Monday, 11 March 2013

Monday 11th. March 2013

Recent weather conditions have not exactly been conducive with getting out and about , but I did manage a very wintry visit to Hayes Farm yesterday morning . It was so cold that even the 'brass monkey' failed to show up . Unexpectedly , not a single Winter Thrush was found , but both Song and Mistle were in full song . Gulls dominated the horse paddocks , with a good showing of Common and just a single Lesser Black-backed combining with the Black-headed . The Trout Fishery , being the highest point on the farm was Artic , with a very lazy , bitter wind blowing . The scan was well worth while though , with four pairs of Gadwall , three pairs of Tufted Duck , along with the usual Mallard types and the farmyard duck . Two pairs of Little Grebe were amongst the Coots and Moorhens . Greylag Geese were dominating the floating nest islands in the middle of the fishery , Canadas were bathing in the furthest margins , and the resident white farmyard geese were holding territory on the far bank as usual , but no sign of any Egyptians . Only other interest was a mini 'murmuration' of Starlings over the fields beyond the lake . I must admit , I was pleased to get back to the car , and out of that wind .
My plans for today were scuppered with snow flurries and longer spells of snow , right from first light . I did get a couple of chores done in the garage and got up to date on processing recently taken photos , which I was pleased to have done . About 2.30 this afternoon , I read a report of a Water Rail seen , within a stones throw of the High Street in Bromley . I looked out of the window , and it was a bit brighter , without any snow , so I decided to head off and see if I could find the bird . On arrival , there was still no snow , but today's wind was even colder than yesterday . I checked the area where the bird had been seen , an area of open water with much debris floating around , between two sections of culverted river , and dominated by a large island with  several very large multi-stemmed Willow trees and Phragmites Reed . I found Mallards , Coots and Moorhens , but no Water Rail . A walk downstream failed too , but another sign of Spring , in the form of the only broad-leaved tree in
the UK to bear cones , the Alder , were sporting both male and female catkins , together with last
year's cones . The yellow/green catkins are the males , the females being bud shaped , and coloured not unlike the female Hazel flowers . By the time I got back to the car , I was ready to head home , but decided to have one last look . As I got almost to the end of the island , I saw some ripples , and could make out a bird dipping into the water . I thought Coot or Moorhen , but through the branches
of the Willow , with the help of the binoculars , it turned out to be the Water Rail . The bird spotted me immediately , and scurried off to finish it's wash and brush up amongst the debris further back on
the island . As usual with this species , clear shots prove difficult to get , but a few minutes later , it headed out into the open for just a few seconds , before disappearing into the Phragmites at the back
of the island in ever worse light conditions , as yet another snow flurry moved in , so with not being able to feel my fingers , I was quite happy to call it a day and head back home .
Apologies for anyone who tried to use the link at the end of my last post , as it didn't work , and I don't know why . So , I asked John if I could post one of the Red Kite shots , which I do here . Yes ,
the Red Kite that turned up after I left the reserve , what's new ? Great shot John .
And finally , especially for fellow blogger ShySongbird , the first Primroses that I have found this
year , I know they are a favourite .


Marc Heath said...

That was cold today and those migrants should turn round at the moment.

ShySongbird said...

Thank you so much Greenie, you have just cheered up a very bleak day. The Primroses are beautiful and are indeed my all time, absolute favourite wildflower :-)

Very well done on eventtually finding the Water Rail, you certainly deserved that reward for braving the elements. An interesting read as always.

Mike H said...

Great read Geenie and nice to see that Kite. I am glad I was not the only one who could not make the link work. Very brave to be out at the moment.

Warren Baker said...

It was freezing this morning Greenie!

Mind you it wasn't exactly warm this afternoon, a Water rail would have made things a bit more bearable though, only ever seen one once here!