Following on from Saturday’s miserable weather, 19 of us met on a cold but sunny Sunday morning at Kent Wildlife Trust’s Sevenoaks wildlife reserve. This wonderful SSSI was created from former gravel quarries and has a mixed habitat including 5 lakes, ponds, reed beds and woodland. Just outside the visitor centre one of the first bird’s seen was a Song Thrush, feeding on the bright red berries of Guelder-rose, while some of us glimpsed a Nuthatch that flew over.
We made our way through the woodland on the side of the East Lake to the first hide. Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Robin and Goldfinch were added to our list.
From the hide we looked out across the East Lake and the specially created islands and shallows. Coot, Cormorant, Lapwing and Great-crested Grebe were seen. We visited most of the hides on this side of the lake, adding Moorhen, Gadwall, Tufted duck, Shovelar, Teal, Grey Heron and Pochard on the way, and, although well camouflaged against the background, a lone Snipe was picked out with the telescope. Retracing our footsteps, we had good views of a Sparrowhawk in the sky above us, and some of the group had glimpses of Siskin, Goldcrest and Redwing.
We returned to the car park and sat in the sunshine in the picnic area and ate our lunch – the Song Thrush was still eating the berries.
After lunch, we set off along the path towards the Long lake, and on the way, we witnessed a site unfamiliar to most of us. Three drake Mallard were diving, and clearly seen swimming below the surface of the water. Mallard are dabbling ducks, but they are known to dive on rare occasions (thanks Google). Later in the day the visitor centre told us they have been doing this for a while, and that they were after the cones from the Alder tree that had fallen into water. As we made our way towards the Long Lake we had views of Mute Swan, Little grebe, Little egret, Wigeon and Egyptian geese.
At the end of the path we scanned the lake for Goosander which had been seen in the days leading up to our visit, but not today. We headed back to the visitor centre where some of us enjoyed a hot drink and a look back over the day. The weather had been very good for us and a total of 54 species of birds where seen.
Thank you to everyone who came and helped make it an enjoyable day.
Norman and Sandra
Thanks to Norman and Sandra for leading and for the trip report. Thanks to Steve, Sandra and Terry for the photographs.
I just can’t see the mallard food item as alder cones – although there is an alder over the stream at this point. I’m going for an oak knopper gall. What do you think? –