Saturday, 25 September 2010

Odds and sods

It's been a sad week for Team Wildside - our lovely cat Pickle was put to sleep on Friday. She will be very sorely missed.

Rob went to work today at the Chatham site and took his camera with him, so fingers crossed there'll be some photos from Cliffe Marshes later on. Meanwhile, here's what I saw at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve this morning. It was sunny but chilly, with a bit of a breeze up.

From Willow hide, not all that much to see (no Kingfisher, no wagtails, no Green Sandpipers) but some of the Teals had obligingly come quite close to the hide. Check out this young lady's excellent speculum.

Over on the far bank were more Teals, plus one non-Teal - an eclipse drake Wigeon. Now there's a sign of impending winter if ever there was one. I thought I'd have to make do with a very distant record shot as the Wigeon appeared to be fast asleep on the bank, but then he woke up and swam a little bit closer, allowing for a slightly less distant record shot.

On leaving Willow hide, I paused by the path to attempt to photograph Long-tailed Tits in awful light. Why? Why do we do these things to ourselves? Anyway, it sort of paid off this time when I noticed a Treecreeper making its way up a nearby trunk. I only ever seem to see these fantastic birds when I've stopped to look at something else. Unusually, it didn't slip around the back of the tree and I got a few photos, mostly blurry because of poor light and camera shake. Still, they're my first vaguely recognisable Treecreeper pics so I'm happy with that.

On the way back I decided to walk the West Lake loop for the first time. It's a narrow path, close to the shore, and shrouded in vegetation most of the time. You do get to go quite close to the half-submerged tree favoured by roosting ducks (Tufties and Pochards) and Cormorants. I met several parties of Long-tails on the way and managed a passable photo or two.

I took a look at both feeding stations before heading home, and at the second one was rewarded with a nicely posing Dunnock, after missing a chance at a Nuthatch.

Overall, it was very quiet today. No sniff of a Kingfisher, no warblers (apart from Chiffchaffs), no waders, no raptors. One lonely House Martin heading south. Still a few darters on the wing, plus one Comma and one Speckled Wood. I suppose when autumn kicks in properly we'll start to see some new stuff. Meanwhile, I'm hoping we can go away next weekend, so watch this space...

Oh, forgot to say - new teleconverter arrived on Friday. So maybe it wasn't as out of stock as they thought it was!

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