Monday, 29 August 2011


At last a day without rain, although a coolish NW breeze did give the morning an autumnal feel as I started my walk from the Brooklands car park.
I was pleased to see a low tide as I approached the now almost impenetrable path to the small wood, and by this time my meagre list consisted of just Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Herring Gull, Coot, Great Tit and BH Gull. This didn't bode well for the rest of the morning but I hoped that the river would change things. But it didn't, despite it looking really good, my reward for battling through the towering nettles was Grey Heron (lots), Cormorant, Mallard, Moorhen and Lesser Black-backed Gull.
The sunken marsh area also looked great so I made my way along to Hoopoe corner, hearing a Cetti's Warbler calling half heartedly on the way, the first for a while, and stayed there for 15 minutes or so. I thought I might see a stop over Sedge Warbler here but again it didn't happen, I think this will be one of the species that stays off the New Hythe year list for 2011 for the first time since I started keeping one. Whitethroat, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Robin, who seem to be singing more now, Jay and Little Egret were all seen though and a Water Rail was also heard, which is another species I haven't seen down here this year, but i'm confident that I will before the end of December.

At the far end of the sunken marsh where the pylon rears it's ugly head, there's a good viewing spot for the river. The tide had receded further by the time I got there and I was surprised to see a Swan snoozing on one leg right by the water's edge. I was even more surprised when something disturbed it (probably me) and I saw that it was a Whooper Swan, probably the feral one that's been around for some time, i've never seen it on the river before though. Also on the far bank I noticed a Kingfisher perched on the end of a piece of driftwood some way back from the river's edge and there were some small ducks in the distance which looked like Teal by their size. As I took all of this in I noticed a small flock of pigeons rise up from behind the tree line, I scanned around them for a possible raptor and was surprised to see that they were in fact Stock Doves, about fifteen of them in all, they circled over me and disappeared over the area of Burham reservoir.

Unsurprisingly there were very few butterflies and Dragonflies on the wing, Speckled Woods and Gatekeepers were the most plentiful butterflies but I did see a couple of Commas (above) and a single Red Admiral. Common Darter, Migrant Hawker and a single Brown Hawker, which perched too high in a tree at Abbey Meads lake for a decent photo represented the dragonflies. As I watched the almost undisturbed surface of the lake about half a dozen Sand Martins suddenly appeared, they spent a few minutes skimming the surface for insects before disappearing as quickly as they had arrived.

A Gt Crested Grebe with three quite young stripey chicks was fishing on Johnson's lake and on Streamside two more Kingfishers suddenly appeared. One of them flew past me not more than six feet away and landed on a branch about fifty feet away to my left, I crept as close as I dared to it and just about managed a fuzzy, through the leaves shot before it was off again, calling loudly as it flew close to the surface and in front of me once again.

I bumped into John Davies (Davis ?) alongside the east scrub, I hadn't seen him for some time so a chinwag was needed, during which I noticed a couple of Linnets on a nearby bush and further on as we walked a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen flying over. These two species bought my list to 38 for the four hours I was out and as I left John to walk down the millstream to the car park a Sparrowhawk made it 39. I'm not sure what the Wood Pigeon on it's nest nearby(below) was more concerned about, me or the Saprrowhawk.

As for the New Hythe month list, well it's moved on a bit now, helped by Jackdaw and Mistle Thrush from the garden this afternoon and now stands at an only slightly more respectable 59. I have great hopes for September though................


Marc Heath said...

A nice account of the day, a good read.

Mike Attwood said...

That walk seemed like hard work to me Phil.

Bob Bushell said...

Nice walk, and nice accountant.

Chris said...

Nice walk you did and I will give anything to get a shot of a kingfisher Phil... Can you send it over Iceland? ;-)

Warren Baker said...

Enjoyed the read Phil, I see you are as lucky as me when it comes to Kingfisher's, I never get near them!

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Like others , enjoyed your post , especially as things have been quiet for a while , and of course the weather .
Still haven't got a decent Kingfisher shot .

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Good to see that you are still finding bits and pieces to photgraph. You did well getting a shot of the Kingfisher. Good to see the escape Whooper Swan is still around.

Kieron said...

Hi Phil
I saw a Whooper Swan down at Waterinbury a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it has been messing about on the river for the summer.