Tuesday, 15 November 2011

This is my patch - it ain't much, but I like it

Sunday 13th was a beautiful day - sunny, still and surprisingly warm. I went to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve for a couple of hours in the morning to make the most of it.

Here's some of that sky, with a Black-headed Gull pointing out the bluest bits. I took this from the viewing mound, from where I could see lots of gulls on the islands in front of Tyler hide. I decided to go to Willow hide first though.

I took this on the way. Sunny it may have been, but everywhere was still very wet from the heavy fog of the last few days.

A typically shy and furtive Jay kept dodging my lens all the way down the trail, until I finally managed to grab a shot just by the turn-off for Willow hide. Other woodland birds were being rather quiet, though I heard the wheezy notes of Siskins overhead.

From Willow hide, the lake was busy with assorted wildfowl, including four Wigeons.

There were also quite a few Teals, though they mostly stayed in the shadier areas.

A Kingfisher dashed in and landed in the willow on the island, where it sat for a while before speeding off again. Then I noticed (at the exact moment that the other occupant of the hide pointed it out) a big Fox walking along the far bank. I only managed to catch its tail and one hind leg before it disappeared behind the island, but what happened next was interesting. A flotilla of Canada Geese paddled quickly over to the bank where the Fox was, and they loitered in the water there, looking towards the bank. I didn't see the Fox again, and the geese eventually dispersed.

While all that was going on, three Shovelers (a drake and two ducks) appeared around the corner, and settled down in the shallows for a long preen. There were also plenty of Gadwalls and Mallards plus the odd Tuftie.

A Cormorant swam by, then struggled into the air and flew away. You don't often see Cormorants on this lake, they much prefer the larger East Lake. Maybe that's where he's off to.

The lone cygnet from this year's breeding attempt is still around, though now looking very grown-up in almost white plumage.

I moved on to Tyler hide after that, and stayed for a little while, mainly because I thought I could hear the occasional 'eyow' from a Mediterranean Gull among the constant 'skeeearrs' of the Black-headeds.

A tiny sample of the gull flock. No Meds in there, just a couple of Commons. I did scrutinise the whole flock but without success.

Another big flock - part of the 100 or so Lapwings that treated us to a nice flypast. Speaking of flocks, I must have seen a thousand Woodpigeons going over today, in small and large flocks, all heading south.

I was reflecting earlier on the many species still missing from my 'patch list'. Well, I'm pleased to say that I knocked off one of the more embarrassing ones today. Yes, that's a Little Egret, though my camera settings  have turned it into a white blob. Must take a look at that.


Mike Attwood said...

You need to meter on the egret to get any sort of decent pic of a white bird in that sunlight.
Nice set of pics though.

caroline george said...

What an amazing website. i love all the photos they are really excellent

Marianne said...

Thanks so much, Caroline :) I have just found your blog and am now following it - it's great!