Friday, 27 April 2012


After a week away walking in the Tramuntana Mountains in north west Majorca it was good to be back to the easier ground of New Hythe lakes this morning. I was away for the start of the National Nightingale Survey so I was keen to get started on my surveying duties and decided to begin with the section of TQ76A that runs to the east of the railway line and includes Brooklands and Abbey Meads lakes. There's a lot of potential habitat in this square which is why i've divided it up, I will be covering the west side of the tracks including a large section of the Country Park tomorrow morning. After the survey, during which seven singing Nightingales were noted, I did my usual walk right across the site. The sky over Brooklands lake was full of Hirundines, mostly House Martins but the odd Sand Martin and Swallows were also seen, all these were outnumbered though by the Swifts. What a great sight to see these stunning birds wheeling overhead, their sharp wings scything through the air as they swirled backwards and forwards scooping up the plentiful supply of insects. It didn't feel like Spring, but it certainly looked like it. A Cuckoo calling from somewhere in the sunken marsh area completed the picture.       

Over the river I watched this Fox, as did the Heron in the background, as it took a few tentative steps in the water. Maybe he'd watched the Heron fishing and thought it was worth a try. 

But the water proved to be too cold I think and he thought better of it.

Every now and again the sun briefly came out and almost instantly the sun lovers followed suit. The ragged Peacock above was the only butterfly I saw all morning and the Bee flies, below looked as smart as ever. You never see them looking tatty.

The Common Whitethroats have arrived in force at New Hythe, a bit later than usual I think. It's good to hear their scratchy little song being delivered from the tops of small bushes again and in the south east corner I heard, and waited patiently to see, a Lesser Whitethroat.

Before crossing the railway track I saw this female Blackcap pluck a snail off a dead twig, i've not seen that before. Maybe she thinks she's a Song Thrush. On the other side of the track a male Blackcap, below, was singing at the top of his voice, perhaps they'll get together.

The east scrub was filled with the song of Nightingales, even though it was late morning by now. It was here that I had oner of those moments when you think, 'if only I could get a picture, it would be utterly fantastic' I saw a Nightingale in a Hawthorn bush. It was singing as if its life depended on it and its tail was fanned out displaying to a female I think. Then a sunbeam shone through the bush lighting the bird and illuminating its tail so much that it looked like a Redstart. That'll be the day I get a picture like that. The Nightingale below was the best I could do today!

As I walked along the south side of the east scrub looking for Water Voles (which I didn't find), I noticed this Mallard who had obviously noticed me first and hidden herself and her ducklings under an overhanging bush. I sneaked a quick picture and left her in peace.

Lunch was taken on the bucket by the river, where I added Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Shelduck and Green Sandpiper to my list making a brilliant 53 species for the morning. 
New Hythe, New Hythe, so good they named it twice!

I'm trying to get my head round the new blogger format, so i've no idea how this is going to look!!


Warren Baker said...

I do like reading your posts Phil, they always make me smile :-)

Swifts there then ? Must be some here tomorrow !

ShySongbird said...

Welcome back Phil! I've missed your cheery posts. So we both featured Foxes today :-) Like Warren I do enjoy reading your posts.

Lovely photos of the Blackcaps and what a lovely sight that Nightingale is! I've never managed a photo of one.

What's with the sun there? We had rain all day long here :-(

Mike H said...

Hi Phil, I agree welcome back have missed your posts. I had a little time today between the chores so paid New Hythe ,New Hythe a visit between 2 and 4 pm. Had sightingtings of 3 Nightingales in East scrub also 3 more heard between there and Brooklands via Abbeymeads. Managed to see hear several Blackcaps, two common whitethroat and also heard the cuckoo somewhere near the sunken marsh. Sadly not a single photo to show for it but did get several shots of two separate female Orangetips. Also Green veined white.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
I'll try again to comment , the previous must have got lost in the ether .
The influence of the sangria was obvious in your headline .
Love the fox shots , making out he wasn't interested .
If this rain ever ends , will have to join the Nightingale fest down there .
The list for making that visit gets longer and longer .

Tomás Crespo said...

another day well spent,
I imagine the icy water where not dared to enter the fox,
luck with the Water Voles next departures