Thursday, 7 April 2011


Another glorious Spring day and after a day in the garden yesterday, during which I snapped the above male Orangetip, where better to spend it than New Hythe lakes. One of the highlights was seeing the Water Vole pictured below, one of two found today along the same stretch of water. I really hope that others will be found around the site after just about disappearing last year.

I was pleased to see that the Swans are once again nesting on Brooklands lake, I hope they have better luck than last year when they lost their cygnets. Just the usual species on this lake at the moment, no sign today of the Common Tern which was there yesterday. Although I didn't get out properly yesterday I did call in for ten minutes following a text from Alan Roman telling me the Tern was there, so that was a good year tick taking me to 86 species so far at New Hythe.

Around the sunken marsh the Cetti's Warblers made their presence felt alongside that other mega vocalist, the Wren, such small birds, such big lungs! I lost count of how many Blackcaps I saw and heard, both male and female. Nightingales were heard singing across the river from the marsh, in the SW corner of Abbey Mead, in the east scrub, by the pylon and in the west scrub.

The nettles are growing fast now and i'm not overly pleased to say I got my first stings of the year today while trying to get the above picture of our old friend the marmalade hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus, (hopefully)

I called in at the small wood for a sit down on the bucket and witnessed a right old punch up between four Shelducks. The two males clashed first of all and then the two females had their own scrap. No one was seriously hurt but it was quite spectacular to watch.

A Wren was patrolling the reed margins by the river and was in full vocal form, they are such little characters and I thought he deserved his ten minutes of fame, so here he is.

Kestrel, Kingfisher, GBB Gull and a single Gadwall were all seen from the bucket, but the hoped for Hirundines were nowhere to be seen today.

I was pleased to be joined by Jerry Warne a bit later who was hoping to catch up with the two Oystercatchers who have been hanging around at low tide recently. Unfortunately they didn't show today but he did find a Green Sandpiper on the opposite bank, a good tick for the month for me. We also spotted at least five Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk over the downs and a distant Lapwing was a first for a while.

A total of 44 species logged today as well as Small Tortoiseshell, Orange Tip, Peacock and a superb Brimstone on the butterfly front. I don't usually publish the complete list, but i'm going to today so that anyone thinking of visiting the site over the weekend will get an idea of just some of the birds they might see. There will of course be plenty of others.

Collared Dove, Blue Tit, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Great Tit, Wren, Coot, Tuftie, Mute Swan, BH Gull, Moorhen, Cetti's Warbler, Nightingale, GC Grebe, Mallard, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Shelduck, LT Tit, Kingfisher, Dunnock, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Magpie, Bullfinch, Blackcap, GBB Gull, Robin, Jay, Gadwall, Kestrel, Buzzard, Lapwing, Reed Bunting, Sparrowhawk, Green Sandpiper, Linnet, LBB Gull.


Bob Bushell said...

They are brilliant photos, well done.

Warren Baker said...

Wrens are very vocal at the moment, as you said phil, from dawn till dusk! :-)

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Well done on getting a shot of the Water Vole. Wren are great, aren't they? Such a small bird witha big song.

JRandSue said...

Love the Wren shots,outstanding Male Orange tip.

Mike H said...

Hi Phil,

Like I said to Ken must revisit your patch again soon.

Marianne said...

Great stuff, Phil. Love the Shelduck battle, and how fantastic to get good views of Water Vole. I'm pleased to hear you still have Cetti's Warblers - the Sevenoaks ones seem to have gone.

Paul said...

Hi Phil, very nice to see pics of the Water Vole, and that Wren shot is a cracking photo mate.

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos today Phil, so nice to see the Water Vole. The last photo of the Wren is a real cracker!!

There seemed to be Orange Tips everywhere yesterday but they led me a merry dance and I didn't manage even one photo.

Mark Whittaker said...

Interesting and look forward to following the blog

Mary said...

Oh great stuff, and I love the very tip top image, wow what a lovely butterfly~