On Tuesday we visited the Kent Wildlife Trust reserve at Sevenoaks. We were greeted by an assistant warden who suggested that we visited the Tyler Hide overlooking the East Lake. A common sandpiper and 2 little ringed plovers had been reported from there. We set ourselves up in the hide and carefully scanned the East Lake – I particularly wanted to see the plovers. There were lots of wildfowl including a tufted duck with young in tow, a coot also with young and, of course, lots of geese. It was not until a sparrowhawk flew over and disturbed all of the birds resting on the islands that we realised that there were also 50+ lapwings. Perhaps the sparrowhawk caused the common sandpiper and the little ringed plovers to move too. As the birds settled down we managed to find both species. The little ringed plovers (I think one was a juvenile) may have bred on one of the islands on the lake but the common sandpiper must have been a returning migrant – moving back southwards at the end of summer (already!).
Also on the East Lake was a great crested grebe carrying at least 1 “humbug” – a fledgling. Why do they do this? The young birds can swim well and the weather was perfect. Perhaps this behaviour reduces the risk of predation. Anyway, it was good to watch.
As we walked around the reserve we saw many different species of damselfly and dragonfly.
Black-tailed skimmer and brown hawkers were seen but perhaps the most common species along the paths were common blue damselfly and ruddy darters.
(Steve and Hazel were not with us on this trip but they had visited the reserve two days earlier. And I wanted to find an excuse for using Steve’s unusual picture of a ruddy darter taken then).
We had also been advised to look out for 3 recently fledged sparrowhawks. We found two of them high in a pine tree, less than 1 metre from the nest (they had “branched”). We looked at the birds and they looked back – it’s amazing how birds can get used to people passing close by.
It was a very hot day so we returned to the visitor centre for a slightly early picnic lunch.
Thanks to Sally, Steve and Terry for the photographs. Thanks to the staff at the reserve for making us welcome.