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 ?


Phil said...

A great round up Fred. Nice to see the LTTits nest building again. Well done with the boxing Hares. Saw some there myself recently but didn't see them boxing.
What happened to the other 1/2 of the Kingfisher that flew past at Rainham? :-)

Ken. said...

Lovely pictures and interesting read. Nice variety of wildlife.