Posts Tagged ‘New Hythe and Leybourne Lakes’

Today’s venue was the New Hythe and Leybourne complex of lakes in the Medway valley in Kent. This is one of the best venues to hear and see Nightengales when they first arrive and so Keith and I decided to visit to see if there were any early returners.

Certainly, there were migrants establishing territories and a number of Chiffchaff and Blackcaps together with a single Willow Warbler were heard and in some cases seen. Apart from these birds, it was relatively quiet on the lakes and there was no sound of any returning Nightengales yet.

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Blackcap (m)

The other highlight of the day was a number of butterflies, probably all overwintering species brought out by the warm weather. Brimstone, Red Admiral and Peacock were all seen.

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There were plenty of Rabbits as well

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
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)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
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)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Sue and I set out for the coast intending to visit a couple of nature reserves on our way, but the amount and speed of the traffic on the motorway convinced us that we would have little time when we got there before we would have to head back for home so we changed our plans and stuck to visiting some sites in NW Kent.

Our first stop was Leybourne, where we heard a Nightengale singing from a bush. This is an excellent area and we have never failed to find them on any visit. Hearing them is one thing but seeing them is something far more difficult.

Sevenoaks KWT reserve

Sevenoaks KWT reserve

Moving on we came to the Kent Wildlife Trust reserve at Sevenoaks. On the main lake a pair of Eygptian Geese were feeding with their gosling and a pair of Greylag Geese had a brood of 9.

Egyptian Goose with Gosling

Egyptian Goose with Gosling

 

PIed Wagtail

PIed Wagtail

The star bird here was a Little Ringed Plover which was briefly seen on the edge of an island.

Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover

Our final stop was Bough Beech where 2 Common Terns were resting on the causeway. These were my first Common terns of the year. I don’t know if it is my imagination but they seem to be arriving late this year. Keith and I were surprised not to see a single bird last week in Dorset.

Common Tern

Common Tern

 

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
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)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Nightingale [sp] (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

Medway Valley

Medway Valley

A bright sunny day saw Keith and I heading off for New Hythe and Leybourne Lakes, which are situated in the Medway valley in Kent. Formally gravel and sand extraction pits they now form a large area of lake and scrub habitat. It is a good place for waterbirds in the winter, but the object of our visit was the healthy colony of Common Nightingales that breed here plus any other summer visitors. Despite its name, the Common Nightingale is a species which is becoming more restricted in distribution as its range seems to be contracting and the UK is on the north-western edge of that range. It is now only found at a few sites in SE England.

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It did not take long before we had found one of our targets as a Sedge Warbler entertained us with its scratchy song from the reedbed on Brooklands lake. Continuing our way along the eastern shore we heard the call of a Mediterranean Gull although we failed to locate the bird. This may have been because our attention was focused on the first Nightingale of the day, singing stridently from within the cover. This is the best time to locate them as when they first arrive on site they are more active, vocal and visible and later in the breeding season they can be really difficult to find. If we were to think this was going to be our only encounter with this species we were very mistaken and stopped for lunch at a spot where two (either a prospective pair or two rival males) were busily chasing each other through the bushes around us – intent on each other and not on our presence. However despite excellent views, their quick movement made them impossible to photograph and we would have to wait till almost the end of the afternoon till we had one pose for us in a bush whilst it sang.

Nightingale

Nightingale

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Moving on from Brooklands, we came to a patch of open grassland and my thoughts were that this would be the sort of place where you would find a migrating Northern Wheatear, when Keith spied one atop a pile of earth – wish that worked more often! We were able to get some photos before it dropped down to the ground and out of sight.

Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear

Nightingales continued to serenade us as we proceeded around Leybourne Lake and back up the west side of Brooklands. A Willow Warbler was heard but not found together with Chiffchaff and a good number of blackcaps plus a few Common Whitethroat. A second Sedge Warbler was heard on the western side of Brooklands and a Buzzard seen distantly over the North Downs before it was time to head for home. An excellent day with plenty of summer migrants which with the lovely weather means that summer is truly on its way. I hope!

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Collared Dove

Collared Dove

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
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)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
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)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Common Nightingale [sp] (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Northern Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe oenanthe)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus Lapidarus)