Monday, 16 January 2012

Monday 16th. January 2012

-5C was the reading on the car thermometer as I pulled off the drive this morning , heading for Sevenoaks Reserve . The temperature did thankfully rise to 1C by the time I arrived , but it certainly was a shock stepping out of a warm car into the cold . I made straight for Willow Hide following East Lake which was almost completely free of ice but it was a different story at Snipe Bog Lake , which was frozen over apart from around the island and small areas along the far bank , all of which were bathed in the bright Winter sunshine . That sunshine had not yet reached the reedbed favoured by the Bittern , nor was there any sign of it . The area of open water to the left of the island held a good number of Coot , argumentative enough normally , even more so when all couped up in such a small area . Constant squabbling encouraged some to get away , which meant a long slippery walk
over the ice , and they became prime candidates for John Cleese's Ministry of Funny Walks . A flock of Canada Geese decided to vacate the far corner of the lake , to head for the fields behind , and two
of the flock gave a display of synchronised flying that would grace the Olympics , the timing of the rest of the flock was awful . With all extremities getting very cold , I only just managed to fire off a
few shots of a passing juvenile Cormorant , but when a Kingfisher flew by , almost touching the ice , I couldn't even feel the button to operate the shutter . Still no sign of the Bittern and the sun was now touching the tops of the reedbed , but I needed to walk around and warm up . A look at Long Lake
only produced a trickle of Lapwing overhead , they too heading for the fields . Both GCGrebe nest sites on East Lake were quiet , not surprising given the temperature difference from when they were building and many of the Ivy covered trees showed movement , which turned out to be a few
Blackbirds and a small flock of Redwing , like the ones on the Common , gorging on the Ivy berries . A small bird , hovering like a Goldcrest in the ground vegetation caught my attention . Fast moving ,
I did manage one bad shot of it , which appears to identify it as a Chiffchaff . The walk around the other side of East Lake was very quiet , even the Common Snipe had left the frozen ground that they been feeding on for some time now . Lots of Finches feeding on the ground in small flocks , but they
all turned out to be Chaffinches , not a single one could I make into a Brambling . Reaching Slingsby
Hide , I was greeted by the usual sentry , but that was just about the only sighting . Heading back towards the car park , and warmth , I found a small flock of birds in an Alder over the path . The
majority of them were Siskins , the first I have managed to find on the site during recent visits . Only trouble was I was wrong for the sun and they came out very dark . They were quite happy with me standing quietly , but when two mums with kids came along , they flew off . It wasn't until I got
home that I realised that at least one of the flock was a Lesser Redpoll . Almost at the car , a Long-
tailed Tit was going through a few trapeze tricks , but would it turn and face the camera !


Marianne said...

I wonder if it was you who was in the Willow hide when I arrived? Lovely day but yes, bitterly cold at first!

Greenie said...

Marianne ,
Yes , it think it must have been me , glasses and wooly hat .
It went through my mind later that it might have been you .
Next time , I'll ask .

Phil said...

I wish i'd gone to Sevenoaks now, it would have been a bloggers convention I think!

Rob said...

That is a comical coot, Greenie!

Warren Baker said...

I'm wondering if that Chiffchaff was the one I saw at the reserve before Xmas :-)

Rohrerbot said...

Love your wildlife shots! The birds are really interesting. Just started birding myself and it's a lot of fun:) The snakes in your header gave me the heebie jeebies.

Ken. said...

Nice to see you braved the cold, as it turned out you saw some good birds.
I must go there again to try to see the Siskin and Redpoll.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Greenie :-) It's so good to be back! What a cold visit that was but you got some lovely photos! A beautiful one of 'the sentry' and I love the Redwing too.

The Coot looked even more comical than they usually do and must have been amusing to watch on the ice!

I hope you have thawed out by now :-)