Thursday, 27 February 2014
NOTES FROM NEW HYTHE
I was pretty much convinced that the New Hythe Bitterns hadn't shown up this winter. Then last week I bumped into Darren, a local photographer, who told me he'd seen and photographed two of them in a small reedbed at Brooklands lake. Since then i've been on a mission to see one for myself. Today I did just that. The picture above was taken, using manual focus, through a dense row of bushes alongside Abbey Mead lake. It's not great but at least it's a Bittern.
The Bittern was my 67th species for the year at New Hythe. Earlier in the week this small flock of Shelducks flew over Brooklands lake. They looked great against a rare blue sky and took pride of place at number 66.
Also making the most of the almost Spring like conditions on the 24th was this Peacock butterfly which helpfully, landed right in front of me. The male Brimstone which flew past me on the river later that morning was as bright yellow as any i've ever seen, I wish it too had settled. There were two Water Voles at the Divers' footbridge. I started to take a couple of pics but this attracted an audience of walkers who were out in the welcome sun. They gathered around alongside me, eager to get their first ever glimpse of a real live Water Vole but of course the Voles were not impressed by such attention and promptly took to the water. One of the ladies looking over my shoulder expressed her surprise that they could swim..............
I ended my walk on the 24th with a skywatch while sitting on the bucket in the wood by the river. I saw a bird drift very high across a white cloud. It was a Buzzard and while watching it through binoculars I saw another seven, all lost to the naked eye against the blue sky. It was a great sight to see and as I watched I noticed a smaller raptor circling among them. The distance and height ruled out a positive ID but i'm pretty sure it was a Peregrine Falcon. Not good enough for a tick on this occasion.
On the 19th of Feb, while again sitting on the bucket in Bucket Creek Wood I was lucky enough to spot a magnificent Marsh Harrier patrolling the reedbed on the other side of the river. I took some distant shots of it which served to confirm the ID and the 65th species, but I draw the line at putting such a poor record shot on here. Suffice to say that her head was creamier than a well poured Guinness! An Oystercatcher on the exposed island just upstream of the wood claimed a very welcome 64th spot.
It's been a good week for Buzzards. Yesterday morning, the 26th, Carol and I were out in the garden when our attention was drawn to a calling Buzzard. Within a couple of minutes we were watching seven of them circling and calling directly above the house, before drifting off approximately NW.