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 .
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