Saturday, 1 May 2010

New Hythe Lakes 1st May

The forecast was for cooler weather and showers but I haven't been able to get out for a few days so I thought i'd 'choose my attitude' this morning and carry on down the lakes regardless.

The tide was very low on the river and still dropping when I arrived leaving a large island exposed which was a temporary home for a Grey Heron, some Black Headed Gulls and a Great Black Backed Gull. A Sedge Warbler showed quite well through the reed stems in the sunken marsh and two Shelduck and a pair of Oystercatchers were further upstream.

Under the threateningly dark clouds a few Swifts were a welcome sight joined by a couple of Swallows and some Martins, although distance stopped me from positively IDing them. When the sun shone through the gaps in the clouds a few Butterflies took advantage of the warmth and took to the wing, in particular this Orange Tip (below) which really adds a splash of colour on a drab morning.


The East Scrub area is still the place to hear Nightingales, although they are pretty much all over the site this seems to be the hotspot. Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Green Woodpecker were also in evidence here. I also found another butterfly which I think is a male Small White (fingers crossed). I spent some time scanning the sky here because I know there have been a couple of sightings of a Hobby in the last couple of days, but I wasn't lucky on this occasion.


As I walked down the side of the Railway Lake I spotted a Newt coming up for a gulp of air before diving back down again. I managed to locate it on the bottom of the lake and took a couple of pictures, they're obviously a bit lacking in sharpness but never mind.


As I made my way back along the western edge of the Sunken Marsh a bird flew across me from Brooklands Lake which I first thought was a Sparrowhawk but then realised was the Cuckoo that had been calling from the other side of the river earlier on. It flew into the Marsh, landed on the overhead wires and began calling again so that confirmed it's ID without a shadow of doubt.
A bit further along the bank in the long grass I found another White butterfly (below), I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that this is a female Green Veined White? If i'm wrong please let me down gently.


One of the most prolific flies airborne at the moment is the St Mark's Fly (below) so called because it usually appears on or around St Mark's Day, 25th April. They are easily identified in flight by their oddly cumbersome flight and their long dangling legs. At rest you can see their unusual closed wing formation whereby one wing completely overlays the other. I also know these as Hawthorn flies and I believe Trout regard them as a very tasty snack.



In the reeds around Brookland lake I spotted this suspended nest pictured below. At least I think that's what it is.

As I was taking another picture of it a little face appeared in the viewfinder, it's a Reed Warbler and I can only assume that this is the work of Mrs Reed Warbler. In which case, who's a clever girl then! If it isn't, help...........................................!


Finally, as I walked towards the car park I noticed this huge plume of smoke on the near horizon, it really looked like a serious fire, maybe coming from the paper mill at the bottom of New Hythe. Haven't heard yet exactly what it was but it sure was spectacular.

I've just heard that the smoke was from a fire at the local Homebase store at Quarry Wood Aylesford, just a little way along the river as the Crow flies. Hopefully nobody was hurt.


Steve said...

Some good shots today Phil especially the Newt! I managed to find a Hobby in a brief visit today. Should be out for a few hours tomorrow

Warren Baker said...

I think you small White looks like a female Orange tip Phil, and I dont think thats a Reed Warbler nest - looks more like a harvest mouse.

Good trip out anyway

Phil said...

Thanks Warren.Only trouble is I didn't see any green mottling on the underwing and the nest was built about six feet from the bank, over the water. Having said that i'm not making a case to support my own diagnosis, just speculating.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
No flies on either of us today !
First impression was same as Warren re. Small White , but if you saw no mottling on underwing , 1st. brood males have faint black markings , as yours does .
Can also see where he's coming from with the nest too , but wouldn't expect it over water .
Interesting . No Weaver Birds been sighted ?

Adam said...

Hi Phil

Think Warren may be right with the mouse nest....I couldn't help thinking Penduline Tit though!


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Phil.
Quite a walk you had yourself today. You certainly have got some people's brains working over time with your photos, which are good by the way.

Ken Browne. said...

Phil. Reading what Warren said about it being a Harvest Mouse nest, that's what I thought, so I looked it up and although it is about 6ft out, they do use their tail to grip, and help them move around in the reeds.Just a thought.

Phil said...

Many thanks for your comments, all very much appreciated. So a Mouse House it is then I think. The jury is still out regarding the butterfly species though!

ShySongbird said...

I'm no expert but like Adam, my first thought was Penduline Tit. Anyway, a great walk with lovely photos, It seems to be a very good year for Orange Tips :)