Thursday, 9 December 2010

Thursday 9th. December 2010

Yesterday , I dropped Carol off in Bromley , ands spent a couple of hours around Kelsey Park in Beckenham , before picking her up . During that time , I found almost nothing of interest , and didn't blog last night .
How could I make today a better day ? Trespass , not once , but three times .
Having seen Phil/Sharp by Natures great shots of the redhead Goosander recently , I made New Hythe my first trespass , hoping to get some shots of the bird . Phil said it was on the unfrozen water of the Millstream lake , and thats where I headed . Getting to the open water , I scanned the edge of the ice , and there it was , but I was looking straight into the sun , so made my way some way further down the track to get between the sun and the bird . Having got into position , I scanned again , and it was gone . I thought it might be below water , so I got behind some Willows and waited . An hour passed , my feet were freezing , and with no sign of the bird , I decided to move on . The only interest whilst waiting was this Great Crested Grebe , that came up with a decent sized fish , and was struggling to get it down . I crossed the Diver's Bridge to see if the bird had flown to the Railway Lake , but it hadn't , and a couple of male Shovellers , pictured , and a few Pochard and a lot of 'black and white' , Tufted Ducks and Coots , were all that were found . As Phil had mentioned , the West and East scrub were alive with Redwings , plus a few small flocks of Fieldfares flying over .
Feeling cheated , I moved on to my second trespass , Mote Park , Maidstone , the patch of Simon /Mote Park-A Wildlife Patchwork . Simon had mentioned that there had been two Water Rails on the Old Duck Pond , where last year , I joined him to see the Jack Snipe that was overwintering there . No Jack this time , but it wasn't long before a movement at the back , turned out to be a Common Snipe . I watched it feeding for some time , and soon it was joined by a second . A third showed up , but never got close enough to the other two to get a shot of the three of them together . Another movement turned out to be a Robin fossicking , and in the same area , a Wren , searching frenziedly for it's breakfast . I was about to give up on the Water Rail , when the vegetation right at the back moved , and I managed a shot of this secretive bird . I felt well pleased and watched it get closer and closer to the edge of the vegetation , and eventually break out into the open . With the sun on it , this was definitely the best view that I have had of the species . How could things get better ? Well , having fossicked around , in and out of sight for some time , it jumped up onto some taller vegetation and started to preen . This went on for several minutes , before it went back into the water , heading for the gulley at the back , where it usually disappears to . Trouble was , this time , the three Common Snipe were resting in that area , and as the Water Rail reached them , it flew at them , and they flew off , and that was the last I saw of any of them .
I ate my lunch , feeling well pleased , then made my third trespass of the day , another visit to Adam's/East Malling,Ditton and Barming patch , which was on my way back . The churchyard was much quieter this time , apart from a couple of Mistle Thrushes , due probably to the roadworks on the approach track to the Research Station . There were a few Fieldfares in the adjoining orchard , but they were very flighty , as were the many Wood Pigeons in the same area . Things were much noisier as I approached the buildings , with large numbers of Fieldfares , Wood Pigeons and Starlings , but once again very flighty . Often all the Starlings would lift and land en mass on the wires , this being just a short section of them . I found it impossible to get anywhere near the Fieldfares , so decided to see if I could find the spot where Adam has been watching the Redpolls . I had a general idea , but that wasn't enough , and soon after crossing a railway line , the cloud came in on the wind , and I turned back . All the way I could make out tyre tracks , and expected at any time to find Adam's bike in the hedge , but didn't . On the way back , I did catch sight of a chap on a bike with a reflective jerkin , heading back to the Research Centre at just after 2 o'clock . I wonder if that was him , and I just missed him ? Passing through the buildings , several Fieldfares were seen in the higher trees , but in the first orchard on the right I spotted a single bird , quite close to the road . I got a few shots of it feeding on the Apples that are covering some of the trees . Slowly , I moved closer to the fence , taking shots as I went . Eventually , I got as close as I could , and was pleased that the bird carried on feeding , not bothered by me , and as I left , it was still in the same place .
A most enjoyable treble trespass .


Phil said...

Sorry I missed you Greenie. I ended up staying on the Brooklands side of the site. Bad luck with the Goosander pics but you certainly made up for it with the rest of the shots absolutely brilliant. I'd take my hat off to you if I wore one!

ShySongbird said...

A great treble trespass Greenie, I enjoyed it very much and it certainly sounded like you did apart from the freezing feet :) You were very patient to wait there for an hour!

Very well done with the Water Rail.

Lovely photos and the last one in particular is really beautiful.

Adam said...

Hi Greenie - not me on the bike unfortunately, I was tucked back up in my warm lab by 13:30! Anyway if it had been me I'm sure there would have been a shout of, "of my land"!

Ironically numbers of winter thrushes are up today now the thaw has set in, and I got a few Redpoll at the slightly nearer location of Ditton Quarry.

Scanning through the blogs you trespassed it seems you missed Bittern (New Hythe), Green Sandpiper (East Malling) and 2x Jack Snipe (Mote Park)...that'll teach you ;-)