Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sunday 29th. March 2015

Have been quite busy recently , combined with changeable weather and finding little of interest on the outings that I did manage , most of which were short visits to monitor the Adders up on the Greensand Ridge . What I had hoped was going to be a good emergence this Spring , 13 males as
reported on last post , has stuck at that number ever since . Normally there is a variance from one hibernacular to another , depending on position and shading , but this Spring , the hibernacular that
usually shows first hasn't produced a single sighting and a hibernacular that is usually two weeks or so later than the first , still hasn't produced a sighting either . Under normal conditions , females should have started to show by now , but none have been seen . Rather worrying , but perhaps less changeable weather conditions might improve the situation .
As the light was fading a few evenings ago , I spotted this bird waiting nervously to come down and finish off the seed on the path . I managed a hasty shot through the back bedroom double
glazing before it flew off . I'm glad to say it showed again the next morning , when the mystery was solved . See at the end of this post . Another morning produced a couple of visitors to the feeders who
managed to see off all comers , until a gang of Greenfinches arrived , when they decided that withdrawal was the best option .
A visit to Bough Beech Reservoir found the site almost birdless , not helped by the still very high water level , with no muddy margins showing at all . A visit to the small reserve with the feeders was
also very quiet , but the LTTits have completed their nest , the entrance hole can be seen top right . A
lucky look skywards caught a male Sparrowhawk , just it disappeared behind the trees , and whilst trying for a better shot of the male Bullfinch , which didn't happen , had a glimpse of one of two
Treecreeper , before it scampered skywards .
A look around the Common proved just as quiet , but a single male Brimstone and my first moth of
the year , the moth equivalent of a LBJ . Only other interest was an egg shell which looked like it had been predated rather than something having hatched from it . I have looked in my 'Observers Book of
Birds' Eggs' , but cannot find anything similar , here with a 35mm film canister for size comparison .
Any thoughts appreciated .
With this weekend's forecast being pretty miserable , I took the chance and headed for Elmley Reserve yesterday morning . En route , I had a Red Kite over , just before joining the M25 at Junct.4 , and two Common Buzzard over the M20 as I climbed a very foggy Wrotham Hill . Arriving and driving down the track , there was plenty of Lapwing , Skylark and Redshank , some displaying like
this one to a non-interested partner . Not really the day for photographs , but a flyover Curlew , one of
several seen , got the shutter going , as did a male Marsh Harrier , hanging effortlessly on a chilly ,
strong wind . I must say that the water levels along the track were spot on , with all the gullies and scrapes well topped up to welcome those long awaited Summer visitors . Approaching the car park ,
some more displaying , this time a male Pheasant trying to impress a female . He tried really hard , but in the end , she flew off . At the car park , the wind was even stronger , even the scrape behind was bird-less , so I decided to try the path just before the car park , in the hope of picking up a migrant or two . That didn't happen , but several Skylark , 4 Marsh Harrier , quartering the reedbed down by the Swale and a small flock of Shellduck , who saw me before I saw them and lifted off , was as good as it got . By the time I returned to the car park I was frozen , and pleased I hadn't headed down to the hides . A few Pied Wagtails as I started back down the track , not the hoped for Yellow , before I slowed to check out a brown hump way over on the left . A brown hump that moved and soon joined by another . The two Brown Hares were on the skyline towards the Swale ,

but slowly but surely they came closer and into camera range . Whilst watching the pair , a movement
in the nearby ditch produced a third animal . Further down the track , one of several Little Egret
seen , it's head plumes showing just how strong that wind was , even in the comparative shelter of a
ditch . Whilst all the birds are waiting for their young , the resident cows have already had theirs , although some look like they don't think it was a good idea .
And finally , the mystery bird . It turned out to be a female Chaffinch with a bit of pigment disorder .
We saw her a few times after , but now seems to have moved on .


Warren Baker said...

Its pretty hard going out there at the moment Greenie, spring is late again, frustratingly!

Phil said...

Super post Greenie. Well done with the Hares at Elmley, I don't have much luck with them.
Hopefully the adders are waiting for proper Spring weather. I must say that this slow start weatherwise might turn out to be for the best, I'm not sure early Springs are a good thing.
Your Egret's crest looks like a comb over gone wrong!
Things very quiet at NH and I never did find the Bittern this winter. Lots of disruption though with pipelines being laid in the country park and fishermen's bulldozers round Abbey Mead. Think I need a new patch!