Jan 132013
Great Crested Grebe displaying

Great Crested Grebe displaying

My Wednesday walk this week was to Sevenoaks KWT reserve.   We started off in our usual direction, along the side of the largest lake, taking in the hides along the way.   The first thing we all noticed was that Great Tit were singing – I had heard one the day before, and realised that it had been some time since I had registered the song.

Song Thrush were also calling, another lovely song that we hear all too rarely these days.   Malcolm and Sally found at least four during the day.   On the water there were large numbers of Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Cormorant, Great-crested Grebe, Little Grebe.   Irene spotted a Goosander swimming along at the back of the lake, and we all managed to see it before it disappeared from view.

Song Thrush

Song Thrush

Robins on the reserve seem particularly gregarious, presumably because of the number of people willing to offer them food.   One even flew to Sally’s hand when she offered some (of Malcolm’s) mid-morning snack.

We found a huge flock of small birds feeding high in the trees, as we watched we realised there were far more than we originally thought.   Thirty, forty, gradually more gathered until we had over 100 feeding greedily above us.   Hardly making a sound, they gave a small twitter as they moved from tree to tree but apart from that they were only interested in alder seeds.   We found two Great Spotted Woodpecker calling and displaying in the treetops, then a third flew away from us.

After a very welcome lunch break with a warming cup of tea courtesy of KWT catering, we were off again, this time towards the Willow Hide.

Cryptic Snipe - there are four in the photograph!

Cryptic Snipe – there are four in the photograph!

More Robins, Chaffinch and views of the lake, at one point the sun came out and bathed the scene in bright light – it didn’t last long unfortunately.   On this lake we found more ducks enjoying a rather more protected area, Gadwall and Shoveler were added to the list, along with Egyptian Geese and Stock Dove.   As we wandered towards the fields at the end of the path, three Ring-Necked Parakeet flew over, then I spotted first one and then a second Treecreeper.   Over the fields there were more Greylag and Crows.   Jackdaws flew overhead giving themselves away ages before they appeared with their distinctive call.   I spotted Fieldfare in the top of a nearby tree, and as I got one of them in the telescope, a Green Woodpecker’s head appeared from behind a branch.   Irene spotted Redwing feeding under some trees at the edge of the field, and we counted 16 in all.   Chaffinch and other small birds were also flitting about, but were impossible to keep up with at such a distance.

On the way back to the Centre we looked in vain for Kingfisher and after another warming cup of tea and more scanning of the feeders we decided to call it a day.


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