On Saturday twenty three hardy souls gathered for a walk around Sevenoaks KWT reserve. Following a week of milder temperatures lulling us into a false sense of security, the weather had turned bitterly cold with a brisk (to say the least) north easterly wind. Despite that, there were signs of Spring, and as we set off from the visitor’s centre, Ian spotted a chiffchaff sitting out on a branch, and a couple of goldcrest in the bushes.
Taking a brief look at the East Lake from the nearest viewpoint which, apart from the ubiquitous black-headed gulls, seemed very quiet, we headed off to the far side of the lake to make our way to where the juvenile American Ibis has been residing since November. Along the way we saw several blue tit, great tit, dunnock and robin, and on the East Lake were many tufted ducks, Canada geese, greylag geese, cormorants, great crested grebes displaying, a couple of lesser black-backed gulls and an Egyptian Goose sitting on one of the small islands. A number of gadwall were seen from Willow Hide and a mistle thrush, the second of the day – Edith had spotted one in the car park before we set off – in the field next to Snipebog Lake.
Half the group arrived at the field where the Ibis has been seen, but could only find a couple of herons. It was so cold we gave up and started to make our way back along the track. However, we hadn’t got far when Sally received a call from Malcolm to say they’d got the Ibis in the scope. Apparently, Cliff had got onto it straightaway.
We wandered back to the visitor centre by which time it was midday and everyone agreed it was time for a hot drink and something to eat. Feeling a little warmer and with the sky starting to clear, we made our way to Tyler Hide and were rewarded with 11 snipe feeding on the grass not far from the hide. Arriving at Slingsby Hide there was much excitement when Malcolm thought he was seeing a woodcock sitting amongst the reeds. Unfortunately, after much debate, it was agreed that it was another snipe. At the same time a wren was seen flitting in and out of the reeds.
Making our way back and with the sun out, a redwing and another mistle thrush were seen. The real highlight of the day however was when we went back and stopped outside Tyler hide, where Sue spotted a little ringed plover. There were several gulls on one of the islands affording Malcolm the opportunity to give a masterclass in gull identification.
Walking back to the centre we had another cup of tea to round off what ended up as a good day’s birdwatching. Thanks to all who braved the cold.
Cliff and Sue