Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wednesday 11th. January 2012

Cloudy with bright periods was the forecast , nothing was said about a barmy warm day , that would have been appreciated over last Summer . I made an early start , unsure exactly where I would finish up , but with reports of redhead Goosanders joining the male and a pair of Pintail yesterday , I made Sevenoaks Reserve my first stop . The car park was empty on arrival , but several anglers cars were in their car park . I made my way down the side of the East Lake , heading for the GCGrebe nest site beyond the island , but on the way spotted another pair building a nest much closer to the Visitor Centre . Unfortunately they spotted me at the same time , and moved off to ablute further out in the lake . The pair beyond the island were still working on their nest , but being constantly given grief by a flock of Canada Geese , and that pushed them further out into the lake too . With the low sun temporarily behind some cloud , I scanned the lake , but did not find the Goosander or Pintail , but had to stop when the sun reappeared . A quick look at Long Lake , and then on to Willow Hide . The sun had only reached the far side of Snipe Bog Lake and things were very quiet directly in front of the hide . I had already scanned the reedbed where I had seen the Bittern before Christmas , but there was no sign . I watched a pair of Egyptian Geese abluting in the sunshine further to the right until
they flew off noisily , then went back to the reedbed and spotted the Bittern , just coming out of the
right hand edge . It soon came out right in the open , and didn't seem worried about being away from
cover . In fact , at times it seemed to be full of the joys of Spring , as it went into a really strange dance , with wings flapping and moving quite fast . I was beginning to wonder if it was a display to another bird in the reedbed , but just the one was seen . Every now and again , it would dive back into
 the reedbed and not reappear for a couple of minutes or so . I was joined by a regular birder at the site , who was well pleased to get it on his year list the next time it showed . After about 13 minutes ,
looking back at all the shots , the Bittern made one last trip across to the right of the reedbed , and wandered off out of view . I stayed around for a short while , but it didn't show again . Once again , no Kingfisher on the sticks , but I did have a couple of sightings later on the East Lake , but the back
up turn was this Canada Goose , trying to turn itself inside out whilst abluting . Just one Redwing ,
the only Winter Thrush seen or heard on the site , was found on the way around to Tyler Hide , mind
you , it's British cousin was belting it out very close by . No sign of Goosander or Pintail from the hide , but an opportunity to up the number of Common Snipe in one frame presented itself , this time
eight specimens making it in . The sun was still shining as I left the site , heading for New Hythe to trespass on the patch of Phil / Sharp by Nature , in search of another duck species , the two Goldeneye that have been on the Trout Lake . They were not to be seen today , and found out later that they hadn't been seen yesterday either . I decided to text Phil to see if he was on site , and got the messasge back , 'yes , just found a Bittern on Brooklands' . Quite some distance from where I was , so I drove to Brooklands car park and shortly afterwards met up with Phil at the 'raptor viewpoint' .
In between , the Bittern had disappeared back down into the reeds and with several Water Board workers in 'hiviz' jackets , there was not a lot to be seen . It was good to catch up though , and whilst
we did so , we did get a Sparrowhawk flypast . We gave the Bittern plenty of time to reappear , but it didn't , and with Phil's time running out , we headed back to the car park and went our separate ways . Good to meet up again Phil . I checked the Trout Lake on passing as I went to make my second trespass of the day at East Malling Research Station , one of the patches of Adam / East Malling , Ditton and Barming , a site that was teeming with Winter Thrushes and later Waxwings last year . I parked by the church and walked the footpath leading to the Research Station . With plenty of apples on the ground as well as still on trees , it was eerily quiet . A few Woodpigeons and a Robin were seen , and I was half way down the footpath before a Fieldfare was heard , not seen . Four Fieldfares in the corner orchard by the buildings was all that could be mustered , and they were at distance . A few Chaffinches ands three Goldfinches , and I was heading back to the car . Finally , on the large tree , festooned with Mistletoe , at the junction of the road and the cross footpath , right at
the top , the only Fielfare to get in the frame today . What a difference from last year . As I reached the car , the first wisps of cloud could be seen , by the time I was half way home blue sky was at a premium and by the time I got home , it was back to grey all over sky . But it had been an extraordinary day of weather , and the car thermometer reached 14C , in January .


Warren Baker said...

That was one good day out Greenie :-) The afternoon cloud cover was inevitable, as I was out on my patch by then !!

Phil said...

What a great Bittern experience Greenie. It makes a real change to see pictures of one that isn't hiding in a reedbed.
Good to see you again today, sorry the New Hythe Bitterns weren't so obliging for you, they're only used to me!!

Spock said...

We had 2 Female Brimstone Butterflies today at Hutchinsons Bank, normally the males are seen first. Our Early Purple Orchids are also well advanced with spikes already appearing.

Rob said...

A great show from the Bittern, Greenie. Was that its courtship display?

Alan Pavey said...

What a greatcdisplay by the Bittern, what a treat, love the Fieldfare photo, great light on it.

Ken. said...

Great Bittern photo's. Nice to see one out in the open.
You certainly did the rounds today.