Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Monday 30th. January 2012 ( Part 2 )

Heading down towards Tower Hide , the small pond low down on the left , which always looks good for a Water Rail or even a Bittern , did produce some movement amongst the dead reed stems , but eventually the movement took off vertically , and revealed a drake Mallard . My initial view out of the Tower Hide revealed very little apart from Coot , Moorhen , a couple of Teal and a Rabbit . Further searching found at least another 5 Common Snipe , but these were in their usual mode of
feeding amongst vegetation , until one moved out to the waters edge for a wash and brush up .Also on the water's edge was a single Lapwing , some distance from all it's mates on the islands . Perhaps
it wanted to 'be alone' . A Green Woodpecker was also seen , fossicking amongst the dead vegetation at the far end of the reedbed , and half a dozen Greylag Geese flew in and made their way into the
little inlet between Tower and Kingfisher Hides , this one looking very full of pomp and circumstance . I had also been keeping an eye on the open water , finding not much more than
GCGrebes , Tufted Ducks and a few Gulls , when I noticed a bough line being formed by something
swimming at a really good pace , heading towards the beach area in front of the hide . As the visibility got better , I could see that it was a drake Goosander . I followed it across the lake and then checked the beach area to see where it was heading , and found that from somewhere , she definitely
wasn't there earlier , was a redhead/female Goosander ., possibly the one I photographed here a couple of visits ago . The drake paddled into the same area , but never got really close , mind you ,
the redhead didn't seem that bothered or impressed by his arrival . After the drake had a wash and brush up , the pair got their heads down and dozed , slowly drifting further down the beach . At one
stage , they were joined by a drake Wigeon , also in doze mode , that's him top left .With lots of Zs in the air , I decided to go and have a look from Slingsby Hide , and as usual was met by someone who
needs no introduction . All was quiet in the reedbed apart from the usual Coots in the area behind the hide , and yet again , no sign of Water Rail from this usually reliable site . A dispute between a Wren
and a Dunnock out front and a Wren fossicking on the ground directly below , was the only shot managed . A quick look out of Tower hide showed no sign of the drake Goosander , although the redhead , who had drifted even further along the beach , was still there . A scan of the lake found the drake right over the other side , just right of the gasometer , and back diving again . The drake
Wigeon was also mobile , just entering the little inlet , now vacated by the Greylag Geese . I headed back to the car and a warm drink and contemplated leaving it there , but once again decided to have one more look at Willow Hide , and it was on the track between Carter and Willow Hide that I found the trespasser , in the form of Ken / Focusing on Wildlife , looking a bit sheepish at being caught red handed . After catching up , Ken said that he had hoped to find the RRParakeets , the Egyptian Geese and the Siskins , but hadn't been lucky with any of the species , so we set off down the down to the bottom of East Lake where I had seen the RRPs earlier . Three birds were still present when we got there and Ken got a couple of shots in the gloom . We then walked out on the spit , hoping to reconnect with the Bullfinches , but no luck , but whilst showing Ken where I had the Goosanders earlier , found the pair right at the left side of the beach , but only just as neither of us had a scope . We stopped at the 5 bar gate to scan through the geese in the field , but again just Canada and Greylag were found . Just about to leave the gate , Ken took a tumble and recieved a blow to his cheek as he hit the ground , having got his foot tangled in Bramble , but he was more worried about his binoculars and camera . Fortunately , neither were damaged , but Ken decided to call it a day rather than taking the long walk around to Tower Hide that we were thinking about . We never did find the Siskins again , nor the Egyptian Geese , I hadn't seen any all day . As soon as we got to the car , I quickly explained to Pam that I hadn't tripped Ken over then punched him in the face , before he got in with that or another story . Ken and Pam left for home and a sit down and tot cuppa . It was good to meet up again Ken , hope you didn't do any lasting damage from the fall . It would be unkind of me to mention that you should take more water with your drink ! Along the track from the car park to the road I managed to get a full house of Thrushes , sighting Fieldfare , Redwing , Song and Mistle
Thrush and Blackbird , in quick succession , all feeding on Ivy berries .
On the way home , I had a quick look around a couple of small lakes almost over the road from the
reserve and found , sorry Ken , you don't want to know this , 5 Egyptian Geese . Just before arriving home and very close to the farm lake , a Cotoneaster bush overhanging the lane had attracted a large , estimated at 40/50 , flock of Fieldfares that lifted off as I passed like a cloud . I stopped a bit further down the lane but there was nowhere safe to stand on the narrow lane , so I left . 53 species on the day , including the Egyptian Geese , was two down on the last visit , but I was well happy .
This morning , just about 8 o'clock , a similar sized flock of Fieldfares turned up on next door's
Cotoneaster bush , and in just 10 minutes stripped a large area of berries . At this rate , I don't think there will be any on it by the weekend . Glad I did Sevenoaks Reserve yesterday , today it's been snowing lightly all morning and it is bitter .


ShySongbird said...

An absorbing two part account of your visit Greenie, I enjoyed them both. A very good total of 53 species and a good variety of photos too.

Nice to see the Snipe showing well. Glad you caught up with the Egyptian Goose in the end.

Sorry to read of Ken's tumble, you really shouldn't go tripping people up just because they have encroached on your territory though!!! -:)

Warren Baker said...

Poor old Ken!
53 species is going some Greenie, only nine less than I have seen here all month :-(

Phil said...

I was thinking of coming over to Sevenoaks soon Greenie, but if that's how you deal with interlopers I think i'll stay away!
Very nice two part post though.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Greenie, very good day list, that fall from Ken didn't sound too good though, glad the camera and bins were ok!!