This morning, I turned my attention to New Hythe lakes. Like a lot of places it has been very quiet on the bird front of late but today was a better day with some nice birds seen and a few other little creatures as well.
There was quite a lot of activity from the geese first thing with some sizeable flocks of Canada Geese flying between the lakes with all their usual honking and trumpeting. This gave it an almost autumnal feel even though the weather was warm and fairly bright.
After months of searching for my first Turtle Dove of the year here and finally finding one last week, lo and behold I found two today. One was on the wires on the far side of the river and another was on the wires over the sunken marsh where it was purring contentedly. Also here were Whitethroat, Greenfinch and a Green Woodpecker.
On the river I found two Little Egrets busily fishing as the tide flowed in along with a single Shelduck and later a Common Sandpiper. Around Brookland lake were two Linnets, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff and a Kingfisher which flew silently across the lake just inches from the surface.
Abbey Mead was almost deserted apart from a large female Sparrowhawk which drifted lazily across as it was escorted off the premises by the local Crows.
The hoverfly below which posed so nicely for me is I think Scaeva pyrastri which unfortunately doesn't seem to have a common name.
Below is a shield bug or squash bug, possibly Ceraleptus lividus but i'm by no means sure. If anybody can confirm or otherwise i'd be pleased to hear from them.
I'm very grateful to Greg for pinning this down to Gonocerus acuteangulatus. This species was originally confined to Surrey (Box Hill) but has now spread to Kent and the South East. I've actually found them at New Hythe on a couple of occasions now. Thanks also to Greenie for his help.
In all I had 41 species of birds at New Hythe today which is the most i've had for a while now. The only Hirundines seen were a couple of small flocks of Sand Martins. A Redstart was seen in the East Scrub last week as well but no sign of it today. This is a species I still need to find at New Hythe this year. I usually manage one or two in May but I missed out this year. Some of the other glaring omissions to my list include Goldcrest, Stonechat and Spotted Flycatcher. I think time is against me for achieving 100 species for the year. But you never know.
And finally..............................it's been quite a good week in the garden with Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and four Jays all paying a visit. Below are a couple of pictures of one of the four and very welcome he is too.