Thursday, 15 September 2011

Red(-breasted) Herring

The fact that it took me more than two weeks to mention this Red-breasted Goose at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve indicates how little faith I have that it's anything other than a fence-hopper. Nevertheless, it's a lovely-looking bird and was the highlight of our visit on Sept 3rd. That, and another meeting with the rogue grey cat (first mentioned here:, who is now sporting a collar tag reading 'Not lost, visiting from Riverhead'.

I went to the reserve again this morning. It was a gorgeous start to the day, cloudless and still. I went straight to Carter hide but found it occupied by other would-be Kingfisher photographers so decided to leave them to it and went on to Willow hide.

Before I got there, I found this very recently fledged baby Woodpigeon and its parent sitting on a stump. The adult flew when it saw me but the youngster stayed put while I took a couple of quick shots.

One of the nice things about blogging my sightings (given that I was never very disciplined about keeping a conventional birding diary) is having the means to compare stuff from year to year. Reading back, I see that last year's first Wigeon was on 25 September. This was the only interesting bird on view from Willow hide. Where are my Green Sandpipers?

My trigger finger wasn't playing ball today. Among the photos I was too slow to get, or messed up completely, were an in-flight Great Spotted Woodpecker, lots of Stock Doves and lots of Chiffchaffs. Maybe I should stick to ducks. This young Tuftie was on West Lake, where I also saw (at a great distance) a Great Crested Grebe carrying a very small chick on its back.

It's spider season. I saw some humungous Garden Spiders in my dad's garden in Hastings at the weekend. Don't know who built this web, but it looked pretty with a bit of backlighting.

Back at the centre, I sat for a little while at the wildlife garden feeding station, having heard Nuthatch and Coal Tit calling nearby. Both came down but I only managed to photograph the Nuthatch. What a pair of feet!

Various birds were zooming about in the trees around the car park. I got a nice surprise when I took a closer look at this one - a juvenile Bullfinch. Evidence of nearby nesting, and my first photo of this species on the reserve.

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