I needed to be back home for early afternoon , so decided on a morning trip to Sevenoaks KWT Reserve .
I am posting this photograph straight away , of a small duck I found , and had me scratching my head for a while , before I came up with the answer . How about you ? Answer later .
When I arrived it was still cold , but , at least that biting wind was not blowing . I wouldn't say I got there early , but some of the residents , the Teal , were still tucked up asleep . I headed for the hide where the Bitterns have been seen on a regular basis , but once again I missed out . I gave the Bitterns a fair chance to show , but then got on the move again , as much as to try and keep warm as anything . Leaving the hide and walking along the track , a large dark shape drifted towards me , against a grey sky . It was very high , but I managed a couple of shots , that were not more than silhouettes of the Common Buzzard , as it drifted on it's way . I was hoping to find a pair of Great Crested Grebes doing their 'face to face , mirror' routine , but they obviously weren't in the mood , and although several pairs were seen , aggression seemed to be the order of the day . On the back path , I was confronted by a couple of Mute Swans , both males , with their wings half raised , it could well have been that they had been having 'a chat' , before I came on the scene . No sign of the Kingfisher this visit , although another birder had a couple of darting views earlier , but in the same area , I found 3 Dunnocks that should have been 'looking for a room' as Adam put it a while back . This one seemed to be the gooseberry , as the other two flew off together , and left him with that ' I want to be alone ' look . The lake in front of the Willow hide , held good numbers of Shoveler , Tufted Duck , Canada and Greylag Geese , and whilst I was there , there was much posturing amongst the Canada Goose males . Another sign of the impending Spring were the catkins , Pussy Willow , on the Goat Willows , just starting to open , which will provide pollen for many insects as they come out of hibernation .
Now , I'm not one for getting dressed up to walk in the country , or for doing anything else if the truth was known , but this sheep in an adjoining field , really did take the biscuit . In the fields behind that , I could hear the bleating of lambs for the first time this year , and sure enough , I saw them in the distance . As the morning went on , the temperature increased , and thankfully the wind did not get up . In all , 42 species were recorded , and eventually , I did start to warm up .
And finally , the small duck that I found . As I said , it had me scratching my head for a while , but I finally convinced myself that it had to be a female Ruddy Duck , the first of the species that I have seen for many years . Of course , had it been the male , with chestnut body , white cheeks and blue bill , the head scratching wouldn't have been necessary.
3 hours ago