Monday, 4 January 2010

New Hythe 4th January


I had it in mind to go to Dungeness today but decided against it when I saw the snow again this morning so I went down to New Hythe for a couple of hours. There wasn't much to get excited about really but I did manage to add another five species to the year list and it was a very nice walk in calm, sunny but cold conditions. Some of the lakes are quite frozen again and the birds are all wing to wing in whatever ice free areas are available. I was greeted by a solitary starling (48) in the car park at brookland, should have got that one on new years day. The river was quite low when I arrived so I was able to find a couple of redshank, lots of teal and several lapwings from the small wood before moving on and picking up a cock pheasant (49) from the sunken marsh which nearly gave me a heart attack as it launched itself noisily from the side of the path, a stock dove (50) also flew over here. I walked up the railway path adjacent to Abbey Mead lake next and was really pleased to find a treecreeper (51) at the end of the path just before you turn right to go over the railway line. This is the first time I've seen one on this side of the railway, all others have been in the country park itself. Nothing of note across the scrubs except the ubiquitous robins.

I stood opposite the bittern reedbed for a while and took the photo of streamside and then walked through the wooded area and out on to the wide millstream path heading north for a quick scan of the scrape, as I did so I noticed a man and a woman on the path ahead. He was standing looking through his bins and she was sitting on her haunches on the path alongside him with pink leggings I got closer the man lowered his bins, saw me, now about 30 feet away, and nudged the woman, who stood up quickly and pulled her trousers etc. up and I realised the pink leggings were her legs and she was having a wee right on the open path! All very embarrassing but I managed to keep a straight face, that is until I drew level and the man turned to me looked at my binoculars and said "good morning, seen anything interesting?"

Bumped into Alan Roman and together we checked the area around the dipping pond for stonechat (one seen at the weekend I believe) and meadow pipits, neither of which obliged today. Alan and I went our separate ways at the divers' footbridge and on the way back over to Abbey Mead I picked up a small flock of bullfinches (52), I scanned the lake here for the smew but couldn't see it although I understand that it was there, I must have still been in shock! The next sighting was a man coming out of the sunken marsh carrying a very large scythe, I didn't approach him for fear that he may have been the grim reaper.....................interesting morning.


Warren Baker said...

Blimey mate,
Pheasants leaping out at you, woman peeing in front of you and a mad man with a scythe!I thought there were some strange goings on at pittswood!! ( mind you I have had the peeing woman bit! :-0 )

Steve said...

Sounds like a bizarre visit Phil. Well done with the Treecreeper. I have never had one around Abbey Mead either, but have had one or two around Brooklands over the years (apart from the CP)

Anonymous said...

Excellent report Phil, you've just had my wife and I in stitches! If only Ditton Quarry was that interesting, the nearest I've come to your tale is finding a chap with his trousers round his ankles and a Badger running in the opposite direction...doesn't bare thinking about! I think a knickerless bird is definetly worth number 53 on the year list. Were they locals??!! Adam

Phil said...

Warren, It's a terrible job down there, but someone's got to do it!:-)

Steve, I really like treecreepers, they're always a nice surprise to find and they seem a bit more out of the ordinary than some species.

Adam,I only wish i'd obtained photographic evidence to submit to the rarities panel! I actually bumped into them a while later over the sunken marsh and found out that they weren't local to the county, otherwise I might not have featured them..........A BADGER??!!