A great day out on Wednesday with my usual companions. It started a little overcast, and quite cool, but as the day wore on it cleared and blue sky and sunshine warmed us well. This was good news as we had chosen to go to the bogs and heathland at KWT’s Hothfield Heath and without some sun it would be a little quiet.
Our bird list was healthy with the stars of the show (for me) being at least five singing Yellowhammer. During the day we saw a couple of Wren which were very bravely singing from the top of exposed saplings – most unlike their usual demeanour.
Singing birds were the speciality of the day, and without some knowledge we would have been stumped. We also saw a good range of birds well, including Chiffchaff, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Whitethroat, Green Woodpecker, Great Tit, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, and Willow Warbler.
At one stage we had Swift, Swallow and House Martin feeding low over the trees where the insects were probably at their densest. A Common Buzzard circled overhead, being mobbed by a half-hearted Carrion Crow. Magpie, Jackdaw and several Jay added to our Corvid collection. Several Mistle Thrush were spotted by Malcolm.
A Reed Bunting was chirping away from the top of a sedge in the middle of one of the bog areas, and as we continued around the site we found nest sites of Blackcap, Blue Tit, Jay, and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
A rather energetic pair of pheasant were flirting and attempting to mate half way up a rather large but obviously inadequate tree. Every time both birds landed on the same branch they came tumbling towards the ground, entertaining to see but probably not the best way to ensure survival of the species.
A Garden Warbler sang beautifully almost duetting with a Blackcap and causing us some confusion.
Birds were not the only delight today, and with its bog specialities Hothfield always tests our knowledge and memories!
Lousewort, Round-leaved Sundew, Dwarf and Common Gorse and a rather small bedstraw which needs more investigation. Lousewort, Round-leaved Sundew, Dwarf and Common Gorse and a rather small bedstraw which needs more investigation, as does a small sorrel.
Butterflies seen included Large White, Orange Tip, Common Blue, Small Copper and we also noted Scorpion Fly, Banded Demoiselle, Broad-bodied Chaser, Large Red Damselfly and Azure Damselfly.