Monday, 18 October 2010

New Hythe Lakes 18th October

My first piece of luck at New Hythe this fine still morning was running in to Jerry Warne along the sunken marsh footpath. I don't think he'd been there too long before I arrived but he'd already listed some good stuff flying over. Flying over was the theme today with quite a bit of winter thrush and finch movement coming from roughly East to West. I'd already added Redwing to my October list but with Jerry's help and his incredible knowledge I managed to add Fieldfare in the form of several small flocks and a Redpoll which I probably wouldn't have got myself.

It got even better when one of two Skylarks flew over and suddenly my NH year list rose to 97 and my October list to 54. In fact it was better than that because this was a life tick for me at NH having never seen one here before.
In between further flyovers of thrushes and various finches we heard the unmistakeable pinging of at least one, possibly two Bearded Tits, seeming to come from within the sunken marsh, fantastic!
The only disappointment was that we were unable to see them despite constant scanning across the marsh. It seems that they too were flying over as opposed to in the reed beds because we heard the calls disappearing up river roughly SE. Shame really because a sighting would have been number 98 for the year, but never mind this is a good record having only ever seen one here before in May last year.
In between all the excitement a Kingfisher, one of three seen today, flew upstream calling loudly and a few Mistle Thrushes rattled to each other as they passed over. It was at this point that I left Jerry and moved on up the path only to return five minutes later to alert him to a Common Seal, pictured badly below, which was loafing about near the far bank. We spent a bit of time watching him play for a while with a Flounder he'd caught, before he finally ate it and moved off upstream. I've seen a Seal along here a couple of times in the past but it always seems bizarre to me to be out walking inland and see one of these superb marine creatures swimming alongside me in the river. A quartet of Little Grebes completed the splendid picture before I made my way along to the East Scrub.

The only bird of note seen here was a male Sparrowhawk which glided nonchalantly over the scrub setting off all the alarms as he went.
It was here also that I saw Den & Doreen and as time was running short I headed back with them, retracing my steps past Abbey Mead lake where we spotted three Pochard at last, the first i've seen on this lake this Autumn. Back along the river we managed to see a couple of Teal, two Swallows and a Kestrel among the more usual suspects. Bullfinches were also heard but not seen unfortunately as I need this bird for my October list. But never fear, a last minute single Jackdaw stepped up and saved the day bringing the list to a creditable 55. I ended this great morning optimistically wondering if a 60 might be on the cards by the end of the month!!
Finally, on 13th October I posted a picture of a fungi species which was identified by a couple of my fellow bloggers as an immature Parasol Mushroom. It was still there today so I thought I'd post a second picture of it as a mature Parasol Mushroom.


Bob Bushell said...

A Common Seal, well, I can not speak, and a Parasol mushroom, they are beauties.

Warren Baker said...

Well done with the year and month ticks Phil. October is a good month to get a big species total, 60 should be reachable, but you have to put the visits in :-)

ShySongbird said...

An exciting day, Phil! I have never seen or heard a Bearded Tit, it is on my wish list but of course I would have to travel a fair way. Come to that I have never seen a Seal inland either and don't expect I ever will.