Thursday, 24 July 2014

It was good to be out in the cool of the morning in some beautiful sunny skies, but the ''good to be alive'' feeling came to an abrupt halt as I reached the Greenhouse Grounds.

I had noticed a digger turn up at the Greenhouse grounds yesterday afternoon and assumed that some drainage work was going to be done around the Greenhouses, but when I arrived this morning I found that about a third of the wonderful habitat there had been completely obliterated!  Bramble as high as my head, Elder trees laden with fruit, wildflowers and grasses - the lot just totally wiped out  :-( 

I spoke to the guys there, who were sympathetic, but they were only doing what they had been asked to do by the bosses, more space was needed to enlarge the migrant pickers campsite.  I was told that some of the grounds will be left to regenerate, but that could take a couple of years, and wont help any second broods of nesting birds that have just been destroyed  :-(  Another sad day for my patch.

I didn't really have the incentive to carry on the walk today, it may take a while to come to terms with the situation.

Later in the morning I made a trip out to sevenoaks wildfowl reserve to try and cheer myself, the place was alive with pushchairs and buggies being pushed by nattering mothers!  What has this place come to!!

I found a couple of quiet places though, and settle down to take a few Damselfly images, here's my efforts  :-)











This is the Male Banded Demoiselle, I tried experimenting with different backgrounds some work better than others!

I was pleased to come across a few Red Eyed Damselflies, a species i've not got any decent photo's of


















There were hundreds and hundreds of these Common Damsels about too!







Wednesday, 23 July 2014

As yesterday, the early sunshine disappeared during the middle part of the morning, returning again around 10:00hrs, when it became very warm and sunny.

There wasn't much to put in my notebook as I walked the paddocks and sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, then checking the Greenhouse Grounds. An overflying pair of BLACK HEADED GULLS and 4 single HERRING GULLS were the only flyovers, but SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL were up hunting, upsetting the local SWALLOWS, I eventually saw the Sparrowhawk fly off over to the Greenhouse Copse with a prey item. CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP and a WHITETHROAT were in the Greenhouse Grounds, along with the many ROBINS, DUNNOCKS, WRENS, BLACKBIRDS and PIED WAGTAILS, small family parties of both GOLDFINCH and LINNET were also flitting about the place.

I moved on to the Wet Woods via the Small Holding, the latter had a LITTLE OWL calling, but the former was very still, just MOORHEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS were heard. I checked the lakes, where it was good to see the KINGFISHER on the ornamental lake, along with the MUTE SWAN and COOT family, plus at least 12 Moorhens, the other two lakes were devoid of birds, not even a Mallard was seen, until I spooked 4 MANDARIN DUCK from the tree overhang on the main lake, three of them looked like immature birds, the other a female.

Things warmed up in the Scrubby Woods, not just weather wise, as I sat and looked over the Oaks and Elder Trees, many BLUE and GREAT TITS were seen, along with COAL TIT, NUTHATCH and TREECREEPER, Blackcaps were gorging on the Elder Berries and before long I spied my first GARDEN WARBLER (95, 69) of the year doing the same, just as I forecast in yesterdays post  :-)  The year list moves on to 95 now, but it's been a slow old year, I will have some hard work ahead to reach the 100 mark, let alone my target of 109, which is the average yearly species count for the past 5 years. The July list is now the joint best ever, with 69 species being seen, equal to last July and the July of 2007, but with 8 days left of the month, surely I can find just one more new species, perhaps Turtle Dove or Lesser Whitethroat will show up, or maybe a passage Sand Martin will go over  :-)

I again spent some time trying to photograph Dragons and Butterflies, and had some success  :-)

This female Banded Demoiselle was a nice surprise find, I dont often see them here
 




Blue Tailed Damsels are not that common here, so I was pleased to add this shot to my collection

This Ringlet was a first for the Scrubby Woods, and only the third record for my patch

This Brimstone was a welcome sight, I dont get many images of these and haven't seen one since May. It becomes the 21st Butterfly species recorded this month  :-)

The light was at a completely different angle in this shot

The nearby Buddleia bushes were laden with peacocks, Red Admirals and Comma's