Tuesday, 8 April 2014


I paid a brief visit to New Hythe lakes this morning in the hope of finding a few migrants. Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps are by far the most prolific of the new arrivals so far. The Chiffys are unashamedly singing their repetitive song  in full view from the tops of trees around the site. While the Blackcaps are still shyly performing their rich, fluty song, from within the trees and undergrowth, away from prying eyes. I only managed to get this picture of the female because she was far more interested in the male who was avidly pursuing her through the tangled undergrowth.
Along the western edge of Brooklands lake four Sand Martins suddenly appeared, I thought they might stay and attract others but they melted away as quickly as they had appeared. These were my first Hirundines of the year, a little later than my usual first sighting and all the more welcome for that.

Abbey Mead lake is barely a shadow of its Winter self now. Just a handful of busy Coots, a scattering of Black-headed Gulls and a pair of Great Crested Grebes diving and drifting around on the surface. I did see a Kingfisher here though who sped silently above the water all the way along along the eastern edge of the lake. 
The east scrub too held little of interest apart from the ever present Green Woodpeckers. No sign unfortunately of the Redstart reported there recently. A willow Warbler was singing a bit half-heartedly from somewhere in the west scrub but I couldn't see it, a tick for later no doubt. Before crossing back over the railway line a casual glance skywards gave me the bird of the day, a Red Kite drifting slowly northwards over the railway lake, a great bird to bring my NH year list to 74 species. Funnily enough this is the identical location and direction of my last Red Kite sighting at NH two years ago.

My return journey took me past the southern edge of Brooklands lake where a Nightingale sang intermittently from deep within the undergrowth. I didn't manage to see it but just hearing the first one of the year is like another piece of the amazing jigsaw falling into place.
A welcome half hour sitting on the bucket by the river provided two spiralling Buzzards, a couple of Cetti's Warblers shouting each other down and a raucous pair of Oystercatchers flying down the river.


Marc Heath said...

Lovely shot of the Blackcap, nice to hear Nightingales have arrived.

Ken. said...

Not a bad walk, are you missing your old patch, and your bucket?
The Nightingale was a nice find, I believe Alan Woodcock saw/heard one there a few days ago.
Seeing Sand Martins passing through was a nice one. Good shot of the female Blackcap.
Another Kite sighting in the area(well done) one day I will see one from home, I keep trying.

Warren Baker said...

Loadsa good species seen today phil! some of which will never appear here!

Mike Attwood said...

Nice blog Phil, I think I will have to venture further afield when time will allow.

alan woodcock said...

Hi,nice find with the Red Kite.

Marianne said...

Lovely post, good to hear you are racking up the migrants :)

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Good to hear the migrants are arriving . Lets hope they do better than the Winter visitors at NH .
Red Kite sighting always makes a good day . Nice one .