I had two choices this morning, cut the grass or go down to New Hythe lakes..........I arrived at the car park at about 10.00 and was just putting my boots on when Alan Roman arrived so off we trotted with Sedge Warbler and Turtle Dove in mind.
We listened to Sedge and Reed Warblers in various locations in and around the Sunken Marsh but would they show themselves? Not a chance. In fact considering the blue skies and sunshine the activity was quite subdued, these weather conditions although very welcome also meant that Hirundines and Swifts were few and far between compared to recent days. Butterflies however, were more appreciative of the conditions and I was pleased to get a better picture of a Green Veined White (above).
Still lots of Blackcaps around the area and Common Whitethroats seem to be getting commoner. Reed Buntings made a couple of appearances, I think I saw a pair of Linnets but couldn't be certain and a Sparrowhawk made a brief appearance. The river itself is quiet with just a few Shelduck, Coots and Mallards and of course the Turtle Dove was nowhere to be seen, again.
As we came out of the marsh area Alan heard a wader calling overhead and soon it appeared from behind the tops of the trees, unfortunately we only got a back view and were unable to ID it. It looked to be heading downstream so we decided to go back to the small wood to see if it had come down there.
As we made our way back I noticed the Ladybird above and couldn't resist a picture, I know they're common but it's nice to see them back. I hope it is a seven spot, tell me if it isn't. I also find white butterflies confusing but I think the one below is a Small White.
The big hairy specimen below has surely got to be a Red Tailed Bumblebee hasn't it?
Back at the wood beside the river and I soon spotted a wader quite a long way upstream feeding on the mud exposed by the receding tide. Luckily it flew nearer and landed in front of us without realising we were there, enabling us to confirm a Common Sandpiper, first of the year for Alan and me at New Hythe.
Walking down the path between Brookland and Abbey Mead I spotted a Grass Snake (below) soaking up the warmth on a sunny bank beside the lake, unfortunately I could only get a quick head and shoulders shot before it quietly retreated into the undergrowth and yes, I know snakes don't have shoulders but you know what I mean. I also saw my first good sighting of a dragonfly which i'm pretty certain was a male Hairy Dragonfly which I believe are usually one of the first
As we crossed the railway line we saw Ken Browne of Halling blog, like us he was enjoying the unexpected weather.Hope you found some goodies Ken.
The birdsong was better in the East Scrub with Nightingales and Willow Warblers being the star performers and a Gt Spotted Woodpecker also put in a guest appearance.
Down the Millstream path I came across what looked like a newly emerged Common Blue Damselfly. Sorry there are so many uncertainties in this post but one thing I am certain about was the song of a Garden Warbler which we heard along here. We stopped to see if it could be found as it would also be a New Hythe year tick and indeed it was found by Alan, singing from it's perch deep in a tangle of Hawthorn and Brambles. And he calls me Hawkeye!