Turtle Dove, Hobby, Common Tern, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler. Unfortunately this is not a list of birds seen today. This is a wish list of some of the birds I would like to see today at New Hythe Lakes.
So I left home and went straight to the Alders lakes just down the road from me to get a quick tick in the shape of Common Tern which have been seen there fairly regularly in the past few days, but not today. Next stop the windsurfing lake aka Tesco's lake, another Tern hotspot in the last few days, but not today. Not a good start to my mission but it was nice to see the spectacle of many dozens of Hirundines and Swifts weaving masterfully a few feet above the surface of both of these lakes, a silver lining to the grey cloud.
I drove round to Brooklands car park and made my way round the lake bumping into Martin Warburton who invited me to join him and Terry Laws for a trip to see the famous Iberian Chiffchaff of Walderslade Woods. I declined his kind offer as I was expecting to meet Alan Roman later and also of course I had my mission to think of. I left Martin and started to make my way round the Sunken Marsh under heavy cloud and a cold NE wind. Two Cuckoos flying across the river in quick succession was a good sighting as were a couple of very garrulous Jays and a handsome Cock Pheasant which as ever exploded from the undergrowth fifteen feet from me almost stopping my heart. I had very good views of a Nightingale along the southern edge, it's rufous tail showing very nicely in a brief moment of sunshine. It was here that I heard and saw a Lesser Whitethroat, about time too, one down four to go.
I met Alan at about 9.30 and we made our way up river noting a nice little flock of five Shelduck flying low over the marsh, not too much else seen at this point as the wind got up quite strong and made life a bit difficult and uncomfortable for a while. We made our way to the East Scrub where the Nightingales continue to serenade along with Whitethroat and Blackcap but no Willow Warblers heard today, then on to Brook House to try and locate our first Garden Warbler of the year but again to no avail.
As we walked along the millstream I spotted the Glow Worm larva pictured above, I think i've only seen one before so that was a good sighting for today. A little further on, while sheltering from a hail shower I noticed this large fungus (below) growing on a sawn off tree stump, i've tried to ID it but with no success, can anybody help please?
Back to the car park now but having received a call from Dennis Capeling to say that he and Doreen had seen a Turtle Dove in the Sunken Marsh we decided to revisit the area in the hope of being able to locate it.
Passing the lake on the way back to the marsh I saw a few Swallows sitting on the overhead wires so I fired off a few hasty shots, one of which I quite liked because of the unusual angle it caught, the bird is actually twisting it's head round and preening under it's wing I think. Looks a bit bizarre really.
I also managed to get a half decent shot of a Sand Martin which I haven't been able to do before, then a small movement in the reeds just past the fishermens hut caught my eye which turned out to be a Reed Warbler and unusually I managed a few quick shots of it before it moved with it's mate back to their usual state of anonymity in the reedbed.
REED WARBLER (RINGED)
Unfortunately the Turtle Dove couldn't be located in the marsh so all my efforts had resulted with just one New Hythe year tick in the shape of the Lesser Whitethroat. However, a mid afternoon return visit to the Alders lakes rewarded me with a nice view of a Common Tern at last. I like a happy ending!REED WARBLER
DRYAD'S SADDLE OR SCALY POLYPORE (POLYPORUS SQUAMOSUS)GLOW WORM LARVA