Sunday, 3 April 2011

Pimms anyone?

A chorus of warbler-song this morning turned an intended quick stroll along the cliff-top into a longer walk around the patch, as it was clear that there had been an overnight arrival. Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs called across Otty Bottom valley, and a tack - tack from deep in a thicket indicated an early Whitethroat. It's easy to identify Whitethroats - if you can see it, it's a Common one, and if you can't it's a Lesser version. Probably. As the track starts to rise up to Barrow Mount, the tree cover gives way to low hedges and fences, which should be a good habitat for Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers. The latter are seen here most years, but I can't recall seeing the former here before, so this one was welcome. It wasn't singing, so may have been a female. The problem with the winter arrival of Northern Long-tailed Tits is that you feel duty-bound to check each LTT just in case - knowing that you won't be lucky. A Goldcrest was seen foraging along the way, dropping down into the leaf litter, perhaps searching for nesting material. Except when I developed my sketchy photos, it turned out to be a Firecrest. Mental note - look with care first, then reach for the camera if you must! A quicker shot would have been useful as I reached Hope Point, however, as a Weasel skittered into a rabbithole, then turned back to check me out. This is the first I've seen in the area. Soon after, my first Black Redstart of the year was seen feeding from a compost heap in a garden - novel. There has been a reassuring number of sightings reported this year of Small Tortoiseshells and I was pleased to see (a tatty) one myself, as well as a fresh Comma. Bees were everywhere, and two unusual ones hugged Dandelion flowers when the sun faded and the cool wind chilled the clifftop. And finally, the obligatory close-ups of flowers (as an aide-memoire if for no other reason).... Sun Spurge
Red Deadnettle (or Cut-leaved Deadnettle?)

Field pansy
..... and it's clearly the start of the punting season..... Pimms anyone?


Serena said...

Nice to see them out paddling! I'd heard they'd been out on the water today.

Kingsdowner said...

Hi Serena, they said it wasn't (too) cold!

Greenie said...

Steve ,
When I saw that title followed by 'stroll along the cliff-top' I must admit I wondered which hospital you were lying in !
But it panned out OK with some cracking species and pictures .
Think your Bee could be Melecta albifrons , one of the Cuckoo Bees that lays it's eggs in the nest of the Hairy-footed Flower Bee , you couldn't make it up could you ?
Must admit , when I was waiting for the Orange Tip to open it's wings , the description of yourself chasing over the Downs to get a shot did go through my mind .

Kingsdowner said...

Thnaks for the ID of the Cuckoo Bee, Fred.
I 've never heard of either it or its unfortunate host, but if I see a bee with hairy legs I'll know what it is!