29 April 2012
New HytheThe 'drought' continued throughout the night and I awoke to very heavy rain which eventually stopped after an almighty downpour just before 14:00. The skies began to brighten and I wanted to get some air so I set off with the objective of photographing the elusive songster that is the Nightingale. I hoped that after such continual rain they might be out on a perch singing their almighty lungs out. I decided to try the lakes at New Hythe and arrived at Brookland Lake just as the cloud began to lift. A welcoming committee of hirundines was hawking over the lake: 50 Swallow, 30 House Martin, and 15 Sand Martin plus a single Common Swift and two Common Tern. As the sun came out they swarmed together and departed northwards at some height, leaving just a handful of House Martins and a Swallow. Birds were certainly singing and I could hear Nightingale from the car park. Blackcaps were everywhere, a couple of Chiffchaffs, a Reed Warbler and my first Whitethroat of the year. A couple of explosive Cetti's Warbler sang from deep inside their chosen bushes and at least seven Nightingale were belting out their liquid notes. An unseen Cuckoo gave away its presence from somewhere along the river.
After checking out various Nightingale territories I found one bird that had some potential of giving the odd view. I got within deafening range but just couldn't get a clear view. I waited quietly and then just as it was about to hop out, a guy with his young daughter came wading up the rather boggy footpath - at least he apologised as he walked past. The bird flicked across the path and into an Elder. I waited as it hopped along the horizontal branch until it found a little opening and just sat there looking at me looking at him. I fired a series of shots and he was gone. What a stunner!
Nightingale, New Hythe Lakes
As I walked back to the car ten House Martin and a Swallow were still hawking insects, and four Common Swift were careening around the paper mill.