Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Another good garden visitor after the flurry of excitement on sunday was this juvenile Green Woodpecker who turned up at 09.00 on tuesday morning. Luckily the vertical blinds were pulled in the dining room to keep the sun out, which meant I was able to approach the patio doors and poke my camera through the blinds and take a few pics through the glass without being seen.

It's been a difficult time for finding birds and I think my July list at New Hythe probably reflects that. I ended up with a not very impressive 53 species for the month, which is my worst result since I started keeping a monthly list in October 2010. It's probably fair to say that I am partly to blame, having turned my attention a bit more towards dragons, damsels and bugs lately. After two short visits to the lakes so far in August I'm on 37 species, still not good, but in the conditions these last few days i'm not too surprised. The message is that I must try harder, watch this space.
So today, despite the fearsome heat I visited New Hythe lakes,arriving at the car park at about 09.00 I think. Terry Laws was already on site, see, that's what I should be doing, making an effort. I caught up with him at the small wood by the river where the tide was out and so was the sun, already making it's presence felt, even at this time in the morning. The hope was for a few waders, it certainly looked good for some, but one, possibly two Common Sandpipers were all that we found. The other usual species were seen, including a possible pair of Grey Wagtails in the distance, I think Terry had already had one before I arrived. A move further upstream where the low tide had exposed some quite extensive mud and gravel bars turned up nothing but Grey Herons and Black-headed Gulls really. This was a sign of how difficult it was going to be and inevitably our thoughts turned to Odonata.

Probably one of the last of the dragonfly species to be seen at New Hythe is the Migrant Hawker, which should be emerging about now. So this, along with Ruddy Darter, which i'd seen here during the week but Terry hadn't, soon became our focus. We made our way to Abbey Mead and en route spotted what was probably a Migrant Hawker just after the raptor viewpoint, but it disappeared before we could positivly ID it. Abbey Mead only gave us Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer and Common Darter, but as we left the SW corner another dragonfly circled briefly in front of us and was pretty much confirmed as a Migrant Hawker, not the best sighting but better than nothing.

Brown Hawkers have been on the wing for some time now and the one pictured above on the east scrub looks as if it's been around for a while judging by it's ragged wings. The east scrub was more like the Serengeti now, parched and dry in the oppressive heat. I could easily have imagined a pride of Lions in the distance instead of the usual pack of dogs regularly seen in the this part of the country park.
On monday i'd seen a Ruddy Darter from the divers' footbridge and today it, or another one was still there so that was a result, shame it wasn't close enough for a decent picture though, handsome beast that it is.
By now we'd seen a few more bird species, including some juvenile Reed Warblers, Common Whitethroat, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Goldfinches, who should be well pleased with the amount of Teasels growing in the east scrub and a Kingfisher. No raptors on the list, but of course you need to be looking up to see them don't you.

We headed back to the car park via the Millstream, where we found quite a few of the elusive Small Red-eyed damselfly doing what they like to do, which is perching on algae and weed on the surface. Again not a great picture but at least this one is a bit less ambiguous than my last effort for this species.


Mike Attwood said...

Hi Phil, your garden seems like a good spot, do you do tea and cakes?

Warren Baker said...

Nice Greeny photo's Phil.

9 o'clock!!! You gotta get out earlier than that mate :-)

Marc Heath said...

A very nice visitor and some nice shots

Rob said...

A Green Woodpecker on the patio - marvellous! Looks like he's sitting back on his shooting stick in the third photo.

Anonymous said...

Wish i could get views of a Green Pecker like that, Phil.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Great juv GW shots , and without the effort too .
As you say , the last Odonata species and butterflies for that matter have emerged , there will be a lot less to find soon .
I find those SREDs are so difficult to focus on as they seem to be on the move all the time , and never come close to the bank .

Alan Pavey said...

Great Green Woodie pics Phil, I'm still looking for Small Red Eyed here :-)

Jason K said...

Great photos of the juv Green Woodpecker Phil...nice one!