Friday, 1 April 2011


This morning I went looking for the juvenile Whooper Swan that's been reported in the area a couple of times recently. I didn't find it, but I did run into the long staying adult on the Tesco lake, I think I might start a campaign to give this large lake a proper name, bloody Tesco?! I suppose Swan lake would be apt, albeit a tad unoriginal. Anyway since the adult was there, and having a good old wash and brush up, I couldn't resist a picture, especially since this was the only opportunity on a cool, windy and grey April day.

There wasn't much to write home about I must say. One of the first birds to make the notebook was a Blackcap, one of maybe a dozen or more singing around the lakes today, significant for being the second plentiful summer migrant here after the Chiffchaffs (and better singers too) and also for being my 80th New Hythe species for the year.

Cetti's Warblers were also very noticeable, not just for their trademark explosive burst of song but also because today they seemed willing to show theirselves for a split second, not for our benefit of course, something to do with Spring and the perpetuation of the species no doubt, but a rare treat nonetheless.

Both woodpecker species were seen, the Great Spotted was clinging, like they do, to a dead tree on the other side of the river while the Green yaffled across the east scrub, which was even more devoid of birds than usual. Maybe it's because the undergrowth has been ripped out in the tidying process, I wouldn't be surprised to see somebody sweeping up before long, or maybe i'm just an old cynic.

There was one Shelduck on the river, along with probably the last two Gadwall and the last couple of Teal. Overhead was a Stock Dove, number 81 for the year and a very distant Buzzard over the North Downs. Being the first of April every species counted today and I ended up with a reasonable 38 in the circumstances.

Talking of the river, have you seen Ken Browne's blogpost today? If you haven't, take a look by clicking on his name. I thought it was a wind up at first but then I saw this (below) crawling out of the Medway during a brief burst of sunshine and I can only assume it has something to do with Ken's amazing picture.

You just never know what you might see when you go down to the river, especially on the first day of April.....


Keith N said...

Hi Phil,

Whereabouts did you see the Blackcaps? I ask as I walked around the New Hythe lakes on Wednesday and didn't see one! Did you just hear them or did you see them?

I'm not sure if I'm in the minority but I only record birds I see. Do you experts record the birds you hear as a tick as well? If that's the case then I certainly need to improve my knowledge/awareness of birdsong.


Phil said...

Hi Keith
I only usually record birds I see. I saw a Blackcap in the Brooklands car park and two more together along the railway path and two more singles along the river path, one of which I photographed, badly, so didn't publish.

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
I think we are on to something here. Thinking about our sightings some more. I think the reason mine never resurfaced is because yours ate it!!
Have a good weekend Phil, and what ever you do....don't go into the water.

Mike Attwood said...

No wonder I don't come over and see you guys.

Anonymous said...

Phil, what`s wrong with Tesco Lake ? I`ve got a Morrisons Pond.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
I can only assume that Ken and yourself have spent the time since the trip to Dungeness , locked in a pub , hatching stories to keep other birders off your respective patches .
Shame we have to wait a year to get another sighting of either .

Anonymous said...

Hi Phil nice to meet you at last. You very nearly had me believe you about the croc, till I remembered the date|||||||||||||

Frank and Sue

Bob Bushell said...

Coest Lake, a pun. I love your Swan.

Warren Baker said...

Good to see you got a 'snap' of that croc phil :-)

alan woodcock said...

Hi Phil,where was the beast,I would love to get a photo.

Phil said...

OK, i'll come clean. It's a Cayman and I shot it not on the banks of the Medway but the banks of a lake in Tobago. It was about five and a half feet long and i'm not sure who was the most nervous, him or me!
Thanks for all your excellent comments!