Monday, 12 December 2011

Monday 12th. December 2011

With most of the rest of the week looking not very good weatherwise , I got out early in the sunshine and headed for Sevenoaks Reserve , with the intention of having a look around , then moving on . It might have been sunny , but it was still cold , with a cold breeze by the water . I headed towards Willow Hide , and it wasn't long till I heard the constant chattering of Siskins , right up in the top of
the Alders . Their constant movement , along with the breeze , did not make getting a few shots
easy , but just the odd ones came out half decent . There were probably 50/75 in the flock , spread amongst several trees . Just the usual waterfowl from Willow Hide , and Egyptian and Canada Geese in the fields beyond . Lots of Chaffinches , mixed Tit flocks and a couple of Song Thrushes were seen along the track between East Lake and Long Lake ,along with
this Dunnock , that looked as if it was still wearing it's thermals . On the way back , a small flock of
about 10 Lesser Redpolls was found , once again high up , this time in Silver Birch . I'll be glad when
 they have eaten all the high stuff and pose lower down . Several Jays and Magpies seemed to be arguing , but it didn't seem to bother the Redpolls , but when the Air Ambulance helicopter flew over low , that was the last I saw of them . I put up two Grey Herons on my way to the Public Hide , but no sign of the Little Egret today . Lots of Lapwings and mixed Gulls and the usual Greylag Geese on the islands from the hide , and on the grassy area to the left , about 15/20 Common Snipe , could well
have been more . Just the small area covered by this shot held 7 of the species . The walk down to Tower Hide found a couple more small groups of Siskin , but little else . The view from the hide found nothing at all . A quick look from Slingsby Hide failed again to produce a Water Rail , just a couple of Reed Buntings , several Blue Tits and the resident Robin . Retracing my steps , I heard Green and GSWoodpecker and also Mistle Thrush . Getting back to where I started , I decided to have a look at Carter Hide , but it only produced a Sparrowhawk in the trees on the far bank . I followed the alternative path to Willow Hide , finding the 'ugly duckling' , fast asleep on the way . I
managed to past without waking it .A second look from the hide , now that the sun had got onto the
water did produce a couple of juvenile Pied Wagtails , searching for their breakfast , and the sun now
made the drake Teal look very dapper as he followed his lady . There then followed the most unusual couple of hours . As I said earlier , I was going to move on , Phil's New Hythe was in mind , but as I rejoined the track alongside the East Lake , constant calls from Kingfishers were heard , and the first of probably 35/40 sightings of the species began . I know for a fact that there were at least 5 birds involved , and it looked to me as if there were two pairs , and the odd one , but there could well have been others . The two pairs seemed to be arguing and one minute the pair from the corner near the Visitor Centre would chase off the other pair and all would go quiet , then the reverse would happen . All this was going on beyond the trees on the edge of the lake , but I found that by waiting at one of the fishing platforms in between the VC corner and the island half way down the track , the birds would spot me and veer off and head over the Darenth and in the direction of the Willow Hide , only to reappear shortly afterwards and continue the feud . I did find a spot on the corner where I had a
good view of the goings on , but it was very distant . I tried to get shots of the action , but it was all too quick , as they appeared and disappeared into the trees . The above shot was the best I could manage , but it was very distant . The odd time , a single bird flew into and settled briefly in the
corner , no doubt to get it's breath back , but once again it was at distance . Apart from the visual aspect of the scene , the constant calling of the birds , even when they had flown some distance from the lake edge , could be heard . By the time I left them to it , which was nearly two hours later , I had taken lots of shots , but 99.9% of them turned out to be totally useless , thank heaven for digital
photography . On my way back to the car , two Great Crested Grebes , who seemed to be on a mission , made it into the viewfinder , but a small raft of Pochard way out in the middle of the lake didn't .By now it was too late for New Hythe , or anywhere else for that matter , just where the time went watching and attempting to photograph the Kingfishers went , I have no idea .
This post is a day late , as , having done all the work and about to publish it last night , Internet Explorer crashed , and I lost the whole thing apart from the opening couple of lines . The computer very nearly joined the wind and rain outside the back bedroom window last night .


Phil said...

Sounds like things are hotting up at Sevenoaks then Greenie. Good to see some Redpolls about, absent from NH it seems at the moment. Strange Kingfisher behaviour, sounds like a territory dispute but why now?
Know what you mean about computers, when they're good they're very good and when they're bad they're b****y awful!!

Warren Baker said...

Much more excitement for you Greenie, its very dull here. I once witness a couple of Kingfishers disputing a territory on the lakes here, they were zooming about as yours were!

Paul said...

It must have been fascinating to watch all those Kingfishers mate. I had a little more luck with kingfisher pics on my blog.
I'm hoping to take my son to Sevenoaks reserve soon, its been ages since we last visited there. The times we have been, have always produced a nice mixed bag of sightings.