Unsure of what the weather had in store for today , I decided not to go too far afield , and made my first stop at Knoll Park , Sevenoaks , in another attempt for Common Redstart and Cuckoo . Again , I came away empty handed on these two species , in fact the whole park was very quiet indeed , apart from lots of Willow Warblers singing their hearts out . In the morning sunshine , this male Pheasant looked really dapper , the wattle on his face looking unreal . On the open grassland to one side of the house , I put up two Green Woodpeckers , which flew to the nearest tree , then dropped down again and carried on feeding . I got as close as I could to them , but as soon as I got to that certain distance , they flew away a short distance . Eventually , I did manage to get shots of them both , the female , with the plain black moustache , and a little later , the male , with his black and red moustache . Shortly after this shot , they got fed up with me and flew well away , to feed in peace . I only saw one and heard two Tree Pipits during my visit , which is unusual for the site , but I did manage a shot of one of them in full song .
From Knoll Park , I made the short journey to Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve , a Kent Wildlife Trust site . If anything , this site was even quieter that the first , as all that was seen from the first hide was a family of Canada Geese , one Shellduck , a few Lapwing , and the usual Coots , Moorhens and a few Tufted Ducks . The walk between hides was not much better , with the odd Blackcap and a pair of Bullfinches . The second hide produced , nothing , but I could hear birdsong over towards the other hide near the reedbed . Sure enough , the song of the Reed Warbler was constant as soon as I opened the flap . The first views were of males , deep in the reeds , and constantly on the move . After some time , the odd bird showed towards the front of the reedbed , but even though singing , they didn't stop for long in one place . Every now and again , a non singing bird appeared , and that gave the opportunity of a series of shots . A few LTTits along with a Chiffchaff landed in an adjacent Willow , but like the Reed Warblers , didn't keep still and moved on . I decided to head around the other side of the large lake to look for the Kingfisher around Willow Hide , which didn't show up either . As I approached the hide , a Coot was on her nest , surrounded by a nice show of Bog Bean flowers . When I entered the hide , I was told by the couple inside , that I had just missed a Mink , swimming between the two islands in the lake . I headed down to the end of the large lake and was about to turn back , when a Garden Warbler started singing from a Hawthorn . I must have spent a good half hour , trying to get a clear shot of the bird , but , as you can see , I did not manage it . Of interest , whilst I was trying for that shot , not only the Garden Warbler was singing , as in very close proximity , Common Whitethroat , Chiffchaff , Blackcap and one , possibly two Cetti's Warblers were in full song too . Just four butterflies were recorded on site , 3 Green-veined Whites , one pictured nectaring on Bugle , and a single male Orange Tip . My last shot before leaving , was this Rabbit , who wasn't at all bothered by my presence .
As the sun had decided to show itself again , I decided to stop on the Downs and check the refugia , only to find one of the other surveyors was just leaving . So I just had a quick look around for butterflies . The sun had tempted a few out , and I recorded 2 Large White , 1 Orange Tip , 1 Brimstone , 7 Grizzled Skipper , 10 Dingy Skipper and 2 Peacock . Let's hope the warmer temperatures which have been forecasted do arrive , and the butterflies get flying again .
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