Sunday, 26 June 2011


I feel like i've neglected poor old New Hythe lately. The weather hasn't helped, neither have forays to the Hampshire Avon, excursions over the border into East Sussex and adventures on the Greensand Ridge. So today, with forecasts of early sun and blue skies I made my return. I don't usually visit on a sunday, especially in decent weather, but I pulled up into an empty car park and apart from the fishermen it was pretty quiet everywhere, just how I like it.

Trouble was, the skies were grey not blue for the first hour and a half or so which didn't suit the butterflies or dragons too much. But I did manage to find my first New Hythe Large Skipper of the year, a male I think and a good start to the day.

Brooklands lake was still playing host to a Common Tern and surprisingly, on my return later I found three Pochard in residence. That was very unexpected and was also number 59 for the New Hythe June list.

I couldn't resist peering into the water to see what was going on. I've been fascinated by the world beneath the surface since I was about twelve years old. It doesn't wear off, neither does my affection for 'Old Stripey', the Perch, pictured above and still one of my favourite fish.

Without a doubt the butterfly of the day was the Ringlet, they were everywhere, their dainty, unhurried flight in complete contrast to the unidentified white species that hurtled past with no time to stop and settle. I also saw Commas, Red Admirals, Meadow Browns and just a couple of Skippers.
Around the sunken marsh there were Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings, a single male Linnet (60), Cetti's Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, a cuckoo calling from over the river and on the raptor front a Kestrel hunting overhead.

Along the edge of Abbey Mead, the sun finally managed to burn away the morning cloud and mist. And suddenly, at last, the dragons woke up. Black-tailed Skimmers fought their aerial skirmishes over the reed beds and Emperors, the largest of our dragonflies, relentlessly patrolled up and down along their own hard won territories. But the only individual to settle was the Four-spotted Chaser pictured above and a great looking dragon it is too.

There's some muddy standing water along the side of Abbey Mead and the local Tits were taking advantage of an early bath before the full heat of the day set in.

The young Blue Tit soon had enough and flew off, probably muckier than ever judging by the colour of the water, leaving the Great Tit to finish his ablutions in private, apart from me of course.

Damselflies also took advantage of the now steamy conditions and these two Blue-tailed individuals decided to create a steamy scene all of their own, in the wheel.

I don't think i've ever featured a slug before on my blog, but I have now. Love them or hate them, Carol definitely hates them, they too are all part of the big natural picture. So here it is, the Black Slug (Arion ater) I think.

Over in the east scrub, this little flower caught my eye, I believe it to be Common Centaury, either way it's a nice little thing which stood out well against the brown, parched undergrowth.

Birdwise, there wasn't a great deal here except for various recently fledged families of mainly Whitethroats (below) and Chiffchaffs. I also saw a single adult Nightingale and a juvenile Gt Spotted Woodpecker, a Green Woodpecker yaffled from the woods but wasn't seen, neither were the Willow Warblers which were heard in the east and west scrub. A single piece of refugia was lifted and revealed six Slow worms, one being perhaps the biggest i've seen.

Last picture of the day is this immature dragonfly which flew haphazardly from the reedbed along Streamside lake and into the west scrub area. I'm going to stick my neck out and say, without fear of contradiction, that it's my first Common Darter of the year........gulp!!

So 38 species of birds seen and heard today and my June NH list of 60 species so far, looks like staying there. Meanwhile the NH year list is becalmed in the doldrums and stuck at 102 species. Something tells me July might also be a bit difficult, we'll soon see.


JRandSue said...

Great assortment of Images Phil,love the Perch shot.

Ken. said...

Looks like you Sunday walk paid off. A nice variety of wildlife photo's.
The Skipper and Ringlet was a good find.
I agree with you I think the dragonfly is a Immature Common Darter.
Also why not include the Slug, afterall they are all gods creatures.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Sunday at New Hythe and not crowds of people , an achievement in itself .
You can bring your neck back in , as Ken says , it is a newly emerged Common Darter . Still not many of the larger Dragons about .
Given the weather , you did very well for species .

Bob Bushell said...

Nice one, especially the Slug, lol.

Chris said...

38 species of birds seen, a nice couple of pictures of tits, beautiful skippers and very nice pictures of perch (that one I really really love it), looks like a splendid day for you!

ShySongbird said...

A lovely selection here today Phil although I'm not sure I can attach the word lovely to the slug ;) A really beautiful one of the Large Skipper I thought and I was rather taken with 'Old Stripey' too.

It is always so much nicer (in my opinion) to go somewhere like that and find there are not many other people around!

Warren Baker said...

Welll done on your L. Skipper Phil :-) I'd agree on the Common Darter, though i'm no expet !

Nice Whitethroat Image too :-)

Paul said...

A nice selection of images Phil, and the Perch is good too. My father was a "Match Fisherman" through and through. Regardless of the weather, that man would cut a hole in the ice to fish!!! He lived for fishing, won competitions an all.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Phil, a good variety of stuff there, I'd like to be stuck on 102 at the moment, as I'm stuck on 98 :-)
Nice to see so many Ringlets, I don't see many at Sissinghurst.