Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Wednesday 23rd. January 2013

Yesterday , I spent most of the morning at the Barn Owl site , in the hope that , given the recent weather , they might have been forced to hunt during the day , having read several reports of this happening . Needless to say , the only thing I got was very cold , apart from a flyover Grey Heron ,

looking even greyer against a very grey sky . Heading back towards the car , and some warmth , four
Long-tailed Tits were busy at a feeder , but a few seconds later , they were on their way . Still haven't
found a Brambling this Winter , but this Dunnock was doing a good clean up job under another feeder .
Today , I decided to have a look at Sevenoaks Reserve , in the hope that a winter visitor might have dropped in . From Marianne's recent post , I knew that many of the lakes were frozen over , and so it proved , with West , North , Snipe Bog and Long Lakes all looking like skating rinks , but surprisingly , the East lake was almost ice free , so I headed off towards Tyler Hide . A few of the expected species were seen , when all of a sudden , everything took off from the islands as a low flying Sparrowhawk flew across from the direction of Willow Hide . What was surprising was the number of Common Snipe that appeared from their tucked away positions on the islands , some 25/30 in my estimation , then as a flock , did a couple of circuits of the lake before the majority heading off over the far corner where the RRParakeets nest , and seemed to drop down into the fields behind .
The odd one or two returned to around the islands like this one , but I think I would prefer to have my feet out of water in these conditions . Leaving the hide , another birder told me he had seen 1 perhaps 2 redhead Goosanders at distance from the viewing ramp , down towards the clay spit . I headed off towards Tower Hide , constantly scanning the spit area , but without any luck . The only birds seen
from the hide were this pair of Gadwall , tucked up against a cold wind down the lake . The water behind Slingsby Hide was another skating rink , so I did the loop back to the main track , hearing , but not seeing , Siskins on the way . As I got back towards the viewing ramp , I spotted the two redhead Goosander just off the island . I stayed  under cover and they came closer , eventually
swimming around the island , where I managed to get the closest shots . Having swum around the
island , they emerged from the far side and then flew off heading down the lake , seeming to splash down amongst the islands beyond Tyler Hide . I followed them down the lake , and soon found them feeding in amongst the islands . They were a good distance off , but it was interesting watching them
dive , with an 'entourage' of Black-headed Gulls in attendance , no doubt hoping to pick up a free meal from what the Goosanders had stirred up . One bird did come a bit closer , but with the light
conditions as they were , they didn't do justice . Beyond the feeding Goosanders were several
Shoveler , most of them dozing , but this pair seemed more energetic . Lunch was calling , and it was starting to snow again , so I left the Goosanders to theirs as I headed back to the car park to get mine . I did stop very briefly at the feeders at Grebe Hide and in a matter of a couple of minutes , most of
the expected species showed up , including the super little Marsh Tit , and a very inquisitive Robin .
With the snow getting heavier and the light getting worse , if that was possible , I headed off home . Both yesterday and today , I looked for the juvenile Common Buzzard on my way home , but failed to find him on either occasion , so it's still fingers crossed .


ShySongbird said...

It looked like you had a good though very cold couple of visits Greenie. Well done on trying for the Barn Owl, a shame you weren't lucky.

Goosander are very elegant looking I think. I can never get very close to them though. I love the photos of the Marsh Tit and the Robin!

We had more snow yesterday and a little today too. I had two Bramblings in the garden a couple of days ago, i couldn't manage any photos though.

Alan Pavey said...

Nice post Greenie, shame the Barn Owl didn't want to play but that was an impressive number of Snipe, Goosander are always great to see.