Saturday, 12 September 2015

Saturday 12th.September 2015

The latest High Elms LNR butterfly transect once again shows the season winding down , although 11 species were recorded , only Meadow Brown (46) managed more than 5 in number . Brown Argus
are still showing , a really good season for this species . Whilst passing , I had a look for White Admiral larvae , and although I found a couple of Honeysuckle leaves bearing the feeding trait , they
always feed from the unattached end and leave the center vein in tact , no larvae were found , nor any sign of their hibernaculum , a folded leaf attached to the plant by silk thread .
The promise of some reasonable weather was enough to visit Sevenoaks Reserve , but unfortunately the forecast again was unreliable , with the cloud failing to break up , and no chance of finding any
Odonata . A look at Willow Hide did produce a single Little Egret that flew and perched in the trees
on one of the islands , a couple of female Teal , dabbling about just in front of the hide . The only surprise was a Kingfisher , that after doing a few laps of the lake in the gloom , settled momentarily
in the half gloom , on the original stick out front , seemingly not interested in the two new ones that have been placed closer . That was the first time this year that I have managed to see one perched here this year . A walk around the other side of the East Lake failed to find anything more than a few
Gulls and the resident geese until on some Buddleia  , a female Painted Lady was seen . I'm sure she was shivering in her faded state . On my way home , there was a slight improvement in the weather , so diverted to Bough Beech . On arrival I heard the 'cronking' of a Raven over Winkworth Woods , but never saw the bird . Looking over the hedge onto the North lake , the Greenshank was still around , keeping well away over by the island , but no sign of the Spotted Redshank , but new since my last
visit were two Black-tailed Godwit . Also on show on the bank by the spillway , a Common Snipe ,
unusually out in the open . At least two Kingfisher were seen or heard , one flew low over the causeway onto the main reservoir , fortunately no traffic was passing at the time , another was looking for a meal in the culvert that runs under the road , and after a couple of attempts , caught a
fish that should have filled him up . That improvement didn't last long with grey clouds rolling in , and me heading for home .
With a sunny start on Thursday , I set off for the high ground where I managed to see the Ring Ousels passing through in the Spring , or any other migrants on their way home . Unfortunately birds were almost non existent , never mind migrants , with just numbers of Pheasant being the only species seen
in any number , mid you , their days might well be numbered with shotguns discharging in the surrounding area . On the way home I stopped off on the Common for a look round , and was surprised to disturb a juvenile Common Buzzard that was perched no more than 15 metres away . On previous visits I found the remains of a Roe Deer in an area rarely frequented by people , but on each visit the remains had been moved about . I had put it down to fox or badger , but when the bird flew
off , it landed briefly in the tree above the remains before flying off again to a dead tree on the edge of the area . Once again , the 100mm. macro lens was on the camera , hence the distant shot .
That evening , I trawled the bird sightings around Kent , the few that there were anyway , but decided to get away fro the day on Friday , heading down to Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey . Better weather , but still a lack of birds as I headed slowly down the entrance track on arrival . By the time I reached
the car park , the only shot taken was of a confiding Skylark , not a migrant in sight . In pleasant conditions , I parked up and set off for the hides , some one and a half miles away . The tide was on it's way in but that did not mean lots of birds , in fact apart from distant geese , the odd distant Marsh Harrier and a few Coot was as good as it got . Wellmarsh Hide produced a single distant Little Egret that flew off almost immediately and South Fleet Hide produced even less on arrival . A few juvenile Shellduck and more geese in the distance was it . The drought was broken by a pair of Green
Sandpiper , calling and chasing each other around the reedbed out front . Eventually , one flew off
and the other performed it's party piece , walking on water . A large shadow spooked that one and
announced a fly-over by a juvenile Marsh Harrier , which left as quickly as it arrived . I started back
with a male Kestrel looking for a meal along the sea wall and , having a sneak look over onto the
Swale , found two Black-headed Gulls . Half way back , three Curlew flew off the fields , heading for
the Swale or beyond . A pair of Little Grebe , a few Mallard and the odd Reed Bunting and the occassional Swallow , and I was almost back at the car , finding a Pied Wagtail on the post and rail
fencing , and not having seen a single person on my treck . As I slowly returned down the track , a
Common Buzzard passed overhead , just allowing a few shots as it did so . I pulled over where I saw the hares on a previous visit , but they too refused to show , but whilst waiting , I spotted a small bird
being blown about on top of a distant fence post , a Whinchat . Down at the entrance I spotted the
pair of Little Owl , in a different position to last time , but one flew off , the second froze . Almost at
the road , a female Kestrel was hunting over the rough grassland , she too looking for a meal . By the time I reached Leysdown the tide was fully in , so I parked up and had a look around the pitch and
putt . Amongst the gulls roosting were 6 Sandwich Terns (3 pictured) , an unexpected bonus . With cloud building and with it the wind , I decided to have a look at Capel Fleet before heading home .. The fleet held swans and lots of Coot , The bushes to the raptor viewpoint held a few Corn Bunting , but nothing from the viewpoint itself and the wind in the reedbed made it impossible to hear a Bearded Tit never mind see one . The only photo opportunity was on the road down from the hill , a
 small group of Red-legged Partridge , all but one in ' run from the camera ' mode . And so ended the day , without a single hoped for Yellow Wagtail or Wheatear .
And finally , from the garden , a new , colourful shieldbug for me , the Juniper Shieldbug /
Cyphostethus tristriatus , and the colourful fungi Calocera cornea , sorry , no common name for this
one .


Phil said...

Nice to see there are still a few butterflies about Greenie. Not seeing many myself. Looks like your Painted Lady could do with a repaint!
That's a long walk to the Elmley hides for little return, certainly doesn't sound like a fivers worth!

Ken. said...

Nice posting and pictures of your last outings. Shame there wasn't more about at Elmley, I always hope to see more when I go there, but with Oare Marsh just across the Swale, well, at this time of year there is no contest.
Elmley is definately a winter place.
Finding those Sandwich Terns was a nice surprise. And that Red Leg is a right poser!