Monday, 5 October 2015

Monday 5th. October 2015

A catch up on a few outings , before the Summer ended .
With butterfly transects ended , a general look around High Elms produced a low fly-over Common Buzzard and the most Hornets I have ever seen , numbering 35+ . Every sunny glade had them
dropping in for a meal , and over on the golf course , found a nest about 5 mtrs up a dead Ash tree .
A visit to Sevenoaks Reserve and Willow Hide in particular , held the usual water fowl , before 19 Egyptian Goose , the majority being this year's youngsters , dropped in from the field behind for their morning ablutions . That meant no Kingfisher on the stick between them in the photo . One did turn
up , but once again the closest it came was the Willows on the island out front of the hide . A male

and female Gadwall came reasonably close , but two Shoveler kept well away . Over towards the
island , a female Wigeon , my first of the Autumn , made a change . In between times , several Jays
were flying back and forth , stocking up their larders with acorns . With ablutions continuing , I made my way down to the meadow alongside Long Lake , so see what Odonata were about .Two more Kingfisher sightings , before a male Mute Swan decided that he wanted the same bit of bank that I
was on , having waddled up from the water . There we stood , me trying to photograph a Migrant Hawker in flight , he , preening himself in between grunting / snorting noises , no doubt to encourage
me to move on . The only damselflies found were Common Blues , and just males at that , but there
were female Migrant Hawkers about , as this male found . Male Brown and Southern Hawker were
also found , along with several Common Darters , including this mating pair . Also found in emergent vegetation on the water's edge were these iridescent , metallic coloured beetles , Donacia marginata ,
they too looking to make the most of the sunshine . On the way back home , I called in at a quiet
Bough Beech where one BTGodwit was still in residence and seemingly up to his neck in it ,
as was the juvenile Shellduck . A look up on the Common the other day was very quiet too , with just
a juvenile Common Lizard being found .
Last Friday , with the promise of plenty of sunshine but unsure where to go to enjoy it , found me pitching up at Elmley Reserve again , on the Isle of Sheppey . I was cordially welcomed as I entered
by this male Stonechat , looking very dapper indeed . This time there was some interest along the
track , with a couple of Curlew and in an area recently worked , the local Corvids , including this
Rook were looking for an easy meal . With less wind that on my last visit , the walk down to the hides was very pleasant , if rather short on interest , but to be fair , the tide was well out . Absolutely nothing from Wellmarsh Hide , but along the ditch towards South Fleet Hide there were still several
Marsh Frogs about . Kestrel , Com.Buzzard and Marsh Harrier were all seen at a distance , but one did venture closer when in the hide , putting up the mixed Goose flock that was grazing out front .
The large flock of Teal were also sent sky-ward , and it was some time before everything returned to the ground again . On my way back , a passing birder had seen a Merlin chasing and failing to catch a Meadow Pipit , but the best I could do were two Bearded Tits , which dived into a reedbed as soon as I spotted them , and didn't reappear . Just before leaving the reserve , a movement in the long grass
turned out to be a Stoat , but as usual , no sooner seen than it disappeared , seemingly under the post and rail fence and into the field beyond . I backed up to the end of the fence , where I could watch both sides , and was amazed to see a rabbit feeding out in the open , within metres of where the Stoat disappeared . I got set up and waited . Half an hour later , with the rabbit , and a second having joined it , were both still feeding . I can only think that the Stoat had already had lunch . The Little Owl in
the farmyard was shyer than the last time .

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Ive had several attempts to get a shot of the Kingfishers at SWR, but as you have found, the island is as near as I got to them!