Sorry it's been a long time since my last post. I have no excuses (well, I do but you've heard them all before...). Actually I have been without my D700 since Christmas, after leaving it at my friends' place (not on purpose - much as I love them I'm not quite ready to hand over my camera as a gift...). Should get it back next weekend. But I did and do still have the D300.
ANYWAY, what a lovely day it was today. Not even (quite) freezing cold. My Saturdays aren't quite my own, these days, as I spend the mornings helping to teach children how to do aikido (anyone reading this who has a kid, send them to the Shodokan Tonbridge aikido club and I'll turn them into a terrifying ninja for you!). However, I was home by just gone 1pm and wasn't completely shattered so I decided to go down the hill and look at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. On the way I had a brief close encounter with a Redwing, which I'd have loved to have photographed, but the Redwing felt quite strongly that I shouldn't.
I looked through the visitor centre window at the sightings book, and noticed that top of the day list was 'white ibis'. That would be the juvenile American White Ibis that's been here since October. I felt a twinge of guilt at not coming to look for it sooner - even though it's (almost definitely) an escape it's still rather an interesting thing to show up. I wasn't sure if it was on the field you can see from Willow hide or the huge field beyond Long Lake, but decided to head that way and have a look.
Willow hide was crammed to capacity and, again, loud. There's a reason I rarely come here on weekends... Peering over the tops of heads I could see Tufties, a Jay up a tree, a fair few Shovelers and Gadwalls, no Wigeons though. And apparently no ibis from here - well, I couldn't see it and no-one was talking about it, so I figured it must be in the big field further along. So all in all I didn't see much point hanging around, so continued towards Long Lake.
And on past Long Lake and to the big field at the end. As I approached, squelching through giant muddy puddles, I could see a small knot of birders, so concluded that the ibis was indeed here. And I didn't even have to search for it, because it was immediately pointed out to me, among a flock of Greylag and Canada Geese in a distant and rather shady corner of the field.
I hung around here for a while, chatting to other birders (and thanks for the scope views, guys), and generally having a look at what else was about. I located a small group of mixed thrushes (Redwings, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds) quite close to us (but in deep shadow).
This same chap had told me that the only time he'd failed to find the ibis in this field was when there were no geese here. And he also said that he'd seen the ibis flying with the geese. So it seemed to me that it might be worth waiting a while to see if anything happened with the geese...
It was getting on a bit now and I was starting to lose sensation in my feet, so I walked back to the visitor centre, seeing little of note on the way.