Friday, 5 July 2013

Mini heatwave

A still, warm, sunny start and I decided I could bear it no longer and hobbled down the hill to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. I began what turned out to be a pretty short walk around the reserve with my macro lens on the camera, and so was unable to properly photograph the first bird I saw, a Marsh Tit at the (full for once) feeders in the wildlife garden. I loitered in the wildlife garden for a while, looking for insects, and enjoying the array of flowers, both wild and, well, garden.

This is Hedge Woundwort. I think. Someone posted a pic of something that looked just like it on a forum I visit and said it was Hedge Woundwort, and I vaguely remember finding some when out with Dianne about this time last year. Pretty flower, nettle-like leaves, popular with the bees.

And speaking of the bees, I think I've found my first Garden Bumblebee here. Two yellow stripes on the thorax and another at the base of the abdomen seems to check out. It was giving itself a thorough grooming on a nice broad leaf so I could get lots of shots.

The sightings book wasn't terribly inspiring. I whiled away a few moments in Grebe hide, where lots of juvenile Blue and Great Tits were coming to the feeders. Blackcaps, Garden Warblers and Chiffchaffs were in good voice, but hiding out of sight in the leafy treetops.

I headed towards Willow hide, pausing to photograph this lovely Pyramidal Orchid on the way. It was on the grassy patch that has in the past had Bee Orchids - none of those today, just the one Pyramidal and two Common Spotteds.

I headed for Long Lake, still with the macro lens in place. More birdsong, including Reed Warblers, and what I am pretty sure was the peevish 'jjjrrrr' of Whitethroat/s near Willow hide. I headed for the little meadow at the far end of Long Lake, skirted around an angler's bivvy, and began to photograph damselflies.

Common Blues were the most numerous species - a male and 'drab form' female shown here. I did see one or two Azures but it's nearly the end of their season. Blue-taileds were also around, and a few Red-eyeds were arguing over the lily pads.

A lone Meadow Brown took off as I walked around to the refugia in the far corner (nothing under them). The furthest viewpoint over the lake produced a single, brief sighting of a male Downy Emerald, today's only dragon.

I looked in at Willow hide on the way back, and saw that the resident swan pair had two (at least) small cygnets. The water level here is low but not low enough that any wader-tempting shoreline mud is on display. Mind you, this hot spell looks set to last a little while, so maybe there'll be some Green Sandpiper action soon.

There was nothing doing from Carter hide. I went back alongside West Lake, and on the way disturbed a Canada Goose pair with four half-grown goslings, which had been resting on the shore. The parents hissed crossly and the whole family plopped into the water, but the goslings decided they were safe enough there and began to vigorously attack the weeping sedges that overhung the water at the lake's edge. When I took one more step, though, they lost their nerve and the family arranged itself into a line, parents front and rear and goslings in the middle, and swam out away from the shore.

I carried on, watching the Swifts going over and wondering if I could be bothered to try to photograph them. Then I noticed a biggish bird on the path ahead - a Jay, which unusually let me get quite close before making a fly for it.

Back at the start of the trail, I decided against walking down to Tyler hide and beyond - my toe was protesting a lot by this point. I had another look around the wildlife garden before I left but saw nothing new. I'll finish this uncharacteristically brief post with a picture of some elderflowers.


Greenie said...

Marianne ,
Good to see you got out in the sunshine , despite the toe problem .
Would agree with your Hedge Woundwort ID , a much overlooked plant , almost Orchid-like flowers , and a square stem .
Hopefully Sm.Red-eyed Damselflies will be around soon , I haven't seen any reports yet though .

Warren Baker said...

Good on you for getting out there, despite the annoying toe Marianne. More than I did with my ''man flu'' :-)

Phil said...

Well done for hobbling down Marianne. Presumably hobbling back up was a bit more difficult. 'Dragonflight' is a great read by the way, not to mention a great title!

Julie Hargreaves said...

Great photos

ShySongbird said...

Hi Marianne, Sorry to read, on the previous post, about the toe, hope it heals soon. Well done with the Jay. I have never managed a photo of one and to be honest I very rarely even see them. Lovely photo of the orchid.

Really looking forward to reading Dragonflight which has arrived but as it's part of my birthday present I'm not allowed to get my hands on it for a couple of weeks :-)