Long time no blog. However, I got out for a bit of birding yesterday, and although it didn't go according to plan AT ALL it was still most enjoyable. Sue and I drove to Grove Ferry with the intention of hooking up with the Sevenoaks RSPB group, but they were nowhere to be seen. Undaunted, we walked around the reserve alone, starting with the short trundle down to the Grove Ferry viewpoint. It was cool and windy, with sunny spells.
I'm not sure I've ever been here without a scope (or access to someone else's scope) before. The birds on the little lake or lagoon or flash or whatever you want to call it were distant, and the light was bad, but not so bad that I couldn't make out Greylags, Mallards and Cormorants. If there were smaller water birds out there though, they eluded me.
All the birds went up soon after this, flushed by a couple of juvvy Marsh Harriers which didn't deign to come within photo range.
We went on to the main reserve entrance after this, and strolled through the trees to the Marsh Hide. On the way, we saw lots of Red Admirals, which seem to have staged an invasion this summer as their cousins the Painted Ladies did last year.
The high winds kept reedbed birds low and quiet, with just the occasional snatch of Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting song audible over the sound of a gale rushing through thousands of reed stems. We settled in for a long spell in the Marsh Hide, which overlooks wet grassland and were rewarded with some nice sightings.
From this hide we also saw a selection of common stuff and a couple of distant Turtle Doves. We went back from there to the car park, had a drink, had a look at the sightings board which noted several things we'd failed to see, and then went to the nearby Reedbed Hide which overlooks open water surrounded by well-established reedbeds.
Our patient vigil also yielded a distant Marsh Harrier, a food-carrying Reed Warbler, a trio of Green Sandpipers lurking on a muddy bank almost out of sight, and a very distant Hobby. Nothing spectacular, but it's always a joy to spend time at this gorgeous reserve.