Wednesday, 15 September 2010

New Hythe Wednesday 15th September

I only had a couple of hours today so I got to Brooklands car park almost at the crack of dawn, which is 08.00 in British Summer Time...............

It was a great morning, a bit cool to start with but then the September sun began to work it's magic and it warmed up nicely and turned into a proper hop picking morning, I could almost smell the aroma of the hops wafting up from memory lane. Only trouble is hop picking mornings were notoriously damp underfoot and today was no exception, so it was on with the gaiters, it only seems like five minutes ago I was packing them away for the Summer.

A pair of Mistle Thrushes, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a flock of House Martins all made the notebook before I left the car park so that was a good start. I noticed that the river was fairly high although the tide was ebbing so I didn't go down to the small wood where i'd seen the two Kingfishers from on monday. As I walked along the Sunken Marsh path I looked back to the wood and saw three Grey Herons perched in the trees facing the river, basking in the early sun so i'm glad I didn't disturb them. I haven't seen them there before. A dunnock, a pair of Linnets, and a small flock of Greenfinches were in the marsh as was a Chiffchaff which was singing it's Chiff-chaff song and this, coupled with the sun and the now warmish breeze, made it feel positively Spring like.

There were maybe 150 Hirundines spread over Brookland and Abbey Mead lakes, mostly House Martins but with a good sprinkling of Sand Martins and the odd Swallow. As I watched them a Sparrowhawk flew over creating panic and a Kingfisher called from Brookland lake, I went to investigate and saw two bolts of blue flying characteristically low over the flat calm surface, at least it was calm before the Swan pictured below came in for a high speed crash landing.

I checked out the railway path because it was here that I found a Spotted Flycatcher at about this time last year. No luck today though, just a few dragons one of which allowed me a picture, I think it might be a Common Darter? And a Magpie which I snapped while waiting for a Jay to reappear after flying into an Oak tree. I didn't get the Jay picture, I never do!

The East Scrub was quiet, only brightened by the familiar Green Woodpeckers and a small charm of Goldfinches. The mixed flock that I saw there on Monday had moved on but luckily I managed to find a similar (or the same) flock, this time in the West Scrub. Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long tailed Tits, as pictured below, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and other LBJ's which were too quick to ID all busied themselves roaming from tree to tree continually calling and feeding in earnest.

With time running out I cut through the small copse alongside the Bittern viewing area on Streamside lake. As I emerged I once again nearly stepped on a Slow Worm. This one was right on the edge of the path in the shade of the trees in the copse. I took a couple of quick pictures and was about to move on, but it was in such a vulnerable position and it hadn't moved an inch while I was there, so I thought I would move it somewhere a bit safer. It offered no resistance to me picking it up and made no effort to escape so I guessed it was too cold. I moved it to a warm sunny spot about six feet away, where it seemed to revive very quickly and soon slid off into the undergrowth.

Also in this area I found this nice little flower which I think is Common Toadflax and below that is a Shaggy Inkcap, one of many that have sprung up across the site almost overnight.

Now, as if there weren't enough reasons to visit New Hythe there's now a new one. It's a nice little bench that's been provided by the Country Park Management I think. It's a welcome place to rest weary legs along the Millstream path before returning back to the car park. You might want to eat your lunch before you get there though, as it also offers great views and aromas of the sewage plant just 40 or 50 feet away across the stream. How thoughtful is that? I haven't seen anybody use it yet.....................I wonder why?


Greenie said...

Phil ,
I like the shots of the Swan coming in .
Unusual to get a shot of the Slow Worm's tongue , never seen that .
Common Darter , Common Toadflax and Shaggy Ink Cap ( also known as Lawyer's Wig )all correct , well done .
The seat might get more use if they put a lid on it , and provide some reading material .

Warren Baker said...

Phil, like the ''Green one'' I enjoyed your swan and slow worm pics today.

Ive got toadflax in my garden, the bees love it, it grows like mad though !

ShySongbird said...

A most enjoyable outing, Phil and I'm always struck by how much you genuinely care about the creatures you see such as being glad not to disturb the Herons and moving the Slow Worm to a warmer spot and who could ever forget the incident with the long trek on a cold day with a gull wrapped in your coat :)

Lovely photos again, the swan pics are beautiful!

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Phil.
Surely you have got to be the 1st person to christen the bench by eating your lunch there, it will certainly add a bit of flavour :-)
Well done on capturing the Swan in flight.