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 .
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