Thursday, 4 November 2010

The wild side is one today!

So, to celebrate I thought I'd better make a post, though I don't have very much to say/show. We've not been out and about much, just a couple of local trips. Not very impressive, especially given that it's October and there have been good birds around. Anyway, here are some things to look at.

A trip to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve last weekend, badly timed because the heavens opened as we arrived. This was taken from the Grebe hide, a short dash from where we'd parked - a Black-headed Gull intent on getting the hell out of there.

Yes, not a great day for photography. Nice weather for Tufted Ducks though. It did stop for a few intervals, enabling us to manage a short walk.

Another distant and fuzzy Sparrowhawk. This one's a female, and she circled around overhead for ages but didn't come close enough for a nice photo. Ironically I saw one much closer from the car window on the way down...

A mixed bag of Cormorants, chilling out on the half-submerged dead tree in the West Lake.

Sun plus rain plus backlit Teasels.
What's this? Yes, it's a patch tick! My first SWR Coal Tit (and my second SWR Coal Tit was nearby too). This little beauty was visiting the feeding station in the wildlife garden. The layout of this feeding station means it's necessary to be very patient (because the windows in the viewscreen are so big) and sit in a hunched posture (because the seats are too high for the windows) but it's worth the wait, because the light is nice (when the sun's out).

Chaffinches are returning to the feeding stations now. Here's a female.

And a male, demonstrating the aforementioned nice light. On the way out of the reserve there was a huge flock of Chaffinches and Goldfinches feeding on the horsey field, and I spent a fruitless 10 minutes scrutinising them for Bramblings. No luck, but it was good to see several Redwings. I also heard a Water Rail (another patch tick!) close to Willow hide.

Otherwise, it's a quiet time on the reserve. We have lots of extra Lapwings, and duck numbers now include about eight Wigeons as well as plenty of Shovelers, Gadwalls and Teals. Lots of Black-headed Gulls. Insect life fast disappearing, though I saw a coupled pair of Common Darters last week, rather pointlessly egg-laying in some very temporary rain-puddles.

I'll end with something completely different - a lucky shot of a Kingfisher in Tonbridge, just behind the castle. I'm sorry to say that it was not observing the rules outlined on the sign.