Monday, 15 November 2010

Monday 15th.November 2010

When I turned in last night , I thought that I was in for another day stuck indoors . Yesterday it rained almost all day , and the forecast for today was fog , likely to hang about all day . A tentative look through the curtains revealed , thankfully , that the forecast was wrong again , and before long I was heading for Sevenoaks Reserve , a Kent Wildlife Trust site .
Although just above freezing , the sun was shining as I drove down the approach track , pulling over to look through a good sized flock of Chaffinches , feeding on the ground , in the hope of my first Brambling of the year . On fist scan , there was one odd bird , but it was a Goldfinch . I moved further along the track , following the feeding flock , noticing that several of the Chaffinches had been ringed , like this male . Finding the lone Goldfinch again , I noticed something moving behind it . Not my first Brambling , but my first Siskin of the year . No sooner had I got two shots , a car came down the track , and the flock disappeared into the trees . They were just coming back down again , when the car returned , and that was the last I saw of the flock , including the Siskin .
Walking towards the Willow Hide , I heard at least 4 , possibly 6 Bullfinches calling . Obviously , I was the first to visit the hide as most of the birds on the lake were still in sleep mode . Some were up like this male Teal , and two pairs of Gadwall , coming out of their slumber . A Great Crested Grebe was definitely awake , and was already looking for it's breakfast . And it did well , catching two good sized fish whilst I was watching .Most of the rest woke up when this pair of Mute Swans took off noisily .Much to the annoyance of the youngster starting to gets it's adult plumage , which was left behind . Perhaps the adults were trying to tell it something . All the noise even woke the 3 Shoveller that were soundo , right outside the hide .If any had managed to sleep in , they were woken by a large flock of Greylag and Canada Geese , that honked their way down to the surface of the lake . This was just a small part of the arrivals . Little Grebes , Grey Herons and Cormorants were all recorded , along with a flyover flock of Lapwing , which circled and then landed on one of the small islands in the large lake .
I had a look at the other side of the lake from the hides , hoping for a Bittern , Water Rail or Bearded Tit , but needless to say found none of them . A movement in the reeds had me on tenderhooks for several minutes , until a Blue Tit flew out .Some compensation came by way of a very confiding Robin outside the last hide .
The feeders behind the Visitor Centre didn't produce any surprises , just Blue and Great Tits , and more Chaffinches . The list finished with 38 species being recorded .
And finally a couple of fungi , which have really reduced in numbers .
Coprinus lagopus , from the same family as the Shaggy Inkcap and Magpie Fungus .And a much munched specimen of Flammulina velutipes-Velvet Shank , showing the velvety stems that give it it's common name . Of interest , this species can stand being frozen , and on thawing , produce more spores , just as well given last night's temperature .


Warren Baker said...

Blimey that Siskin was well camouflaged Greenie! Oh for a lake full of wildfowl like that :-(

ShySongbird said...

A very nice place to visit Greenie.

Well done with spotting the Siskin. Lovely photos, the Robin looked like it had a bit of a punk hairdo :) I also particularly liked the one of the Greylag and Canada Geese.

Our weather map said it would be foggy all day today too but it was beautiful.

Phil said...

Nice post Greenie.
Some good pics, I like the Chaffinch and the Robin with attitude.
Keep meaning to visit Sevenoaks and I will soon.

Dean said...

Thanks for reminding me of the Velvet Shanks, Greenie. I`d forgot they were due to emerge.