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 .
22 minutes ago