Archive for the ‘Reptiles and Amphibians’ Category

The Tarn

Spring is here and so a new recording season begins. Having had a break over the winter from any formalised recording it is time to begin again for Butterflies, Dragonflies and Bumblebees on my patch and for Birds at Eltham Park. So a bright March day saw me doing the first of my weekly walks around the Tarn.

An early surprise was a Stock Dove in the Garden as I set out to walk down to the Tarn. This is the first record for me on the patch and although I didn’t disturb it, the bird had disappeared by the time I returned. On the walk down to the Tarn, I recorded my first Butterfly of 2017 a Speckled Wood.

Arriving at the Tarn the usual residents were in evidence but as I walked around the lake there was little evidence of Butterfly activity. Apart from the overwintering species, the first emergers are usually the Orange-Tips and eventually, a pair flew past me at the east end of the lake.

Orange Tip (m). Photo by Tim Hodson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/informationtakesover/)

Tracking back up the south side and doing the wildfowl count whilst also looking out for butterflies I reached the sluice gate at the south-western end when a flash of iridescent blue sped away from me across the Lake – a Common Kingfisher – the first of the year – it must have been perched somewhere nearby in the bushes and took flight at my approach. As I left to make my way back home, a female Brimstone butterfly flew lazily across the path.

It’s been a while since I saw a Terrapin here, but this one was taking the opportunity to sun itself.

Egyptian Goose

Coot trying out a potential nest site

The Tarn

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Butterflies

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

Oare Marshes

Oare Marshes

 

LIttle Egret

Little Egret

A fine day saw me on the North Kent marshes with Keith and Brian. Our day started at Oare Gunpowder works, where we recorded some woodland species, although the star bird was a Grey Wagtail which we found in one of the old works buildings.

Oare Gunpowder Works

Oare Gunpowder Works

 

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Then we moved onto the Marshes, which are one of the best places for migrating waders in the county.

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Whilst waiting for the incoming tide to push the wading birds onto the marsh we went for a walk along the sea wall. We had been told that a Western Osprey had been fishing in the channel between Oare and Harty, but it seemed to have moved on. Then whilst searching the Harty bank, Brian found the bird perched on a post by the waters edge. As we watched it was clearly enjoying a meal of a fish it had caught.

On the rising tide, we saw increasing numbers of waders arriving on the marsh. Golden Plover, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Black-Tailed Godwit were the most numerous species. Smaller numbers of Greenshank and Whimbrel were also present.

Golden Plover

Golden Plover

 

Black-Tailed Godwits

Black-Tailed Godwits

In amongst these, we found at least 5 Little Stint and at least 4 Curlew Sandpiper.

Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin and Ringed Plover

Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin and Ringed Plover

 

Little Stint

Little Stint

There was a migrating passage of Swallows and smaller numbers of House and Sand Martins. We also heard and then briefly saw a Water Rail and had a brief flight view of two Bearded Reedlings.

Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters were present in good numbers and we also recorded 5 species of Butterfly including at least 6 Clouded Yellows. I also found a lizard which I believe is a Common Lizard basking in the grass.

 

Clouded Yellow. Photo by Nick Ford (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickpix2008/)

Clouded Yellow. Photo by Nick Ford (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickpix2008/)

 

Basking Lizard

Basking Lizard

An excellent day in a wonderful place. Thanks to Brian for driving us around and to him and Keith for their company.

Brant Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Osprey [sp] (Pandion haliaetus)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Whimbrel [sp] (Numenius phaeopus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

 

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

 

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Attending a wildlife photography workshop at the London wetlands centre gave the opportunity to have a look round during the practical sessions.

The reserve was relatively quiet bird-wise with the highlights being a small passage of House-martins and a juvenile Buzzard, which unusually was laying on the ground. I heard it had been around the reserve for a couple of days and had been harassed by the resident crow population, so perhaps it just wanted to keep out of sight.

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Lets settle this here and now!

Lets settle this here and now!

Otherwise spent most of my time looking for insects and plants to try out the new settings on the camera.

Migrant Dragonfly

Migrant Hawker

Marsh Frog

Marsh Frog

Wasp Spider

Wasp Spider

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If anyone is interested in wildlife photography and wants to learn more about it – the wetlands centre runs these days led by Ian Green, a professional photographer, a few times a year, I learnt a lot about how to make better use of my camera and its multitude of functions when trying to photograph wildlife.

Details from http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/london/

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

 

 

 

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I have been putting off the weekly survey walk around the Tarn in the hope that I might get a warm still day. Well that sort of plan usually goes astray and as the survey week, which runs Wednesday to Tuesday, comes to an end I have to take what I get, which is a sunny day coupled with a 25mph westerly wind!

There was plenty of activity on the Tarn as the Geese stake out their territories with much hissing and squarking at anyone who ventures too close to the chosen spot. The Canada -Greylag pair were engaging in some courtship dancing which involved a lot of neck waggling.

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A Terrapin was sunning itself on an island. I think it is a Cooter species, possibly one of the Red-bellied Cooters. I really must see if I can get a firm ID on it this year.

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The Little Grebe, seen last week, was not to be seen but many of the residents were present including 3 Tufted Duck, the highest count here for some months.

Coot

Coot

Spring though is moving on. Many of the daffodils seem to have already passed their peak and other flowers are just emerging to brighten up the walk.

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No butterflies, bees or dragonflies yet but hopefully in the next few weeks we should start to see them appearing.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

Amazing video; even the photographer is taken by surprise

Life has been pretty busy the last week but whilst at home I have continued to keep an eye on the garden and the Tarn.

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Things have settled down now the breeding season is underway. On the Tarn we have breeding Canada geese (One pair with 9 young) and Coot (3 nests and one with at least 2 young). The Greylag geese still have 6 young birds which are now fast resembling their parents. A Little Grebe was back on the 31st – having been absent for most of the month.

Adult (on right) and young Greylag goose

Adult (on right) and young Greylag goose

Young Coot

Young Coot

Young Coot

Young Coot

Still the only butterflies are a few Small whites on sunny days. There was also a terrapin basking on a log. these have become a common feature of many lakes and ponds in the UK as a result of discarded pets released into the wild. My terrapin identification is not good but I think it is either a Cooter or a Slider species both of which can be commonly found in pet shops

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Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)