Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A brief August patch-check

I wasn't going to blog about Sunday's outing because I saw so very little... but then realised there was a photo or two I fancied posting so I'll do a proper - but short - post. Rob and I went to good old Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve quite late in the day - it was sunny and warm and we spent most of our hour or two in the wildlife garden, photographing bees.

A Garden Bumblebee. I think I'm pretty confident IDing this species now, bringing the total of bumble species I can identify to.. five. Hmmm. Not that impressive. This sizeable creature was relaxing on the bench near the pond. Well, I suppose that's what the bench is for...

Inspecting the various 'minibeast hotels' I noticed that there was actually some minibeast activity around them, including this leafcutter bee checking out some nice drilled logs.

It eventually disappeared into one of the drillholes, then peered out to check if the view was as nice as it looked in the brochure.

The feeders in the little feeding station were empty, to the disappointment of this juvenile Blue Tit. I always like seeing them at this stage, just beginning to grow adult-type feathers. The contrast in colour on the crown between the juvvie grey and adult blue is very striking.

As we stood pondering whether to even bother with the rest of the reserve, this Woodpigeon came right for us and I grabbed a reflexive shot.

We went on to Tyler hide in the end. There wasn't much going on - no waders besides Lapwings, interesting ducks limited to a handful each of Gadwall and Teal. Most interesting to me was an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with two fledged chicks in tow. I presume they are local breeders but can't think where they might have nested. The adult was having its ears thoroughly bent by the babies and kept trying to escape, but the youngsters were strong flyers and chased down Mum/Dad easily. Then the ear-bending began again. Eventually the adult sicked up something for the chicks to eat but it can't have been very much because it didn't shut them up for longer than 30 seconds.

On we went to Willow hide, finding a Southern Hawker on the way. The hide was occupied by three of those Kingfishers-only photographer types who only seem to appear in August, but no Kingfisher showed up for them. Instead there was a Little Egret right in the far corner, effortlessly outshining the other species in this photo (Coot, Tufties and a well-hidden Grey Heron).

We headed back then, but were briefly detained by a remarkably fearless young Rabbit, which only looked up momentarily from its grass-cropping when I knelt down about two metres in front of it.

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