Sunday, 13 March 2016

Sunday 13th. March 2016

A pictoral catch up on some recent outings .
At Bough Beech Reservoir , a male Pochard was more willing to pose this visit ,
but , just one Goosander was seen , a fine drake .
Whilst along the causeway , one of two Goldcrests stopped 'flitting about' for as short time .
The down House bird survey , with a Dunnock in full song in the formal gardens , produced 18 species , ith just one winter visitor , a single Fieldfare .
An early arrival at the empty car park at Sevenoaks Reserve , was rewarded with a small flock of Redwing ,
and just beyond the visitor centre , one of two noisy Jays .
Heading towards Willow Hide , the Grey Heron was low in it's nest , probably on eggs ,
but from Willow Hide , just 6 drake Shoveler , pretending to be ostriches .
On the other side of the East Lake , the pair of Reed Buntings both managed to get into the same frame .
A trip to Rainham Marshes on a grey day , was rewarded with a flock of Golden Plover from the first hide ,
several flyby sightings , without a stop , of 1/2 Kingfisher , and a most confiding male Stonechat that flew in
 and posed on a fence just a few metres away . An attempt to find a recently reported Firecrest at Chislehurst failed , but moving on to Scadbury Park LNR , another flock of Redwing were found feeding in a horse paddock , along with twoWagtails . Very mobile , I only managed one shot . The grey back and the
 black of the breast not joining the black of the head making it a possible White Wagtail ?
Under logs around a pond , several Smooth Newts were found . On the way home , a look around the
Common found the start of a Long-tail Tit nest , with the pair working hard . Fingers crossed !!
 Last Friday , a trip to Elmley Reserve in sunny but cool conditions , primarily to look for Brown Hare ,
started well with several Marsh Harriers being seen . A female was found on the ground , whilst a male was
searching for a meal along one of the many ditches . It proved a good day for raptors , with several Common

Buzzard , at least 2 Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk , that managed to put everything to flight when it passed
overhead . Eventually I got a few Hare sightings , but they were all distant , amongst long grass , and they
soon headed back into cover . A couple of moves of position , and I came across an individual lying out in
 the open and taking no notice of the camera . Another move and a wait , and another hopped it's way
towards the track , then stopped for a look around and a bit of a wash and brush up . Things then went very quiet , but little did I know what was to happen later . I went back to birding and passed another birder who told me that he had seen a Jack Snipe along the track the other day and that a Bittern was seen recently too . He showed me the exact area where the Jack had been seen , but there was no sign . I also searched even more carefully for the Bittern , but that wasn't found either . Other expected species were found , displaying
Lapwing , good numbers of Redshank , many being chased around by their partner and one pair was seen

mating . The sky was full of Skylark song , and they too were fully into the chasing game . For the
Oystercatchers , it wasn't so much chasing as marching side-by-side , whilst calling loudly , known as 'piping'
  , and not forgetting the Little Grebe , now resplendent in their breeding plumage . The 'moment' of the visit came as I made one last drive to the car park . As I approached the two right-angle bends before the hill to the car park , I spotted two Hares squaring up to each other on the other side of the ditch , still some distance away . They separated almost immediately , but one chased the other which then turned back . I was now some 20 meters from the pair and quickly reached for the camera . As I did so the two began 'boxing' and without checking settings , I just pointed and hit the shutter button . Fortunately , the camera was set on 'continuous shooting' , and in the next 3 seconds , which was as long as the contest lasted , I
managed 21 shots , before the pair spit up and disappeared into the vegetation . Result or what , I thought to myself . No sign of the Little Owl on my way out , but I didn't mind .
This morning , with the sun shining , but again cool , I made a visit to the Greensand Ridge to look for Adders , having made a couple recently without success . Today I was lucky , finding four freshly emerged

from hibernation males , two of which pictured . As can be seen , both had flattened their bodies to absorb as much warmth as possible from the sun . The new season is started , what will it bring ?