Saturday, 2 April 2011

Hey, TC!

Last week my new 1.4x teleconverter arrived. Having had two different Kenko ones with the same fault, I've paid the extra dosh for a Nikon. This morning's forecast was good (well, sunny, but also windy) so after a vain attempt to coax Rob out of bed I set off alone to SWR.

A new species for the blog! This Rook was flying over Lambarde Road. Not sure where our nearest rookery is, and that's the kind of thing I really ought to know.

Passing Bradbourne Lakes, I noticed this female Mallard, sporting a green speculum. While a drake Mallard's head changes colour with the light, I haven't ever noticed a Mallard speculum looking green like this before. Her all-dark bill is puzzling too, there's normally at least a little orange. Aberrant, hybrid or a touch of the barnyard?

I paused a while in Greenfinch Zone, hoping to have another chance for some flight shots, but no males were doing their display flights (though plenty were around). By way of a change from last time, here's a female.

In the Wildlife Garden I saw this Robin carrying food - first evidence of a passerine with chicks that I've seen this year.

Lots of Primroses out. These ones were in the wildlife garden.

I decided to go to the Tyler hide first, and admired a fine show of daffodils lining the shady trail.

This year I've made an intense but so far fruitless search for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker every time I've gone to the reserve. One of the upsides of this is that I've seen a lot more Treecreepers than usual. A Blue Tit kept chasing this one away just as I was about to photograph it.

There are now several Little Ringed Plovers on the reserve. Getting photos from Tyler hide is, as ever, a challenge.

While I was photographing the LRP, a Lapwing came sprinting past, and jumped on the back of another Lapwing to share a passionate moment, right in front of a rather startled Moorhen.

I went up towards Willow Hide after that, and found a showy (though very high up) Chiffchaff - one of at least a dozen singing males on the reserve.

I counted four singing Blackcaps too, though this was the only one I actually saw. Very nice to hear that lovely song again. It doesn't make up for the fact that we seem to have lost Cetti's Warbler from the reserve, probably because of the harsh winter - hopefully they will return sometime.

A Goldfinch, risking horrible puncture wounds as it feeds from a Teasel. This could be the same bird I watched singing from the nearby densely ivy-clad tree the other day, or its mate.

Heading back, I received a stern telling-off from this Great Tit. Presumably I was close to its nest.

I went back via the small lake and noticed that the Grey Herons are again nesting on the island (which isn't really an island, just a row of trees growing out of the shallow water). I also just managed a couple of shots of this male Sparrowhawk before he wheeled out of view behind the trees.

Back in the wildlife garden, I was packing away my things when it dawned on me that the small bare tree in front of me was a different shape than usual. The strange protrusion on the trunk was in fact a Green Woodpecker, which posed and yaffled for a minute before bounding away.

On the walk home I saw a male Brimstone, only my second butterfly of the year (the first being a Peacock in Pembury last Wednesday). 


IOW Birder said...

Beautiful pictures as always marianne, and a very interesting read!

Anonymous said...

The Green Headed Mallard you are claiming is a hen is actually a Green Winged Teal. I shot one this weekend and that's what they look like in full plume.

Marianne said...

Sorry, Anon, definitely not a Green-winged Teal. I'd love it if it was as that species is a rare vagrant to the UK, but it was way too big and bulky - it was identical in size and shape to the other Mallards present :)