Thursday, 28 March 2013

Thursday 28th.March 2013

Well , that will teach me to check emails before posting , as when I did do , today's last work day of the Winter had been cancelled , due to the group having done all that was required to finish the season off last week .
So , getting back to yesterday , and my visit to the 'Tree laying' reserve . I was welcomed with some pleasant sunshine , but as usual these days , that didn't last long , with cloud cover increasing throughout the visit . It was also eerily quiet , with no sound of Siskins that could be heard all over last visit . By the time I got to the feeders , a few could be heard , along with Great and Blue Tits and Nuthatch singing it's Spring song . The male Siskins had really come into breeding plumage , and did
look very smart , not saying that the females weren't stunning too . I had a good wander around the reserve , even though the weather was deteriorating , but failed to find John , one of the stalwarts , who's van I had parked next too on my arrival . I was about to give up on finding him , when he appeared from the bottom of a bank . He had been quietly sitting , photographing a pair of Long
Tailed Tits , found at the weekend , busily building their nest in a very open patch of Brambles . As can be seen , the nest was built from the bottom up , and the pair were in the process of building the dome . We stood some 7 mtrs. away , above the nest on the bank and behind a tree , but I think that if we had been standing next to the nest , they would have carried on regardless . The pair continuously returned , each with material in their bills and one at a time dropped in through the hole to place it either inside or on the lip of the hole . The first bird always waited for the second to finish off , before both flew off for more materials . The number of visits to have got the nest to the present state must have been in the hundreds , what a work of art . The funniest part was when one of the birds , probably the female , after several visits , would appear to spin around in the nest to get the right
shape , and as she did so , the nest bulged out where she was pushing . Here the second bird is waiting for the first to finish . We couldn't see an entrance hole , so this will probably be at the present height of the build . We must have spent the best part of an hour watching them , during which time we had three Common Buzzards low overhead and calling , but with all the trees , I was unable to focus on ant of them . We left the LTTs to carry on with the good work and went to a more open area to see if the Red Kite was about , I wish , which it wasn't , but we did get a flyover by a
Sparrowhawk in the deepening gloom . John earlier had had a pair displaying , before I arrived , of course . Above the Sparrowhawk passed a Corvid , I never got binoculars on it till I finished firing off
some shots , but it did have a very powerful bill . Two more Common Buzzards were seen as we left the reserve , but they were just silhouettes in the gloom .
With today's work cancelled , carol suggested doing the monthly shop , but some unexpected sunshine saw me heading out the door , hoping to get that Water Rail on the edge of Bromley in better light than before . Strange birding on a footpath next to an old millstream , with people walking past into the town centre , but there I was , but no sign of the Water Rail . A total of three Grey
Wagtails were seen this visit , with positively one male and one female . I saw three flying but
couldn't be sure of the sex of the third bird . Again , the weather deteriorated on the visit , from sunny periods to snow flurries and overcast . Walking up and down the millstream , a few interesting birds
included a Moorhen on a nest made almost entirely of rubbish , a juvenile Cormorant , that just
appeared in the top of one of the Willows on the island , before feeding with an adult just below the
culvert outfall , then drying off on a perch near the far bank . And the Water Rail , I did have it in sight for no more than 20 seconds amongst the phragmites , looking pretty fed up . It was just standing on some dead reed , then dropped down behind , not to be seen again on the visit . And of
course , during those seconds , the sun was behind clouds . With no other sightings , I made my way home in the snow flurries , and after a hot coffee , we set of to do the monthly shop .
Sorry , still unable to comment on other blogs .


Warren Baker said...

I'd love a shot f a water rail like that Greenie :-)

Lets hope those Long Tailed tits defy the odds are raise some young!

alan woodcock said...

Hi,nice read,good Water Rail photo.

ShySongbird said...

Another good read Greenie. It must have been fascinating to watch the LTTs, I believe it can take up to three weeks to completed their nest building which makes it such a shame that they are so heavily predated or fail in other ways. Well done on the Water Rail!

I've not encountered that problem with Blogger before. If you just dismiss the message or tick no will it not let you just carry on and comment? I looked on Google but can't see any recent reports of the problem.

Marc Heath said...

Nice shots Greenie, nice to know the birds are nest building.

Marianne said...

I'd be very happy with that Water Rail shot too! Lovely post, the Long-tailed Tit nest is such a work of art.

John from the Chid said...

This is a cracking water rail.... nice one