Wednesday, 18 August 2010

New Hythe Year Tick 18th August

It was so nice to wake up to blue sky at last this morning. Thankfully I had kept the morning clear for a visit to New Hythe.

What a difference the sun makes, wings were flapping everywhere. Not just the birds, in fact they were still pretty hard to find, but also the butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies and indeed the plain old flies.
The one pictured below though is certainly not plain, quite a handsome chap really in fly terms at least. I found it on the bankside vegetation along the river path and I'm pretty sure it's Tachina fera which are sometimes mistaken for blow flies. Reddish legs and larger size distinguish it from Gonia divisa, a very similar fly.

I was accompanied along the river by a few Reed Warblers which called softly from the reeds, occasionally popping up for a quick look before diving back down when they spotted me. A Sparrowhawk also spotted me before I could get a picture of it sitting on a metal sign alongside the river. I scanned the Downs above Wouldham once or twice in the hope of finding a Buzzard riding the thermals but none were seen.
The tide was on it's way out as I made my way along and I spotted this Common Sandpiper hitching a ride downstream on a small plank of wood. I've seen this a couple of times before on the river here and it always strikes me as odd, you'd think they would fly to wherever it is they need to get to.

At the end of the sunken marsh my attention was drawn to an unusual call from the small trees and as I stood puzzling a juvenile Bullfinch emerged followed by the adult pictured below. So the strange call was obviously junior, first time i'd heard that one.

Most of the butterflies seen today were Whites, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Speckled Woods, most of which appeared quite worn. So i was very pleased when this Small Copper turned up and posed nicely for a couple of seconds on the Blackberries. I'm pretty sure this is my first this year at New Hythe, I don't recall seeing them here very often at all.

I decided to walk down the new path that the fishermen have carved out along the edge of Abbey Mead lake and I was glad that I did. This is where I saw most of our feathered friends today. There was a large feeding flock of Long tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chiffchaff and another small bird which i'm pretty sure was a Lesser Whitethroat. I stood alongside the Ash tree that they were feeding in and around for about twenty minutes watching and listening to the constant contact calls going on all around me but only managed two pictures; one below of a Blue Tit and the one below that of a Long tailed Tit who was wrestling a large caterpillar, I think the bird won. Left click it for a closer look.

I found two moths today, both were in vegetation along the edge of Abbey Mead. The one below was tiny and I think it's a worn Small Purple and Gold and the second much bigger specimen is a Treble Bar I think.

Many thanks to Dean for IDing the Small Purple and Gold as Pyrausta aurata (Mint Moth). Click on the link to visit his blog.

The lake edge here is also home to an array of Hoverflies and other insects attracted to the wild flowers and morning sunshine. It was here that I had a brief view of what I first thought was a Hornet, but it isn't, it's Volucella zonaria, sometimes referred to as the Hornet mimic fly. Not a great picture but I hope my ID is correct. I think i'll be advised if it isn't!

I stayed along the lake side for too long really and I soon realised time was running out. I nearly decided not to go over to the East Scrub because it's been so quiet lately. But the small chance of a passing migrant changed my mind and i'm very glad it did as I soon found this super female Redstart, pictured below from a distance, dropping Robin like to the floor and back up to the lower branches of a Hawthorn bush just yards from where I found one last year, only then it was in May. This is a welcome addition to my New Hythe year list, who knows, I still might make the 100.

And finally............................I took this picture of a Common/Ruddy Darter hovering in the distance.

Or was this it??

And finally finally, i'm off to the Lake District for two weeks on saturday so no posts for a while. Hopefully i'll have some good stuff to report when I get back.


Bob Bushell said...

Great pics Phil, and have a nice holidays.

Warren Baker said...

Thats a great find Phil, Redstarts are always a scarce bird in Kent.

Kirill said...

You are lucky. Long tailed tits... I saw them only in Moscow Zoo :)

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Phil.
What a great day you had. Well done with the Redstart, and New Hythe Lifer.
As for the Common Sand, I have seen the same thing on the river here a few times at Halling.
You and Carol have a lovely holiday.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Really like your 'surfin Sandpiper' , sounds like it's a craze in the area .
V.zonaria certainly looks good from that big yellow wedge between the eyes .
Cracking find the Redstart .
What ! another holiday ? you've only just got back ! Have a good one the pair of you .

ShySongbird said...

Hi Phil, it's great to be back...except you're away!! :)

How lovely to see the Redstart, I have never seen one in fact I don't think we get them in this area.

So amusing to see the lazy Sandpiper surfing down the river :)

Hope you and Carol have a great holiday!

Lovely photos throughout although I liked the second photo of the darter much more than the first :)

Marianne said...

Brilliant stuff, Phil. Especially the Redstart! I photographed one of those monster hornet-hoverflies the other day, it was a most alarming-looking beast.

Anonymous said...

Phil, your Purple and Gold is a Pyrausta aurata.