Well , it had to happen . With very little happening around my area , I strayed once again onto Steve's patch at New Hythe . I parked in Lunsford Lane , and set off on the footpath between Alders lake and the small fishing lake . At the end of the footpath , returning into Lunsford Lane , I noticed a person , carrying a tripod and massive lens in front of me . He started back towards me , having seen a Redpoll in some Alders . As we closed , I recognised him , and he me . It was Steve the resident blogger , and I was caught , banged to rights , trespassing on his patch .
I must admit , he was very kind , and actually welcomed me , without threat of violence .
Thus started a very pleasant day , roaming all over the area . Steve had seen the female Gooseander on the Alders lake , I hadn't . We headed off to see if we could find the Red Crested Pochard on the Tesco lake , but they seem to have left in the last 24 hours . We did find a male Stonechat that showed up very well in the brilliant sunshine .
I had to mention the Bittern , and Steve kindly showed me where it has been seen recently , and although we gave it ample opportunity , it didn't put in an appearance .
Some Siskins were found on the edge of the scrub area , and Goldfinches were in good numbers , mainly feeding on Teasel . Good numbers of 'foreign' Blackbirds were seen , and also several Song Thrushes , but surprisingly , no Winter Thrushes were seen or heard , until a fly over of a few of each species just before sunset .
The river produced a Grey Heron , a single Redshank , a few Teal and a small flock of Black Headed Gulls .
The Sunken Marsh was very quiet , but a Snipe and a few more Teal were in the run-off , into the river .
My aim was for some Winter ducks , but each lake we visited failed to produce any .
Heading down the Millstream , we diverted to check for the Bittern again , and failed again , but a text from 'source unknown' , alerted Steve to a Firecrest , only a couple of minutes from where we were . We headed for the location with speed , and after a few minutes , Steve located two small birds on the other side of a ditch . One was a Goldcrest , and the other was an elusive Firecrest . It was a first for me , and I would post a picture , but I have seen what that massive lens on Steve's camera recorded , and believe me , his shots are much better than mine .
Bouyed up with the Firecrest , we headed back towards the cars , via the lay by alongside Alders lake . Sure enough , the female redhead Goosander was still there , and a quick shot was possible before she flew off towards the middle . Once again , Steve's lens did the biz .
When we got back to the cars , which incidentally were parked one behind the other , we decided on taking the cars , and having one last shot at the Bittern . It would have been incredible if it had worked out , but it didn't , but Steve did spot a Water Rail 'ice skating' in the area that we were searching for the Bittern .
A really enjoyable day , and I'll leave you to see Steve's pictures on his blog 'New Hythe Wildlife Blog'
6 minutes ago