Monday, 26 January 2009

Monday 26th.January 2009

After yesterday's terrible weather , today was my only opportunity to get out and about , as I have four days volunteering coming up starting tomorrow .
The sun was shining , surely one of Steve's Bitterns would put in an appearance . As I drove down to New Hythe , the sun was enveloped in a blanket of cloud which seemed to be ever thickening . I arrived just after 10 o'clock , and made my way straight to the reed bed . The saturated ground necessitated wellies , not my favourite footware , especially on a cool morning . I got into position and waited , scanning the reed bed opposite . I was treated to a Kingfisher flypast and also a pair of Great Crested Grebe doing their 'walking on water , facing each other , with a bill full of weed, whilst waggling the head from side to side' bonding dance . I would have had no chance with the Kingfisher , but the two Grebes were only 20 metres away and would have made a great shot , if I had a camera . Before leaving , I chased them again , and they say I should have it back before the weekend . I gave it well over an hour , but with no movement at all , set off around the area . In the Alders on the end of Millstream Lake , a flock of about 10/12 Siskins were noisily feeding , then joined by another 15/20 whilst I was watching them . A little later , another small flock joined them , and when they eventually flew off , they must have numbered 40/50 .
Heading towards the railway , almost directly behind the Bittern's reed bed , a Cetti Warbler burst into full song , but did not show itself , and almost immediately , a Green Woodpecker flew across in front of me and settled in one of the larger trees in the scrub area . Nothing unusual on the way down to the river , which looked as if the tide had just turned and was rushing back towards the sea . Along the river path , many Bullfinches were heard , but only one female seen . Where the tributary joins the main river , a flock of about 15/20 Redshank took off calling and headed back down the tributary . Just before the wooden bridge , another Cetti Warbler started to sing , but stopped as quickly as it started . The Sunken Marsh was as quiet as a grave , and little was seen until a flock of about 20/25 Lapwing , wheeling behind the Paper Mill , looking as if they were going to settle at Holborough .
At the end of the millstream , at the entry to the car park , a Chiffchaff was quietly feeding amongst the dead water vegetation . Further down , a small flock of Goldfinches were seen feeding on Teasle and by the Treatment Works a flock of Long Tailed Tits were working their way along the waterside bushes .
I arrived back at the Bittern viewpoint full of hope , but even though I put in another hour and a half , no Bittern was seen . A Little Grebe showed up tight against the reeds and a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers flew over . Dissapointed , I made my way back to the car and headed for Lunsford Lane . Parking up , I made my way between Alders Lake and the small fishing lake without seeing anything exciting , unless you would put dozens and dozens of Coot in that bracket . On reaching Lunsford Lane again , I followed the Millstream , which was more like a mountain torrent . Halfway towards the bend , I found a flock of six Redpoll and had very good views .In the woods behind the millstream I found another three , but they could have been some of the previous six .
Back at the car I thought I was too close to not attempt to see the Waxwings at East Malling . I found the church and along the footpath met a chap on his way back . He said that they were not here but had been told that they were on the adjacent housing estate . As he knew where to go ,I I followed him and we found the site , but no Waxwings . We split up looking , but nothing . I went back to the car and back to the churchyard and after a little while , located 15 Waxwing in a tree , just inside the Research Station in brilliant sunshine . There were also good numbers of Fieldfare about , but the cloud rolled in again , and I made my way home . Thanks Adam for the info on the Waxwings , given the amount of food available to them in Apples at the Research Station and berries in the gardens , I can't see them needing to come my way at all , so it was good to get a good show today .


Steve said...

Shame the Bittern(s) didn'tshow Fred but well done with the Waxwings! still not been to track them down myself....

Adam said...

Thanks for the update Greenie - glad you got the Waxwings, I didn't have any luck today! Numbers do seem to be dropping nad they seem more elusive than ever - perhaps they're thinking of heading West! In my experience the Bitterns on Millstream only show well very late afternoon/dusk - may be worth trying for them again.


Ken said...

Hi Greenie.
You certainly covered a few miles today.You may not have had any luck with the Bittern, but you sure did clock up some good species. Well done Fred.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Greenie,
Thanks for the fungi ID. Not a name that will be kept in my sieve like brain!
PS. COOTS! they are very exciting!