Saturday, 12 April 2014



 On Thursday morning I once again managed a quick couple of hours at New Hythe. That's three visits in a week, it can't last I suppose. It was a great morning to be out though and with calm, warm conditions, I had high hopes of seeing a few more new migrant species to add to my NH year list. As it happened I added just two; a pair of Swallows heading north over the mound and in all, three Nightingales, it was great to hear and see them in their 'traditional' NE corner of the east scrub.

 Along the railway path I spotted this Chiffchaff, there are dozens on site now, but this one's behaviour intrigued me. It was acting in a most unchiffylike manner, not for him the restless flitting from twig to twig in the usual endless quest for food. No now you see me, now you don't just as the camera is trying to focus, this one was chilled. It sat a few metres above my head, scratching and stretching, taking no notice of me as I scrabbled about at the base of the hawthorn tree trying to focus through the leaves. I must have been there more than ten minutes and this was the best I could do. I left him, still sitting there, still completely unconcerned by my presence. I wish they were like that more often.

I'm pretty sure this is my first Speckled Wood of the year, above. I only saw the one but there were plenty of Peacocks, a couple of Brimstones and plenty of Small Tortoiseshells, below. Some of which looked a little worn.

The 'East Scrub Kestrel' was in one of its favourite trees on Neighbourhood Watch. But the rest of the scrub was, once again, devoid of avian interest save for the aforementioned Nightingales and a couple of the resident Green Woodpeckers.

I haven't posted a picture of a New Hythe Water Vole for a couple of weeks now, so here's one to make up for it. They really seem to be going from strength to strength here, let's hope it lasts.
It's that time of the year when other creatures are making an appearance, giving alternative interest when the birds are a little quiet. Here are a few very welcome distractions, all found on and around the east scrub.

Probable Smooth Newt eft who showed a surprising turn of speed and managed to hide its face from the camera.

Slow Worms, above, seem to be another success story for this site. I must have seen 12 to 15 of them in quite a small area........

.......including this tiny little chap, not much thicker than the dead stems it was hiding among.

And not forgetting my old friend the Common Lizard. The one above posed nicely in the open, with just the obligatory twig for cover.

But this one was much shyer.

On the way back to Brooklands car park I saw at least half a dozen Buzzards drifting over the site. One individual looked a bit different and a quick couple of pictures I took confirmed it to be a Marsh Harrier. Already on my list but an uncommon and welcome sighting for New Hythe, where my list now rests at 77 species so far this year.

Last but not least, some news from the garden. Yesterday, (friday) I saw my first Damselfly of the season, a very welcome home grown Large Red which emerged from my pond and flew off before I could get my camera. Today I saw another, and once again it was too quick for me. I'll get the next one!  


Marc Heath said...

Some great shots Phil, nice angles on the Speckled Wood and Lizards, very pleasing to the eye.

Phil said...

Thanks very much!

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Great selection of 'other creatures' , they certainly add to the interest waiting for more migrants .
You're going to have to be careful , or you will be regarded as a 'regular' at NH if you keep on at this rate .
Love the 'shy' CL shot .

Mike Attwood said...

Hi Phil,
Great collection of pics.

Alan Pavey said...

Great post Phil, love the shy Lizard shot :-)