Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wednesday 27th.March 2013

Another early , cold start , to get down to Sevenoaks Reserve , with the hope of finding a couple of species that have been recorded there recently . Just two cars in the car park when I arrived , and a look from Grebe Hide , behind the car park , and the first target species was sighted , a pair of
Goosander , still to rub the sleep from their eyes , well out into West Lake , towards the area of sunken trees where the Cormorants rest up . I thought I would try to get closer along the edge of the West Lake , but as I left Grebe Hide , someone was opening up the Visitor Centre and toilets , noisily . The first view I got of the lake from just left of the viewing ramp , found the pair , obviously wide awake now , and taking to the air down the lake , no doubt disturbed by the noise from the VC .
I fired off a burst of shots , but once again , they were some distance from the camera . They urned right at the end of the lake and I thought they might drop into Snipe Bog Lake , but when I arrived at Willow Hide there was no sign , just lots of Canada and Greylag Geese . Leaving the hide , plenty of birdsong along the track to Long Lake , mainly Tits , but lots of small groups of Siskin , fragments of the large flocks seen on earlier visits . No sign of the Bittern , again , in fact Long Lake only
produced a pair of Mute Swan and this pair of Canada Geese , don't ask what was going on . Retracing my steps back alongside East Lake , facing into some now milky sunshine , a pair of
Egyptian Geese were trying to get onto the island , but were thwarted by the Canadas and Grelags already in residence on it . As I passed the point where the River Darenth leaves the West Lake , a pair of very yellow Chiffchaffs were doing a good imitation of Goldcrests , flitting and hovering amongst the bankside vegetation . More groups of Siskin on the way to Tyler Hide , where a bitter
wind was blowing down the length of the lake . A single male Shellduck was amongst the islands , and fleeting glimpses of another target species , Little Ringed Plover , as they chased amongst the islands . Along with the numerous Lapwings , the Common Snipe produced another 'Spot the Birds'
competition , especially for ShySongbird , this being only just some of the Common Snipe still around . More Siskins on the way to Sutton Hide , and also just three Lesser Redpoll , this being one
of them . Apart from a few Teal and lots of Black-headed Gulls , the only other interest from the hide was the pair of Goosanders again , now keeping well down the end of the lake , beyond the island . Slingsby Hide produced , nothing , despite being told by another birder that the Water Rail was out in the open for over an hour one day recently for one lucky birder/photographer . Returning to Tyler Hide , I set about trying for a better view of the 3 LRPs , and eventually one of them did stay still
long enough to grab a few shots , but once again at distance , and later , one landed near a Herring
Gull , which showed just how small these little migrants really are . It was about then that I made a most unexpected sighting of a rare species , Phil / Sharp by Nature , long time no see . A catch up whilst trying to watch the LRPs , after which , Phil headed off to Sutton and Slingsby Hides , hope you had better luck than I did . Good to see you again Phil . The only change out front was that the
Common Snipe decided to come out of their cover and feed on the edges of the islands . By now my feet were blocks of ice , so I decided to call it a day , as I had to do a bit of shopping in Sevenoaks , before calling in at the 'Tree felling' reserve on my way home . On the way there , I passed this frozen
ice sculpture , formed by water on the corner of one of the lanes being splashed onto the roadside vegetation . And there I'll leave it , and post my visit to the reserve after the work day up on the Common tomorrow .
Would just mention that I am unable to comment on other blogger's post at the moment . After typing my comment and clicking 'Publish' , I get a page asking me if I want to open a Google Account !
Any ideas ?


Mike H said...

Another great account Greenie with some lovely photos to accompany it.

ShySongbird said...

You had a pretty good visit with some nice encounters Greenie...including good hide views of Mr Sharp!

I was just thinking what fun it is to play spot the Snipe when I scrolled a bit further and found you know me too well ;-) A great capture of them in the open!

I do like LRPs and you are right they are surprisingly small which your photo emphasises, I was struck by their size when I first saw one at Draycote. Good to see the Redpoll so closely to.

Phil said...

Good to see you yesterday Greenie.
I managed to find the Goosanders and the Chiffchaffs but couldn't connect with the Redpolls.
Hope you manage to overcome your blog prob.