It was a bit grey and quite cool when I went for a quick stroll down to the lakes yesterday morning. The odd little glimpse of the sun first thing bought out one or two butterflies like the Speckled Wood below but they were few and far between, as were the birds. Apart from a brief glimpse of a Stoat the only notable sighting was a small flock of Swifts which was a New Hythe year tick for me giving me a total so far of 84 species. There have been sightings here of Turtle Dove, Common Tern, Lesser Whitethroat and Mediterranean Gull recently, all of which have so far eluded me. Last years total of 107 species seems like a long way off at the moment.
Today was a much brighter day so despite having swollen chops and stitches after minor surgery to my bottom jaw yesterday afternoon I hit the lakes once again. There seemed to be much more activity in the Sunken Marsh on my way through, there was a pair of Reed Warblers chasing each other around in the reeds to the right just as you enter the marsh but as usual fleeting glimpses were the order of the day despite waiting for about 10 minutes. Also still here are the pair of Linnets which are nesting in the vicinity but again pictures were hard to come by. Some days it just won't happen as was the case of the Cuckoo which suddenly flew right over my head as I walked along the river, I fired off a few shots of this one but they turned out to be no more than silhouettes really.
I stood in the East Scrub listening to the Nightingales singing all around and scanning for a possible Redstart, which i've found here before in April, when the Grey Heron below flew slowly and gracefully overhead, thankfully this turned out a bit better than the Cuckoo effort.
Soon after this I met Eddie and his mate just coming out of the West Scrub area, after a brief chat I went on my way, only to be called back by Eddie as he'd found a Water Vole in the polluted stream (picture below). I think this is good news, it seemed healthy enough and was feeding on the reeds quite happily.
Quite close by I inadvertantly disturbed the Moorhen from this nest, I took a quick picture and retreated discreetly.
Earlier on I had lifted some pieces of refugia and found a couple of Newt Efts and a Slow Worm so we went back to check them out again and with a bit of help from Eddie managed to get this shot of the Slow Worm although I was a bit disappointed that he wasn't flicking his tongue out in it. I'm never satisfied.
We scanned the Heronry on the way back looking for a possible nesting Little Egret but to no avail. The cuckoo was still calling from the other side of the river though and was skillfully spotted by Eddie high up in a tree. The Cuckoo that is, not Eddie! A few Common Whitethroat sang and showed off their display flights to us around Brookland and a very showy Cetti's Warbler flew into and out of a small tree giving nice views. A Sparrowhawk circled high on the far side of the lake and the Mistle Thrush was, as ever, on duty on the grass beside the old cafe rounding off a very pleasant visit.