Monday, 16 April 2012

Monday 16th. April 2012

With blue sky but hard frost and low temperature this morning , I wasn't sure where I was going as I pulled out of the drive . It felt more like those days during the winter when I visited Sevenoaks Reserve , so that was where I decided to start . Arriving at the car park at just 3C on the car thermometer , a couple of extra layers were put on and off I went . I had read recently that the Little Ringed Plovers had returned , so I made them my first target , heading for the Public Hide , with the small islands in front . As soon as I opened a window , I was met by a very cold blast blowing straight from the North Pole by the feel of it . Not a lot of activity apart from the male Lapwing still
trying to attract a female , and being interupted by another male whilst trying to do so . He was still
making that strange clicking sound as he displayed , and at one point two Greylag Geese approached him to see what all the noise was about . Mind you , they couldn't complain , as two of theirs went
into a noisier display to each other , having just mated . Lots of Pied Wagtails chasing madly from
island to island whilst a drake Shellduck just passed by , looking somewhat aloof . Eventually the Little Ringed Plovers showed up , acting the same as the Pied Wagtails , island hopping . It seemed
as if there was just one female , being relentlessly pursued by two males . Every now and again things quietened down as they took a rest , before resuming the chase . Though some distance off , I
got a few shots during one of the quiet periods . When I couldn't stand the wind any more , I went to see how the Great Crested Grebes were doing , they were nest building on my last visit in the next bay . The nest looked finished , but only one bird was around , looking quite lost . Plenty of birdsong
 around the reserve , especially Blackcaps , they seemed to be everywhere . I don't think there was a time when I didn't hear one singing whilst I was there . Mind you , lots of Wrens were also seen , and
many of them were in full song too . Around the other side of the East Lake , 3 more GCG nest that I
saw being built were also found birdless , and out in the lake a pair were still displaying . From Willow Hide , very few ducks , mainly Canada , Greylag and a few Egyptian Geese . In the field behind , it looked like a new lot of lambs had been born , these in better conditions than the last , having to endure the snow . Looking back at the lake , all the Geese seemed to be heading to the far
side , I then noticed a Fox on the far bank , and the flotilla of Geese , now joined by a male Mute Swan , shadowed the Fox as it made it's way along the bank and disappeared into a reedbed , and out of sight . The flotilla moved to the far end of Snipe Bog Lake , presumably tracking the Fox , where
the Mute Swans were nesting . Now the cob thought that the flotilla was too near his pen , and proceeded to chase them off . On Long Lake I found another Mute Swan nest , this time close to the
path , but unoccupied with eggs showing . Close to the nest was the remains of a predated egg ,
possibly the Fox seen earlier .When I passed it a little later , I'm glad to say the pen had returned and was brooding the remaining eggs . The birdsong continued all the way back to the car park , courtesy
this time of a male Chaffinch and a couple of Treecreepers .. Before spotting me , this male Great
Spotted Woodpecker was working on a new nest hole , but he soon disappeared as I came into view .
Passing North Lake , a Greylag Goose looked very settled on her nest , and around Carter Hide , no Kingfishers , but at least 3 , possibly 4 male Blackcaps trying to woo 2 females , this being a very shy
one . It was about lunchtime now , so decided to head up onto the Downs to look for butterflies and reptiles , the clouds were rolling in now , but I'll finish that part of the day tomorrow .


Alan Pavey said...

A lovely selection of pics Greenie, looking forward to the afternoon events.

Rob said...

Yes, it's lovely to hear so much birdsong about, Greenie. It really lifts the spirits!

Phil said...

Nice pics and account Greenie. About time it warmed up now I think. Hopefully a bit warmer in Majorca where I will be from tuesday.

ShySongbird said...

A very interesting read again Greenie and some very nice photos. I particularly like the GSW, male Blackcap and Wren.

An interesting account of the Fox/flotilla event.

It seemed more like November here yesterday and barely any birdsong at all!