Friday, 19 February 2010

Friday 19th.February 2010

Another dull , grey start to the day , with intermittent sleet showers thrown in for good measure , and all this after the 'weather pundit' quoted yesterday , that today would be a cracker . Good job he doesn't do it for a living .
Anyway , whilst we were having breakfast this morning , where have you heard that before Warren ? , a dark , brown bird ghosted in from the bottom of the garden , very low , and touched down under the feeders . I couldn't see anything from the dining room , so shot upstairs to the back bedroom . Unfortunately , the blind was still down and the window shut . I carefully tried to see through the blind slats and could make out a shape , but couldn't identify it . I carefully opened the fanlight without scaring the bird , then reached for my old camera , being smaller than the new one and lens . The first shot I got included the blind and window frame , but I could see that it was a bird of prey . A bit more blind moving and window opening , with the bird looking directly at the house , enabled a second shot that revealed that it was a female Sparrowhawk . At this point I think she realised that I was there , and the third shot was a blurred one of her lifting off and flying back down the garden . Carol saw her go from the dining room and shortly afterwards , went out to put more food down for the Finches . I was still upstairs and Carol's presence started to attract the usual species . Then from half way down the garden , the Sparrowhawk lifted again from where it had perched and settled in a big Willow in the garden behind . I grabbed my new camera , but halfway down the garden , she spotted me , lifted off again , and that was the last we saw of her .
After helping Carol with some shopping , the weather started to clear after lunch , and I headed out to get some fuel , via Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve . On arrival I headed for the large hide , and found plenty of Lapwing , Gulls of several species , along with the expected Coots , Moorhens , Tufted Duck , Teal , Gadwall , Shoveler and Cormorant . A movement off one of the islands turned out to be a Common Snipe , feeding in the now sunshine . I watched it for some time , then had a second flash through the binoculars . I saw the second one land on a muddy area , then took my eye off it . When I searched the area , I found it , hidden behind a branch , the only cover in the area . I thought at first it might have been nesting , but too early for that I think . My solitude of the hide was then interupted by another birder , who informed me that he had seen 2 Bittern last Sunday from the Tower Hide , and also described where to look . I stayed for a while after he left , but the chance of Bittern had me heading to the Tower Hide at pace , in fact , I almost caught him up , entering a couple of minutes after him . We scanned the far bank reedbed for quite some time , but found no sign of a Bittern . From the hide , I did see Great Crested Grebe , Greylag and Canada Goose and a possible Reed Bunting . The cloud was starting to win again the battle for the sky , but before heading back to the car park , I went to have a quick look at the hide by the river that runs through the site . As I approached the hide , a flash of iridescent blue passed me and landed in s bush overhanging a small pond . I set up the camera and was almost ready to press the shutter , when a lady appeared out of nowhere on my left and asked what I had seen . I said Kingfisher over there , to which she turned and walked straight towards the bird , which in turn shot out of view at a rate of knots . This Gadwall shot shows how quickly the light was fading . When I got to the car , as I loaded my gear , I was serenaded by a Robin , and for that , felt he should be included in this post . This shot was taken with the 100mm lens .


Warren Baker said...

My forecasting is as good as the BBC!

Yo don't want that Sprawk in your garden regular greenie, it will deter all the other goodies you get.

ShySongbird said...

I think there may be a Sparrowhawk around here again as the feeders are taking much longer to empty than they were, we do get one from time to time.

What a shame you didn't get the Kingfisher, I can imagine how you felt about the lady interrupting it!!

Nice to see the Snipe and the always welcome Robin.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Sorry there wasn't any sign of the Bittern, and you missed out on getting a Kingfisher shot, or two, still it is a good excuse to go back again at some time.