Monday, 14 February 2011

Monday 14th. February 2011

After my last couple of visits , it was good to see the early morning sun as I pulled into the car park at Sevenoaks Reserve . Having read recent reports of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker around the car park , and with no one else about , I had a good look around , without success . I did however put up this male Green Woodpecker from the picnic area , to pose on a nearby dead tree . On my way to the first hide , I also found this female Great Spotted relative .Very little apart from Teal and this pair of Shoveler , still sleeping in the shade .
A look from the Tower hide was difficult , looking straight into the rising sun , so I headed for the reedbed hide . Everything was very quiet apart from the odd Mallard and Coot on the pool behind , but with no wind , it was perfect to locate a Bittern , should one be there , which there wasn't . A distant sighting of a Water Rail in the gloom before the sun reached the area , and a very active Reed Bunting , given the still cool air temperature . One of the many Wrens heard and sometimes seen amongst the reeds , had more sense , and sat in the sun right outside the hide . Needless to say , the resident Robin turned up almost as soon as I arrived . I gave it almost 2 hours , then felling cold , went to have a look around , in the sunshine .
On one of the small islands , 3 Egyptian Geese were still half asleep . Whilst on Cairn Island , a Grey Heron was towering over a mixture of Canada and Greylag Geese , Cormorants and Black-headed Gulls . No Warren , the Gull above the Heron is not sitting on it's head .
As I walked along the main track on the other side of the lake , I could see a group of about 6 people , getting very excited and pointing cameras and optics over towards the Long Pit . I increased my pace , and on arrival at the group saw what all the excitement was about . A Bittern on the edge of the small reedbed , standing like a statue . I got a few shots , then one of the group decided that he wasn't close enough , and walked down a small path to an angler's peg , and the Bittern turned and disappeared into the vegetation behind . I had spotted two Great Crested Grebes from the far side of the main lake , looking like they were inspecting for a nest site , and when I returned to the main lake , they came together and started their 'mirroring' routine . Unfortunately , it didn't last long enough to get to the 'water walking' bit .A bit further along from where the Bittern was seen , a Grey Heron posed on a pile of logs , throwing it's reflection on the surface in front .On my way back , I checked the Willow Hide to see if the Bittern had headed for it's favourite reedbed there , but had no sighting . As usual , the Canada Geese were noisily bathing , before flying back into the sheep fields to feed .After photographing then in dull conditions , it was nice to get a pair of Gadwall in the now bright sunshine .Back alongside the main lake , one of the Great Crested Grebes popped up with a good sized fish , and I thought it might present it to it's mate , especially being Valentine's Day , but it didn't , eating it itself in double quick time .Very close by , the only Goosander seen today , a redhead . The Black-necked Grebe was found , but it stayed well out of camera range .
All around the reserve today , the birdsong was fantastic , none more so , than the still large flocks of Siskins , with a few Redpolls mixed in , chattering away noisily , whilst feeding on the Alder seeds .
A most enjoyable visit produced 57 species .
On the way home , I stopped off up on the Downs , to see how the Early Purple Orchids are coming on . I found at least 6 rosettes along the footpath , without going into the field , so there should be a good flowering season again this year .
Three days volunteering now , but you never know what might be found .


Alan Pavey said...

Hi Greenie, glad you caught up with the Bittern and got a good shot to boot, I really like the Siskin shot to, sounded like a really good visit.

Phil said...

Some great shots there Greenie. I think I may have to pass on the Bittern crown soon!

Warren Baker said...

I'm pleased your bittern quest has at last been succesful Greenie. 57 species is going some, well done.

PS: As if I would have mentioned the gull on the Herons head!!!

ShySongbird said...

I don't know how I missed your last post Greenie :( but it was nice to see the Black-necked Grebe.

Nice photos today, a Green and a Great Spotted Woodpecker on camera is good going!

Well done with the Bittern and lovely to be looking forward to Orchids again.

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
You finally got a Bittern photo. all those trips finally paid off.
Some other great species seen today.
I must get down there again real soon to try to see those Siskins.

Kingsdowner said...

Lovely day - it must be good to bask in the sun.
Well done on the Bittern, and I like the Goosander shot too.

Dave J. said...

Hi Greenie
Love the Bittern pic, never seen one myself.
Also your woodpeckers are great.
All the best and a belated new year