I decided to get out early this morning , and arrived at Sevenoaks Reserve before it had got light , and headed straight for the hide by the reedbed , where I had watched a Bittern on Friday . Only trouble with my plan was that no one told the Bittern about it . The cold wind was blowing straight in through the open hatch , and after a couple of hours waiting and watching , I gave up . I did get several sightings of at least two Water Rails in the ditch , but it was no substitute for my main target . Walking back around the main lake , the water level seemed even higher than my last visit , and the islands outside the main hide had all but disappeared . No sign at all of the redhead Goosanders or the Black-necked Grebe , in fact most species seemed to be well down on numbers . From the far side of the main lake I spotted two wakes converging , but couldn't see at first what they were . Eventually , out of the gloom I could see that it was a pair of Great Crested Grebes , one still in winter plumage , that had come together to do a bit of bonding . They faced each other , and mirrored each other's movements . The whole thing only lasted a few seconds , before they both went their separate ways . I shall be hoping to photograph a pair in sunshine doing the whole ballet routine , if I am lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time . One thing that hasn't got smaller is the size of the Siskin flocks , still making a din as they arrive at or leave their chosen Alder tree . They are still choosing the tallest trees and landing in the very tops of them , making photographs almost impossible .
Walking back to the car , a stand of Lords and Ladies-Arum maculatum was showing well .
Having warmed up with a coffee , I headed for New Hythe , to see if I could do any better there . On arrival at Brooklands car park , I could see that Phil/Sharp by Nature was on site , but as I had left my mobile at home , I couldn't contact him . I searched the reedbeds around Brooklands Lake without success , and headed to the river , only to find it at low tide , and only Gadwall , Coots , Cormorants and Black-headed Gulls on show . I didn't find any of the more unusual ducks today , in fact the only interest found was a male Kestrel alongside the railway , lots of female flowers on the Hazel trees , waiting to be pollinated by the male catkins , and a small flock of Long Tailed Tits that were foraging further along the railway line , and a Song Thrush in full song near the car park .
I then drove down and parked in Lunsford Lane , to be greeted by a second singing Song Thrush , but no sign of the Goldeneyes on the small Alders Lake . I walked back to the 'usual spot' for the Bittern on Streamside Lake without success , and even a full circumnavigation of the Railway Lake failed to turn one up . The scrub area produced a couple of small Goldfinch flocks and the odd Corvid , but not a single Winter Thrush was seen or heard . Nothing unusual was seen on the way back to the car , but at least a Stock Dove took pity and posed on the wires .
I will be interested to read how 'Mr.Bittern' got on during his visit .
Three days volunteering now , so won't get out again before Friday .
5 hours ago