Monday, 9 December 2013

Monday 9th. December 2013

With a redhead Smew being reported yesterday , I arrived at the car park at Sevenoaks Reserve just after 0730 , and was the only person there . The sun hadn't got above the trees as made my way down the left side of East Lake , heading for the clay bar , where previous species members seemed to favour . Plenty of the expected wildfowl , especially Pochard , but the wrong red heads . Half way down the lake , the assembled mixed Goose flock , took off noisily , silhouetted against the rising
sun , heading for the sheep fields behind Long Lake . By the time I reached the gate overlooking the fields , the flock were busily grazing , amongst them the unusual white specimen that seems to turn up every Autumn . As I stood at the gate , a constantly calling Buzzard could be heard in the distance , which I eventually found in an Oak tree with several local Corvids for company . I hung around , hoping that the Buzzard might be moved on , but it stayed put , and eventually the Corvids got fed up and they moved on . During the time at the gate , a Rose-ringed Parakeet flew quickly and
noisily overhead , the first I've seen for a while on site . Returning back alongside Long Lake , lots of berries and rosehips , but nothing about to eat them , but did see a Kingfisher speeding down the lake , just above the water . At Willow Hide with water all around , just the usual , with a male
Pochard trying to make up for the Smew , until from behind the island a pair of Wigeon appeared as if they were joined together , the male never straying from his partner and she being followed every
move by hers . When three Geese relinquished the tree roots in front of the island , the pair made
straight for the spot and started preening , side by side of course . Another two male Wigeon were seen later on East Lake . Uneventful again back to the viewing mound at the entrance , but as I was about to move on to Tyler Hide , a group appeared from the car park and I guessed that they would be heading there , so I stayed put and following on , sure enough that was where they headed , so I headed for Sutton Hide , finding several Canada Geese and a white specimen , but cannot be sure if it
was the same bird that I saw earlier in the field . As can be seen , the sun was up now and it was mild , but I didn't expect to find three drake Gadwall displaying to a single female . The males taking
it in turns to throw out their chests and flick back their heads to impress her . Mind you , I shouldn't have been surprised , as last week on a very quiet visit to Kelsey Park in Beckenham , I came across a pair of Moorhen mating . The usual path had been cut through the reeds outside Slingsby Hide , but it didn't encourage a Water Rail to show whilst I was there . Just before leaving , a Litytle Egret flew in an landed on the back on the back of the reedbed , only slightly visible through the reeds , so I
returned to Sutton Hide and there it was , snoozing in the sunshine , where I left it . Returning towards Sutton Hide , I scanned the islands for the 70+ Common Snipe that had been recorded , finding not a single one . By the time I reached the hide , the group had gone and I had it to myself .
Scanning the islands I started finding the Snipe , and in between them all taking off with the Lapwing , fying a couple of circuits and landing back down , had counts of 45 and 51 , a distant shot
of the two species showing some of them . By the time I returned to the car , I still hadn't seen or heard a single Siskin or Redpoll , most unusual for the site in Winter . I decided to rectify the lack of Siskin sightings by heading for a feeder station in woodland near Bough Beech Reservoir , which was alive with Siskins last year . As I approached the feeders , birds could be heard , but not the constant
chattering of Siskins . Tits were taking full advantage of the food source , with Blue , Great , Marsh , Coal and Long-tailed all visiting on a regular basis , along with Goldfinch , Chaffinch and Nuthatch .
It wasn't until just before I left that a single male Siskin visited , and he didn't stay long . I had to pass Bough Beech Reservoir on the way home , so stopped for a look , hoping to see one of the Goosander that were reported on Saturday , whilst I was hedgelaying . No sign on the North Lake and looking down the main reservoir with a low Winter sun , made it difficult to find anything , added to that high water level , well back into the surrounding trees , I thought I was on a loser . So imagine my surprise
when I scanned down the righthand side of the reservoir with binoculars and found a minimum of 15 Goosander , 4M 11 redheads . They were a long way off but have posted a record shot . A cropped
shot shows fewer , including two of the handsome drakes . I think I was just lucky as they seemed to be having a wash and brush up , as soon after , they disappeared into the trees .
And finally , having found several autumnal plants still in flower , no doubt due to the lack of severe frosts this year , I was amazed to read of a Wood Anemone found in flower in Sussex , then on Saturday , some of the Blackthorn in the hedge that we were laying , had open flowers , crazy .


Mike H said...

Hi Greenie, looks like our paths crossed at some stage today. I was on the causeway or round at the feeders in the visitor centre today between 1pm and 3pm. At one stage I had 19 Goosander today, 7 Males and 10 females on the large lake and 2 more females on the smaller lake. Later in the afternoon the 2 joined up with the rest flying over the road .

Warren Baker said...

Found some flowering Burdock recently Greenie, could be a short winter this year.

Hopefully one or two of those Goosander may come my way this winter :-)

Greenie said...

Mike ,
Given your timings , we probably just missed each other . The feeders I referred to are a couple of miles from BB , and I didn't get to the causeway till after 3pm.
Perhaps next time ?

Phil said...

All those Goosanders, that's quite a sight. About time I saw my first one of the winter. One of my favourite birds.