We had a welcome visit from our local Fox this morning. He likes to sit at the bottom of the garden soaking up the early morning sun, yawning, and having a jolly good scratch. He seems quite at home and doesn't worry too much about the activity within the house, I even opened the patio doors for a clearer shot and he wasn't too bothered, mind you he's a fair distance away and I don't think he would like it if I ventured out on to the patio.
New Hythe was sparkling this morning, the sun was bright and warm and the sky was cloudless. The air was full of birdsong as I started my walk, I think they liked it as much as me although I did refrain from adding my voice to the choir.
First bird on the list was a Cetti's Warbler which flew out of the reeds opposite the fishermans hut at Brooklands where I was trying to get a glimpse of a Sedge Warbler. I wasn't successful but 100 yards further along I heard and then saw my first Reed Warbler of the year. I subsequently heard a few more on the way round.
Whitethroat are now well established for the summer and can be heard singing their scratchy song from every other bush.....nearly. I think they are even more common than the Blackcaps which are abundant here this year.
In and around the Sunken Marsh were two nest building Linnets, and Reed Buntings, Chiffchaffs, Chaffinchs, Cetti's, Blackcaps, Greenfinchs and Wrens were all adding their individual performance to the concert of sound. I arrived at the southern edge of the Marsh for another game of spot the Sedge Warbler which was singing again from the same reedbed as the previous occasions. The only difference on this occasion was that I at last got a fleeting glimpse as he rose to the top a reed stem before presumably seeing me and descending, not to be seen again. Two New Hythe year ticks already. I was on a high, but not for long!
The East Scrub was filled with the rich, mellow and unmistakeable notes of Nightingales singing from every corner, it was like having Nightingale surround sound, Berkeley Square has got nothing on the East Scrub in full flow. Unfortunately I was bought back to earth with a bump when I reached the stream which suffered some kind of pollution last weekend as mentioned in my posting of 19th April. I was hoping the spillage would turn out to be innocuous but my hopes were dashed when I counted at least a dozen dead Eels in the water, a species already seriously under threat, as well as two dead Tench and a dead Pike, this was just a quick look, there must be lots more. Sorry about the gruesome pictures.
I managed to find the Ranger, who amazingly was unaware of any wildlife fatalities attributable to the pollution but told me that the Environmental Agency took a sample of the water yesterday and would be acting accordingly. While I was there he phoned his boss to report my findings. This stream was the home of many Water Voles last year and apparently one had been sighted there just before the pollution, even today there were Moorhens on the water feeding on the vegetation, bad news all round I fear.
The Heronry was busy today, lots of new mouths to feed including the three above, yes there are three. Lets hope they aren't being fed from the aforementioned stream!
The return trip down the river and back to the car park produced among other stuff, seven Shelduck, a Sparrowhawk over which was the only raptor seen, a few Jays , a Stock Dove, a House Sparrow unusually and a Mistle Thrush in it's usual position behind the old Cafe building.
There were also nine species of Butterfly on the wing which were, in no particular order: Small White, Large White, Comma, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Peacock, Orange Tip, Holly Blue and a Small Tortoiseshell.