Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm

An afternoon visit in hot conditions was not ideal but despite the heat and time of day I saw plenty to keep me occupied. Passing the plantation I stopped briefly to have a look at the Sparrowhawk nest that is now very difficult to see through the dense foliage. I was chuffed to bits to see at least one juvenile at the nest and it even stretched its fledgling wings for me. I then continued to the sluice where I noted a mating pair of Common Blue Damselfly.

I then continued to the Long Hedge and meadow where many butterflies were noted on the wing including Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Peacock, Comma and Small White. Nearing the jubilee Oak I noticed a small species of Butterfly feeding on Viper's Bugloss. I managed to capture a few shots and on closer inspection realised it was a male Essex Skipper my first for the reserve. Similar to Small Skipper the species has a diagnostic black underside to antennal tip.

I then spent some time in the Long Hedge Hide where I noted the resident pair of Great Crested Grebe present at the nest, their second of the year. Although I could not see inside the nest I had been told that there are eggs present and that the juvenile from the first brood is still in the area too.

A total of four broods of Tufted Duck were observed from the hide and I manged to photograph a female as she paused briefly.

I then decided to head off to Lynsters Hide passing through the paddock where I spotted the remains of a probable Sparrowhawk kill. On close inspection of the remaining feathers I think the prey was probably a juvenile Green Woodpecker. Some of the emerging feathers were only just budding from the quills and a green hue was visible. I organised some of the feathers to photograph.

On reaching the hide I noted a total of 38 Greylag Goose, 11 Canada Goose and a single Cackling Goose that is of presumed captive origin present at Lynsters Farm.    

                                          A record shot of the Cackling Goose at Lynsters Farm.

I then made my way back to the clubhouse passing the sluice where I photographed a Small White and Brimstone butterfly feeding on thistle.

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