Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A day of two halves - part 1

Yesterday morning I met Adam and Lisa at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. They live not too far away and fancied checking the place out, so I offered to give them a tour. It was sunny first thing but the clouds gradually built through the morning.

Walking down the track into the reserve, I spotted a male Holly Blue flittering around an ivy-covered trunk. When it settled and I got a proper look at it I was surprised to see its battered condition, but I suppose it could have been on the wing for a couple of weeks now. It doesn't even look blue in this pic, more tired grey.

Before the others arrived I took a few flower photos in the wildlife garden. I think this is Bugle. (If anyone reading this is shaking their heads sadly and saying to themselves, 'oh dear, that poor ignorant woman thinks that's Bugle but she's so, so wrong', please put me right.)

Once Lisa and Adam arrived, we took a quick look at the mostly empty West Lake from Grebe hide, then on to Tyler hide. One of the islands was absolutely carpeted with resting Swallows (plus a few Sand Martins), while over the water flew many more. I found just one Little Ringed Plover, but I'm sure there were more. Not a great deal else, though a pair of Little Grebes whinnying away at each other is surely a good sign that the species is breeding here this year?

From Sutton hide we found a pair of Egyptian Geese on the beach, an enthusiastically bathing Carrion Crow, a few Pied Wagtails and this - my first Common Sandpiper of the year. Sadly very distant so this is cropped to the max.

On to Slingsby (no Treecreeper action in the woods today). Every movement in the undergrowth turned out to be one of these - it was as if all the young bunnies on the reserve had 'fledged' today. Two Reed Warblers were singing from the reeds today and I saw them briefly as one chased the other off his patch. The Slingsby Robin also came in to scrounge for crumbs.

We walked back then up to Willow hide, adding Great Spotted Woodpecker and Blackcap to the day list on the way. From Willow hide, all was rather quiet, even this Cormorant decided to fly off a few minutes after we got there.

The field past Long Lake was full, once again, of Greylag parents and their fluffy darlings.

While we were there, we heard Ring-necked Parakeets squawking away from the trees by East Lake. Lisa went to investigate and found a female at a woodpecker hole, while from a different woodpecker hole in the same tree another parakeet was peering suspiciously out at us.

On the walk back I fired off a few shots of the hirundines and Swifts that were zooming overhead, of which this athletic House Martin was the best.

We went into Carter hide just for completeness. I hoped for at least a fly-by Kingfisher but it was not to be, still, it was nice to see this Jay coming down for a drink then posing in a dead tree.

We ended up with a last look in Grebe hide, where a Kingfisher did appear, but too briefly and distantly for all to enjoy. Then Rob arrived, and some lens-comparing went on before we parted company with Adam and Lisa, and headed south for an afternoon at Dungeness.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I was looking forward to seeing the photos from our trip, they are lovely as usual!

Thanks again for the tour and I'm sure we'll be back in the autumn or winter, we really mush check out some of the other reserves around Kent as well!