Friday, 2 December 2011

Friday 2nd. December 2011

Had expected to be hedgelaying today , but got the hedge finished earlier than expected , so managed to get out this morning in cold , crisp , sunny weather . With two Bitterns being seen at New Hythe earlier in the week , that is where I headed , arriving shortly after 0900 . I headed straight to the reedbed where the sightings had been , and set up . Mist was still rolling off the reedbed and over the water , as the temperature was just about 5C , but the sun was up and starting to fall on the reedbed . I know for a fact , that if Phil / Sharp by Nature , had been around , there would have been Bitterns everywhere , but he wasn't , nor were the Bitterns . Being in the shade of the adjacent trees , it very
soon got very cool , but it didn't seem to worry the Mute Swan directly in front of me , who went
through it's morning ablutions as if I wasn't there at all . The same cannot be said of the Bitterns , as after well over an hour in the same spot , not a single movement was spotted from the reedbed . To get some heat into my feet , I left my position opposite the reedbed and walked the ditch up towards the scrub , looking for Water Voles . This too was not productive , but a few Fieldfares were seen feeding on Hawthorn on the way . Crossing the scrub , heading for the railway crossing , a flock of
Linnets and a small number of Greenfinches kept the interest . Just before crossing the railway , it
seemed as if almost every head of Teasle had a Goldfinch , industriously extracting the seeds . Reaching the river , which was about half way on it's way out , I took the overgrown path alongside it , getting several sightings of Bullfinch , the males looking magnificent in the low Winter sun , but never managed to get a clear shot of any individual . The same for the Fieldfares and Redwings along my path , all flying off noisily before I could get them in the viewfinder , and warning the ones further down the river too . The Sunken Marsh looked and sounded very empty , apart from the odd Cettis Warbler , half breaking into song . I decided to cut across the top of Abbeymead  , up to Phil's raptor viewpoint and then down between Abbeymead and Brooklands lakes , finding no more than I had already come across . Almost back at the railway , the corner of Abbeymead held an adult and
two juvenile Mute Swans , the latter posing in line for a shot . Back along the railway path , more of the same , with a mixture of Blackbirds , Mistle Thrushes and Fieldfares , feeding right at the end ,
 but only a female Blackbird stayed for a shot . Heading back to the reedbed for another try for the
Bitterns , a distant Fieldfare gave the only opportunity for the species today . The second stint at the reedbed was just as unproductive as the first regarding Bittern , but it did produce a shot of a Great
Crested Grebe , out of the water , and I can only remember seeing them out of the water on nests before . It was incredible how awkward it looked out of water , given how agile the species can be in the water . After heading back to the car for my lunch , I headed for a look at the stream alongside Lunsfords Lane , Alders Lake , and the small fishing lake alongside . The only one to produce
anything different was the last one , in the form of a female Goldeneye . This small lake seems to
attract this species most years , and like all truly wild birds , she was very difficult to get anywhere near to get a shot , but with a bit of stealth , patience and luck , I managed a couple in the end . Heading back onto Lunsford Lane , the Cormorants were already gathering on Alders Lake ,
preparing for another cold night , as the watery sun disappeared behind another bank of cloud . I decided that although I couldn't wait till dusk for any Bitterns to come in to roost , I would have one more try before leaving . This visit to the reedbed , like the other two , was Bittern-less , but I was
rewarded with a visit from a Kingfisher , which landed very briefly on the tree on the small island in front of the reedbed , before flying off again . By the time I got back to the car and on my way home , the temperature was back to that on my arrival .


alan woodcock said...

Hi,nice to know at least one Goldeneye is back,sorry you missed the Bitterns.

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
I reckon Phil has put the mockers on every other blogger/birder on seeing a Bittern.
You did see some very good birds like the male Bullfinch, Kingfisher.
I need to go for a look around, as there are some birds there I haven't seen this year like Fieldfare, Redwing etc.

Phil said...

Sorry the Bitterns didn't play ball again Greenie. If it's any help I usually see them between 11 and noon, espcially if the sun is shining on the reedbed.
At least you got the Goldeneye, no sign when I looked during the week.

Warren Baker said...

No Bitterns Greenie, but plenty of other interest, not least Goldeneye, and a sitting kIngfisher :-)