Saturday, 2 April 2016

April Diary !

 29th April -  Another cold but bright morning, plenty of birds on show, Great Tit, Long Tailed tit and Chiffchaff, Robin, Carrion Crow, Little Owl in the usual spot, two Male Blackcaps chasing each other around the trees, The Common Whitethroat has managed to attract a mate, a flyover male Kestrel, Wood Pigeon and two Stock Doves, Green Woodpecker, a Pheasant could be heard calling in the distance but not seen , there is a now a good showing of Bluebells and Anemones around the woodland especially in the sunnier aspects, I noticed some more yellow Archangel coming into flower this morning, no Butterflies, no Bees.

male Blackcap
Chiffchaff  (excuse the twig)
 26th April - Even though the sun has been shining, the temperatures remains very low, the Jackdaw tree was very quiet this morning with no birds around at all, Blackcaps could be heard singing but remained unseen in the tree tops. A pair of Great Tits were very vocal this morning.

Good news at last years Nuthatch site, a pair of Nuthatches were seen around the entrance hole, like to think they are last years birds, but I am not sure if they return to the same nest site or not.

The Little Owl was seen today, seems to have taken a liking to the crevice seen in the photograph, seen here for the last few days.

As I moved out of the woods and into the glades the Common Whitethroat was back on its chosen territory, seen here for the last three mornings.hope it manages to attract a mate.

Common Whitethroat

No Butterflies seen at all today which is not surprising, I did manage to see my first Red Tailed Bumblebee of the year, looked like it was suffering from the low temperature.

Red Tailed Bumblebee
 21st April -  Cold but bright conditions for this morning's walk, I spent a few minutes watching the Jackdaws in their nesting tree near Two ponds, certainly seem a bit more confiding now, the usual mass exodus from the various holes in the tree is less obvious, their young must be getting near fledging now.

Chiffchaffs are heard all along the trails now, still difficult to see, Nuthatch and Great Tit, Wren and Robin, Song Thrush and Blackbird all adding their voices to the morning chorus.
A young Rabbit was seen today always a scarce sighting here for me, close by some Archangel nearly coming to bloom.

The Little Owl was sitting in its usual tree, slightly worrying was the sight of a Grey Squirrel sitting above the nesting hole, to be honest they did not seem bothered by each other's presence.

As I walked down from the woodland towards the glades, a single Common Whitethroat (46) caught my eye, the first sighting at this site this year.

Around the glades a small flock of Linnet was moving along the hedge row, together with another flock of Goldfinch, just one Skylark heard singing today.
As I made my way back to the woodlands, the unexpected sighting of a Cormorant (47) flying over the woodland was a new bird for this site bringing the total to 71 species

Back in the woodland, the usual Magpie, Jay and Green woodpecker were picked up, Bumblebee sightings were confined to a few Carder Bees and a single Buff Tailed bumblebee, the only Butterfly sighting was a Brimstone.

17th April -  Bright sunny morning even if the temperature was on the cool side, Butterflies, Bees still quite scarce, although there seemed to be a lot of Bee flies around. especially around the Primroses.

Large Bee-fly Bombylius major

I did notice this evidence of some type of Mining Bee I think.

Mining Bee activity ?

Bluebells are starting to provide there annual show in the woodlands and bringing in the crowds to admire them.

Ashenbank Bluebells

Birds seen over the last few days have been the usual, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Robin, Wren Great Tit, Blue Tit,Chiffchaff, , Nuthatch and Blackcap heard singing, Blackbird, Song thrush. Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove and the usual Little Owl.

Little Owl

Song Thrush
Discarded Song Thrush eggshell

13th April - Some warm sunny weather tempted us into a longer than usual walk today taking in the whole of  Jeskyns country park. Skylarks were everywhere in the pastures , singing from the sky, keeping a wary eye from  the many fence posts around the fields, one particular bird was very reluctant to leave its chosen fence post allowing me to get  some photographs.

While watching the Skylarks another bird also on the fence post caught my eye a lovely male Wheatear(45), a new species for my site list bringing the total to seventy species now, I managed to get some photographs before it flew off into the middle of the field and out of sight, a nice surprise though.

male Wheatear
Other birds noted were a few Jackdaws, Carrion Crows Moorhen and Mallard in the lakes, another surprise sighting was my first Swallow(46) of the year just a single bird hawking over the
fields on the edge of the country park.

Back in the woodlands Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker Great Tit, Robin.
At least four sightings of Peacock butterfly and a single Brimstone moving at speed along the woodland edge.

Peacock Butterfly
A few more Scarlet Elf cups were seen in the usual spot in the woodland.

Scarlet Elf cups

12th April - Another gorgeous morning in the woodlands, a Cock Pheasant was seen waiting to cross the road as I entered the car park, a Nuthatch was seen unusually on the ground as I walked up the path from the car park, three Great Tits were chasing each other through the trees, and the Jackdaws piled out of their communal nesting site in the old chestnut tree next to Two Ponds. Blackbird, Song Thrush, Wren and Robin were all quickly added to my mental list. A couple of Green Woodpeckers were in dispute high up in the tree. (see my other blog Pear tree and Beyond for more pics)

A few Chiffchaffs could be heard calling as I approached the Little Owl site, but still none seen as yet. The Little Owl posed as normal in its favoured tree, a short flight to prove that he is real and not a stuffed specimen.

Little Owl

A walk through the glades produced two Yellowhammers, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Long Tailed Tit and Blue Tit, no sign of the Skylarks today. Back in the Woodland a distant view of a Treecreeper kept me amused as I watched it feeding. a few Chaffinch. and Wood Pigeon.

