Sunday, 17 April 2011

High and dry at Elmley

I always try to get up to Elmley late April and do a bit of 'kerb-crawling' along the track. The temperature being very high for the time of year and the ground extremely dry, with water levels in the scrapes leading up to the farm quite a bit lower than previous years; a testament to how little rainfall there has been recently.

As well as low water levels, the bird count appeared to be down on previous years (of course one day is not wholly representative). I only had the morning out so did not walk down to the first hide, which is a favourite of mine in the afternoons when the sun swings round to the west.

I did not necessarily expect to see any rarities so to that end I was not too disappointed when I didn't. However it was great to be out on such a beautiful morning with a chance to take a few pictures being a bonus.

Coot were busy with nest building.

A number of lapwing were already hunkered down on their nests while others were feeding.

This pheasant was quite happy being only a few feet from the car, giving me the opportunity for a few portrait shots.

Redhsank were one species where the numbers were noticeable down on previous years. This one was a little disgruntled to have been woken up as I cruised by.

This linnet was collecting dandelion seeds.

I saw at least 8 individual yellow wagtails, all but one of them male.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Yockletts Bank

Yockletts Bank (Kent Wildlife Trust) by Martin Washford

[Click on any image to view at higher resolution]

Yockletts is a woodland park, consisting of beech, hazel, holly and other deciduous trees. Sprint erupts with a carpet of wood anemone.

Carpet of wood anemone

Wood anemone close-up
The anemone then give way to the familiar carpet of bluebell, in between which, a number of other spring flowers can be seen, including lesser celandine

Lesser celendine
Emerging cowslip
Twayblades are making an appearance too
Yockletts is famous for its variety of orchids, the twayblade being the first, followed by early purple.

Pussy willow [taken with 65mm macro lens]


Whilst walking back to the car I heard a noise that sounded like a swarm of bees. On checking this out I could only locate 3 or 4 'bee-like' individuals. Once home, I checked out the images in detail and found them to be bee-flies. When flying they are much louder than common or bumble bees.

Bee-fly feeding on primrose
Bee-fly resting

A few brimstone were there too.

Downy pigeon feather caught in leaves

Wild clematis left over from last year