I was going to Polhill Garden Centre today , so decided to leave earlier and have a look in at Sevenoaks Reserve first , then do Polhill on the way back .
I was dull leaving home , but by the time I dropped Carol off shopping , a cold mist began descending , which just got thicker the further that I travelled . It wasn't too bad when I arrived and I knew straight away that I had the Reserve to myself , as I was walking on the fresh snow that had fallen overnight , and the only tracks were of animals and birds . As I walked to the main hide , it was obvious that much more of the main lake had frozen over since my last visit , and it appeared that the only open water was to the right of that hide . Naturally , most of the water birds were congregated around and in this area . As I walked on towards the Tower hide , I passed the extension of the water seen middle right above , and where the trees were overhanging the water , keeping it ice free , many more birds were seen through the branches . Mallard and Tufted Duck seemed most numerous , with good numbers of Teal , Gadwall and Pochard as well . The most amazing number were the Little Grebes . I couldn't count them exactly as they kept diving , but would estimated in excess of 20 . Several Great Crested Grebes were seen , but no sign of the red or Black-necked Grebes , but they could easily have been tucked up out of sight . I did make out a red head Goosander through the gloom , but no sign of the red head Smew . I spent some time , till I got frozen through in the last hide , again hoping for Bittern or another Water Rail show , but once again , it didn't happen . I was kept company by the Robin again though . To get warm again , I set off to the far side of the main lake , wondering if the Bittern had headed for the ice free water of the River Darent , which flows through the reserve , but I didn't find it there either . I did encounter at least three flocks of Siskins , noisily feeding and then moving on . This shows part of the largest flock , and I make it about 65 birds in the shot .
A vivid pink/red in the distance on the snow covered caught my attention , which turned out to be Coral Spot Fungus-Nectria cinnabarina , on a fallen branch , showing really well against the snow . Several of the owners of tracks seen in the snow , were out trying to find some sustenance in this harsh weather . Also found fossicking , were a good number of Wrens , but I couldn't make any of them into Goldcrests or even better , Firecrests .
As I walked back to the car , two Geese , the only ones seen or heard on my visit , flew over and appeared to land on the frozen lake behind the Visitor Centre . A quick look from Grebe hide , showed that one was an Egyptain and I believe that the other was a Canada , but that one was hidden behind the log that the Egyptian was posing on .
Amazingly , I remembered to stop at Polhill on my return , and also had a look at the Holly tree that I mentioned yesterday , in now a miserable drizzle falling through the mist . I think in two more days , the good sized tree will be berryless , and the car owner has got a right job on , to return his car to pre-Redwing condition .
3 hours ago