Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tuesday 22nd. November 2011

Two very similar days yesterday and today , in that the mornings were spent doing jobs in the garden , and although the weather was anything but good on either , I managed to get out both afternoons .Yesterday , I spent a couple of hours at Sevenoaks Reserve , finding very little change from my last visit . Once again , I had two Kingfisher sightings , the first from Carter Hide , when a bird flew past , carrying the largest fish that I have ever seen a Kingfisher carrying . It landed some 20 mtrs. away , and started to knock seven bells out of it's proposed meal . At times , the action of swinging the fish to hit the branch almost caused the bird to topple off it's perch . It moved several times , always further away , until it was almost out of sight . I gave up after 10/15 minutes , so I don't know whether all the bashing was successful in the end . The other sighting was on the East Lake , alongside Long Lake . Not so many Common Snipe were seen , just 5 , but Cormorant numbers were well up . No sign of the Goldeneye that had been reported a couple of days ago . At
Slingsby Hide , I wasgreeted by the usual Robin , but apart from several LBJs diving into the reeds and moving about , little else was seen . On the way back to the car I did find a nice fresh specimen
of Coprinus comatus / Shaggy Ink Cap or Lawyer's Wig . The easiest sighting of the visit came as I
drove down the track to the road , finding this very confiding Egyptian Goose in the horse paddock
alongside .Even when I stopped the car alongside and got out , it just carried on with it's tea , just a shame the light was so bad .
This afternoon , in very similar dull , but milder conditions , I went for a look around Hayes Farm , not expecting to find much , and so it was with just a few House Sparrows at the entrance and several Pied Wagtails following the horses around the paddocks . I made my way to the Trout Fishery , and was amazed to find it alive with birds . Scanning around , I found 14 Mallard type , 2 Little Grebe , 2 Mute Swan , 7 Tufted Duck , 3 Wigeon - 2M,1F , 18 Coot , 12 Moorhen  , 4 Canada Geese and 1 Egyptian Goose . With them were anything from 40 to over 100 Black-headed Gulls , constantly coming and going for their evening ablutions . Also around were 9 farmyard geese and a farmyard duck . The Wigeon were right over in the far corner , and whilst watching them , I caught sight of a small , black and white , at a distance , diving bird . I only had binoculars , and at first thought that it
might have been a Grebe , as it was small , as can be seen here later against a Moorhen when it came to the middle of the Fishery . But now I could see that it was a duck , but not one that I recognised . It
spent more time under water than on top , but did come closer to the area that I was able to conceal myself behind a tree . Trouble was that I was hoping for it to come even closer , but all the time the light , which was bad anyway , was getting progressively worse , but I was being serenaded by a Mistle Thrush in full song which was very pleasant . Eventually , it came to within 10
metres of where I was and I got the closest shot that I could , just before it dived again , and headed back to the middle . I have done some research since getting home , but haven't managed to identify it yet , but think it is going to turn out to be an escapee , but if anyone has any ideas , I would be pleased to hear from them . As I made my way back to the car , more species made the book , totalling 17 , in addition to those seen at the Trout Fishery . One of these was a lone Fieldfare which flew up calling as I passed the log piles , but I met up with it again at the entrance and managed to
get a shot , once again , shame the light was so bad .
And finally , many thanks to the 'old blind git' , his words not mine , for getting me through the gobbilty gook to alter the font size on this blog . I hope you can read it without straining the eyes now Warren .


Anonymous said...

Greenie, your mystery duck is a female Long-tailed duck. It's a sea duck, but they do occassionally turn up on inland lakes (we had one for a while on Brooklands lake, Snodland for a while a couple of winters ago). Can't say if it's a vagrant or an escapee, but the one at Snodland generated some excitement.


Phil said...

I agree with Greg Greenie, what a nice find, I believe there's still a juvenile at Chatham too.
Nice pictures today and absolutely superb font, I nearly had to take my glasses off!!

Warren Baker said...

Yea, even with my old eyes I can agree with L.T.Duck. Nice find Greenie :-)

Alan Pavey said...

Great find Greenie, not a bird I see very often, some great pics too.

Greenie said...

Greg , Phil & Warren ,
Thanks for the ID and confirmation . I was so sure it was going to be a foreigner .
Only seen one before , a couple of weeks ago at Chatham .
Cheers all .

Paul said...

Nice Kingfisher account Greenie, and a great find with that duck too.

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
Well done on finding a female L/T/Duck.