Monday, 24 January 2011

Monday 24th. January 2011

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 .


Warren Baker said...

Its very strange how the birds just seem to have moved elsewhere recently Greenie, not much at all about at the moment.

I like the Stock Dove photo, a species that I have not yet managed a picture of !

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
sorry you missed out on the Bittern, still at least you so did see the Siskins, which i more than I did.
Not much more luck at New Hythe either. better luck next time.
As for the winter Thrush's. they seem to have dropped off a lot in Halling too, very few around.

Phil said...

Like yourself, no luck with the Bittern today Greenie. Didn't see any Redwings or Fieldfares either. Surprised the Goldeneye was gone from the Alders lake, apparently it was there earlier. Disappointed I didn't bump into you today, you might have bought me some luck. I also haven't seen a Stock Dove down there yet this year.

ShySongbird said...

A shame the Bittern wasn't cooperating Greenie, the best laid plans...

That is the second time in two days that I have seen on blogs the GCGs indulging in the beginnings of a 'dance', surely a sign that the year is moving steadily forward :)

Simon said...

Interesting GCGrebe photo! I haven't noticed any female Hazel flowers in Mote Park yet, just the males so far.