Monday, 27 May 2013

Bank Holiday at Lake Farm

I spent a pleasant sunny five hours at Lake Farm today. It was quite breezy though which made taking some photos very challenging, and I heard more birds than I actually saw.
The Common Whitethroats have now finished nesting and displaying, and are busy feeding their newly hatched chicks. Most of the birds I saw today were collecting food.
This individual is looking rather scruffy.
Moulting, tick invasion or possibly escaped from a predator ?
As to be expected on a warm sunny day, there were plenty of butterflies around. Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined Whites and Speckled Woods were every where. I even found a tiny tiny day moth, called a Small Yellow Underwing. It really was small, no bigger than my fingernail. After getting two photos of it, I literally lost it and couldn't find it again.
Green-veined White
Very scruffy Peacock
Small Yellow Underwing
Small Yellow Underwing on dandelion.
The resident Great Spotted Woodpeckers have chicks. I watched the parent birds hunting for food all over the site today. It's quite weird watching them at Lake Farm as the habitat is not generally for GSW. They usually nest in woodland in very old trees. At Lake Farm they have nested in a very live willow in a very small copse of trees by the canal. Because they usually nest in fairly dense woods, I have rarely seen one gathering food, but today at Lake Farm both the parents were collecting insects and grubs from the scrubby shrubs all over the site.
Nesting in the next trunk of the GSW willow are a pair of Great Tits. They are in a woodpecker size hole and also have chicks (I could hear them quite clearly). This has also surprised me, as when insects and larvae are in short supply a GS Woodpecker will take Tit chicks for food. I've seen a Woodpecker put its head inside a nest box and pull out chick after chick after chick. So to find this Great Tit nest so close to the woodpeckers is really quite astonishing, especially as the nest hole is so large. I hope it doesn't get predated.
The adult Great Tit found this large caterpillar while I was watching him.
Plenty of Swifts and House Martins around overhead.
I also saw a Hobby, but by the time I'd confirmed its identification thru my bins, then raised my camera, it swooped down low and I didn't get any photos. The resident female Sprawk was also soaring overhead, and a male Kestrel passed through. Two Cormorants went over and three Mute Swans.
Small bird activity, aside from the Common Whitethroats, were Linnets (lots of them), Starlings, (lots of), House Sparrows (lots of) and Reed Buntings (just three males). Skylarks could be heard in the grass but not seen. A least two Chiff Chaff are in the copse by the willow, calling and calling but hardly seen.
 I also bumped into one of the regular dog walkers. I keep saying I would put his dog, Skye, on my blog, so here she is........she's gorgeous and we always have a cuddle when we meet up (me and Skye that is, not me and Skyes owner !)
Finally reports are starting to filter in about Red-backed Shrike sighting in the south. Within the last week a male has been seen at the London Wetland Centre, and a female near Guildford. In July 2012 a male stayed at Lake Farm for an incredible 13 days................fingers crossed he comes back and brings a female mate with him.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing how much difference a few miles makes re breeding schedules; our whitethroats still on eggs. Superb bird the shrike; be great if they made a comeback here. Great shots