Thursday, 24 March 2011


The Bee-Fly pictured above was one of at least eight which were all in a six foot square area of undergrowth adjacent to Brooklands lake and there were lots more close by. They're harmless of course, but when you see the long proboscis you can understand why people think they might not be.

The sunken marsh is still holding a lot of water, topped up recently I suspect by some very high tides, courtesy of the closer than usual moon. Water Rails can still be heard calling from there but I still haven't managed to spot one of the elusive little blighters. But I did manage to see Starling, Pied Wagtail, a Jay and a flyover of three Mute Swans. Which were all additions for the month at NH and boosted my total to 55 species so far. I also noticed increased numbers of Reed Buntings which have been scarce here for much of the winter.

The Chiffchaff above was one of many seen and heard during the two and a half hour visit, this one was in the small trees along the railway path. I crossed the railway line and started crossing the East Scrub which was very quiet, maybe it was the twenty strong group of people taking part in the Thursday 'healthy walk' in front of me, or maybe it was just the March doldrums. I had more luck with Slow Worms though, finding these two cosying up together under a piece of refugia. I think they are male and female, the female being to the right with the dark back stripe.

It was here that I bumped into Dennis and Doreen Capeling who told me they'd just seen a Terrapin, so I walked back with them and managed to get the picture below. This will probably be a pet that was bought when the Ninja Turtles were so popular and released into the lake when the novelty wore off. The throw away society even extends to live creatures. Although they survive in our climate, thankfully, they don't breed or we'd no doubt be having the usual problems with introduced species.

We walked back towards the river, calling in at Abbey Mead first where there were three Shovelers and some Gt Crested Grebes but not much else. The tide was very low on the river which suited two Oystercatchers (below) who were pleased to poke around for tasty morsels in the margins. But not as pleased as me because that's another new species at NH for March (56) and better still the year (77). A couple of Gadwall, a pair of Teal, a single Kingfisher and a fly by Redshank, heard but not seen, were all added to my day list, along with a pair of Shelduck (57).

On the way back to the car park we saw a single Buzzard which was being harangued by the Gulls and bizarrely, three Pied Wagtails. Shades of David and Goliath. This was followed by a Gt Black -backed Gull (58), well spotted by Doreen.

Butterflies seen today included Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and a superb Brimstone.

Finally, seen from the garden, two Sand Martins flying over 'our' lake yesterday afternoon at approximately 2pm were my first of the year and bring my New Hythe total to 78.


Mike Attwood said...

Seems like a good day to me Phil.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Phil, Your list is ticking along nicely, nice to see the Slow Worms. I dream of Oystercatcher on my patch, sad I know!! :-)

Paul said...

Hi Phil, great shots of the reptiles there mate, and not forgetting your other interesting photos too.

Anonymous said...

I keep looking for Bee Flies, but they still elude me.
Great shots as always, Phil.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Brilliant shot of the Bee Fly .
Wish I had 'my' personal lake at my pile .
Good news with the Sand Martins , hopefully the start .

Warren Baker said...

See your getting the first trickle of Migrant species now Phil, it will soom become a flood.

I must agree with Alan, an Oystercatcher would be a dream bird on my patch !

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
What a good day you had. Good variety of Butterflies too.
I was actually going to come there myself,as Pam was going to Tesco's, and she said she would drop me off, I wish I had paid a visit now.
Hope all is ok, you know what I mean.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Phil just caught up with this and the last post and very enjoyable they were.

I too would love an Oystercatcher but of course zero chance here!

Good to see the Slow Worms and the Bee Fly, definitely more Springlike now :)

Bob Bushell said...

I love the Slow Worms, brilliant photos.