Sunday, 2 January 2011

Sunday 2nd.January 2011

With not getting out yesterday , and waking up to more grey skies today , a glimmer of brightness had me heading out the door , not knowing where I was going . A quick look around the berried trees on the estate produced nothing , so decided to head in the direction of Polhill , checking trees and roadside bushes on the way . That produced almost the same result , so having reached Polhill I had to make a decision , Bough Beech or Sevenoaks Reserve , and I decided on the latter . By the time I arrived , that brightness had disappeared and it was back to the grey again . Just a few cars in the car park , so I decided to head for the 'Bittern hide' . On the way I encountered one of the Siskin flocks and also saw at least four Bullfinches . Behind the first hide , I noticed a few birds right at the top of a large Silver Birch that turned out to be the first Redpolls that I have seen this Winter . I stopped at the open water beyond the hide , which had increased considerably since my last visit , but it contained mainly Tufted Ducks , Mallards and Pochard . As I walked on , more Mallard were found amongst the overhanging trees , then a sighting of a redhead stopped me in my tracks . The first sighting was followed by two more , and although I willed a male Goosander to follow them , but it didn't happen . I managed to get ahead of them as they made their way to the open water , when from being line astern , they grouped together and posed . After that , the walk to the end hide was without incident , until I was set upon by the resident Robin . Once again , I had come empty handed as I didn't know where I would end up . Needless to say , there weren't any Bittern sightings , but I was given the opportunity for yet more Water Rail shots , this time , right out in the open in front of the hide . The only other sightings were of a pair of Wrens and two Reed Buntings flew in , but disappeared immediately into the bottom of the reedbed . I left the hide , making sure the Robin was out , feeling well pleased and headed back to the main hide , passing a nice stand of fresh Velvet Shank-Flammulina velutipes , on the way .
I had noticed that there were very few Geese around on my outward walk , but this changed when I got into the hide , when wave after wave of Canada and Greylag Geese descended in front , and immediately started their morning ablutions , noisily . Also out in front and on the first small island , I counted 18 Common Snipe and there could well have been more , here , 7 were feeding together in the soft mud . The washing and general disturbance of the Geese , seemed to attract one species , as the Black-necked Grebe turned up and started diving in amongst them . I could only think that small fish were being spook by the commotion and the Grebe was making the most of the situation . Beyond where the Common Snipe were feeding , a pair of Wigeon were grazing . Eventually , the Snipe started to spit up , and some made their way down to the waters edge , where they rubbed shoulders with the Teal amongst others . I had another sighting of just a single redhead Goosander , and just before leaving the hide , witnessed most of the Tufted Ducks that I had seen coming in soon after my arrival , were leaving in small squadrons . Walking back to the car park , my last sighting was a very mobile Goldcrest alongside the path , which was difficult to photograph , as I still had the large lens on , and couldn't get far enough away most of the time .
I don't keep lists whilst out , but when I got home I totted the species up , and found that 54 had been spotted in just over three hours .


Phil said...

Great stuff Greenie!
I am so jealous of your Goosander shot, they are fantastic birds. The Goldcrest pic's not to be sniffed at either. Haven't had a Redpoll for ages.

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
That was a good count for 3 hours. Plus it included some terrific birds . Love the Water Rail shots, still haven't managed to shoot one of them yet(with the camera)

Phil and Mandy said...

Good selection Greenie, I may go to Sevenoaks in the morning, i have some shots of the friendly Robin on my blog as it joined us in the hide last week! Regards and happy new year. Phil and Mandy

Warren Baker said...

An interesting mystery tour for you Greenie, mysterious as the the weather forecast!

All those tufties, and not one flies the few miles to visit me !