Following the news of a recent sighting of the mythical Turtle Dove in the sunken marsh I decided to have a quick couple of hours down New Hythe in the hope of turning it into reality for myself.
I cannot believe how the vegetation has grown this year. Some of the grasses and thistles are now taller than me and trying to make headway around the river path adjacent to the sunken marsh proved impossible. I could have got lost in there until Autumn if i'd ventured further so discretion, or common sense won and I retraced my steps and took the wider footpath around the western edge, past the mound. There was plenty of avian activity in the form of Whitethroats, Blue Tits, Chiffchaffs, a Kestrel and a couple of fairly large parties of Long Tailed Tits which signalled their presence in the dense bushes and trees with their usual excited chattering. A Grey Heron flew lazily over the marsh, it's kraarking call seemed to fit the sultry atmosphere even at 8.30 in the morning.
I climbed up the precipitous east face of the mound, without the aid of ropes or a safety net, to gain a better view across the marsh and while I was there I noticed a Red Admiral butterfly flying towards me. It flew past and landed on the trunk of a smallish Oak tree directly behind me and then crawled or walked, whichever it is that butterflies do, to the back of the trunk and stayed there with it's wings closed. A couple of minutes later a Comma flew past me and posed on an Oak leaf, pictured above, and then did exactly the same as the Red Admiral. The odd thing was that it seemed to want the exact same spot, except the Admiral was having none of it and seemed to flick it's wings in what I took to be a threat pose and the Comma moved away slightly. The picture below shows Red Admiral top, Comma bottom beating a retreat. What was all that about................?!
I headed from there to the corner of Abbey Mead lake to look for Red Eyed Damselflies and it wasn't too long before I found some. I took the picture below from above, obviously, and while in flight. And I quite like the result. It looks like a helicopter. I like the way the males defend their territory so aggressively, anything and everything is given short shrift. They must be tired out by the end of the day.
I found this moth (below) under the canopy over the railway path. Any ideas as to what it's name is?
Further down the path I came across this very young Green Woodpecker. He could fly pretty well but wasn't so adept at standing on his legs it seemed. He flew off to a small stand of Silver Birchs close by where I got one more shot before leaving him alone to be reunited with Mum hopefully.
From the railway path I crossed a quiet East Scrub, that's apart from the lady who decided that here was a good place to bring her dog for a lesson on how to be shouted and bawled at incessantly.
So I progressed down the Millstream where again the vegetation all but blocks out access and views of the water. But never mind there's always another butterfly and here it is in the shape of a Meadow Brown I think.
And finally, surely, only a mother could love this little chap! And what of the Turtle Dove? The stuff of legends I say.