This week I went to Bough Beech with my usual Wednesday companions (minus one as Irene is away).
The good news was that the visitor centre is now open on Wednesdays and they make a lovely cup of tea. We did manage to find several avocet, including one with colour rings, three green sandpipers, five buzzard, kestrel, hobby, and numerous sand martins. These were supplemented by the usual; grey heron, little egret, cormorant, greylag geese, moorhen, mallard, ruff, mute swan and huge numbers of great-crested grebe. Whilst Malcolm and I wandered off to the visitor centre, Sally and Paul were getting great views of a kingfisher.
From the picnic table we watched swallow flying in and out of the barn and when we followed there were at least three nests which had been recently used (given the droppings on the floor below), and there were three juveniles perched on a cross beam still being fed. We watched as they preened and stretched their wings. One of the youngsters did fly out of the barn, and returned several minutes later, so it won’t be long before they are off on their first long journey south.
We then moved off to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve run by KWT. After we had taken lunch (and more tea!) we set off on the nature trail, near the car park we could hear robin and blackbird, and a blue tit flew across our path. On the lake we could see cormorant, coot, moorhen, greylag and canada geese, grey heron, lapwing, house and sand martin were feeding over the water, and little grebe were diving.
Malcolm spotted a great-crested grebe on a nest and we put the telescope up to see if there was evidence of eggs, as I watched, the bird started to preen and as the wing moved I could see a small stripey humbug (sorry Malcolm I know it’s not a very professional description) juvenile sheltering underneath.
There were lots of tufted duck, on the second lake with 83 canada geese, mute swan, pochard, teal, more sand and house martin, cormorant, and mallard. We watched a fox creeping along the side of the lake – he appeared to be munching on a worm. Geese, teal and a young moorhen seemed to get dangerously close, but the fox seemed uninterested and lay down on the grass.
As we moved back towards the visitor centre, Sally spotted a kingfisher swoop down from the trees then disappear into the far trees. We decided to go round the lake to a small hide in case the bird could be spotted from there. A great decision, as the kingfisher was sitting out on a branch and gave us great views. As we watched it flew down to grab a fish and then flew first right (and out of view) and then back to the left where it initially sat on a branch and then disappeared into the bushes.
By now it was time for us to take our leave, so a quick look from the hide by the centre where we increased the numbers of ducks already seen, along with some young blue tits on the peanut feeders, then it was off home.