Friday, 6 January 2012

Friday 6th. January 2011

Finally got the car fixed on Tuesday , thankfully without too much grief on the wallet , but got a good soaking both after dropping it off , and again , going to pick it up . Then spent Wednesday and Thursday hedgelaying in a very unprotected area , at the top of a hill , and got almost blown away by some of the gusts and squalls , especially on Thursday . I did however see the largest flock of Fieldfares fly over , about 50 in number .Today we needed to catch up on the belated monthly shop , but managed to put that off till the afternoon , making an early morning visit to Sevenoaks Reserve first . Arriving just as the sun was coming up , it was nice to see some blue sky and a relief that that wind had relented . Straight away , the higher water levels was very noticeable as I made my way to Willow Hide . Before arriving , it was obvious that there was plenty of activity on Snipe Bog Lake , but it was down to the usual suspects , and even though the warmth of the sun was coming through , there was no sign of the Bittern in the furthest reedbed . The majority of the noise was coming from many male Teal , relentlessly persuing a small number of females , the males attempting to get in front of the female
and displaying to her , by rising out of the water and throwing the head backwards , very similar to the Mandarins .This male was right in the middle of the display . Lots of Gadwall , a few Wigeon and Shoveler and the usual Mallards and Tufted completed the ducks . Even with the sticks well out in the water now , no sign of a Kingfisher here . Heading down towards Long Lake , I spotted movement out on the East Lake , where Great Crested Grebes had made a nest last year , amongst trailing branches in the water . Once again , a pair were busy collecting stick and other materials .
Only problem was , the sun was rising directly behind the pair . I managed to get reasonably close ,
 and after a while , the pair swam out into the lake and started displaying to each other . A few
minutes later , they returned to the nest , dived down for more materials , and both surfaced with a bill full of material and started the 'walking on water dance' . Needless to say , I was in the worst position possible to take photos , but took what I could , and cursed under my breath . After the dance , the pair moved further out into the lake and had a wash and preen session . I headed around the other side of the lake to get the sun behind me . From the Public hide there was a good mix of Gulls .Greylag Geese and scanning to the right , spotted a male Goosander . I hot footed it around to the viewing point just past the islands , to find that the male was now outside the Public hide , but
well out in the lake . I retraced my steps and finally got him in the frame . He then went into a wash
and brush-up routine , never coming closer than the outer island , and finishing with a good flap to
dry things out , before settling on one of the islands for a preening session . Checking out the other islands for any more of the species was unsuccessful , but did turn up a Greater Black-backed Gull ,
looking almost as large as the Greylag Geese it was standing next to . Plenty of Lapwing constantly lifting off for the slightest reason before settling back in the same place , and at least 21 Common
Snipe , probably a few more unseen were also of interest . I did walk down to Tower and Slingsby hides , but found little of interest , but plenty of debris left over from the two days of high winds . A quick look for the Goosander on my way back was unsuccessful . Plenty of birdsong all the way around the reserve with three Kingfisher sightings , no Siskin sightings this visit , but Redpoll and Fieldfare were heard but not seen . As usual , plenty of Tit species around , the best poser being this
Great Tit , and a Great Spotted Woodpecker looked very dapper against that cloudless sky , whilst
looking for food , high up on an Alder . Two very quick , but exquisite male Bullfinch sightings that failed to get captured , and finally , a shot from the shadows , but one that appealed
to me as I walked by , even if the branches got in the way , again .
Another days hedgelaying tomorrow with the Surrey Group , not far from RHS Wisley .


Marc Heath said...

You nearly got them displaying well, one of nature's photos to get. A nice account though.

Phil said...

Glad to hear you're mobile again Greenie. I was starting to think it might be terminal!!
A very nice springlike post from Sevenoaks, nice to see a Goosander, haven't seen many this winter.

Alan Pavey said...

Nice shots Greenie and a very busy visit, great to find the Goosander and good numbers of Snipe, excellent.

Warren Baker said...

You got a few different species than I did when I went there Greenie. Good to get that GBB Gull and the Goosander :-)

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
well done with getting photo's of the G/C/Grebe's performing their weed dance. I have seen it once before and it was really something to see.
Well done with the Goosander too.