Monday, 27 October 2008

Monday 27th.October 2008

Nice to see the sun this morning after a really drab Sunday . I thought I would have a look around Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve , Kent Wildlife Trust site today . It was sunny but much cooler than of late , with a cool breeze off the water . I went to the first hide looking out on the main lake first . Large numbers of Grey Lag and a few Canada Geese were in the shallows and on the raised islands , many of them preening and washing . A few Cormorants were drying their wings , and a few Teal were feeding on the edge . There was also a large flock of Black Headed Gulls lounging and preening .
I made my way to Willow Hide on the other side of the River Darenth . My hope was that I might get a shot or two of Kingfisher , as there are branches placed for them to fish from . There was no sign of Kingfishers , and although the sun was behind the hide , a cool breeze was blowing through the observation slots . Once again , Grey Lag and Canada Geese were in good numbers , and once again , making lots of noise . Just before getting to the hide , a family of Mute Swans were feeding in the shallows , with the cygnets as big as the adults , but still showing that grey/brown juvenile colour . A single cob was patrolling in front of the hide . In front of the small island , two male Gadwall were following each other , with a couple of females some way off . The Grey Lag and Canada Geese were very restless and swimming left , arguing , then swimming back right before arguing again . Then , from behind the reeds on the right , swam , what I think is a Snow Goose , probably a juvenile . It followed the general ebb and flow of the other geese
and at one point stopped to preen just beyond one of the Canada Geese , which gives a size comparison . Then the cob Mute Swan came into the picture behind it . Eventually , it came quite close to feed and then preen in the shallow water just in front of the hide .
If it turns out not to be a Snow Goose , I apologise , but I'm sure there will be confirmation , or not , from some of the experts . One of the Canada Geese also posed in almost the same spot a little later .
All the time this was going on , a Cormorant was continually fishing , and by the look of it , having a pretty good strike rate , with most dives providing a small fish . No sooner had it resurfaced , then it was 'bottoms up' , and down into the depths again . I left the hide without my hoped for Kingfisher pictures , perhaps next time .
Before leaving the site , I had a look in at Grebe Hide , just behind the Visitor Centre . Just one Black Headed Gull below on the water , but as I went to leave , I caught sight of a Nuthatch on the feeders , just outside a fixed , glazed , observation slot . Also giving the seeds a real hammering were Great and Blue Tits , and below , under the feeders , Chaffinches and Blackbirds , picking up the spill . I settled down off centre and waited . It wasn't long before the Nuthatch was back , and it seemed that having left the feeder , it was back between 20/30 seconds . You could almost set your watch to it's timing . It's speed coming in , getting the seed and flying off again was incredible . There was no way it could be eating the quantity it was taking , and a couple of times I caught sight of it 'stashing' the seed into the bark of the Willow that the feeders were suspended in . As I said , there were also lots of Blue and Great Tits , and most seemed to have been ringed . Eventually , I tore myself away and headed off to Bough Beech .
Cloud was starting to build by the time I arrived , and a quick look from the Causeway did not show much . So I parked at the Visitor Centre and walked back to the scrape . A lady had been standing on the bridge as I drove in and she kindly informed me that half a dozen Redpoll along with several Tits were bathing in the shallows , and sure enough there they were , but not close enough for a photo . . What a great start . Looking across the scrape , a Grey Heron lokked like it was dozing on a fallen tree . Below on the water it was mainly Mallard , Coot and Moorhen , with a few Teal and a pair of Shovellor . In the orchard feeding station , there were loads of Finches and Tits , the odd Robin and another Nuthatch , which came to the nearest feeder . The Tits moved about constantly , but at times posed for a picture . A Goldcrest almost landed in front of me , but diverted to an adjacent Hawthorn Bush . I must have spent 20 minutes , just to get this one shot , so frustrating .

I had to cross the Greensand Ridge to get home , so had to stop briefly and turn a few refugia . There was no sign of the Great Crested Newt where it was found last week , but the Grass Snake was still in it's place , but ready this time , and was gone in a flash . I did find another Grass Snake , that also raced off , but I did get the going of him .
The next two days is hedgelaying on the Greensand Ridge and Thursday is working on the Common , so will have to see if anything comes along .

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Hi Greenie,
I'm not convinced it's a Snowgoose. Looks similar, but it should have a black tailtip, and it's plumage doesn't quite look right to me.It could be an escape hybrid. Snow geese are rare visitors to britain.
Some good pics today anyway. I know how frustrating Goldcrests can be!!