Buff Tailed Bumblebee and a few Tapered Drone flies , no Butterflies.

Common Treecreeper

 11th April - Bright start to the day although still quite chilly, birds seen today included the Jackdaws at Two ponds, Carrion Crow in the glades, a flyover Jay, four Magpies in dispute. two Great Spotted Woodpeckers chasing through the treetops, a Nuthatch calling unseen, at least five Chiffchaffs calling around the woodland, the usual, Great tit, Blue Tit, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Chaffinch. no sign of the Little Owl today, no Bees, no Butterflies.
Cowslips shooting up all around the glades.


10th April - A bright sunny start for this mornings walk, warm enough not to need a coat, Scarlet Elf Cup sightings have been very scarce this year, I suspect the land management carried out in the autumn not to there liking, this is only the second specimen I have seen this year.

Scarlet Elf cup

Some nice Cuckoo flowers appearing around the woodland, they are suppose to be a herald for the return of the Cuckoo's and I believe there has been a few sightings around Kent, although nothing heard hear at Ashenbank.

Cuckoo flower or Ladies Smock

At least three Bee Fly sightings this morning with one allowing a photograph as it basked in the sun.

Bee fly
The only notable bird sighting today was the Little Owl , like the Bee fly enjoying the early morning sunshine. I did hear at least three Chiffchaffs singing this morning, but I could not pick them out in the trees.

Little Owl

No Butterflies seen this morning which was a bit of a surprise as the sun was shinning and the temperatures warming up again.

Best sighting of the day though, goes to this lovely female Tawny Mining Bee, the first one that I can say that I feel happy with its identification.

female Tawny Mining bee
8th April -  Some overnight rain  dampened the woods down, but thankfully dry conditions this morning, bird sightings included, Chaffinch, Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jay(2) Skylark, Goldfinch (4) Great Spotted Woodpecker.  At long last my first Chiffchaff (44)was heard this morning at Ashenbank, although I could not see it.
Yesterday I noticed a freshly dug hole in the hillside which I thought may be a new Fox Den, see photograph below.

Today as I walked by there were three freshly dug holes, all in the same vicinity, a closer look revealed some tell tale hair laying on the soil.

A footprint close by on the muddy track clinched the identification. you can just make out the five toe pads and the claw marks in front of them.

7th April - The weather looked a bit grim as I entered the woodland but the sun surprisingly broke through, the Jackdaws piled out of there communal nest site as I passed by Two Ponds.

A Song Thrush was singing from the treetops, the usual birds were in the understorey, Blackbirds, Robin and Wren, Great Tit and Blue Tit, Dunnock.
Some fungi and broken through the moss covered tree stump looked like some form of Grisette, maybe Tawny Grisette.

Tawney Grisette ?
No sign of the Little Owl this morning but as I left the woodland and headed towards the glades my first Migrant bird in the form of a Blackcap(43).

No Yellowhammers today's but a few Skylark were seen, two Black Headed Gulls flew by, always looking a bit out of place. a Green Woodpecker was flushed from the grass

Black headed Gull
A single Stock Dove was in the old Sweet Chestnut tree to which they always seem drawn to.

Stock Dove

5th April - The walk through the woodlands this morning revealed a brief glimpse of the Little Owl in flight near its roosting tree, the usual Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, two Skylark and two Yellowhammer up in the glades.
The Jackdaws still very vocal around their tree at Two ponds, two Carrion crow over the treetops

An interesting fungi sighting this morning on a fallen tree, I was wondering if it could be an example of  Tremella mesenterica, the Yellow Brain Fungus, having never seen this before I can't be sure.

possible Tremella mesenterica,  Yellow Brain Fungus

4th April - A cold damp start to my walk this morning, frustratingly the sun broke through as I returned to my car, most of the wildflowers were closed, including Lesser Celandine, Wood Anemones and Dog Violets, up in the grassy glades I found a few Cowslips beginning to show, not very impressive though.


To cold and damp for any Butterfly or Bee sightings this morning, Birds seen today included, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Song Thrush, Blackbird, two Long Tailed Tits, three Dunnocks, a single Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard drumming in the distance but not seen, the Little Owl was away from its normal resting place for a change. a Skylark allowed some photographs before flying off and the usual Jackdaws were in the dead tree next to Two ponds. A couple of Jays were very vocal as they flew through the treetops. still no sight or sound of any Chiffchaffs.


Hedge Sparrow or Dunnock

Little Owl
2nd April - Temperatures starting to warm up now, and this has been reflected in the woodland, more and more Dog Violets  on show, Lesser Celandine looking better in the warmer temperatures, Wood Anemones blooming in the sunnier aspects of the woodland and a few Bluebells starting to show.
This Coltsfoot caught my eye as I walked through the glades. It was  at one time used in traditional medicine for dry Cough and throat irratations.

Sometimes used in Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of respiratory diseases, strange because it has been found that Coltsfoot contains hepatotoxic ( toxic to the liver) pyrrolizidine alkaloids  and not recommended for internal use.

A few Butterfly sightings now with Brimstone, Comma and a single Peacock.

Bee sightings confined to the Buff Tailed Bumblebee, A tapered Drone Fly, and a single Bee-fly. all on the same small Blackthorn bush.

Tapered Drone Fly
Bird sightings around the woodland included, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Robin, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Jay, Magpie, I heard my first Chiffchaff at Rainham the other day but still no sign here in Ashenbank wood.
The Jackdaws have been entertaining in there nesting tree, I counted four Jackdaws exiting from one hole in this old tree.


1 comment:

  1. Yep you are right about the tapered drone fly, looks the same as what I shot the other day.