Friday, 18 December 2009

Snow Hythe 18th December

For obvious reasons I left the car in the drive today and walked from my house. The towpath between the two alders lakes was first port of call, there are good views across the big lake from here and there's a good chance of being able to spot anything out of the ordinary, but today there were just the usual suspects, mainly pochard,tufties, gt. crested grebe and masses of coots. The small lake is less visible and was very quiet, I couldn't see the goldeneye here or much else really apart from a grey heron on the far bank, he'll need all his fishing skills and more in these conditions.
River Medway looking south.

River Medway looking north.

From the alders lakes I crossed the Country Park, past the dipping pond and the scrape adding a few of the commoner species on the way and watching a couple of small skeins of greylag geese and a couple of canada geese fly over. I stopped at the railway lake just this side of the railway line and and was surprised to see a few shoveler here and a small flock of teal which landed on the western side, don't usually see either species on this lake. While I was watching these I heard an unfamiliar call and looked up to see two snipe flying over, quickly followed by another one which was flying behind a small flock of ducks, it then broke away and headed south, the same direction as the other two. Over the railway line to abbey mead lake where I noticed some wigeon had returned and on the far side were more teal, I only usually see these on the Medway down here. I couldn't get down the river path due to a fallen tree so I used the adjacent, slightly inland path where a fox watched me for a few seconds before sloping off into the undergrowth.
Magpie on an Alder

Blue tit


Just before I reached the sunken marsh I saw a couple of bullfinches which looked fantastic, but as always with these birds it was for the briefest of moments. The sunken marsh held it's usual array of fieldfare, redwing, blackbirds and wrens and also a couple of lesser redpoll feeding on the reed heads. The only other footsteps in the fresh snow on the path round the marsh belonged to a fox and strangely they led straight into the second world war pillbox on the riverside and even stranger there were no tracks coming out that I could see. Nothing of note on brooklands lake except some lapwings over.
On the way back over the Country Park I was pleased to see two meadow pipits on the rough ground adjacent to the dipping pond, they escorted me for some way, always calling as they flew up and landed again 20 yards or so further on. When I reached the alders towpath again I scanned the small lake in the hope of catching up with the goldeneye and was pleased to find not one but two! I'm pretty sure one was the bird of dubious gender seen a couple of weeks ago but the second bird was a very handsome male, no doubting his gender. As ever they were on the far side of the lake so the picture (below) isn't a lot of cop, but never mind it was a very nice way to log species number 44 for the day



Anonymous said...

Well done Phil on the pair of the Goldeneyes - male looks fantastic. If weather improves may be down that way tomorrow late afternoon so might check them out.


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Phil
Good number of birds you found today. Trust you to go one beter and find not 1 but 2 Goldeneye, seriously though, well done.
I'm still after Redpoll for the year list.
I bet it was a picture down there today.
Have a good week end.

Warren Baker said...

Great to find the Golden eyes Phil, it didn't look as snowy there as it is here, I was knackered after my walk today, walking in virgin snow is so tiring!

PS in answer to you comment on my blog, I get through a minimun of 50kg of sunflower hearts in the busy months, plus 20kg peanuts, thats well £100 a month on average!!!!!

alan woodcock said...

I looked at the small Alders lake on the 16th,the gate was closed so I didn`t have a clear view,but I didn`t see the Goldeneye then.Alan.