I posted them on the 16th. July , same day as the GWEgret and the Night Heron .

Graham said...

Sorry - I got the impression from the way John and the other guys spoke you had seen them again

roger.wood800 said...

Well, ten days after you I was able to get down to Steyning and found someone who could give me directions for the rifle range. Didn't spot any hairstreaks but did see various other butterfly species plus a few large dragonflies and a couple of hornets... however, the biggest surprise were the wasp spiders:- I've never seen so many all in one place before!