Thursday, 1 May 2008

Altenative posers

I started the day with an hour long stare at a largely empty sea, so often the reward here for dedication to the thought "something good will be out there today. Having satisfied myself that it wasn't going to happen, well not for me anyway, I took a trip to South Foreland Valley. I knew where I'd heard a Lesser Whitethroat singing the other day and it remains high on my list of birds I'd like to get a decent picture of.

I sat where I could hear it singing and waited for it to appear. First bird to pop up and sing was, as usual a Chaffinch. They seem to have had a population explosion.

Then just behind it a Willow Warbler. I hope that they do a bit better this year than last when they suffered a further decline in population.

An lastly a Blackcap popped up almost next to me. Meantime the Lesser Whitethroat had moved down into the valley into a really thick area and I decided I'd try again on another day.

Over the other side of the village, amongst all the horse paddocks I went looking for some newly arrived Swallows. All the pictures I've taken have been later in the season when the birds are getting worn and they've lost their long tail streamers. Unfortunately despite seeing quite a few in the morning I couldn't find any that had settled in an area but I did come across a couple of Green Woodpeckers feeding amongst the horses. Above is the female. You can see that the moustache stripe is black and that the back and wing colour is a reasonably subdued green.

The male has a red moustache edge round with black and overall he is a brighter green.

In the same field this Magpie was strutting his stuff and I think they are very attractive when the sun illuminates the irridescent blue of the wings. The Woodpeckers seemed a bit nervous of the Magpie but i the end there was no interaction.

The two fed together for a while before the female suddenly decided to visit a telegraph pole that was in the field. It is strange how woodpeckers will cling on the side of a post or three for quite a long while without moving.
This bird clung here in a trance like state for several minutes before flying of to the nest field and I presume the nest feed of ants. Green Woodpeckers have long tongues which they coat with a sticky secretion for collecting ants and their eggs, there bills are comparatively weak for woodpeckers and they usually chisel into soft wood to make their nest holes.
I made the mistake of running my moth traps last night and had the same result as fellow birder/mother Jack Chantler, a round figure of zero moths caught.

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